“Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world” – Matthew 28:19-20TLB.
Now the question is who are disciples?
They are not converts who have received the Gospel, although that is their beginning. They are not people who have gone to seminary or Bible College. They are not church members and workers.
They are not primarily those ones mentioned above.
Disciples are primarily followers of Christ who entrusts all of themselves in obedience to follow Jesus in a personal relationship.
They are people who will strictly focus on the laborious training process of learning the life of Christ till Jesus is seeing and formed in their lifestyles and character. They are people who love nothing than to always be where Jesus is. This is the kind of mission we are sent to go and make of all the tribes and race of man-kind in the world.
Christ also told us what we should be doing with these disciples which are made through laborious process of learning of Jesus. He said we should be teaching them to observe all things that He has commanded us. This is very crucial. It is in this aspect the major work is.
This is where preaching is not the equipping tool but teaching. Every minister knows, preaching is easier to do than teaching.
As a matter of fact, teaching is a special ministry gift because it is laborious in nature, and because it is an equipping tool for disciples to stand in the Gospel.
So Christ said, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” I made this repetition because there are three things I quickly want to point out here – to make you understand the gravity of this word in using Gospel to transform the world.
The Teaching must be Continuous
First, the teaching must be continuous. Let us consider the word Jesus used again, “teaching them”, it is a continuous present tense.
It means to make disciples who will stand in the Gospel requires continuous teaching of the word of God.
But I want to say the church is guilty of this presently. Preaching is done more today in the church than teaching. It seems we have neglected the tool our master commanded us to continue to use. He said, “Teaching them.”
Until the church return back to the instruction of Christ, there’s no how the church can make her members stand firm in the Gospel. Teaching is Church responsibility and it must not be occasional. It must be continually, persistently, systematically and repeatedly done.
They must be taught the Principle of Observation
The second point is, “Teaching them to observe”. There’s no how the disciples can stand in the Gospel except they are taught to continually observe God’s word in order to live by it. To observe is to consciously and deliberately look critically into in-and-out of something for more discovery
In Joshua 1:8, God told Joshua that the secret of his leadership success is when he observed to do according to all that is written in the book of the law. In other words, God was saying to Joshua that it would take conscientious, careful, and diligent effort on his part to stand in obedience to the will of God, and that is by observing God’s law as it related to every decision to be taken. There would be a need for careful observation in knowing what God said concerning every matter and ordinance.
The same thing Jesus said we should be teaching about. It is for the disciples to know the importance of observing the word Christ has commanded. We are not to teach them to observe our own word but that of Christ.
They must be taught to observe all not some
The third point is, “Teaching them to observe all”. In this sense, it is not just an observation of part or an aspect of Christ’s instruction. We must teach them to observe all. It should not be limited to aspect that suits their desire while they ignore other areas that challenges them. The master said, we should be teaching them to observe all that he has commanded us.
We must not be selective in observing the word of God. They must be taught to observe all that Christ commanded. But this is the responsibility of the teachers which boils down on the content of the curriculum we used in teaching the people of God. It has been discovered that one of the reasons we have shallow and hollow believers in the church today is the kinds of curriculum we are designing to teach them.
The contents of most curriculum are man’s ideologies and philosophies contrary to what Jesus instructed the first disciples. With this we have succeeded in producing believers who lack the understanding of how to be a true Christian. Meanwhile, the instruction of Christ is simply to “Teach all He has commanded us.”
That’s the instruction of Christ to the church if the people must stand in the Gospel and benefit from it.