What is Disciple-Making?
During the Month of July, we explored the question: “What is a Disciple?” During the month of August, we will seek to understand what it means to be a disciple maker and what it means to make disciples.
Agnes Allen, a writer, is most well-known for two quotes: “Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of” (So true!) The second is “When all else fails, Read the instructions.” (How many of us could have saved hours of frustration by practicing that bit of advice?) At this point we need to pause and “read (and understand) the instructions” for disciple making.
The instructions are found in Matthew 28:18-20 and form what has been termed “The Great Commission.” These are not instructions for an elite few who hear the call to foreign missions. These are not helpful suggestions to consider if and when we are ready to ponder their weight. These verses form the basis for the mission of every Christian … every disciple.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We need to take a moment and examine this text from a grammatical standpoint. WE need to identify what it is that this passage is requiring of us to do, or to act upon. Jesus is getting ready to ascend to heave and is leaving His disciples behind. But He is leaving them with “marching orders.” These are our “marching orders” … our commission as followers of Jesus. To identify our duty, we need to identify the imperative verbs in the passage. An imperative expresses an authoritative command. “Do this! Do that! Don’t do this!” In Matthew 28:18-20 there are two imperatives. One is found in verse 20 and is translated “Remember.” The first imperative, however, is in verse 19. At first glance you might identify the imperative as “Go.” The imperative in verse 19 is actually “make disciples.”
So, if we understand what it means to be a disciple: A Worshipper; A Witness and A Servant. Our Job (responsibility, duty, etc.) as a church and as each individual member of it, is to “make disciples.” I seriously DO NOT think we get this. Over the next several weeks we are going to dig into what it actually means to “make disciples.”
I leave you with a quote by Bill Hull:
George Orwell’s statement “We now have sunk to such a depth that the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men” deserves a second look. The obvious observation is that the church needs to upgrade its product. Call it renewal, revitalization, restoration, or getting with it: A recommitment to Christ’s clear commands is the first order of business. The upgrading starts with establishment of the biblical foundations for the product. Disciple making should be installed at the heart of the church, and the commanded product of the church is a fruit-bearing believer called a disciple. Christ’s command to His church to make disciples provides the scriptural mandate.
See You Sunday,