Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, and before He ascended back to the Father, He told his disciples “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
If we take this literally it means Jesus’ plan all along was for His disciples to disciple others. The way that looks, or happens, is really left up to the Holy Spirit and His activity within us as his body. In other words, having “worship services”, as we like to call them, may not be what He’s doing in some. Perhaps making disciples means you take someone under your wing and show them how to believe God, how to study the Bible, how to see themselves as God see’s them, how to deal with temptation, etc.
Today I told a friend of mine I didn’t think it was my job to invite people to church (meaning services in a building). Of course this was met with a somewhat shocked look–maybe it was because I said it in the foyer immediately after church services. He asked me “What do you tell them then?” I said, “My job is to invite them to Jesus Christ!” Before anyone has a cardiac arrest let me say, I’m not against inviting people to church; but what I’ve come to see is most people invite others to church with the hope “the pastor” or “minister” will tell them what they need to hear. You see Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and disciple others not bring them to someone else to disciple them. Now you may say, “I don’t know how” and that is a legitimate reason but my question is why?
If you read the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians you will find out God sets up Apostle’s, prophets, Evangelist’s, pastors and teachers in the church in order to teach the “Saints”, or rest of the body, how to do the work of ministry. So God’s plan all along has been for the whole body to do the work of ministry not some few “so called” clergy or ministers. According to the scriptures all of us who know Christ are ministers.
Of course not everyone has the gift of evangelism or teaching I know that; but if you’ve been born again you can tell others your testimony. Whether or not you can teach them Biblical hermeneutics, apologetics or dispensationalism isn’t the point. You can tell them how Jesus Christ saved you and changed you into a new creature and that’s discipling others. You may be the only one who can reach the ones you interact with everyday. Christ in you is the hope of glory and if you are full of hope those you work and live around just may catch it. By the way, if you don’t know what those words mean I’ll leave that to you to go and find out. We live in an age where we can go to any computer and do word searches so it really boils down to how bad you want to know doesn’t it?
Let me say, having someone such as a teacher or pastor to help you understand who God is and what Jesus is all about isn’t a bad thing. In fact we all need someone to disciple us to a certain point but it can end up being a bad thing. Jesus himself told his disciples “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Now of course Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, but it’s also because Jesus wanted the disciples to grow up and learn to walk in the Spirit. You see, they would never have grown into their full potential if Jesus was still walking around with them in the flesh. They probably would have built a building and expected to bring others to Jesus in a physical sense. I don’t think Jesus ever had in mind for “The Church” to become attached or identified as a building. I believe He wants us to be an expression of Him everywhere we go whether it’s work or play and localizing Him in a building creates separation. It enables some to see God is over there in that building on Sunday’s. This is what leads us to think in terms of secular and spiritual when in fact everything is God’s and Spirit at root. It is only a perversion or deception that teaches us otherwise. Maybe I’ll talk about that some more at a later date, for now let’s finish today’s thoughts.
In the short letter of 1st John 2:20&27 we read “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.” “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” Amazing! If we have the Holy Spirit living within us, which we do if we are His, we can be led by the Spirit of God. As someone who teaches the Bible, there is nothing more satisfying than having one of those you teach stepping up to teach others. After all, the goal is for others to know Christ and share him with others. What do you say we “Go and make some disciples!”