Return to the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.
Mat 28:19-20 - “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.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He gave us; (His disciples, assuming you are one), this Great Commission clearly demonstrating an outstanding example of how to go about doing it. Else there would be no need to say “all things I have commanded you”. This implies that Jesus clearly demonstrated, taught His disciples a “life style” and wanted the disciples to make disciples and teach them the same “life style”.
This is how it would look. First generation disciples make new disciples for Christ and teach them to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in turn make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like, who make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like…Get the picture. The whole earth should thus be invaded with disciples of Christ who live just as He did; reaching out to the poor, the destitute and lost, sharing the good news of forgiveness and freedom from sin and winning souls for Christ and making disciples out of them, teaching them to do likewise.
This task when done right, Jesus said, will bring about persecution and suffering. It will take courage, boldness and unwavering faith. When persecution comes, the true disciple doesn't pray for "protection" like most believers do today, but they pray for "boldness" like in the book of Acts. Why ask for protection against something we know is unavoidable? It will take disciples who are dead to self and are one with the Lord. It will take a disciple who spends intimate time with the Lord. It will take a disciple who is not at all attracted to what the world considers success. Large congregations, popularity, many invitations to conferences, celebrity status on media networks, well sought after by like minded leaders, a busy travel schedule might all be evidence of success and spirituality in the world's eyes. Such people are considered very influential or even dare I say a so called “man of God”. That's how the world sees success. But the disciple of Christ may not necessarily be well known or be preaching to large congregations. All a disciple can see is a dying lost world, suffering in poverty and pain and his/her heart breaks because the disciple knows Jesus' love for them. A disciple has experienced the forgiveness of Jesus to such an extent that the disciple can’t help but forgive others. A disciple is willing to endure persecution, suffering, threats, and even death just so some might get to experience the love of Christ. Because the true disciple knows he/she is nothing without Christ. The true disciple has understood the meaning of Luke 14: 26, 27 & 33.
Luke 14:26-27 - “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else - your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. NLT
Luke 14:33 - So you cannot be my disciple without giving up everything you own. NLT
1 Cor 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Here in the above verse, we see Paul categorically stating he imitated Christ. Do you have the confidence to say thus? Paul said it because he was assured he was dead to himself and alive to Christ. “Its no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. Gal 2:20
Now, that’s evidence of a disciple of Christ. And the great commission is go and make “disciples”.
To truly fulfil the Great Commission, the following needs to be done.
Reach & Win – Mark 1:38, Mark 16:15 (Preach the gospel…The gospel of Christ (the good news of salvation through the finished work on the cross) is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom 1:16)
Equip & Build – Matthew 28:19, Eph 4:12 (Make disciples, teaching them….)
Send & Plant – Acts 14:21-23 (to do all that I have commanded you)
How come most professing Christians don’t even appear to be bothered or hurt when considering the millions that are dying without Christ every day, every hour, every minute. How is it possible for people to walk out of a church service and immediately switch on secular FM upbeat music in their cars and drive away? How is it possible for someone to experience the forgiveness and liberating power of our Lord and then be so caught up with Bless me Lord, Prosper me Lord, Heal me Lord, Keep me happy Lord, whilst thousands around them suffer in poverty, pain and rejection? At best they see a poor drunk or homeless on the street and comment "Oh! how sad"...or "You know, its their choice...they choose to live like that"...and even those thoughts only last for a minute. Is this how Christ loved us?
The bible states that we were DEAD in our trespasses and Christ has made us alive. We were not even in a position to acknowledge Him. While we were still sinners, He died for us.
Could it be that the church is to blame? Could it be that the church has lost its purpose of the Great Commission and is caught up with filling up seats and increasing in size, running well organized programs, conferences and seminars designed to maintain people's interest in the church? The affluent churches spend large amounts of money in attractive buildings, lights and sound equipment's, hosting large conferences, flying like minded preachers from all over the world in expensive flights, accommodating them in 5 star hotels and presenting them with love offerings collected from the attendees promising that God blesses those that give generously. These church leaders somehow seem to believe that such programs are changing the world around them. It’s not. Not even a dent. Majority of those that attend are attracted to the large gatherings, music and the show. It does nothing to set them free from sin. Of course there are very few exceptions but the exceptions are despite the flawed attempt and not because of it. And then there are other smaller churches “aspiring” to be like the affluent one’s and trying real hard to imitate them. They also fail miserably in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Most church leaders equate church size to church growth. So they do all they can using clever human strategies and even hire expensive “church consultants” to help them grow their churches. God equates number of true disciples to church growth. Most churches glory in number of people raising their hands and going forward to pray the so called “sinner’s prayer”. Very few genuinely love the lost enough to tell them the truth and ensure they become disciples of Christ.
Sadly most professing Christians are yet to become a true disciple of Christ…(as per Luke 14:26,27 & 33) because if they truly understood the power of sin and their unworthiness before God, the value and the preciousness of what Jesus has done for them, then they would realize He is truly that pearl for which the farmer sold all he had, to buy that pearl..They will by their new nature, be compelled to share the gospel with the lost. They will by their new nature hurt for the lost and carry the precious Holy Spirit with them.
A “believer” attending church cannot reproduce and therefore doesn't bring about church growth. Only a “disciple” can reproduce and bring about church growth. A disciple can be equipped and trained.
Evangelism through disciple making
Do you see how the early church disciples, though very few in number but full of the Holy Spirit and armed with the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ turned the world upside down? Most part of the early church world knew or had heard about "The Way". But today’s churches with so much more technology, media coverage, books by popular preachers written only to earn millions, cleverly planned strategies for church growth and talented preaching appealing to people’s senses are far from even being considered a threat. Amidst all of this however, are the true disciples of Christ purely motivated by love, who are not in the limelight, not interested in what the world calls success and are “nobody’s” in the circle of the influential. They are seeing multitudes of lost coming to know the love of Christ every day. Their ministries accompany many miracles, signs and wonders just as Jesus said it would. They make disciples and send them out to plant other churches on a weekly basis. Their impact is far greater than a vast majority of the affluent churches with all their conferences, music and large congregations. And at a fraction of the costs.
These are those disciples who willingly endure persecution, beatings, insults, threats, and even death just to preach the gospel. That’s how the church grows and grows strong with mature disciples of Christ, every member doing its part which causes the body to grow. How is it that these “nobody’s” without much money or media coverage are able to do so much more than so called mega churches?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with mega churches, but being a mega church simply means it has so much more opportunity to do what really matters to God. Send out disciples to go and make disciples…..from your own flock which God gave you to care for. Equip and train disciples and send them out to plant new churches. Teach them to evangelize, disciple and plant more churches. If you cant find one single disciple whom you can send out from your large flock and plant a church, that tells you something doesn’t it?
Luke 12:48 - " For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
One organization that I truly admire is Bible League International. They partner with “disciples” across the world and serve under resourced churches with training for evangelism, discipleship and church planting. Bible League also provides all the materials needed for the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. - John 4:34
Are you trying to fulfil your “ambition” or committed to fulfil His Great Commission?
You take your stand beside Jesus Christ and His cause and you watch the devil come after you buffeting you from all sides. That’s the persecution and trials Jesus warned His disciples about.
I urge the church to wake up, get back to your first love. Lift Jesus up boldly and preach the truth and He will draw all men unto Himself. Teach Christ, Teach what the Lord has done for us, teach Jesus. You can spend your life time as a preacher teaching Jesus and still will not be able to adequately explain Him and His love for mankind. Compel the lost to see the “preciousness” of Jesus. Teach the lost to release their hold on pride, on self esteem, self effort and faith in the flesh. Teach them humility and to rely on Christ and Christ alone and on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Teach them to fight and overcome sin by the power of the Spirit. Teach them to live holy lives. Address the issue of sin with boldness. Do not worry about offending them or causing them to walk away from church. Love them enough to tell them the truth and do it in gentleness and love. Keep doing this and you’ll make disciples for Christ who will be more than eager to go out into the world with the true gospel.
Col 2:8-10 - Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.