Last week I touched on the subject of the U.S. not being a major player in the end times and how it appears to be in decline currently. Scripture is always our guide in every area of life and our response to this decline is to make disciples. This week I am going to dive into what it means biblically to make disciples.
The word “disciple” is from the Greek word μαθντης which means, “learner, pupil” (BDAG). So, how do we as Christians make disciples of Jesus Christ? We have to start with the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 3:21-26). Unbelievers need to hear the gospel from believers (2 Cor. 5:16-21). When God opens the eyes of an unbeliever to the truth of the gospel and he/she believes in Jesus Christ, then begins the process of teaching the new believer the truths of God’s Word. Christ mentioned in Matthew 28 that a part of making disciples is, “teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (v. 20). This teaching begins as soon as someone repents and believes in Christ and it continues until the believer stands before Christ in heaven.
One thing that opposes this is an aversion to ongoing learning and study. People are busy and do not feel as though they have the time to be learning and studying. The danger in this thinking is that a lack of knowing and understanding God’s Word makes a believer susceptible to false teaching and sin. When believers lack knowledge of God’s Word or misunderstand it, what they teach others will be passing on a distortion of the truth. It is so important that we read, study, and learn God’s Word so that we have an accurate understanding of who God is and what He expects from us. Otherwise, it is like we are walking in the dark.
Every Christian is called to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). All Christians are ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:16-21). It is so important to make sure that we share an accurate gospel and that we teach biblical truths accurately. Paul urged Timothy to watch his life and his teaching because ungodly living and false teaching negatively affect the teacher and the learners (1 Tim. 4:16). Therefore, every believer needs to consistently attend church, be serving, and be learning. Every believer needs to be consistently spending time communing with the Lord in prayer and by reading God’s Word (i.e. devotions). If Christians allow these crucial aspects of the Christian life to be crowded out by other things, we will be worse for it spiritually and so will the church now and in the future.
So, where are you in this conversation? Are you uncertain of where you stand with God? Are you a newer Christian who wants to learn and grow in your relationship with Christ? Maybe you have been a Christian for a while and you think this stuff is not for you – reading, learning, being trained, and studying God’s Word? Maybe none of these descriptions fit you. God has given pastors to teach you and help equip you to serve Christ and make disciples for Him. This takes time, self-discipline, and commitment. It requires prioritizing one’s relationship with the Lord, His church, and ministry for Him. My prayer is that none of us would coast spiritually but that we will put Christ first in our lives and that His priorities would be our priorities.