by Don Rogers
It seems to me that much of the Church his missed the point that Jesus was trying to make when he gave his disciples the Great Commission and sent them out to the world.
“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 every thing I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
The commission was to go out and make “disciples,” not converts alone. In all too many instances we have been satisfied to win converts and hope that they would become disciples of our Lord through osmosis. The Lord did not rely upon the absorption of truth for his followers to create disciples. He mentored them, challenging them to responsibility and discipline. They sat at his feet learning; then they were sent out to put in practice what they had learned. He expected them to put him first, even before their families. “…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39) He taught them to prepare to sacrifice if they were to be his disciples.
I am convinced that the reason so many Christians have been defeated by the enemy and even given ground to him in their lives, is because they were never discipled.
1. They were not taught that Christ must be the top priority in our lives, influencing every decision.
2. They have not learned the disciplines of sitting at the feet of Jesus and being taught through his word and communing with him through prayer. As Jesus did not act without first seeking the Father’s will, so his disciples must seek his will before they act.
3. We do not see believers pursuing the sanctified life as they did in the past. God is seeking those who will desire to be holy as He is holy. Too often, there is too much of the world touching the believers’ lives.
4. The hardship the disciples faced built character. Christians today see hardship as a spiritual failure, not something positive. Prosperity, anointing and blessing are much more popular than trials, tribulations and obstacles to be overcome. Instead, physical comforts and the acceptance of the world is sought. There are fewer people seeking the simplicity that is in Christ. Many seek to fill their lives with as many activities and experiences as possible. A number have become addicted to spiritual highs obtained by flittering around to one special meeting after another.
Why are so many Christians defeated today? Why do so many have to go through deliverance? They answer is simple – disobedience!! When they should have been seeking first the kingdom of God, they have been seeking our own interests. Even their prayers have been tainted with self-interest. God is not pleased.
Finally, notice two other things that the Lord said to the disciples.
1. They were to go and teach others to obey everything that He had commanded them. (They were taught to go out and teach, preach, deliver and bring healing to those they ministered.)
2. He promised to be with his disciples always, to the very end of the age. (God does not call his faithful to such an enormous task without equipping them and being there for them.)
It is time for God’s people to do some soul searching. We have given enough ground to the enemy. He has been having more impact on God’s people than we have had upon the world. As converts, trying to be functional Christians, many have remained babes, able to take into their lives only the milk of the word. Because they have not grown in Him, they are unable to partake of the meat that is there to nourish them and give them the strength to become all that the Lord wants them to be.
We all need to be praying for a powerful renewal within the body of Christ that focuses on establishing and preparing disciples to carry out the commission that the Lord has called us to do. God’s kingdom will not be extended by carnal Christians, but by those who are committed and faithful, willing to sacrifice all for His honor and glory.
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