Saturday, March 23, 2013

Go and Make Disciples

The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance.

Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south."

 Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."

The captain was angered; his command had been ignored.

So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!"

Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a seaman third class Jones."

Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship."

Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."

There are plenty of voices shouting at us through the fog.

What we need is the voice of a lighthouse in our lives.

And that's the voice of our loving Father.

Don't let the busyness of this world hinder you to hear Him. God has a lot of things to say to you.

What is the task to which he has called us? The task is none other than the words of what we call “The Great Commission”:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.”
(Matthew 28:18–20)

The Christian’s task is nothing short of being a servant of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ, and helping others become followers of Jesus. Our primary responsibility is neither overthrowing governments, nor opposing ideologies, but a proactive one of making disciples of all nations.

In the course of our obedience to God’s authority, we may come in conflict with the existing government. We have been called to be good citizens, and history has proven that Christians are generally law-abiding and hard working. But when conflicts come, the Christian is ready to choose his commitment to Christ over his or her commitment to local authorities (Acts 4:19–20).

Jesus gave what is known today as the Great Commission, which is to "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" (Matthew 28:19–20).

Go and Make Disciples

The word go as used in the Great Commission is interesting. It's use here means to go your way or to depart. What makes it so interesting is that the word go here is derived from another Greek word, peira (pi'-rah), that means experience. The heart of the Great Commission then is to take the experience we have of Christ and go our way making more disciples for Him. That means no matter where we go or where we're at, we are to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Christ has called us. We spend our lifetime actively pursuing spiritual growth and renovation. Then we stop right there. We leave the making disciple part to the preachers and missionaries. 

Yet that isn't how Christ intended for it to be. Fear is what stops us from making disciples. It's the fear of being ridiculed or rejected that stops us. "But you'll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you'll be witnesses (Acts 1:8)." God hasn't given us a spirit of fear. 
He's given us power, love, and a sound mind (2Timothy 1:7). To be a complete disciple of Jesus Christ, we must obey the Great Commission and take the experience we have with Him and make disciples wherever we go, wherever we're at.

But here is what is often left out of the Great Commission: "Make disciples of all nations." Listen, every Christian is called to go into the world and make disciples. But I didn't say that everyone is called to be a preacher. Not everyone is called to be a Paul or a Peter. You might be a behind-the-scenes person. You might be someone whom few people know about, but you are where you are, and you want to do what you do for God's glory. So we are all called to go and make disciples.

The personal and trusting relationship between God and His followers now leads the believer to the commissioning aspect of commitment—a task that is characteristic of being His true followers—“and follow me.” This commitment is not to a task, but to a person. To be a follower of Jesus is to be a disciple of Jesus. A disciple is one who follows the teaching of another: one who is like another; one who models after another.

Many understand Acts 1:8 as part of the Great Commission as well, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Great Commission is enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to be Christ's witnesses, fulfilling the Great Commission in our cities (Jerusalem), in our states and countries (Judea and Samaria), and anywhere else God sends us (to the ends of the earth).


Raj Kosaraju

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