Matthew 28:18-20 …..Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Let me say in the beginning of this I am speaking to myself as much as I am to anyone else. The reason I wrote this piece is because of the Lord convicting me in my own life. So for those of you who get mad at me, that’s ok. I got mad at myself already. The Lord gave me a spiritual spanking.
Many times we have the opportunity to share the gospel with an individual, and I believe we should do so every chance we get. You can plainly see in the verse above that we are commanded to do more than just share. I understand that sometimes circumstances dictate that there is only a moment or two to say or do something to share the Lord, but that is not what I am talking about in this piece.
I have heard and read statements by Christians that say or state;
- I have told over 5000 people to repent or burn in hell, I have done my job, their blood is not on my hands.
- I have handed out over 10,000 tracts; I have done my duty for the Lord.
- I offered to pray the sinner’s prayer with them, and they did not pray, I am not responsible if they go to hell.
What much of the Body does not understand here is the Great Commission that the Lord instructed, and commanded us to follow. Instead many of us are following a “Stop and Go Theology” that requires no follow through. Many of us, “Stop, Drop the Gospel and Go”. Commitment and teaching is the foundation of the church and of our Lord’s instruction. Before you follow what’s in it for me, or name it-claim it, I’ve got a word for you, or I’m prophesying over you, we are commanded FIRST and foremost to make disciples.
In plain English let me break down the verse for instruction.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Jesus was talking straight to them and gave His instructions: “I have all authority in heaven and on the earth, and by that authority I command and commission you. Significant of note in this passage, is that Jesus has all authority, because he is the King in the kingdom of God, and we as His disciples must carry on the mission of teaching His kingdom.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
What he is telling us here is to first go and lead the lost to the Cross, that they may obtain salvation. Then we are train everyone that receives Him through our ministry, be they far or near.” That’s where many of us run into trouble, and why many of us miss it. It is our (yours and mine) personal responsibility to teach those converted by our witness to be disciples. And yes Mr. and Mrs. (or Miss) Christian, we are ALL ministers of the Gospel by His commission and command.
Yes, Jesus’ instructions are a command, an order to follow, to the letter. Making disciples involves more than dropping off a tract, posting on a Facebook page “Repent or go to Hell” , or getting someone to go to church, praying the sinners prayer with them, or even leading them to an altar; it involves training them thoroughly, even as Jesus instructed His own disciples. That’s why He used these particular words to you and I, commanding us to “make disciples”, instead of saying “make converts”. Many of us have spiritual belts with notches…We say ”Yep, look here, I’ve led 25 people to the Lord; see the notches in my spiritual belt”? Much of the modern Church falls far short on this count. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a disciple, look what our Lord suffered through to teach His 12 disciples, He is our example.
There is special instruction here. Listen closely and hear the instruction of the Lord. We in the Body of Christ, (the members) and I do not mean the paid ministers, I mean the Body, we the individuals are to make and teach converts to become disciples. The reason that our Lord put this responsibility on each of us, individually, is to make sure that those who believe are “His Disciples” and not those of a particular church, a particular minister or a particular organization. We are to make disciples for Him and Him alone and not for ourselves or any other entity. We are to guide and protect new believers from those in authority and those not of sound doctrine, who could lead them astray. We are to teach correct and sound doctrine, and biblical principles. To teach it, you have to know it. To make disciples, you have to be one. It is time to stand up and be accounted for church. Let me say that again, it is time to stand up and be accounted for church. The Lord needs warriors not wishers that are always saying, Lord I wish for this, Lord I wish for that. Jesus is telling us he wishes for us to make disciples.
That is a lot more responsibility than just a “Stop and Go Theology”. This is one reason so many in the church have fallen astray and have been carried away by all kinds of weird and strange doctrine, they haven’t been taught to be disciples. There are many today that follow non-biblical, man made doctrine. Who led them to the Lord, who was responsible for their discipleship? We as the church are not doing our duty as we are ordered to do by Christ himself, and that is make disciples. Many Christians today have lost a sense of Jesus’ presence and purpose among us, and it is because we in the Body have lost sight of the mission our Lord has clearly given us. Making disciples takes our time and commitment. You can’t make disciples by just going to church for one hour a week, and letting that be the substance and foundation of your walk with the Lord. He requires so much more of us.
Just so you know, I believe in tracts, I believe in flyers, books, magazines, papers, chalkboards, anything to spread the Gospel. I believe we need to talk about Jesus, share our faith. But after all that is said and done then it is our responsibility to roll up our spiritual sleeves and get to the job of being a disciple, spreading the Gospel and making disciples. Let me tell you now, and you may not like what I am about to tell you, if you are not making disciples, you are not being a disciple yourself. Many of us “preach” our beliefs from that which passes between our lips, instead of teaching His beliefs through our actions, making disciples and walking in the Spirit of the Lord, as actions require work, and faith without works is dead.
If we are truly His disciples, then we must prepare the way for our Lord’s second coming and for his kingdom, even as John the Baptist did for his first coming. If we truly are His disciples, and believe His Word, and long for His return, we must our follow our mission as laid out before us in the Great Commission until he comes, and that is making disciples, not practicing “Stop and Go Theology”. Making disciples takes staying power, time, commitment, love and dedication.
Want to be a disciple? Make one!