Jesus conquered Satan unequivocally, without doubt, without possibility of a comeback. The devil was stripped and humiliated as Jesus triumphed over him (Col 1:13, Col 2:15). From that victory stance Jesus instructed the men who became the first members of the team that turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
I chose the King James Version for this “3 Word Spark” because most other versions bring out a little more detail, and that means more than three words to express the thought. See examples below.
- NKJV – make disciples of all nations
- AMP – make disciples of all nations
- CJB – therefore, go and make people of all nations into talmidim (disciples)
- NCV – make followers of all people in the world
- MSG – go out and train everyone you meet
- TPt – Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations
All these versions (and many others) are expressions of the core truth. They just say it a little differently, or emphasize portions others did not.
Every person who claims to know the Lord Jesus Christ and claims to submit to His Lordship is commanded to go and teach. “Go” and “teach” are both imperatives, or commands. Our response to His commands reveals what we believe about whatever He says. If we hear and do not obey, we are guilty of sin. Sin is simply missing the mark, not following through, failing to do the work assigned. Hearing and not doing equals sin. See the parable in Matthew 21:28-33 for further insight.
The word “teach” is from a Greek word matheteuo that occurs four times in the New Testament (Matt 13:52, Matt 27:57, Matt 28:19, Acts 14:21). It means to teach, to instruct, to disciple someone. This definition from the Louw-Nida lexicon is helpful for understanding what Jesus said.
to cause someone to become a disciple or follower of—‘to make disciples, to cause people to become followers.’ πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ‘go then, to all peoples and make them (my) disciples’ Mt 28:19. In rendering μαθητεύω in Mt 28:19 and similar contexts, it is important to avoid the implication of duress or force, that is to say, one should not translate ‘force them to be my disciples’ or ‘compel them to be my disciples.’ This might very well be implied in a literal translation of a causative such as ‘to make.’ In order to avoid a wrong implication of a causative, it may be important to use some such expression as ‘convince them to become my disciples’ or ‘urge them to be my disciples.’ 
We are obligated before God to receive something from Him and impart it to others. We are expected to learn and teach, receive and give, be guided and guide others. We cannot disciple anyone else until we become a disciple.
Although we are commanded to “go and teach” it does not mean that every person must leave their home, leave their work, leave their village or town or city, and move somewhere to obey this directive. In the context of what Jesus was telling us to do, He was saying we must activate, began to move in this direction, start doing something about it.
A soccer coach looks down the line of players on the sideline, looks at you, and says to you “go! Play defense” and waves the substitution card. You are expected to jump up off the bench, begin immediately to move toward a position of defense. You cannot take the field until the referee approves the substitution, and the substituted player leaves the field. You do not play forward or midfield if the coach wants you to play defense. You must be present, in the zone, trained and practiced, dressed in the right uniform, and intensely focused on the flow of the game, to even be considered for a chance to play.
An Olympic swimming team, a professional hockey team, any sports team really, in any organized sport, has backup players. They have the first line, the second line, and the third line. They prepare for possible injury, for players getting tired, for a shift in strategy in reaction to an opponent’s move. Backup players are not secondary, or less important. Every team needs multiple players for each position. If someone gets hurt, or is sick before the game, or must be away for a funeral or a wedding, there are other qualified trained athletes eagerly waiting for their chance to contribute.
A hockey game lasts sixty minutes of play over three twenty minute periods, and the very best players may play twenty minutes total. The coach is continually swapping players in short intense bursts of a minute or two. The players rest for twice as long as they play during each game. Before the game the coach has organized the offensive groups of three players into the top line, the second line, etc. Some are specialists in certain situations and will be in play whenever that situation arises. Some players are very offensive minded, and others are great goal scorers but also excellent in a defensive way. Every player is key to the coaches, the owners, the other players, or they wouldn’t be on the team.
In the same way, Jesus looks at His players, the ones committed to the game, those who by practice and dedication and preparation, are ready to help the team win the game, and yells “Go! Take your place on the field of life”. In order for the Lord to command us to “Go”, there is a preparation process, a growth and development of Christian character, a commitment to training and practice, that must be demonstrated consistently. The coach would be the local pastor or team leader in a church in most cases. The other players are the disciples of Jesus Christ who are on that particular team. And just like there are dozens of sports and many levels of competence from little league to the big leagues, every Christian team may have a different “game” they play with differing levels of effectiveness.
The end game is to make disciples. Specifically, disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who over time becomes like the teacher. A disciple does not ever replace the teacher, but can grow to the place of doing everything the teacher does. Believers, Christians, those who are born again, of whatever flavor or stream they are engaged in, are expected by God to become disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple is not just a church-goer. You may attend church for decades and not be able to quote a single Bible verse accurately. You must do more than be attached to a church, or listed on their membership roll, to become a disciple.
There are many more fans than there are players. Fans know stuff and can quote statistics and know some history and can tell you about great moments and great plays. Fans know but do not do. Very few fans even play any level of the sport they follow, yet many are acknowledged experts of the game. A fan is not a player. In the same way there are people who attend a church, may help serve periodically, or even be a leader of some kind, yet are not disciples of Jesus Christ. They can tell you about the history of the church, and some wonderful meetings held long ago, and who the best speakers are in their particular stream, but they are not progressing toward doing the works of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 (NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Before we can obey the Lord’s command to go and teach, we must grow up a little ourselves. We must be taught before we can teach. We must know before we do. Yet, every born again believer knows enough about God to get born again. That means they can show someone else how to get born again. They know they needed to repent and ask for (and receive!) forgiveness, and invite the Living God into their life. They know in their heart that God did something miraculous, something amazing, within their heart at the moment of salvation. They felt burdens lift and saw clouds of darkness evaporate. They realized colours of things were somehow brighter and clearer. The salvation experience can be shared effectively to someone as soon as they experience it. I believe it is an important step for every new believer to publicly share their salvation experience, to testify of the mercy and kindness and love of God He showed them when they became born again.
To obey the command of the Lord in Matthew 28:19 (go and teach) means to share what you know, to be willing to speak up and declare truth (gently, in love, with mercy, not with harshness or being pushy or superior) whenever the opportunity appears. I think the church has made people wait too long, insisting on being “qualified” or “mature” before being allowed to share their testimony. Of course many things require some training, some maturity, some commitment to the Lord, before you can be activated. But sharing your testimony at work the day after you got saved is obeying the Lord’s command to “go and teach”. What happened in your heart was real, and eternal, and is the beginning of a transformation unequaled anywhere in creation. That is worth sharing! And when you do share that little bit you know, you are obeying Jesus Christ. Well done!
Jesus said “teach all nations”. Nations is from the Greek word ethnos, and is translated “Gentiles” over one hundred times. It is also translated people or nations. Jesus died for all people, no matter what religion, tongue, tribe or nation they belong to. He is not sending everyone to everyone else, but He is sending you and I to whoever is in our sphere of influence. We all have people we know who do not believe the Word of God. It does not matter what religious affiliation they claim or reject. What matters is do they believe the Lord? Whether they go to heaven or hell is in large part dependent on how effectively we disciple them.
Every sports team has a scouting department. Scouts search for talent, for players that may be recruited and developed and coached. The scout may be an owner, a coach, another player, or even a paid position with the team. Every Christian is a scout for Jesus Christ. We are to search the people around us, looking for those who may be interested, who may have problems we can help with. Since the Bible promises rewards to those who serve the Lord faithfully, we are paid members of the best team on earth (2John:8, Gen 15:1, Ruth 2:12). We are paid by God to scout for Him. Who have you scouted for the Lord? Are you growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Who do you influence for Jesus?
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996).
 (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 470). New York: United Bible Societies.
Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains
Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!
1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.
Say this prayer out loud.
Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without you. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!
If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.