The Lord Jesus Christ gave His disciples a clear command at the end of His earthly ministry: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). This command extended to disciples from age to age, including Christians today. It goes without saying that, in order to obey the command to make disciples, we must first be discipled.
Thus, the explicit command is to make disciples; the implicit command is to be discipled. We must submit ourselves to the discipleship program of the church.
What does discipleship mean? It means to be instructed so that we become rooted in the word of God “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
Discipleship is all about knowing Christ and His Lordship. “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
We live for God the Father and we live through Christ the Son, because He is Lord. Yet God does not desire blind obedience. He desires that we follow Him out of love. This is why the Apostle Paul prayed that we may know “this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
Discipleship is about Christ Jesus — not doctrines, not personalities, not methods, although these may be essential aids. Ultimately it is about Christ and Him alone and to be able to experience Him as the first disciples did, yet in a greater way.
We can experience Him in our hearts and in our spirits. This is discipleship in all its purity.