Summary: Making disciples is the ministry that every Child of god is to be part of.
At first, it seems obvious that Jesus is speaking about evangelism. But as I’ve grown in my understanding of discipleship, I have come to see that discipleship isn’t a separate thing from evangelism. I used to think evangelism came before discipleship. But I now understand the biblical view of discipleship as including evangelism.
A view that has been popularized by Rick Warren is that there are five purposes for the church: worship, fellowship, discipleship, service, and evangelism. I have come, however, to understand that these aren’t five separate purposes, but that there is one purpose for the church; one mission; one mandate; one focus; and that is discipleship. Discipleship is our main business and evangelism, fellowship, service, and worship are all components involved in the work of making disciples.
All that is to say that while our Lord is speaking here about bringing in the harvest and is referencing the work of evangelism, He is also
speaking in larger terms about the work of making disciples, of which evangelism is a part. So let’s see what we can learn about our ministry of making disciples.
There are three person involved in the work of making disciples.
1. Our gracious God - “the Lord of the harvest”
The work of discipleship is not something we are left to do on our own as followers of Christ. We are to do this work in partnership with God, as we depend on His providence.
Making disciples requires the providential work of God.
Whether it be drawing a person to know Christ as Savior; or to follow Christ as Lord; it is the providential work of God that draws them.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” - John 6:44 (NIV)
God is the one who draws people to Christ, and He is the one who directs us in of making disciples of Christ, whether that person be an unbeliever who needs to learn how to know Christ personally or a believer who needs to learn how to follow Christ passionately.
2. A seeking soul - “The harvest”
Obviously, if we are to make disciples, there must be those who are ready to learn what they need to know in order to be a disciple of Jesus.
Making disciples requires the open heart of a person.
Whether it’s an unbeliever who needs to know Christ personally; or a believer who needs to follow Christ passionately, neither can be helped if their heart isn’t open.
The summer when I surrendered to full-time vocational ministry, a friend had me go with him to meet his pastor. He asked his pastor if he had any advice for me. He told me two things:
1) Be like Paul. Everywhere he went he caused a riot or a revival.
2) Don’t waste your time chasing down uninterested people. He taught me this principle referring to Titus 3:10-11:
“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” - Titus 3:10-11 (NIV)
This same principle was taught by our Savior to His disciples when He sent 70 of them out to go to towns that He planned to later visit.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’” - Luke 10:8-11 (NIV)
Whether it be an unbeliever who needs to learn how to know Christ personally or a believer who needs to learn how to follow Christ
passionately, if they are going to be helped to learn what they need to know in order to be disciple, they must have an open heart. We can
recognize those whose heart is open to God by whether their attitude is one of divisiveness or peace. If they are a seeking soul, they are ripe for the harvest. But if a person isn’t ready, we trust in the providential work of God to eventually bring them to readiness.
By the way, what did Jesus say before sending them out the 70 with these instructions?
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into