Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What Does it Take to Make a Disciple?

What does it take to make a disciple? Just before Jesus took off from earth to heaven, He gave the charge of a lifetime to eleven men who walked with Him for 3 1/2 years. Here is what Jesus told them; 16 "Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 How this is to be done is not said in this passage. I think they were to take all that Jesus had done for them and how He discipled them and pass it all along to other people. Those people should then take the same way of living and information and pass it along to the next spiritual generation - and so and so one. That seems like quite a lot for a bunch of nobodies to accomplish. They had no text book, just what they had experienced...and yet...these eleven ordinary men did exactly what Jesus told them to do. But they had some help. About 50 days after Jesus flew off to heaven about 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together in a upstairs room waiting for what - they just were not sure - but Jesus told them to go there and simply wait. Here is what He said to them; 4 "Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5 What did they understand when Jesus said just go and wait until you are baptized with the Holy Spirit? They probably were not sure, but I guessing it was a focal point of many conversations around the table in that room during those 50 days. Once the Holy Spirit fell upon them, everything changed. Now these very ordinary people were very super ordinary! Now they were empowered by God Himself to go and make disciples everywhere they went. We learn in Acts 2:38-39 that the Holy Spirit that they had received in Acts 2:1-4 is available to every generation of people who choose to follow the ways of Jesus. What this means is that every single believer from the moment they are part of God's kingdom is capable (competent 2 Cor. 3:6) to effectively find people who need Jesus, lead them to receive Jesus and help them to rely upon Jesus for everything they need. This is what making a disciple is in essence. The relationship, apparently, is to continue so that you can impart to this new follower (disciple) of Jesus everything that Jesus has taught you. This would include teaching them how to learn from Jesus themselves. My desire in writing this is encourage you to know that you are able to make disciples just as well as the first eleven disciples did. How can I say that? Because you have the same equipment that they had, the Holy Spirit. Maybe you have never 'discipled' anyone, now is a great time to start obeying what Jesus has told us to do. Because He told (commanded) us to be doing this, I assume it should be an intentional action for every believer to accomplish throughout their life time. Next time I'll share a tool that use to accomplish this disciple making task that Jesus has given to each us.