So You Are a Disciple, Are You?

Jesus commissioned the Church to “go into all the world, preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations… teaching them…”

Every believer in every church should have a pasport and be prepared, at any time, to pack a bag and “go into all the world”. Yes, I am aware we have jobs and family responsibilities. However, we do have the blessing of free time unlike many believers in numerous nations who work 18 hours a day 7 days a week just to survive and keep food on the table. Leisure time is plentiful here in North America and in some other nations. Accumulate earned days off (EDOs), plan not to have an annual holiday and take that 2 or 3 weeks and go to another nation (or another place in your own nation) where there is a need for people to hear the Gospel – choose a place, any place! Go on a four day mission trip over a long weekend in a town or district near you that does not have a church preaching the gospel. Opportunities are everywhere. And all believers must be prepared to “go” wherever the Lord calls them to go.

A believer without a passport is setting themselves up to be in disobedience towards the Lord. If He tells them to go to a certain place outside their nation – they are unable to do so due to the lack of a passport.

Pastors and Church leaders without mission experience (in their own nation and in foreign nations) are in serious disobedience and should consider stepping down from the pulpit until they get right with the Lord and have begun to reach out to the lost in other nations (and in their own). Evangelism is one of the basic foundational truths for all believers and it must be first – coming before other callings and ministries. Called to be a prophet – and don’t evangelize. Don’t bother to look for the fulfillment of your word to be a prophet. Do the basics that every believer is called to do – evangelize and share your faith regularly – then begin to think and pray about your wonderful calling and anointing to be a prophet (pastor, teacher, apostle, evangelist).

Believers need to have something to say when they get to their destination. They need to be able to “preach the Gospel”. This means they will need to take the time to go to classes where they live and learn how to share the Gospel in a way that others today will understand and that will be culturally relevant. No more Christianese – let’s speak where people are living. And, we need more than one way to share the good news that Jesus saves. So, get busy and do some reading and invest some money in training (at home and in a local church setting) so you can be well prepared and equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Become informed about current issues and stay up-to-date with what is happening in your world so that you have a springboard into conversations with others. [My recent one the last two days – talking about the face that Paul Newman died and so asking people have they ever thought about where he is spending eternity… you will finds works religion rear its ugly head as they mention the good works he did giving away millions to worthy causes.] You get the idea!

Read books – and there are some really good ones – about way of sharing the Gospel and how people today are approaching “faith issues” so that you will not be using flannel graphs while everyone else is looking at video clips. Be relevant and appear relevant. In the world but not of it.

Become intentional about reaching out daily as you go about your work and family activities. Evangelism is something you do as you “live life” and not a program you add to your life on Tuesday evenings. It has to be intentional, however, or it will simply not happen. I set out a dozen or so tracks that I am comfortable using in the morning and work throughout the day to talk with 12 people and give to them a written reminder of the conversation we have had – no matter how brief the conversation may have been. If we are not intentional about talking to others it will simply not happen. I also have one afternoon a week where I do reach out doing some street work and talking to strangers in coffee shops (I am very comfortable doing this and totally enjoy it – but recognize it is not for everyone).

That’s a lot of work! Right you are. But, it is work with and for Jesus and the Kingdom. Nothing could be more fun than to invest your time in the things of the Lord and something that will make a difference for all eternity.

But, don’t stop there … after you “go” and “share the Gospel” you will need to know how to effectively lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ. And, dare I say it, having them “repeat after me” is neither effective nor beneficial nor biblical. Learn to lead them to the Lord in a biblical manner where they become true converts and not simply someone who has said a sinner’s prayer. You will need to know what you are doing and how to do it – this is an important and eternal step for a person to take. Be good at what you do.

Ah! Now you can rest. Not in the least! Now, take this new believer and teach them “everything Jesus has commanded” and show them how to read and study the Word of God; pray effectively in a way that they will receive answers to their prayers; teach them to worship; make sure they know the basic doctrines of the Christian faith; show them the importance of being connected to other believers in the local church; train them in ministry and the spiritual gifts and then release them to minister as you mentor them further in the faith. Like parenting – it never ends.

That may mean you will first need to brush up on “everything I have commanded you” and grow in your own knowledge and application of the Word of God first! Great, more work. Right you are.

Teach them to evangelize – take them with you as you evangelize. Bring this new convert into maturity – teaching them how to disciple others as well – for that is the basic call on their life as well. They need to know what is required to bring a new convert into maturity. So, they will need to know what it was you did for them and how to do it for others. More discipling and mentoring.

So, Ralph – you’re kidding , of course. There is no way anyone can be expected to that involved in the Christian faith and in the lives of others – believers and non-believers? No, not kidding. Dead serious! This is the call of God on every believer’s life. Jesus never said this was going to be easy and that you could simply go to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays and live “normally” the rest of the week? You are a disciple – follow Him 24/7.

This is assuming a number of things:

1> You really do believe that Jesus is the only way into Heaven and the Father’s presence and that without a personal relationship with Jesus a person goes to Hell when they die
2> You have personally repented with godly sorrow and come to the foot of the Cross and accepted Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and make Him Lord and Savior. That you are REALLY saved yourself.
3> You have been discipled into the basics of the faith so that you really do know what it is you believe and have removed all the religious thinking and kept yourself clear of all the flacky stuff that floats around in most Christian circles. That you are able to “earnestly contend for the faith once deliverd to the saints” (Jude 3)
4> You have spent enough time in the presence of the Father that He has shared His heart for the lost with you so that you weep about those things that He weeps about. You need to share the passion that God has for seeing the lost saved or you will simply reach out without passion and compassion.
5> You are living the life of a true born again believer and follower (disciple) of the Lord yourself. Afterall, you will be the first example of a Christian that the new believer will see and emulate.

No time like the present to get started if you are missing one or two of this things mentioned above. You can do it. You must do it! The King commands that you do do it! This is not optional when a believer and disciple of the Lord jesus Christ.

I am always encouraged by the verse …

Colossians 1:6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners.

Recently I read about some House church leaders in China – Between Christmas and Chinese New Year the Lord led them into a plan. Leaders were to lead 5 people to Christ and disciple them into the faith including soul-winning. Believers were to lead three to the Lord and do likewise during this same time period. And, guess what – they did. They added thousands to their local churches in just a few days.

The Gospel truly is “going out all over the world” and YOU have been called to be a part of this mighty supernatural work. Time to go into spring training so you can step up to the plate and hit a home run for Jesus.

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