Many of us have faced a death or tragedy and wondered what to do next. This can be especially true when the person who died was the patriarch to whom everyone in the family turned for wisdom.
Prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus cleared defined what His disciples were to do next. When we look at this passage, our attention immediately goes to the command that Jesus gives to every believer in this verse. Each believer can choose to ignore this command, but no one can deny the fact that we are commanded by God to make disciples.
How Do We Reach People for Christ and Make Disciples?
- Share the Good News
…go and make disciples of all nations (vs. 19a)
The good news about forgiveness, purpose, peace and eternal life needs to be shared! We need to share with people the good news of Jesus Christ. So the first step in making disciples is recognizing that anyone’s greatest need is Jesus. One thing we know for certain is that you cannot disciple a follower of Christ until they become a follower of Christ . So the process of discipleship begins by leading a person to give his or her life to Jesus.
We must all be prepared and ready to share God’s plan of salvation with those who are not followers of Jesus. This is the first step in making disciples. The second step is to…
- Baptize Believers
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (vs. 19b)
Baptism is a part of God’s plan for discipleship. When a person is baptized, he or she is demonstrating to others that he or she has placed faith in Christ for salvation. Baptism is a picture or a symbol of someone dying to themselves and rising to walk in new life with Jesus! It’s a time of celebration.
Baptism doesn’t save anyone, but it is a part of the discipleship process. Baptism is not only an act of identification but also an act of obedience. The third step of discipleship is to…
- Teach God’s Word
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (vs. 20 a)
The process of discipleship includes teaching. What should you teach followers of Jesus? The answer is the Word of God. As Christ followers are taught the Word of God, they learn how to live for Christ and also learn the basics of the faith.
At the heart of discipleship is one Christ follower who teaches another Christ follower the basics of the Christian faith.
What does a mature disciple look like in real life? Listed below are five features of mature disciples[i].
- Jesus is at the center of their life. They allow Jesus to control and direct their lives. Also, they factor Jesus into every decision they make. For them, following Christ is not just a Sunday event; it is a lifestyle.
- They have a firm grasp on the Word of God. They make it a habit to hear the Word. But they also are diligent in reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, and applying the Word.
- Their day is filled with prayer. They realize that both the Word and prayer need to be abundant in their lives. They know that if they are weak in one and strong in the other, their spiritual lives will be unbalanced.
- Witnessing to others is a high priority in their lives. A mature disciple knows how to lead someone to Christ and is diligently trying to do so.
- They use their spiritual gifts in serving the Lord. Mature disciples put their spiritual gifts to work.
Perhaps one reason so many churches eventually become weak is simply the result of a lack of emphasis on discipleship through the years. A lack of discipleship will lead to shallow followers of Christ and weak churches. What should we do?
- Commit to further discipleship. Every Christ follower can grow to be more like Christ. No one is so knowledgeable that they can excuse themselves from the process of discipleship.
- Look for someone to disciple. It would be a tremendous legacy to allow God to use us to disciple others.
What do we do now? Let’s make disciples.
[i] LifeWay Christian Resources LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible