How amazing it is what Jesus accomplished? He lived a perfect life, took upon Himself all of our sins, and shed His perfect Blood to cover them. And of course He was crucified, went down into the grave and rose again, proving He over came deaths sting. Thank You Lord!
It’s here, that we need to pitch our tent for a moment, because you see Jesus didn’t just do this, and then take off into Heaven, leaving us lost and without instruction. No, He gave us a very specific agenda, and one that is key in our walk and talk.
If He had just wanted us saved, and taken out of here, He could of made it that way, but He didn’t. Along with telling us to “Love God with everything, and to love our neighbors” (Luke 10:27), giving us The Holy Spirit (Acts 2), He also gave us the Great Commission. This isn’t the great suggestion, thought, or possibility, but the Great Commission. He cared so much for the disciples understanding and living for this call, that He had told them to meet Him on a specific mountain where He would meet them and instruct them.
Matt 28:19-20 “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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Why would this be important approximately 2000 years later, when it seem the “commission” has gone out and is still going out? People are obviously hearing The Gospel, after all. The point I want to make isn’t so much on the going, but on the “discipling”, and not first and foremost with other people but ourselves.
If it’s true that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:16) would we be wrong to live by “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), to “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matt 3:8) or even to “examine ourselves” (1 Cor 11:28)?
The answer of course is no. And so as we do this, and as we consider how many people have confessed Jesus, yet fell back into the world they were meant to be saved out of. As we consider the family and friends we have seen cry Jesus, and claim to understand the truth, what could be a missing element in our helping them along their walk, and further into Christ’s arms?
Now I understand that we don’t truly know who is saved and who is not. Even The Bible talks about the sheep and goats (Matt 25:31-46), and I understand that of those who hear The Gospel, that only one in four will actually end their race in Christ (Matt 13:18-25), but what is there that we can focus on, that not only helps others, but helps us?
The answer? “Making disciples”, beginning with ourselves.
If I were to give any reason in my 9 years of walking with The Lord as to why people have struggled in and out of churches, up and down in their faith, being tossed to and fro with this and that idea, doctrine or trend, I would have to say “discipleship”. Anyone can get on a plane, in a boat, or car, head out into the world and in zeal start talking about their faith, but “discipleship” is a world all of its own.
You see the reason you and I are here today, born again, is because the disciples took Christ seriously, went off into the world, and not only kept checking their walk and fruit, judging themselves with The Word and trusting The Holy Spirit, but they began to disciple people.
Not only was their walk held up, but they had to hold others up, whom they were raising up.
It was Jesus who said “as The Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21) and Paul who said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1). All the way down the line, this accountability, and lineage, has kept the church’s feet planted in the Gods truth, even when it took their being rebuked at times (Rev 3:19).
As we think today, of ourselves, and others, have we given of our time and trust, to The Lord, to leaders who oversee us, or people we oversee, in the area of discipleship?
If when a person confessed Jesus, be it at an event or altar, after The Gospel was preached, as with Peter in Acts 2, and 3000 were added that day, or be it as someone suddenly realized God saved them and they now understand, and repent, what if right then, they also knew that in their immature faith, though it is child like, they needed to do all they can to grow in faith, to trust in The Lord daily, and to continue to put away childish things. He did tell us “to work out our salvation” yet He is the One who does it, all of it, but then continues that process, as we walk with Him. Him “in us and through us” (Phil 2:13) that is ; )
Their is a difference between being childish and having child-like faith. He tells us to trust, but we are also to grow and mature, and be of even more use for The Kingdom. There is a reason we are told leaders shouldn’t be “recent converts” (1 Tim 3;6), a reason why when a brother struggles “you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Gal 6:1)
In our walks, we in defense of feeling pressured to live up to this “Christian standard” have often ran off hiding in the bushes, just like Adam and Eve did (Gen 3). We felt naked and faced struggles while God was right there calling out our names.
As I talk about the dangers we can face today, one thing is that we try to serve God out of rules and guilt, rather than our of His Grace and Love. If we try to work so hard as to please Him, with the goal being He will finally accept us then we are missing all He has done, and through works trying to get Him on our side.
Listen! If He came and died for you and I while we were in the worst state possible, as in “dead in sin” (Eph 2:1), “fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), then why are you trying to gain His favor today? His favor is upon you because of Jesus. His love, care and help is all about your growing more into His image (Rom 8:28-29), and that image being a witnesses to others. We don’t press into our walk out of works (Eph 2:8-10), but because He first loved us, and now we desire to spend more and more time with Him and in His Will.
There in is where the discipleship helps, and accomplishes His purpose.
Imagine for a moment, if every person that had truly repented and cried out to God, did pursue Him as the Word leads. We would hear less sayings like “going to church doesn’t make me a Christian”, “I am a human being, not a human doing”, “only God can judge me”, or “God is love, and we have a special agreement”.
If we pursued our discipleship by Him and others seriously, the way we may with getting to the gym, filling our banks accounts, knowing every fact about Disney, the UFC or skateboarding for that matter, what would our lives look like? We are raised in a world were we admire disciplined people, in fact we worship them.
Would we understand that the reason Christians go to church, yes the building, is to gather together in worship of God? To fellowship together for the sake of community, encouragement, and missional planning out to the communities? That this is where our walks and family life is constantly filled up and directed, as God has planned? Ephesians 4:11-15 says so. (Hebrews 10:24-25) tell us to “24 stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Would we see that God made us to interact with Him daily, needing our “daily bread” as we pursue a daily relationship with Him? Did I say “daily” enough? (Matt 6:11)
Would we see Gods power and love at work in our lives all the more as we got into His Word more(Matt 4:4), and lived our a life of “going” (Acts 1:8)?
Would we see the things we birthed in prayer, taking place before our very eyes?
Would we be more aware of satan’s attacks, or even what is of ourselves and our flesh, rather than going around an emotional and spiritual mountain not knowing how to walk through the storms we will face (Acts 14:22)?
Would we be less eager to take offense, when someone writes an article like this, as we know God uses people to sharpen us, as to iron (Psalm 27:17)?
You see, if we were constantly being discipled and accountable to someone, as in the church body, and if we ourselves were striving to disciple people, be it spouses, children, family members, friends and so on, then our walks would be walked out, and there would already be less distractions.
I say all of this, because in this day and age, while there are so many distractions, it would do us all good, to ask, who is discipling me, and how am I helping that process, and also, how am I discipline or preparing myself to be able to disciple.
We live in a world that brags about results, and accomplishments, all gained through discipline. But what about The Kingdom that is “not of this world” (John 18:36) that sows eternal results, and out of this world accomplishments?
I encourage you today, consider your life, your walk, your time, your focus, and then consider your Lord. He, Jesus, has invited you to “Go into all the world” with Him, and even to “make disciples”. We know we are told to “beat our bodies into submission”, that our walk is a “race”, and that there is a “prize” at the end of our life. Just as athletes work out daily, just as musicians play their instruments to no end, and people ritualistically build routines to get goals, should it be any different for us? He has given us the greatest call, are you hearing “His Voice” (John 10:27)?
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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
God Bless you, and remember, Gal 6:9