Disciples Are MadeRecently I was asked: “How do you make disciples?”

This was my answer:

In the Christian sense a disciple is a person who has put their faith in Jesus, believes his teachings, lives through the power of the Spirit, and imitates the life of Jesus.

Jesus gave his followers the task of making disciples.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20; NLT)

Disciples are made by going. We can't make disciples by staying in one place and expecting the world to come to us. Christians are to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel. For many Christians this looks like sharing the Good News with the people in their lives. As they are going about their daily lives they live out the Gospel and tell others about Jesus. Other Christians will be called to share the Gospel in other places, after all, the call is to “make disciples of all nations.” The first part of making a disciple is the going.

In our going we make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them. Craig Blomberg explains:

“The truly subordinate participles in v. 19 explain what making disciples involves: 'baptizing' them and 'teaching' them obedience to all of Jesus' commandments. The first of these will be a once-for-all, decisive initiation into Christian community. The second proves a perennially incomplete, life-long task.” (The New American Commentary: Matthew, p. 431)

The command to baptize necessarily implies proclaiming the Gospel so people can make the decision to respond in faith, repent of their rebellion, confess their sins, and be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:1-11) so they can be part of the Church.

To teach people to obey all of Jesus' commands requires that we help people learn to live by the Spirit. When we are lead by the Holy Spirit and respond to him, then we will live the way Jesus lived, and thus obey his commandments (Galatians 5:22-23).

Disciples aren't created out of thin air. They are made through power of the Holy Spirit and the work Christians. Yes, a person has to be intentional and committed to the discipleship process, but church families have to create the environment and the process for people to go through for them to mature in their faith.

 

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