On a mountain top in the Galilean countryside, Jesus gathered his small rag-tag group of followers for one of the last times on this earth. He had spent the previous three years pouring into them. He taught them to pray. He taught them grace. He taught them forgiveness.
Now in His last moments, instead of teaching, He is giving.
He gives His disciples a gift. It’s a gift for them and everyone who will eventually follow in their steps. He prefaces the gift by reminding us that He has all authority and He is summoning that authority to give us the greatest gift He could give – Mission.
Matthew 28:18-19 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.”
You have a mission. I have a mission. That mission is the Father’s mission, which we now share. What is the mission? It is making disciples.
Making disciples seems ominous, scary, and certainly not politically correct. Yet, it is one of the very few reasons that God let you wake up today. He let you wake up today to be on mission. He let you wake up today to be and make disciples.
For the next few weeks I am going to briefly share what it means to be a disciple and make disciples. Tune in… It will change the world!
What is a Disciple?
In the simplest terms a disciple is: a follower.
“Christian” has come to mean many things in recent years. For many “Christian” means “believing in God,” “trying to forgive,” or “being nice.” Originally it was a term of derision, meaning “little Christ.” And that term isn’t far off from scripture’s definition of one who simply follows Jesus.
Mark 1:17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
And that “follow” is enough. If following is a result of trusting Jesus – its absolutely enough. It is this following/trusting that changes me, that gives me life. Not my good efforts.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
It’s that decision to trust in Jesus that initiates re-birth.
If we believe that Jesus is enough and faith in Him is enough, then the rest of disciple making becomes a journey of great joy. Sadly, if we skip that, we miss everything. And Christianity becomes a painfully religious exercise.
It is much like my relationships with school principals over the years. I have a lot of familiarity with principals. As a child, I spent a lot of time in their offices… and as you can imagine, I hated it! It involved lots of sitting, talking, phone calls, and tears.
Today I have some dear friends that are principals. What is so weird? I absolutely love sitting in their offices! It still involves sitting, talking, phone calls, and yet never tears. Why? Today there is relationship. Today it’s all about relationship. We didn’t get to relationship by keeping rules. We simply started with relationship.
First Question: Do I have a relationship? What do I believe about Jesus?
1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
This relationship changes everything. And God wants it that way. He wants you to be confident that you are His child. He wants you to be sure that you will never lose your relationship with God because you mess up. If you said “yes” to Jesus, you can be sure that He will never say “no” to you.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Second Question: Am I secure that Jesus loves me regardless of my level of spirituality?
This is the foundation of everything. This is …. a disciple.