Jul4MonJuly 4, 2022
The Joy of Making Disciples
My last blog ended with two scriptures God had put on my heart. I have been reflecting on these scriptures and would like to share some thoughts with you.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jn 14:15 NKJV)
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. (Mt 28:19-20 NKJV)
This is the commission to the church. It is a command of Jesus and if we love Jesus we must be making disciples and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.
From personal experience, making disciples is a joy! I am humbled being part of someone falling in love with Jesus and His Word, learning to trust in Him and being obedient to follow His ways. It is a joy to see Holy Spirit open their eyes to truth for the first time and they know, perhaps for the first time in their lives that, in Christ, they are chosen, adopted, holy, blameless, accepted, redeemed and forgiven! (Eph 1:3-8) As we read and study the scriptures together, Holy Spirit brings conviction and another opportunity to choose life, follow Jesus and be obedient to His ways. Then I get to see the freedom that comes with the choice to truly walk in the truth that the old is gone and the new is come! (2 Co 5:17)
For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 Jn 3-4)
Making disciples is also a responsibility. There is a responsibility to teach them to obey Jesus. To teach them truth. To be an example of a life surrendered to Jesus. My heart has always been to make disciples who love Jesus and desire to follow Him alone and then become disciple makers. Jesus has given me authority and power to do this as I cannot do this in my own strength or wisdom. If I am not being obedient in an area of my life then I have no authority to impart to others in that area. This is why a disciple maker is also a disciple of Jesus and is accountable and responsible. (1 Co 11:1) God has given me His love for those He has called me to disciple (Ro 5:5; 1 Co 13:4-7). With His love comes a grace to impart truth and loving my disciples enough to not allow them to stay in their sin and strongholds, desiring that they be free and healed! There is also a care for them that is described well in 1 Co 4:14-17.
There is not only joy in making disciples but sorrow, especially when they decide to walk away. Many of Jesus’s disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” and went away and walked with Him no more. (Jn 6:60; 66-read 41-71). I have experienced this also. When it happens there is heartache, disappointment, discouragement, doubt and even unforgiveness. At the same time, these become an opportunities to not allow these things to take root and to learn to persevere in obedience to Jesus’s commission and command. I have learned over the years that my disciples also have a choice and a responsibility. I have learned to give each one to God.
Those who choose to persevere and truly desire to follow Jesus grow and mature and become equipped to make disciples. In my 20 years of following Jesus, I have witnessed 4 generations of disciple makers. I have been blessed to have been discipled by a godly couple who love Jesus and have been and continue to be examples to me of what it looks like to truly follow Jesus! I have made disciples who are now making disciples! Praise Jesus!
The word disciple, Mathetes; from the verb manthano, “to learn”, whose root math suggests thought and effort put forth. A disciple is a learner, one who follows both the teaching and the teacher.
So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. (Jn 8:31 AMP)
During my times of reflecting on Jn 14:15 and Mt 28:19-20 I have been asking myself what kind of disciples are you making? My desire is to make disciples who are passionate Spirit filled lovers and followers of Jesus and His Word. Humble servants who desire to use their freedom to serve others in love. (Gal 5:13) Women of character who desire to pursue holiness. Those are the kind of disciples I want to make.
Years ago I read through the gospel of Matthew with the purpose of learning all that the scriptures say about being a disciple of Jesus who makes disciples. I want to share this with you. I pray that you will encouraged, exhorted and convicted in your own making of disciples. I encourage you to read through the gospels yourself and learn from Jesus who modelled perfectly how to make disciples.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples. Jn 15:8, NKJV
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. Jn 8:31, NKJV
-are saved, set apart, protected
-are baptized and baptized with Holy Spirit
-spend time in the word, know the word, use the word and overcome temptation
-repent and follow Jesus-fishers of men; leave everything behind
-are an example-they demonstrate the kingdom of God-preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons in Jesus name
*do and teach; they have the character of kingdom citizens (Mt 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven)
-teach the higher righteousness of Jesus
-teach how to pray
-live and teach Jesus’s way of living
-have single hearted devotion to God
-do the will of God
-are an influence to unsaved (hang out with; eat with), have mercy and desire for them to repent
-are moved with compassion
-pray that more disciple-makers will be sent out into His harvest
-have been given authority by Jesus and demonstrate it
-submit their own interests in favor of God’s
-are not religious
-are gentle and unpretentious
-heal, restore to health, cure in Jesus name; not just take care of, tend to and provide for
-do the will of God; are receptive & teachable & desire to obey God’s word
-meet people’s needs in practical ways; they are people of faith
-are flexible & have an intense compassion for hurting people
-put the interest of the kingdom first in their lives; they renounce self-centred ambitions
-are people of faith, believing that nothing is impossible with God!
-humbly serve in the kingdom, they have simple trust and dependence of a child
-walk in the same forgiveness that was extended to them by Jesus
-are willing to give up everything to follow Jesus; they trust God above all else
-serve out of love, not for the reward
-serve like Jesus-sacrificial service; service that costs something
-submit to authority put in place by God e.g. pay taxes
-love God and their neighbor as themselves
-are not hypocritical
-persevere in spreading the gospel even in the midst of difficulties
-know Jesus and the truth and are not deceived by false prophets or false christs
-are faithful and responsible in serving while awaiting Jesus’ return-be watchful and prepare
-use gifts to glorify God and further His kingdom
-allow Holy Spirit to develop character
-watch & pray
-fulfill the great commission with authority given to them by Jesus...GO and MAKE disciples of Jesus!
So, I exhort you, GO and MAKE disciples (or if you are already, continue to make disciples) teaching them to obey Jesus and you will experience both joy and sorrow. You will learn to persevere in obedience. You will learn to die to yourself daily. You will learn about grace and truth. You will get to see many fall in love with Jesus! You will fall more in love with Jesus!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:7 NKJV)