The disciples are to make disciples.
Being a disciple implies multiplication. Being a disciple is to become the co-worker with Christ in this great worldwide mission of helping others follow him.
Or to say it another way, just so we don’t miss it, to fail to be serious about making disciples is to sin.
As someone has explained, “Jesus’ model for building the church was discipleship.”
It’s a command.
And it’s not just in Matthew 28. This is a command we find in other places in the New Testament as well.
There’s Paul, as he challenges Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2.
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
Which, in essence, is a call to discipleship. Take what you have learned, share it with others, so that they can share it with others as well.
And obviously, it’s not just people like Timothy who are supposed to do that either. Because speaking to the whole church, Paul says in Romans 15;14, “I myself am satisfied about you my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” And commanding the whole church Paul says in Colossians 3:18, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” And describing the work of the whole church, Paul says in Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
When it comes to what we are supposed to be about as a church, it’s hard to think of anything really much more important than making disciples. Helping other people follow Christ. It is so important that we are involved in this, because really at the end of the day, if we are not making disciples, we are not a church.
It’s that simple.
I like how someone said it, “The church’s primary role is not to put on a great show, be a nice community to be part of, invest in real estate, no the church’s primary role is to glorify God by making disciples, and this means all of us.”
I think, partly because God knows we need help knowing what to do.
We are into discipleship because it’s a command, first and foremost, but also honestly, there are practical reasons as well, like the fact if we are actually going to change in the specific issues of life, it’s not going to usually be enough for us just to listen to a message on Sundays, that’s part of it, but you know usually what it takes to really learn how to do something new, is for someone to get in your life and actually show you how to do it.
We can read in our Bibles, be a Dad, love your wife, do the right thing at work, but so often, we need someone to show us what all that looks like in real life, how to do it. I mean, if you look at your life, that’s probably a big part of how you learned to do anything well, which is why I want us to stop and think together about how exactly we go about making disciples like that.
What’s involved in being a disciple-maker?
And the way I want to show you what’s involved in being a disciple-maker, is by watching one of the greatest disciple-makers of all time at work, and that of course, is the apostle Paul.
Now unfortunately, we can’t exactly get in a time-machine and travel back to be with Paul as he goes about making disciples, but in the Scriptures we do get a number of really good pictures of how he actually went about helping people follow Christ and one of those pictures is found in the book of 1 Thessalonians.
In the posts that follow, I want to look at Paul’s life as described in 1 Thessalonians and show you eight things you must do if you are going to be a God-honoring disciplemaker.