- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Discipleship: The Forgotten Commission
In Matthew 28: 19-20, Jesus commanded His disciples (the Church) to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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 lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NKJV) Jesus gave the Church one job and that was to make Disciples or followers of Him. If we take a look around at society and our western culture there appears to be a shortage of authentic Disciples of Christ. Don't get me wrong, there are those who claim the name Disciple or Christian or Christ-follower, however if you take a look underneath the surface of their lives, there is a disheartening level of unauthenticity. There are many of us who have tried really hard to be followers of Christ. We make sure we do all of the necessary requirements that Christians are supposed to do. We go to Sunday morning service, we go to Sunday School, we go to Prayer Service and Bible Study or Small Groups. Some of us even go to the length of participating in Church Ministries or volunteer opportunities. All these are good, but there's something lacking. Jesus specifically tells us to "make Disciples". As a Christ-follower, you are supposed to make other Disciples of Christ. A Disciple is one who follows after his teacher; he or she emulates and imitates what their teacher does. If we take a look at Jesus we see that Jesus made Disciples. He selected a group of individuals and poured His life into them. He spent time with them, He journeyed with them, He empowered them and modeled for them what He wanted them to accomplish. Jesus took Twelve individuals and turned the world upside down. That's what He expects His followers to do also. If you search the Scriptures, those who truly had a relationship with Christ and were truly dedicated to Him also had Disciples. Peter, he had disciples, Paul, he had disciples. Where have we gone wrong? The reality is, real authentic Disciples of Christ, make Disciples. If we claim to be Disciples and are not making more Disciples, then we're liars. A Christian who doesn't make Disciples is a problem. Fortunately Jesus left us the solution in plain sight in the scriptures.
Let’s dig into the Scripture to see what the solution is. Matthew 28:19-20 again, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 'teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age'. Amen"
First we see in the Scripture that Jesus tells us to go. Many of us have this idea that the church is a location. However the Church is not an organization it is a living organism. It is the body of Christ. Its alive and is not limited to a location. Those of us who are a part of the body of Christ need to move beyond the four walls of the Church building and onto the mission field of our communities. Jesus was always on the move preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. He very seldom stayed in one location for an extended period of time. (Matthew 9:35-37 NKJV).
After we leave the Church building, Jesus tells us to make disciples. That's simply making followers of Him. Because we are living our lives according to the scripture, and emulating Christ, we have the knowledge and ability to reproduce other Christians. Authentic Disciples of Christ make Disciples. The term disciple simply means a learner or pupil. The disciple is one who follows and applies the teachings of his or her teacher. In our case, our teacher is Jesus. If a person claims to be a disciple of someone but does not follow or apply the teachings of the one who they claim to be a disciple of, they are being dishonest. You cannot be a Disciple of Jesus, without making Disciples. A true Disciple of Jesus will teach others as Paul told those at the Church in Corinth in I Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ". (NKJV)
So how do we do it?
So if Jesus has told us to go and make Disciples of all the nations, how do we do it? If we continue to look at the scripture (Matthew 28:19-20NKJV) Jesus gives us clear instructions. First he says "Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
Teach the necessity of the Relationship
If we're going to make Disciples, we're going to have to share the good news of Jesus with others. We are going to actually have to tell people the truth about this world, that this world is broken, and filled with evil and Sin. We are going to have to tell the truth that without an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ we are condemned to an eternity of punishment separated from the Creator of the universe. We have to teach people that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23NKJV). It is vital that we present the gospel message, "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:3-4NKJV). After a person has accepted Christ as the Lord of their life its only then that they can be an authentic Disciple.
Teach what Jesus has commanded you
As believers in general we have made Discipleship out to be something very, very difficult. The reality is that Discipleship is quite simple. Jesus tells us to teach others what He has commanded us. This command takes away a lot of our excuses. Many of us think that in order to make Disciples we have to know the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This is not so. In order to make a Disciple all you have to do is teach others what you currently know about following Christ. Whatever level of spiritual maturity you are at, you can teach others how to get where you currently are. As you continue to grow, you continue to teach and Disciple other people. If you're a babe in Christ, you can teach someone how to be saved. If you're a more mature Saint, you can teach others how to study and obey the scripture. The more "advanced" you are in your walk with Christ the more you are able to teach to others. The point it to make sure you are teaching others how to be like Christ.
Conclusion of the matter
The whole point in writing this article is to encourage every believer, every Christ-Follower, to make sure that their relationship with Jesus is real and that you are truly being an authentic Disciple of Christ. Our main purpose is to spread the Gospel message and to make Disciples of our Lord and Savior. People should be able to imitate our lives and run right into Christ. My challenge to you is to finish the job Christ left for us over 2000 years ago. Go make disciples. Find two or three people and pour everything that Jesus has taught you through the Word of God into them, so in turn they can go and teach someone else.Remember real Disciples make Disciples; God Bless.