· Matthew 28:19a “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them…”
Jesus commanded the eleven disciples to go all ethnic groups, teaching them to observe all that he had commanded. In this manner they were to make disciples.
Are you making disciples? Have you made it your personal responsibility to take someone under your wing, encouraging him or her with your time, phone calls, sharing hearts, and teaching by the example of your life and from scripture?
· Matthew 10:24a & 25a “A disciple is not above his teacher…it is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher…”
Jesus taught his disciples they were to become like him. The context of Matthew chapter ten is Jesus’ instructions for service. He tells them that they are being sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:17). Next he warns them of the persecution and hatred they will face for the gospel’s sake.
Are those whom you disciple becoming like Jesus?
Can they observe you, as a teacher of scripture, as one who is being persecuted for the sake of righteousness?
These are hard questions to face. Most Christians in America are status quo. They are content to simply find a good church home and attend services regularly.
Some may read these words and fail to make an application to his or her own life. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who have I discipled this week? This month? This year? Ever?
Am I teaching my disciples by my life’s example?
Have those I disciple witnessed me being misunderstood or persecuted or hated, at times even by my own brothers, because of the name, character and authority of Jesus Christ? (Matthew 10:21)
If you answered “no” to the above, then it is time to repent and to begin reaching out to others.
Jesus makes it clear what is required to be one of His sheep:
· Matthew 25:32-46 “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NAS)
Judgment begins first in the household of God. It is time to disciple others by reaching out to your Christian brothers and sisters. When you do it for them, you do it for Jesus. When you fail to do it for them, you are neglecting Jesus himself. Take personal responsibility to care for someone who is in need. Here are some examples:
· Help a needy family; perhaps a single mom with kids who is struggling. Don’t just give money to a charity and do the one time grocery thing. Assess the need and commit to doing something practical every month. And don’t just offer food and clothing, but also your time and friendship. (James 1:27; 2:14-17)
· Encourage a hurting brother or sister in Jesus. Maybe someone who has recently gone through a divorce and needs a close friend to share his or her struggles with.
· Older women in the Lord need to mentor and encourage young wives and mothers how to care for their husbands and households.
· Find a new believer and help him or her get grounded in the faith, so they are not blown about by every wind of doctrine.
· Challenge others with truth from the scriptures. Don’t be satisfied with what status quo Christianity offers. Even if you are misunderstood by the churchgoers of this age, you must hold firm to the truth. This is a part of how you should disciple others. Jesus was not a conformist; he spoke openly against the man-made traditions of the Jews. As a teacher and one who disciples others, you will have to speak out against the traditions of man within Christian church.
· Don’t be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for your Father in heaven to open doors to share the truth of salvation. You are to be salt in a tasteless world. You are to be light where there is darkness. You don’t have to be called as an evangelist to share your testimony to others. Every believer is personally obligated to testify about what God has done in his or her life.
To conclude, make a decision every day that you will live for God. Your love for the Lord is directly proportionate to your love for others. If you are not making disciples, then you have relinquished the responsibility to some pastor or minister. God never intended the pastors and ministers to “do it all”. That mentality leads to apathetic sheep and overworked leaders.
There is always someone who is in need of your friendship and love. Be the hands, ears, and mouth of Jesus. You are a part of his body of believers. As his ears, be willing to listen to others. Show compassion, patience, and empathy. As his hands, be a doer of the word, and not a forgetful hearer. As his mouth, testify of what God and Jesus have done in your life at every opportunity. How can people know who your Savior is unless they hear the good news?
You don’t need to preach at folks, or memorize the four spiritual laws. Simply allow God to use you as a conduit for his power and love and mercy to flow through. Be willing to speak out against injustice, whether it is in the world, or in the church. Be someone who will stand in defense of the defenseless.
· Matthew 5:10-16 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (NKJ)
· Mark 8:36-38 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (NKJ)