Go and Make Disciples…

We have all heard it. Most of us have heard it more than once. But have any of us considered it as a spiritual discipline? Was it just a one off comment, or a command for the Kingdom? In case any are in doubt, here it is again:

Matthew 28:19-20a “Therefore goand make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”

I tend to think this is a command. The language used supports this. Word such as “go” and “make” show me that Jesus was not telling His people to camp out under a roof and worship him one morning a week while just living thier lives the rest of the time. Jesus told us to “go”, meaning that we are to reach out to those outside of our circle. He also told us to “make disciples”.

Making disciples goes far beyond what many evangelists do today. When an evangelist convinces someone to pray for salvation, do they continue to teach and pour into that person? Do they begin discipling that person? Do they even check in with that person periodially to answer question or point in the right direction?

Let me dig into this command by Jesus for you and show you my interpretations.

“Therefore go”- This is the first step. Go. Get out of your circle and reach out to others. Evangelize. Share His gospel.  Remember, when we embellish, add or take away, or even take out of context, we are doing a disservice to the greatest story ever told. When you share His Word, remember that it is true and share it that way, not as a fiction that doesn’t matter.

“and make disciples of all nations”= This is the part that most of us fail in. We get out and evangelize, or share, but then we return to our comfy church and forget the people that we were so happy to share God with. Making disciples means that we need to teach and lead the people whom we reach out to and evangelize. This doesn’t mean that we have to be the teacher. This means that we have to ensure that the person is connected with someone that can teach them. (If we had to be the teacher, mission trips would be very long-term!)

“baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”- Baptize them! You don’t have to be an ordained minister to do this. I took part in a baptism of a Messianic Jew while in the Army. He asked for all of the guys who had been a major part of his conversion to come with him out to a lake in our traing area. We all got in the water with him, and we baptized him. We were in jeans and t-shirts. We were just a bunch of guys that were involved in the Navigators, and we were discipling him. We baptized him 5 minuted after he accepted Jesus as his Savior. So follow what Jesus says. Don’t be afraid to go out into the water with someone and baptize them. If you aren’t comfortable being the one to do it, get someone you know to help out, but don’t make the person wait until 6 months down the road when the church down the road does it’s annual baptisms. Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix has a baptistry that is outside and can be used by anyone at any time (I don’t know all the details on how to use this, but I’ll bet they would be happy to tell you!) Saddleback Church in California had several on thier main campus when I visited last year, these were spread out in areas where new believers were likely to be. (Again, I don’t know the details of thier use, but they got me thinking!) The point is that new believers should be baptized, per Christ’s direction.

“teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”- If baptizing is a stumbling block, this is a wall. This is a restatement of what was said earlier in the same piece, “make disciples.” We as a Church aren’t good at this. I read that only about 10% of new converts remain in the Church 6 months after they accept Christ. I don’t know if that is a true number, in fact, I hope it’s not, but the fact is, we have to disciple new believers. I talk about the fact that we as men are called to be leaders, here’s part of the people who God is calling you to lead. If you are sharing His Gospel, but you aren’t discipling, you are only doing half the work. I’m not saying that most of us should be discipling more than a few guys, most shouldn’t. Jesus only discipled 12. Why should we expect to disciple more? Follow Jesus’ example. Come alongside a few other men. Pour your life into them, and expect them to pour back. Share your experiences with them. Teach them what you know. You don’t have to be very far ahead of them in the walk, just one step ahead gives you things to teach.

So here’s my challenge to you:

Find a few other guys, doesn’t matter if they are believers or not (but it’s alot easier to start this discipline with believers), and start discipling. Pick up a study and lead the group in studying. It’s best to start with small commitments, but make it a commitment. Remember, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Peter made the commitment to follow Jesus, Jesus made the commitment to disciple Peter.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

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