Summary: To stress the importance of making disciples of others and building up others
Primary Purpose: To consider what Jesus meant when He called us to make disciples
Today we are talking about what it means to make disciples. This Scripture is also called the “Great Commission” because it tells us what we are to be about as a church. Many people mistakenly believe that this is soley about soul winning or witnessing, but there is much more to this commission than that. Jesus commands us to make disciples or “learners”. He clearly expected those He taught to go out and share His truth with others, to plant seeds of faith in other people’s lives. I want to talk to you about what that means and then give you several ways you can apply this commission to your life today. (Read Scripture).
I want us to focus our attention on three words in this commission. GO, MAKE DISCIPLES. First, let’s turn our attention to what it means to “go”.
1. It means I should be actively seeking others to disciple. If you look at Matthew 13:3-9, Jesus tells the parable about a farmer going out to sow seed. He goes out and throws the seed on 4 different types of soil. Sometimes in Jesus day a farmer would put a bag of seed on the back of a donkey, then slit the bag open and walk slowly through the field and let the seeds fall out of the bag. In the process, some of that seed would fall on different types of soil. Some might fall along the foot path, still others on the soil to the side of the garden that might not have been cultivated. Still, the farmer would actively go out and plant seed, knowing that not all of it would bear fruit. But, you can’t expect a harvest in your life if seeds aren’t planted.
Planting seeds can be frustrating work. In this parable, 3/4 of the seeds don’t bear fruit themselves. Sometimes working with people is like that. It’s three steps forward and 2 back. You witness, encourage, love and try to motivate people and sometimes they break your heart. We aren’t to worry about the seeds growing. We don’t dig up the seeds and exmaine them to see if they are growing. We just trust God to be faithful to work as His Word is taught and as we are faithful to do our work.
Practical Ways I Can Disciple Others
1. Seek someone who is receptive to learning. Don’t waste your time with Pharisees. Jesus warned against throwing your pearls to the pigs Matt 7:6 Find people who are receptive to learning and pour yourself into them.
2. Love and affirm them. Jesus loved people and they knew it. As a result they were willing to come to Him and listen to Him. The prostitutes and tax collectors felt welcome in Jesus presence. He hated their sin, but still loved them.
Not long ago in a neighboring church in Texas where I was, some teenagers came to church. One of the boys had some tattoos and piercing. I don’t approve of things like that. But, neither do I expect lost people to act like saved people. The church should be the place where people can be transformed and loved for who they are. This particular boy wasn’t even allowed in the church, but sent away because of what he was wearing and how he looked. Let me remind you that Jesus often spoke to crowds that contained prostitutes and tax collectors.
3. Share with them what God has done for you. Share your testimony.
4. Share meaningful Scriptures that relate to their situation or need. Point people to the word.
5. Tell what God has been saying to you lately. What God tells you is meant to be shared.
6. Model before them the behavior you would like to see in them. Let them see a living example in you. Much of the faith is caught rather than taught.
2. We are to seek to be learners ourselves. You can’t lead people where you are not. If you want others to be mature, then you be mature. If you want people to read the Bible, then you read the Bible. I
I had a pastor friend who I would go to lunch with sometimes when I was a chaplain. He often times would share with me one truth that God had been speaking to him lately. He encouraged me to be a learner. When we would go back to his church after lunch, he would take me back to the church library. There were stacks of student books on various subjects from Lifeway. He would tell me to pick one out for myself before I left to study. He was always giving away material like that. He saw it as a investment.