MISSION of a God-Made Movement
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
In my first blog, I said that making disciples was job one for all Christians and that all Christians should be in a disciple making relationship as a Paul (influencer), as a Barnabas (encourager becoming an influencer), or as a Timothy (follower becoming an encourager and influencer). Now, look at our Christian mandate to make disciples more closely and ask yourself, "Am I really a Christian? Do I live up to the name by which I am called - Christian?"
Warning: I am talking about more than what many think of as being a "Christian."
The word “Christian” can be used to describe right-wing conservative political groups or left-wing liberal social reform groups. For many, “Christian” is closer to a description of what they are NOT rather than what they ARE. “I’m a Christian” means I am not Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, or a member of any other world religion. It is sad that in America there are many people who call themselves “Christians,” but they are not followers of Jesus and His teachings. They are cultural Christians but not genuine disciples. There are many who GO to church on Sunday, but few who ARE BEING the church Monday through Saturday. There are even some Christian leaders (including myself at times) whose motives become tainted as they neglect the Lord of the Work for the work of the Lord. Even I have been guilty at times of being a Christian in name only. As long as this is true of those who call themselves Christians, and as long as that is all that is expected of the ones they reach, we will never have a real movement of God. So what is a real Christian?
A real Christian is a follower or disciple of Jesus and His teachings. The primary verb in the Great Commission is “make disciples.” The word means “to make a follower of” or "make a learner of." We are not just to lead or introduce people to Jesus; we are to work with the Holy Spirit to build within them a life-long craving to know Him and His teachings. When the disciples heard "Go and make disciples," they must have thought in terms of Jesus the Rabbi and His calling for them to follow Him. They must have remembered leaving their nets (Peter, Andrew, James and John), tax collection tables (Matthew), and causes (Simon the Zealot) to follow Jesus. These men changed professions to become followers of Jesus and His teachings for the purpose of making followers: fishermen became fishers of men and a tax collector became a writer and sharer of the Gospel to his own people who despised him. They surrendered to Jesus the Messiah and Jesus the teacher who, to them, was the Christ, the source of all God-given truth, for now and eternity.
We clearly see their level of surrender expressed in John 6. After a great surge in popularity due to the feeding of 5000, Jesus challenges His new followers to see beyond their physical needs in order to see their spiritual need for Jesus, THE BREAD OF LIFE. At first this challenge is met with questions, then skepticism, then criticism, and then all out abandonment. After their exodus, Jesus turns to the original twelve and asks, "Will you leave me, too?" Peter responds, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!” John 6:69 (HCSB) On this day, those whom Jesus often critiqued as having little faith showed great faith in Jesus and His teachings. I would bet that Jesus was proud of them. Even prior to the Holy Spirit's filling, these men were genuine followers of Jesus.
But they were not to be just followers; they were to be follower makers. Jesus's command was not "go and BE a disciple" but "go and MAKE disciples." Jesus saw, in these disciples, makers of disciples. Just as in most fruit is the reproductive potential of next year's harvest, Jesus expected the fruit produced by His work to produce more fruit. Could we not say that a disciple or follower of Jesus was one who surrendered all to be a life-long learner of Jesus Christ, was transformed by His word, was becoming more like Jesus, and was compelled to help others do the same?
Does this describe you? Until Christians become genuine disciples, real followers of Jesus and His teachings like the Christians of the first century, we will never have a God-made movement.
Are you a real follower of Jesus?
Have you in your heart left all to follow Jesus and His teachings?
Do you see your home place, work place, and play place as your mission field?
Does the sacred drive the secular or does the secular drive the sacred?