Make

On mission

Matthew 28:19  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,

How do we make disciples?  Most of us probably know how to make converts; we share the Gospel.  If someone responds to the Good News of Jesus Christ, there has been a rebirth.  A new Christian has been made.  But has a disciple been made?  How do we know?

A very well known disciple-maker has said that if a person is reading God’s Word daily, praying with his or her spouse, obeying God, and sharing his or her faith at every opportunity, you can be pretty sure you’ve made a disciple.  Discipleship is not simply about behaviors and disciplines, however.  The Fruit of the Spirit?  A disciple should be showing those characteristics.  It won’t all happen overnight, but you can tell when someone is growing more mature and when they’re not.  Sadly, most Christians today are not growing and not becoming more like Jesus.  They’re just sitting on the bench, waiting for Him to come back.

But what do we do to make disciples?  How do we get people off the bench?  The most essential element in disciple-making is relationship and time.  You’ve got to share one-on-one time with a person to make a disciple.  Classes and theological training are good, but caring for the person and talking to them directly has more impact.  Probably second most important is modeling discipleship.  You can’t make a disciple if you aren’t living as one.  Preach what you practice.  Encourage, love, pray with, study with, and be there for people and you will make disciples.

Go

On mission

Matthew 28:19  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,

It’s time to go.  It’s time to get up.  It’s time to follow the command of Jesus to go into all the nations and reach people for Him.  Does this sound like a tough challenge?  It’s God’s mission for every disciple.

The command to go should not be as intimidating as we sometimes make it out to be.  We fear God will call us to serve in a distant land like Africa or that we’ll face danger.  We might. But we also might be needed as missionaries to our communities in our homeland.  Going does not necessarily mean leaving.

Some have had limitations placed on them physically or otherwise that keep them from being mobile.  Then send.  If you can’t go yourself into the nations, then send others who will do the work of the harvest.  Senders are just as needed as goers (Romans 10:15).  So send!

Whether going or sending, we should have no fear.  God has made this our purpose and He won’t let us go out alone.  He will be with us all along the way (Matthew 28:20).  Anything we face is for the sake of the cause, for the name of Jesus to be made famous throughout the world.  For the salvation of many.

Will you go?

Multiply

A disciple

Matthew 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them int the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Disciples make disciples.  It has to be so.  Jesus commanded it.  There is nowhere in Scripture where God indicates that salvation is the end of the road for a believer.  There is nowhere that we can even infer that faith is a private matter.  Jesus said to go out into all the nations and make disciples.  Those are pretty simple instructions to understand.  Go.  Make disciples.  Baptize.  Teach.  He wants us to reach the world for God’s glory.

In order to reach the entire world, we’ve got to multiply.  We’ve got to make disciples right here at home.  Training, relationships, conversations, coffee, crisis, sharing, caring…it’s all part of helping others to grow in their spiritual walk with Christ.  It’s not just the job of pastors and teachers to make disciples.  It’s a calling for all of us.  The Great Commission is for all believers.  Multiplication is necessary to the mission of the Church.

Will you go?  Will you make disciples?  Will you teach them?  Trust in God along the way and He’ll make sure you succeed.

Love

A disciple

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

A simple truth:  You cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ and not love other people.  Some think they can love God but not love people and this couldn’t be further from the truth.  God created people and He created them each with a purpose.  You are included in that.  You are to love those other people.

Jesus never asked His disciples to do anything that He wasn’t willing to do Himself.  He commanded that we love, but He also modeled love.  He showed love to the scum of society, the outcasts, the poor, the sinners.  The people that were rejected by society were loved by Christ.  And that’s our example to follow.  Loving the unlovely.  It’s not easy, but it’s required.  And so is loving other believers.

No subject is more talked about, sung about, portrayed in the arts, or philosophized than love.  Why?  Because God wired us for it.  He created us to love and be loved.  When we don’t have love, we’re not living the lives He intended for us.  This life only works if there’s love.  People can only know God if there is love.  It’s up to us to show it.

Obey

A disciple

Hebrews 5:8  Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered

A disciple obeys God every step of the way on the path laid out for his or her life.  God calls each of us to a purpose, but we have a choice to make when it comes to playing the role He has for us.  But how do we know what to obey?  How do we know that what we’re doing is really what God wants?

We can never truly know God’s will for us and what He would have us to do if we never know Him for who He is.  If we’re ignorant of God’s character we may think we’re acting on something He’d have us do, only to contradict His very nature by doing so.  Knowing God leads to knowing His will and it becomes that much more clear what to obey.

The Bible isn’t primarily a list of rules to follow and restrictions to keeps us from sinning.  Those things are contained within, but God’s Word is first and foremost God’s self-revelation to mankind.  He shows us who He is so we can understand what He wants.

Take this into consideration:  Jesus, the perfect Son of God, learned obedience through suffering.  Yes, Jesus learned obedience.  By walking in what God the Father sent Him to do, by suffering as a human, He learned what obedience was all about.  Sometimes it’s the same for us.  Sometimes we only really know God through experiencing Him in times of struggle.  If we abide in Him, He’ll reveal Himself to us and we can walk in obedience by knowing who He is.

Share

A disciple

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

There is supernatural power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to do a work in the life of a person.  Yet sometimes Christians are fearful to share this power, opting instead to water down the Good News into something flowery and completely devoid of its power.  How can we do this when we know that one can only be saved through faith in Jesus?

So often we fear what people will think of us.  Maybe they’ll disrespect us.  Maybe they’ll persecute us or threaten us.  In some areas of the world, death may even be a consequence for sharing the Gospel.  But on the day of judgement, who will we stand before?  Men or God?

We have nothing to fear because the power is on God’s side, not on the world’s side.  On that day when we stand to give an account for what we did with our lives, it will be God we face, not the people who intimidated us.  So why not share the message that has the power for salvation?  Why not proclaim to the entire world how they can know God?

As disciples it’s our calling.

A good steward

A disciple

Matthew 25:20-21  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Even if you consider yourself poor, you’ve been given a lot in this life.  God has provided you with time, breath, relationships, jobs, education, housing, money, talent, vehicles, luxuries. While all of the above may not be true for you, at least some of these things have been placed in your care.  They don’t belong to you, but you have the responsibility to take care of these things and make the best use of them.

Some squander everything they’ve been given, never fully utilizing their resources for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.  But you don’t have to be one of those people.  You have a job?  Work hard as though working for the Lord and not for man. (Colossians 3:23)  You have children?  Work hard to train them up in the way they should go and when they’re older they won’t depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)  You have money?  Make it work for God. (Luke 16:9)  Married?  Husbands love your wives, (Ephesians 5:25) wives submit to your husbands. (Ephesians 5:22)  Most of all, use your time for the things of God.  You only have so much of it.

No matter what it is, it belongs to God and it’s only been put in your possession for a time.  Make the most of it for the glory of God.  Take care of what you have, but don’t worship it.  Worship the One who gave it.

Serve others

A disciple

Galatians 6:10  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

To serve, or to be served?  It’s a choice we all have to make at some point.  Naturally, we’re inclined to lean toward being served.  Look all around at the culture of this era.  Everything is about how much we deserve and how we should get it now.  We don’t have to wait for anything and we can be served…even through a little window on the side of the restaurant.

But Jesus came to serve others and He calls us to do the same.  Does this sound familiar?  You’ve heard it before, but does it resonate?  How can you serve someone today?  Can you put aside something you want in order to make someone else’s day just a little bit better for the glory of God? When should we serve?  How much is enough?

Paul’s letter to the Galatians instructs them never to grow weary in doing good and suggests that at every opportunity to serve one should do so.  At every opportunity?  This can only be done by someone who isn’t thinking of themselves.  This can only be accomplished by someone who puts the needs of others first.  By someone who truly loves God and serves Him by serving His people.  By a disciple.

Serve God

A disciple

Mark 25:44-45 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

It sounds like it should go without saying, but a disciple serves God.  Why does this even need to be mentioned?  Shouldn’t all Christians by default be servants of God?  Well, yes, but the reality is that many who are saved are not servants.  Many are more interested in being served than in serving.  But that’s not the example Jesus gave us.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45).  If anyone ever deserved to be treated like royalty, never having to lift a finger, it was Jesus.  The God Man could have had a throne and a kingdom right here on earth.  But instead He spent His time here serving others, even to the point of giving His own life.  This is our example, not one of entitlement and expectation, but of humility and hard work.

We may get so caught up in living life that we think we have no time to serve God, but the truth is we can be honoring Him in all that we do, even at work or at school.  We can serve any and all people around us, even in simple ways, and this is indirectly serving our Lord.  But loving others, we show love to the One who made them.  And we point them to Him in the process.

Spirit-filled

A disciple

Romans 8:9  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

How can a disciple continuously walk the path set before him/her?  How can we know what way is right so that we don’t step to the right or to the left of the perfect course God has for us?  We’ve been given a navigator, an internal guide to keep us from wandering.

Jesus walked side by side with His disciples while ministering on the earth.  They had a perfect picture of what God wanted for them, but even then they were not perfectly walking on the right path.  Even with Jesus among them they made a lot of bad choices.  But now in our time we don’t even have Him walking among us.  If they got it wrong on so many occasions, what hope do we have?

Jesus didn’t go away and leave us alone.  For a time He instructed His disciples to wait, but then when they received the Holy Spirit they were filled with power.  They had been sent the third person of the Trinity to dwell within each of them.  He guides, He comforts, He convicts.  A disciple hears God’s voice within and knows it well.  When the Spirit speaks, the disciple listens.  It’s a way of life.

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known