Monday, January 14, 2019

Where Are The Pupils

At the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives His disciples very specific commands, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20) The Greek word that’s translated "make disciples" comes from the root word which means "learner" or "pupil." In ancient Greece, this word typically denoted someone who was an apprentice to a trade like masonry or shipbuilding.

For believers, discipleship communicates the same sort of idea. The disciple is a believer who’s learning to obediently follow and serve Jesus as their master. Discipleship emphasizes more than simply accepting Jesus. It’s an enduring, long-term commitment to uncovering and discovering what it means to be devoted to Jesus. We do this through constant exposure to Scripture, commitment to communities of faith, and the direct involvement of mature believers, mentors, in our lives. This does not happen by simply attending a couple of classes, conferences or a Bible study. It is a daily lifestyle with a heartfelt desire to be like Jesus.

Making disciples is not as difficult as many believe. The question is, have you become a disciple or simply a convert? The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul tells us, "And He Himself (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Through these gifts, believers are to be "equipped for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Ministry, faith and the knowledge of Jesus is an on going process. If believers continuously work on perfecting these skills they will see fruit in their lives. Sometimes believers can grow weary as they work out their salvation because they may not see immediate results or they may fall prey to the lies of the devil which ushers in discouragement. Paul tells us, "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) So do not let discouragement have place, but let faith arise and walk in the grace of God knowing that "Jesus is with us always."

Next, we see the great importance and fruit which comes through discipleship, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." This is our destiny. This is our inheritance. This is what Jesus was expressing to His disciples (and all believers) to go make more disciples. But unless disciples go and make disciples, we may find ourselves with congregations doing a lot of work, but not having having any lasting results.

In Marks gospel, Jesus says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18) Remember, He is with us, so we simply live in His grace, apply faith and we will see these things happen regularly. If we question as to whether or not these things will be so, simply look what happens when disciples "go" and make disciples, "So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs." Amen. (Mark 16:19-20)  

I believe as days go by, the grace of God will abound like never before and we will see a move of God that is second to none. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." (Romans 5:20) As we see, this is not about us per se, but by grace through faith. So, as Jesus said, "Go make disciples" let us do so all for His glory...  

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