Summary: If the Church of God desires to see the Kingdom of God established within the hearts of all people, then we need to take Jesus command to make disciples very serious. It is discipleship that humanity receives back the creation mandate
Whenever we talk of Disciples and Discipleship, the attention of most of us quickly moves to the Original disciples of Jesus, others like Paul, and or Church leaders/executives. Seldom do we think that we are all supposed to be Disciples of Christ, called to touch each other’s lives and stimulate mutual growth. In the plan of work for the evangelization of the world, Jesus was not only concerned about the Holy Spirit being the power and driving force, but also gave a definite and distinct approach by which the task of reaching the ends of the earth with the Gospel should follow. Jesus’ method for missions and evangelization has been Discipleship. In the great commission as stated in Matthew 28:19-20, and Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 2Tim. 2:1-2, the following cycle for Evangelism and Church growth can be identified:
However, it has been observed that the farthest we reach is at the point of proclamation. Some of us do not even go at all let alone to nurture. In order for the Earth to hear the Gospel, we must Go and Proclaim. We are not to end there since Jesus commands us to intentionally “make disciples” by taking time to teach them all that He (Christ) has taught us. Paul puts it this way, “the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The multiplying effect in evangelism is thus rooted in discipleship.
1. THE PURPOSE AND MANDATE OF HUMANITY IN RESPECT TO THE CREATION:
Genesis 1: 26-31(NKJV)
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So, the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Most often than not, when we are talking about the purpose of creation, especially of humankind, we tend to think that we are here to just feed on what God has created, be educated, go to church, marry, build houses among others. The passage above reveals to us the two main purpose of creation and the mandate of humanity.
a. We are created to be in the likeness of God.
b. We are created to have dominion.
We must understand that humanity was not just Created but made. Let us make man… this reveals the importance God attached to the final creature. He intentionally made human beings. This alone should inform us that human beings are made. This is very crucial to our understanding of discipleship if we desire to obey the imperative command of Christ.
The terms and condition on which we were created was that we shall be a true living expression of the Living God. We are created in the image of God and according to His likeness. Human beings are special creatures who were formed or made in the likeness of God to be God’s representatives and thus are clothed with authority to rule as the visible head of the world.
2. THE IMAGE OF GOD IN US
How do we know the nature of the image of God in us? This certainly cannot be our physical stature, sex, complexion, etc., since we did not in totality lose these things after the fall. If the new creation is the restoration of the lost image, then we can discover glimpse of it through the restored image. Galatians 5 reveals some aspect of the lost image and the restored to us.
Galatians 5:19-24: 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.