So far, we have covered 4 lessons in this study on discipleship. I hope that you have been challenged in your walk with the Lord. If you have missed the previous lessons, you can review and catch up by reading these articles:
- Lesson 1 – The call to follow Jesus
- Lesson 2 – The cost of following Jesus
- Lesson 3 – Difference between a genuine follower of Christ and a false “follower”
- Lesson 4 – Are you totally committed to following Jesus?
This lesson is on the commissioning of the disciples. Was that just for the 12 or also for all of the disciples who were to follow them? Let’s find out from God’s Word.
I. Commissioned to produce fruit
Jesus made disciples, not just for the sake of the disciples, but also for the sake of all mankind because He wanted to commission His disciples to make more disciples. We discover this idea in the Gospel of John 15:16-20. Jesus chose the disciples and trained them in the ministry. He gave them practical teaching from the Word of God and then invited them to join Him as He ministered to the people around Him. As they learned from Him, He entrusted them with ministerial tasks along the way. The whole point of this was to train them so that He could send them out with the knowledge and experience to be successful disciple makers, setting in motion a pattern that would work its way down through the years to our modern day. In order to produce fruit, you must preach and teach the message of the Gospel and when you do so, there will be opposition. That is normal because the world persecuted Jesus for doing the same thing. We have been commissioned to produce fruit and nothing can stop us when we do things as we have been trained, according to the Scriptures. There is good news though, even if we will be persecuted. We are not alone. We will have help in producing this fruit.
II. Commissioned with a Helper
Jesus trained His disciples well. He sent them out as sheep among wolves. He did not send them out alone. According to the Gospel of John 15:26-27, Jesus promised to send them a Helper who would be with them, guiding them in the process of disciple making. This Helper would testify of Jesus and empower the disciples to testify about Christ also.
In John 16:7-14, Christ tells us what the Spirit will do in order to help us produce fruit, that is, make disciples. As we preach the message of the Gospel to the world around us, the Holy Spirit will take that message and cause it to do the following:
- Convict the world of their sin
- Convict the world of righteousness
- Convict the world about judgment
The word convict mean to expose, to shine light on, to reveal, to point out mistakes. The message of the Gospel shows us what sin is. The word sin means to miss the mark, to be crooked. The message of the Gospel also shows us what righteousness is. If sin means being crooked, righteousness means being straight. The Gospel, through the power of the Holy Spirit, shows us what the standard is and shows us just how far away from the standard we really are. Not only that, the message of the Gospel reveals that we will be judged for missing the mark. Once people are aware of the reality of things, they will be open to God’s provision, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit takes the message of the Gospel and makes it clear to others. This is how fruit is produced through us as believers. Once they understand the message and accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are about the business of teaching them to learn and apply, just like we were also taught.
III. The Great Commission
This process of discipleship is not a suggestion. In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus commissions His disciples by commanding them to go and make more disciples. As I said, this is a command, not a suggestion. The neat thing about the way that this is worded is that the main verb in verse 19 is “make”. The other Greek words that were translated as verbs i.e. “go”, “baptize”, and “teach” are all participles. A participle is an “ing” form of a verb. A literal translation from Greek would be “going, make disciples, baptizing and teaching”. When written like this, it is clear that the main verb in the sentence is “make”. Jesus commands the disciples to make more disciples. The other verbs help explain how to make disciples. I have to go to the people, not wait for them to come to me. I must be intentional about making disciples. In fact, I build my life around doing this. Once people hear the message of the Gospel and are convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment, they accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again. They demonstrate this by being baptized. Now they continue the process of learning to observe the Words of Jesus Christ. In other words, they learn and apply until it becomes a habit. This process takes place until the Lord returns. If I am a disciple of Christ, I build my life around making disciples until Christ returns. Is this who you are and what you do?
My dear friend, have you been trained so that you can produce fruit, that is, make more disciples? Do you have the Holy Spirit, prompting you to share the message of the Gospel with the people around you? Are you seeing people convicted of their sin, lack of righteousness, and the judgment to come? Have you build your life around the process of making disciples? Do you have disciples?
May the Lord move us to build our lives around the process of making disciples for His honor and glory!