MAKING DISCIPLES. 081615

Two guys in pool billiard club playing pool billiardIn Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus says, “All power is given to Me in heaven and earth.  So go into all the world and make disciples; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to do all the things I have commanded you.  And know this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  So what does it mean, “MAKE DISCIPLES”?  There have been many books written on this very topic; and it would take a book to properly answer that question.  The short answer is: 1] Tell others what is required to become a ‘disciple of Jesus’; and 2] Show them how to do it.  ‘Disciple’ means, in Greek, ‘one who is taught’; also translated as ‘follower’.  I usually think ‘one who is taught’ is one who is WILLING to be taught; and a ‘follower’ is one who is WILLING to follow.

Before we talk about what it MEANS to ‘make disciples’; we need to talk about what it does NOT mean.  [1] It does not mean to preach the gospel and have people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, even though that happens along the way; that is still just a step in making disciples. [2] It does not mean to have classes in church (or outside of church, like a class in seminary or Bible school) where they teach people  the steps that are necessary to ‘make disciples’.  And [3] it does not even mean writing blogs, or articles, or even books about ‘making disciples’, or talking to people in groups (small or large) about discipleship, promoting the idea of ‘making disciples’.

So what does it mean?  It means developing close personal relationships (relationships of trust) with other people.  This is evident from what it says in the Bible, and it’s also evident from personal experience in the world, right here and right now.  The only way we’re going to be ABLE to make disciples for Jesus is if we develop relationships with them.  This is God’s plan (His Grand Design) for making disciples.

NOW, if that’s the case; if developing relationships with people is THE WAY to making disciples, how do we develop those relationships?  There is ONE WAY and that is to SPEND TIME with them.  It’s just human nature.  If, on a regular basis (say an hour a week) you spend time with another person, you get to know them.  You find out where they came from, what they like, who they know, the names of their kids, what they think about politics and religion.  If you spend time with them you can’t avoid finding out all that stuff, PLUS you find out about their real down-deep problems, their hopes, their plans and their dreams. You don’t have to pump them, interrogate them, or beg them.  If they spend time with you, and you don’t aggravate them to death, they’ll just naturally tell you.  You know of course what they call people who spend time with each other—you call them friends.  They may not be friends in the beginning, only acquaintances, but if you spend enough time with them, you’ll still get to be friends.  At work, school, church, play, or waiting for the bus—if you spend time with other people you develop relationships of trust. Must be God.

Did you notice that I haven’t said anything about talking to these ‘friends’ about Jesus?  After you develop a relationship with them, sometimes WHILE you’re developing a relationship with them, if you’re a practicing Christian, Jesus will start flowing through you to them, and touching their hearts, whether you’re trying to make disciples of them or not.  ‘Course that brings up the question of what does ‘practicing’ mean.  But that’s a question for another day.

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