“…Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Conversion and baptism is not where disciple-making ends, but rather where it begins. In fact, it might be fitting to call the Church the “graduate school” of Christianity, because a disciple is not just a follower; He or she is a life-long learner. Jesus intends for His disciples to do more than just learn truth. He wants us to live out the truth that we learn. Christ’s final words exhorted His followers to teach new disciples to obey everything He has commanded. Jesus never saw and never will see a time when anything He commanded will be old-fashioned, irrelevant, superseded, or untrue.
Because of this, we don’t preach and teach for information, but for transformation. A disciple of Jesus is not just someone who learns the truth intellectually; they live the truth effectively. Jesus was careful to say that we are to teach new followers, “Everything I have commanded you.” Today, there is a lot of tiptoeing around the truth of God’s Word. There is too much selective teaching and, thus, selective obedience. Christians love to talk about God’s grace while neglecting the reality of God’s judgment. We teach on mercy, but not justice. We want to talk about heaven, but not hell.
Lite teaching produces shallow disciples. Evangelism is the root of discipleship; and discipleship is the fruit of evangelism. In other words, we begin discipleship by faith in Jesus; but we live as disciples by following Jesus through obedience to His Word. God is looking for more than one-time decisions. He desires for His followers to understand their message and embrace their mission – to make disciples of all nations.
Dear Lord, thank you for your Word and what it teaches us about discipleship. Help me to make disciples with the people you've put in my life and to point them towards you. Amen.