Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
This mission has four parts: Go. Make. Baptize. Teach.
1) Go: "Go therefore"
WHO is supposed to go? You are. I am. We are.
If you claim to be a follower of Christ, the Great Commission is YOUR mission.
WHAT is the "therefor" there for? It is there because of the truth Jesus declared in the previous verse: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matt 28:17). King Jesus is LORD and our sovereign, and this is WHY He has the authority to send us. We also know that wherever He sends us, He wields authority: the success of our mission is assured.
HOW are we to go and WHERE are we to go? Both of these questions are answered in Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)
We are to go under the power of the Holy Spirit, and we are to go to Jerusalem (locally), Judea (further away), Samaria (to our enemies), and beyond: to the end of the earth.
2) Make: "make disciples of all nations"
THIS IS THE CENTRAL COMMAND OF THE GREAT COMMISSION. Making disciples is more than, but it is never less than evangelism. Making disciples means being witnesses of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the good news (gospel) that Jesus Christ the Son of God died for sinners. We are to preach to all men everywhere repentance and faith in Christ.
3) Baptize: "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
When a person places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we are commanded to fully immerse them in water, in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. It represents our union with Christ in both His death and His resurrection. It is also the public inauguration of the child of God into the visible church. Baptism is not required for salvation, but it is required for obedience.
4) Teach: "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
We are to make disciples as Jesus made disciples: by teaching them Scriptural truth, and then by walking alongside them, guiding them and teaching them to observe the commands of Jesus, an ongoing process where we continually seek to apply and submit to God's word in our speech, attitudes, and behavior.