As 2018 is here, let me encourage us to think about how we might use our lives for impacting others with the gospel. As I look at churches in general, I am encouraged that many have seen the paramount necessity to take a bold stand upon biblical truth. We stand upon the Word of God (the B-I-B-L-E, I know you remember that song!) as our sole source of authority for belief and practice. For this bold stand and action, those churches are to be commended. Yet, there remains an urgent need.
One area of our Lord’s Church still seems to be deficient—disciple-making. The command of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 is a call to action. It is a command to “make disciples of all nations.” The issue at hand, then, is what is a disciple? Disciple means a learner or follower. Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” According to this passage, a disciple is a self-denying, daily cross-carrying, follower of Jesus Christ. We could say, therefore, that a disciple is a life-long, radical, reproducing follower of Jesus.
The question now arises as to how Jesus made disciples and whether He passed on a particular pattern for disciple-making? Jesus taught the masses, but He invested in just a few. Jesus ultimately passed on the enormous responsibility of global impact to eleven men. How were eleven men to reach the world with the good news of Jesus Christ? The answer is one person at a time. Jesus discipled twelve men (one was not a true disciple) and within the twelve he had three and even within the three he had one.
We can see three aspects of Jesus’ disciple-making process: mentor, model and multiply. Jesus would mentor or teach the disciples about Himself and God’s Word. Jesus would also model what He taught. In other words, He showed the disciples how to live what He taught. This is much like Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” After teaching and showing, Jesus would multiply Himself by sending His disciples to put into practice the things that they had heard and seen from Him. For example, in Matthew 5- 7, Jesus spent much time teaching the disciples. In chapters 8-9, He showed them how to minister. In chapter 10, He sends them out to do what they have heard and seen. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus mentor, model and multiply.
As we think about making disciples in 2018, who might the Lord place in your path that you can point to Jesus and help them grow in Him? The pattern for Jesus’s disciple-making is reproducible. In fact, it’s simple. It’s relationships. Mentor, model, and multiply. In doing so, we reach Louisville and the world one person at a time.