Who Are to Be Baptized?

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ

Evidently not the nations as such, but the disciples. The word nations (ethnee), in the Greek, is in the neuter gender, and the pronoun them (autous) is in the masculine. And hence the pronoun represents by syllepsis only those who, through the instructions of the Apostles and their coadjutors, become disciples of Christ. Besides, it is evident from the terms of the Commission, that the work of making disciples is prior, in point of time, to that of baptizing.12 Christ says, Go and first make disciples; secondly, baptize them; and, thirdly, teach, them to observe all things whatever I have commanded. But to make disciples of all persons in any and every nation is practically impossible. Some persons, as infants and idiots, have not the capacity that is necessary in order to become disciples; and others have not the will or the disposition to come to Christ, and to submit to His authority. “Ye will not,” says Jesus, “come to me that ye may have life.”

And hence we never read of the Apostles baptizing any but penitent believers; men and women who realized and acknowledged that they were sinners; and who trusted in Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of sinners.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Great Commission of Jesus Christ to His Twelve Apostles by Robert Milligan. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Becoming a Disciple

The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus

The Way” (Acts 9:2) was made up of those two were followers of Jesus – the one who is identified as “the way” (John 14:6). This is the essence of discipleship – being a follower of Jesus. The Greek word for disciple means “a learner, pupil” (Thayer). The apostles were commissioned by the Lord to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

How does one become a disciple? To answer this question, we can look at the instructions the Lord and His apostles gave to those who would be His followers. Looking to the New Testament, we can see that in order to become a disciple, an individual must:

  • Hear the gospel – “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’” (Mark 16:15). The gospel must be preached because people must hear it in order to respond to it. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:8).
  • Believe that Jesus is the Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Not only is belief necessary for salvation, but Jesus specifically said that those who do not believe will be lost. He said elsewhere, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Interestingly, the word “He” is not in the original Greek text but was added by the translators. Jesus’ statement meant that we must believe that He is the “I AM” – the name that God called Himself when speaking to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). In other words, it is not enough simply to believe in the existence of Jesus; we must believe that He is Deity (cf. Colossians 2:9).
  • Repent of sins – “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). The belief that we are to have (previous point) must lead us to action. Repentance means to put away sin and begin serving the Lord. Jesus said elsewhere, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). When we make the decision to follow the Lord, we are making a commitment to serve Him daily.
  • Confess faith in Christ – “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). This is the verbal affirmation of our faith. We must do more than mentally acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. In addition to repentance, we must also be willing to make “the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
  • Be baptized into Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Many people will push back on this point and try to argue that baptism is not necessary in order to be saved or to become a disciple of Jesus. Yet Jesus said that baptism is just as necessary for salvation as belief (Mark 16:16) and is an essential step in the discipleship process (Matthew 28:19). Those who reject this and have “disbelieved” Jesus “shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Paul described baptism as the act in which we put on Christ: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

When we become a disciple, we then belong to Christ. Peter explained this in his first epistle: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). As “a people for His own possession,” we must be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). In other words, we must continue to serve Him and do what is right throughout our lives.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Way That Is Narrow

The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus

Jesus contrasted two different “ways” that we could go – a broad way and a narrow way: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). These are the only two options, and they lead to two very different destinations. However, we do have the option. We get to choose which way we will take.

If we want to follow the way “that leads to life,” we must follow the “narrow” way (Matthew 7:14). But what did Jesus mean when He said, “The way is narrow”? First, He meant that there would be difficulties and obstacles along the way. The New King James Version uses the word difficult in this verse to describe “the way.” We will discuss this idea more in the fourth lesson.

Second, by saying that “the way is narrow,” Jesus was explaining the reason why there would be “few” who would follow “the way” (Matthew 7:14). Even though the way that leads to life is open to everyone, not all will choose to follow this path. Jesus told Nicodemus of the universal love of God and the salvation that was available as a result: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Paul told Titus, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). However, even though God “loved the world” (John 3:16) and has brought “salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11), Jesus made it clear that most people will not be saved. Why? The way is narrow and so they choose not to follow that way.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!


We are happy to announce that our newest book – The Way: What It Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus by Andy Sochor – is now available!

The Way (cover)When Jesus gave His apostles the Great Commission, He charged them to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). These disciples of Jesus “were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Even today, the term “Christian” is commonly used and recognized by believers and non-believers to refer to Jesus’ disciples.

Several times in the book of Acts, there was another term by which Jesus’ disciples were identified. They were known as “The Way.” A way denotes that we are going in a certain direction toward some destination. This is the essence of discipleship – following Jesus wherever He leads.

In this short book, we will examine what it means for us to be disciples of Jesus by looking at what the New Testament says about “The Way.”

Read more about this new book and purchase your copy today!

If you would like to place a bulk order, please contact us.

Special Offer

Through the end of the month, you can get a copy of The Way for just $4.79! That’s 20% off the regular price! Order from the Gospel Armory Store by June 30, 2018 to take advantage of this special offer.

The Vine and the Branches

Plain Bible Study Guides

Read: John 15:1-8

Jesus began with an illustration of the vine and the branches. His teaching is straightforward and easily understood, yet many have misunderstandings about it.

There are three parties depicted in the illustration – the vine, the vinedresser, and the branches. Jesus explained, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (15:1). Identifying the vine and vinedresser is obvious from the first verse, but who are the branches? “I am the vine, you are the branches” (15:5).

It is important that we understand that when Jesus said, “You are the branches” (15:5), He was speaking to individuals. Many in the religious world, in their attempt to justify denominationalism, claim that the branches are denominations. In other words, the Baptist church, Methodist church, Lutheran church, and so on are all branches that grow off of – yet are still connected to – the vine (Jesus). However, Jesus made it clear that He was referring to individuals as the branches. Notice the words He used: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch” (15:5-6). The branches in Jesus’ illustration can only refer to individual disciples.

The disciples, as branches, were expected to bear fruit (15:2). Even today, this means that Jesus’ disciples must be actively serving Him. However, it is not enough to do just anything we decide to do in His service (cf. Matthew 7:21-23); we must do what He has instructed. This was the point of Jesus’ statements: “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine,” and, “For apart from Me you can do nothing” (15:4-5). That does not mean that if they fell away they would be incapable of any action; instead, it meant that if they quit following the instructions of Christ, they would not be able to please Him and bear the proper fruit.

Those who do not bear fruit will be taken away (15:2). Jesus said, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (15:6). This is a reference to divine judgment against those who failed to faithfully serve Him.

Those who do bear fruit “prove to be [Jesus’] disciples” (15:8). They will then be pruned so that they can bear more fruit (15:2). This is referring to the continued growth and maturity that will necessarily take place as Jesus’ disciples faithfully serve Him. These disciples were “already clean” or pruned “because of the word” that Jesus taught them (15:3). In fact, Jesus told them, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (15:7). This promise for asking and receiving was specifically for the apostles (cf. 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23). Yet this also teaches us how we abide in Jesus – by having His words abide in us. When His word abides in us, we will bear fruit (15:4-5).

The above post is an excerpt from the John Study Guide. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!