Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daily devotional: Make disciples of Jesus

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

We are not just to share the Gospel to make believers, but to make disciples. This is a God-sized task, but we can take heart because this command comes from Jesus, to Whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given, and because Jesus promised us He is with us always, to the very end of the age!

How do we make disciples? While this list is not exhaustive,

  • Jesus said we teach believers to obey everything He has commanded us (Matthew 28:20). 
  • We teach spiritual milk, that is the elementary truths of God's Word, to spiritual infants. We then guide disciples into maturity so they can constantly feed on solid food, that is, the teaching about righteousness, and so they can train themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).
  • Paul said that he dealt with believers as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God, who calls us into His kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
  • We are to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).
  • We speak the truth in love so that the Lord's disciples will in all things grow up into Christ and no longer be infants, blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14-15).
  • We trust that
    • The Word of God is at work in those of us who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
    • The Lord will make His disciples' love increase and overflow for everyone (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
    • The Lord is strengthening His disciples' hearts so that we will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

Why do we make disciples?

  • This is a command from Jesus (Matthew 28:19), which is enough!
  • But there is more! Paul also declares in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 that those whom we disciple are our hope, our joy, and our crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus when He comes.
Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24, 27)! Be obedient to what God has called us to at Faithbridge and beyond its doors.

Lord, making disciples, not just more and more believers, is hard, in fact impossible, without Your power and without the Holy Spirit preparing people's hearts and working within each of us to make Your Word fruitful. So I ask You now that You would do this work within us, through us, and among us. Help us to not just have a church of believers that must continue to drink spiritual milk, but rather help us to teach people and challenge people to eat solid food for themselves, and to grow up into maturity into Christ, who is the head. Bring unity to Your body, strengthen our faith, and give us endurance to run the race You have set out before us. May Your name be glorified as a result, and may Your disciples not be known among unbelievers for being hypocritical but rather for our incredible love for one another that could come from nowhere else but from the overflowing love You have showered us with. Thank you for doing even more than all that I could ask or imagine. I love you, Lord!

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