Ferre Fructum = Indicator #4
Ferre Fructum = Bear Fruit in Latin
PART FIVE OF SIX
Indicator #4 – Am I making disciples?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Great Commission: the command we have to disciple. The Great Commission covers the spectrum of what we are to do; to preach the gospel, to baptize, and teach a new believer how to commit and follow Jesus as the Lord of their life. If you grew up in the church, you likely have heard the Great Commission referred to many times.
R.T. France said of The Great Commission, “The commission is expressed not in terms of the means, to proclaim the good news, but to the end, to “make disciples.” It is not enough the nations hear the message; they must also respond with the same whole-hearted commitment which was required of those who became disciples of Jesus during his ministry. The sentence structure is of a main verb in the imperative, “make disciples,” followed by two uncoordinated principles, “baptizing” and “teaching,” which spell out the process of making disciples.”
Oswald Chambers said, “The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts to our point of view.”
The Great Commission is often linked with evangelism, but it is the heart of discipleship. Certainly, discipleship may not possible without evangelism; the person must hear the message of the gospel and respond to God’s call. But once one responds to the message of the gospel, they are to be baptized and taught. Porter Barrington said, “When you have led a soul to Christ your responsibility does not end. You have a spiritual baby, and that baby needs help to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I remember thinking in the past that discipleship meant going to Lifeway Bookstore and picking out the latest curriculum. Yes, teaching from the Bible is an important component. But relationship is what discipleship is all about. We can take the Paul/Timothy relationship as a model; a more mature disciple teaching a younger disciple in the faith. We are to be vulnerable with our life, to teach, both through the Bible but also through doing life together. We are to be an encourager, answer questions, be wise counsel, and share our lives with others.
I think this is where we have dropped the ball as the church as a whole. I would guess that the majority of you reading this were not discipled after coming to Christ. At our church, we are trying to do our part in making a conscious effort toward discipleship. We are matched with one person who we disciple for at least 13 weeks through a curriculum (www.newlifediscipleship.com) and relationship. I believe discipleship is best on a one on one basis, rather than in a classroom setting. The idea is that we would be mentoring someone, one at a time, for the rest of our lives. When the trainee finishes training and is ready, he then becomes the teacher to a new disciple. And through this multiplication happens.
Let’s go back to our verse from the beginning of the week, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” Part of our fruit equals disciple making. You can think of it this way, “You will recognize them by their disciples.” At the end of our lives, we should have trained up many in the ways of the Lord. We should always be seeking to be in a mentor relationship with someone. The Church is to fulfill the Great Commission. And we must do our parts individually as members of the Body of Christ.
Indicator #4: Am I making disciples? Am I bearing fruit in this way?
Just for today, meditate on these questions and answer them honestly for yourself. If you are not mentoring someone right now, pray for someone to come across your path. Or if you have someone in mind, contact them today. If you have never been discipled and feel you need to be, pray for a mature believer to disciple you. If you have someone in mind, contact them today. If you need some resources, ask your church or see the website above. Your church might already have a discipleship program you can get plugged into. If you have never been involved in the discipleship process before, it’s not too late. Let’s get started and change the world!
Tune in tomorrow for Part Six…..
Barrington, Porter. The Christian life New Testament : the New King James version : Master Outlines and Study Notes. Nashville TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1984.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Barbour, 1963.
France, R.T. The Gospel of Matthew. Eerdmans, 2007.