The emphasis, that is, the main point of the Great Commission is “make disciples” (28:19). The other verbs “baptising” and “teaching” tell us more about this main verb “make disciples.” This observation teaches an important truth. As explained in part 1 of 2 of this pastoral letter, Christians owe every one a gospel debt: to bring to people the gift of salvation, the gift of eternal life. Our responsibility, however, does not end here. We are commanded in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. In other words, we must also help a person become Jesus’ disciple. How do we do that?
The two things that the church must do are “baptising” and “teaching.” These two responsibilities have a common goal: to help Christians live a life of obedience to their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. First, we must “baptise” Christians. After a person receives Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the church has a responsibility to baptise him or her. When a person is baptised, it symbolises that this person has been cleansed from sin. This also means that he or she will no longer obey sin but obey righteousness.
Thus, baptism symbolises a break from sin and a resolution to obey God all his or her life. Since baptism symbolises a change of lordship from sin to God, every Christian must be baptised. A Christian who refuses to be baptised is basically saying that “the Lord of my life is sin and not Jesus Christ.” He is living in disobedience. In this church, you are required to attend the Basic Bible Class where I, the pastor, will instruct you in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This is to ensure that you understand the most important doctrines, and that you have truly received Jesus as your Saviour.
Second, the church has a responsibility in “teaching them to obey everything I [the Lord Jesus] have commanded you.” In other words, the church must help a Christian live a life of obedience to the Word of God. This requires the church to teach Christians the important doctrines about the Christian faith and to live a godly life in a practical way. This requires the church also to regularly remind and encourage Christians to press on with godly living in a world that opposes godliness.
How then can you as a Christian have a part in “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”? First, if you have the gift of teaching, serve as a teacher in the Children or Adult Sunday School. Second, if you are not a teacher, you can still fulfill the Great Commission of teaching. You may not be able to explain in a systematic manner Bible doctrines. You can, however, teach by your life example. For instance, as a housewife, you pray regularly for the different needs of the church and needy church members. Your prayerful life teaches and encourages people how to find time to pray as a busy and stressful housewife. Perhaps you are a cleaner in a canteen and you have a demanding boss. You can share during cell group meetings with people who are also facing demanding superiors, how you handle in a godly way such people. Thus, you may not be teaching a class in church. By your sharing your life example, however, you are actually teaching others.
Hence, everyone can teach. How? Be ready to share your life struggles, both failure and success during prayer time in cell group meetings. Also, those who have been Christians for 5 years must take the initiative to care for those who have been Christians for 3 years. Those who have Christians for 2 years should take the initiative to care for those who have been Christians for 6 months. In other words, older Christians must take the initiative to care for younger Christians. Everyone must take care of someone. Pray, encourage and share. This is teaching and fulfilling the Great Commission.