Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
On Being a Disciple - Making Other Disciples
"As a disciple, I want to master the Bible so that the Master of the Bible can become my Master."
May God bless you all!
The Great Commission. It is a cornerstone of many Protestant churches, especially those of the evangelical type. There are volumes that have been written regarding this small section of Scripture, and just a simple search on the Internet would yield a lot of hits, and some of them would have good material and information. I would like to look at it from the perspective of a disciple about to embark on making new disciples. As we examine this command to "make disciples", I want to extract what I can that would be helpful in guiding us in making new disciples.
- Author unknown
And That Brings Us Back To:
2 Peter 1:10:
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling
and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway,
unto the end of the world. Amen.
Disciplers reflect Jesus.
Let's start with what we know. Jesus had called them to
"follow Him" some three and a half years earlier. Called singularly and in groups of two and three, they obeyed the call, dropped their livelihoods, left their homes, and followed the Rabbi. Frankly, I always stand amazed that they would do that. A stranger walks up to you and simply says, "Follow me," and you drop everything and go with Him. There would have to be something in His eyes, face, demeanor that made you think, "Whatever He has, I want." Hold on to that thought. If we are to succeed in making disciples, we need to standout in such a way others will say, "Whatever he/she has, I want." We need to reflect the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives and continence.
Disciplers handle doubts.
The disciples spent three and a half years with Him. They
witnessed miracles, the healing of many, the dead raised up, demons cast out, wine from water, bread and fishes multiplied several thousand times, words of authority like no one they had ever heard, prophetic utterances, and Scriptures fulfilled and explained as no one else had ever done before. They saw Him beaten and crucified and dead on the cross. They knew where He was buried. They saw the signs of His resurrection, ate with Him after He was risen, and saw Him enter locked rooms without the use of the doors. Thomas inserted his fingers into the holes left behind from the crucifixion. Jesus' face was marred more than any other man, and yet He was familiar to them so that John declared in his gospel that they durst not ask if He was the Lord when they saw Him on the shore that morning cooking breakfast for them and after dragging into their boat huge catches of fish after fishing all night bore nothing. Yet in this final close of Matthew, we learn in verse 17b: "but some doubted." I notice Jesus did not rebuke them, but instead, simply gave them their commission. Hold on to this fact because, as you disciple others, some will doubt, and you will need to understand how to handle their doubt.
Disciplers know when to let them go.
I note that there are eleven disciples waiting
for Jesus on the mount where He had called them to meet Him at. Of course, we all know why - Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus to the temple priests/guards which resulted in Jesus' crucifixion and death (and resurrection!). Judas had such guilt over the betrayal that he went out and hanged himself after throwing back the 30 pieces of silver at the priests which he had received for his betrayal. So they are now eleven, not twelve. Of course, Jesus knew all along who and what Judas was, and it was all planned out in eternity past for without the cross, we would not have any salvation. We are reminded that we are not to throw our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6) or to give that which is holy to dogs. As one who is to disciple others, we must discern who can be discipled and who must be let go if, after a time, refusal and behavior indicate that they are and will continue to be blind to the truth. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help make that decision - never on our own.
Disciplers have appointed times.
Verse 16 indicates that Jesus had told them to
meet Him in such and such a place, and I suspect at such and such a time. I know that is a bit of a stretch, but especially in our modern, busy world with so many required activities and functions (school, work, shopping, church, etc.) all with their appointed times, when we are discipling others, we need to do so "in good order" (I Corinthians 14:40, Titus 1:5). Setting location and time to meet with those you are discipling will help instill the self-discipline that your charge will one day need on their own. Of course, there may be situations where the set time and place is provided by circumstances (breaks on the job, sports meets of our children, etc.) and as such, we take advantage of those as the Lord leads. The point is to plan ahead and expect and prepare for each meeting. Should a more chance meeting occur, we need to be ready always to give a reason for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15).
Disciplers rely on God's Authority.
Jesus told the disciples, some with their doubts,
that all power has been given to Him. The word
and not the
perhaps expected word
(from which we get dynamite - BOOM!).
basically means authority, jurisdiction, the right, control and privilege to manage, control, and direct things (Strong's G1849). Notice that Jesus' power is all encompassing. He has all authority and, as such, is well able to command His disciples and to pass on the portion of authority they will need to carry out their assignment. We have the authority to disciple others. In America, we have freedoms that we are blessed with, and, therefore, we can see this as an easy truth. But there is something deeper about this truth. The authority given to Jesus and passed on to His disciples is a spiritual authority as well and dwells in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are like the centurion who knows by what authority he serves. We have the authority, for example, to command the works of darkness away as we disciple others, as we witness, as we pray, and as we study. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, and His disciples walk with the authority of that kingdom. P.S. That authority is for both heaven and earth.
Disciplers know that they are not alone.
"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world [age]." I guess that really sums it up for us as to being alone. We are never alone. The Holy Spirit dwells within you. The Lord promises to be with you. We have guardian angels that are sent to minister to us. I recommend Billy Graham's
Angels: God's Secret Agents
presence of angels in our lives. God says that He is a God that is at hand (near), and not a God that is a far off (Jeremiah 23:23). Notice also that He is with you always. Even unto the end of this present age. When will this age end (for us)? At the Rapture, I suspect, and then we will be with Him, rule with Him, reign with Him for a thousand years, and of course, after that eternity with Him. So basically, He is always with us for the rest of eternity starting the day we got saved. Know that as you disciple another, He is with you as is the Holy Spirit, our teacher.
Disciples know when to go.
This may not be as easy as it sounds. We struggle with
knowing if we are to be missionaries, evangelists, street preachers, etc., and if and when we are supposed to "go somewhere." However, the Greek may help us here. The word is
and means to travel, transverse, journey, depart, walk onward
(Strong's G4198). But the word is a nominative, masculine, plural, aorist, passive participle (Gilbrant,
The Complete Biblical Library Interlinear Bible
). Whoa! What does
that mean? Basically it means "in your going, or in your travels, or as you journey" - make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. We will get into those three other things in a moment. So, as we journey through life, we are to make disciples. Some are indeed called to some special place like China, Africa, or the Native Americans. But all of us are called to "as we journey" make disciples. Neighbors? Friends? Mailperson? Relatives? Coworkers? Yes to all of those as God leads.
Disciplers have a simple process.
Aren't you glad I said that? I didn't make the
process; Jesus did. He set the process up in His command. We need to examine it carefully because, I fear, many have a few of the steps backwards.
Step one: Go. Better yet, "as you journey." That means as we unfold each
day, look for the next disciple candidate.
Teach all Nations.
Ok, you most likely can't personally do that, so that was to all
disciples everywhere. But the verb is
except that the English here hides
something that is important. The Greek word is
which means "to
disciple" (Strong's G3100) someone. It is a command (imperative), and it is active voice (Gilbrant) (do it personally). Basically, it means to make disciples. To disciple someone is to take them under your wing as their mentor and begin the process of turning them into a disciple. Of what or whom? Jesus, of course. We are to disciple them about Jesus. Now I note that this step appears before the baptism step. Could it be that we were meant to begin the discipleship process before they are saved? Discipling others does not require their salvation up front. Good if they are saved, but I take it from this order given by Jesus that spending time discipling a lost friend, neighbor, family member, etc. can indeed be done before they are ready to reach a decision for Christ. Isn't that what we do with little children? We teach them Bible stories, they go to church with us, we pray with them, etc., and that process may last for years before they make a decision for Christ. (In fact, if they make a really early decision, we often doubt it!)
And do so in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
(the Trinity). I again assume that before we baptize them, they will make a profession of faith. Belief precedes baptism. As we are discipling them, they will (hopefully) come to a point when they say, like the Ethiopian eunuch, "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Nothing, once they believe and are saved.
To observe whatsoever Jesus commanded the disciples. Now
here we have the word we most recognize as "to teach." The Greek word is
G1321). Pretty clear. Disciplers teach others what Jesus and other older disciples taught them. Teaching takes such a variety of forms that I can't go into them all. We tell Bible stories. Lessons we have learned. Testimonies, hymns, and spiritual songs, antidotal stories from our lives. Meanings of passages and meanings of words. But we need to center it around the curriculum that God has given to us. More in a moment.
Oh, I love this word!
which means to hold, keep, observe,
preserve, watch, hold fast, keep an eye on, value (Strong's G5083). Not "obey", but I know that as we mature in Christ, we will begin to naturally obey what He has commanded us because we love Him, and the more we love Him the more we want to obey and please Him. Obedience can be a chaffing chore. But obedience to please can be an act of love. But for now, we will "observe." We will value His words, study them, make them foremost in our lives, and walk in them. As we do that, we will instill in those we are discipling the same desire to observe Jesus' words as well.
So what is our curriculum disciple teachers? God's Word. Specifically,
the words of Jesus. Wisely, many start with the Gospel of John. The book is about the divinity of Jesus and one that speaks more about His love than any other. A disciple learns at the feet of his mentor. What his mentor teaches is what will stay with the student. All things must include commands of Christ for Jesus did say "whatsoever I have commanded you." As we do our own personal studies, and as we are in the Gospels, we ought to look for all the imperatives (commands) of the Lord as obviously these are important. As Matthew closes, we find out how important they are as Jesus tells us to teach others His commands. Guess we better know them ourselves if we are to teach them.
Some people will need a foundation from which to build their
understanding. Many today, sadly, are unchurched and don't have the foundation children have who grew up in the church. I remember in 6th grade a buddy of mine (mostly playground, but occasionally at each other's house) tried to tell me there were once giants in the world. I laughed - no such thing. "No," Randy said, "it is true." We argued until he told me the Bible teaches us about giants and one bad one named Goliath. I went home and had Mom help me look it up and lo and behold - there once were giants! I had no Bible story foundation to believe such a story. No wonder so many believe in evolution - no foundation. As a discipler, you may have to lay a foundation, so don't be shy in using Genesis and other Bible looks to lay the foundation that your students may need to understand so many of the important concepts like redemption, sacrifice, how God sees sin, forgiveness, substitution (Jesus for you on the cross), judgement, and others.
As we journey through life, make disciples. Go, make disciples, see them get saved, baptized them, teach them the commands of Christ and other foundational truths, and one day help them to make disciples.
Wordsearch Bible. [computer software] . Nashville, TN: LifeWay Christian Resources. (Original work published 1990)
The Complete Biblical Library Interlinear Bible.
World Library Press. (2019).
written many years ago - many testimonies of the
and means "teach" (Strong's G1321). Root word means to learn (Strong's