Today we're going to talk about being a disciple and how to make disciples of other people. I want to remind you that the Lord gave us a command not to go make converts, not to just get people to confess Jesus as their Lord and receive forgiveness of sins, but to make disciples. Although those first two are vital, and I'm not minimizing that at all, the real purpose has to be to go beyond being born again and to go on to maturity. The goal of a Christian, who is a disciple, should be to go and make disciples of other people.
Jesus told us to go and make disciples, to bring people to maturity and able to reproduce. Our church world today hasn't done this. We've put the responsibility of getting people born again on what we call the clergy, or ministers. We have evangelists who travel around, hold large crusades, and see thousands of people make decisions for the Lord. Though some of them are not really born again but are just experiencing emotions, I'm sure there are people who are truly born again and have a relationship with the Lord. Most of the time, however, there's not an emphasis on going on and becoming a disciple, and that's not the way God intended it to be.
I compare this to a person who loves babies. It would be totally irresponsible to have a baby, be excited about it, but only like seeing it born. When you have a child, you have to assume responsibility to train and raise it. We tell people, "The main thing is to get born again, to confess Jesus as your Lord." When that happens, we pat them on the back and say, "Now you're a Christian. Believe God, study the Bible, and everything will be okay." That is not the Lord's emphasis.
Because of this, we've produced people, many of whom have made heartfelt commitments to the Lord, but have no maturity. They are unable to reproduce their faith because there is no material to help them. Instead of being positive witnesses for Jesus, they actually become negative witnesses. He intends for us to go out and reach people in a way that they become full-fledged disciples and are able to reproduce their faith in others.
If you led one person to the Lord every six months, separated yourself and discipled them to the point that they became a mature Christian who could reproduce their faith, at the end of six months there'd only be two Christians. Then, if each one of you led one person to the Lord, separated yourselves and discipled them for six months, at the end of a year there'd be four Christians. This doesn't look comparable to a person who could lead a thousand people to the Lord in a crusade and get them to confess Jesus. Most people would say, "Well, this discipleship method only produces four converts in the first year, whereas the other method would produce a thousand converts. We have to go with the other one." The man who could lead a thousand people to the Lord would have led 35,000 people to the Lord. That's good, and nobody would criticize it; but it's just a drop in the bucket compared to the world population. Basically, that's the way the church has been functioning.
If we emphasize discipleship, the person who leads one person to the Lord every six months and those two do the same, in just a little over twelve and a half years they would evangelize more than the population of the world. Some people think That can't be, but I challenge you to figure it out. I've multiplied it out, and in a little over twelve- and-a-half years, one person discipling another person every six months, making them a reproducing member of the body of Christ, could evangelize five and a half billion people versus twelve-and-a-half thousand people with the other method.
If we could get you to where you not only experienced victory and maturity yourself but had a desire to go out and reproduce it in other people, if you became the trainer instead of the trainee, here are some of the things that could happen if only one person got a hold of this concept, followed the Lord to a place of maturity, and started discipling another person. If you only did this with one person per year, at the end of one year, there would be you and the person you discipled—two. At the end of two years, there'd be four. But, if you could continue to follow that, at the end of ten years there'd be 1,024 people who had been discipled and were reproducing members of the body of Christ. If you continued, with only one person originally receiving this, at the end of twenty years there'd be over a million people. That's awesome. This is the method of multiplication that the Lord established—going and making disciples, not going and making converts. It's by far the best way to expand the kingdom to reach people, but our mindset is looking for the quick fix.
How many people go to large crusades, make commitments, go proclaim to be Christians, still have anger, bitterness, and jealousy, and become negative witnesses? If we want to count statistics, how many people have been turned away from the true Gospel because they saw someone who proclaimed Christianity and thought, I'm as good as the hypocrites down there at church. I don't need it.
The whole point is that discipleship is the method God set down for evangelizing the world. The truth doesn't make you free until you continue in the Word (John 8:31- 32). That's what God wants for each individual so they can experience His fullness, but it's also the method of evangelism that He set down. Whoever decided that was not the way to do it has substituted another method that hasn't worked.
I pray today that God speaks this to your heart to show you the value of discipleship. I encourage you to go on and become a disciple and a discipler of other people.
- It may surprise you to know that Jesus never called anyone to become a "Christian," rather His call was for people to become "disciples." Look through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and on a separate sheet of paper, find and list as many scriptures as you can that show Jesus' calling was to discipleship (see your Strong's Concordance).
- In the book of Acts , people were not invited to be "Christians," rather their call was to become "disciples." Look through the book of Acts , and on a separate sheet of paper, find and list as many scriptures as you can that show people being called to discipleship (see your Strong's Concordance).
- In Scripture, the word "disciple(s)" is used a total of 273 times. In all the Bible, the word "Christian(s) is used a total of three times. Where are the three times that the word "Christian(s)" is used in Scripture?Answer
- Read Matthew 10:25."It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" - Matthew 10:25What is a disciple, according to this verse?Answer
- Read Luke 14:26."If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:26Being Jesus' disciple means the unconditional sacrifice of one's life for the whole of another's life.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Luke 14:33."So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:33In at least some cases, being Jesus' disciple meant the literal abandonment of everything, to put the claim of Jesus first.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Matthew 19:29."And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." - Matthew 19:29Everyone that has forsaken houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, or lands, for Jesus' sake, will receive a hundred times as much, and shall inherit everlasting life.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Acts 14:22."Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." - Acts 14:22Disciples need to continue in the faith.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Hebrews 10:14."For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." - Hebrews 10:14The real objection that some have to the Scriptures that emphasize discipleship, is that to be a "Christian" requires no effort (it is by grace), but to be a "disciple" requires real sacrifice and commitment. The truth is that the redemption of Christ required no effort on our part; it is perfect and requires no effort from us, but Christ's call was always for our whole and absolute life.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Acts 11:26."And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." - Acts 11:26Christ's call was not for two kinds of believers, some to be Christians that remain carnal and some to be disciples. In reality, Christians and disciples were supposed to be the same.True or FalseAnswer
- Read Matthew 28:19."Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." - Matthew 28:19Jesus' commission to the believers was to go and make:
- converts of all nations.
- Read Matthew 28:20."Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." - Matthew 28:20Believers are to teach others to obey everything that Jesus commanded.True or FalseAnswer
- Read John 1:12."But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." - John 1:12Jesus did offer His benefits (forgiveness, justification, etc.), but not without taking His person.True or FalseAnswer