Discipled and Discipling

Every Christian should be discipled. Every Christian should be discipling. Let me explain what I mean.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This is known as the Great Commission, because it is the commission, or mission, we have until Jesus comes back.

Though it is masked by how it is worded in English, there is really only one command in this passage. The command is to “make disciples.” That command is accomplished by “going,” “baptizing,” and “teaching.”

So what should we be doing these days? Jesus gives us the answer: Making disciples. So what is a disciple? Simply: A disciple is someone who follows Jesus, someone who believes Him and obeys Him. But notice, the making of a disciple is not a “once and done” type of task. It is not a task that can simply be checked off the to-do list. At what point does one say, “I have taught them to obey everything Jesus has commanded” or “I have learned to obey everything Jesus has commanded.”

Being a disciple is an on-going task of constantly growing in our knowledge of Jesus and in our obedience to Him. Someone who is a disciple is a work in progress. So, for those of us who are disciples (believers and obey-ers of Jesus), we have the need to continue to learn to “obey everything Jesus has taught us” and a responsibility to teach others to “obey everything Jesus has taught us.” So we are learners and teachers at the same time.

When we are learning to obey everything Jesus commanded us, we are being discipled. When we are teaching someone else to obey everything Jesus has commanded us, we are discipling. Notice, being discipled and discipling are both tasks that cannot be accomplished in isolation. It is inherently something that involves us in the lives of other people.

So I ask, who is discipling you? Who is teaching you to obey all that Jesus commanded? And who are you discipling? Who are you teaching to obey all that Jesus commanded?

If you are like many, you might be realizing that somewhere along the lines the discipling chain was broken. You may find that you have gotten so caught up with life that you are not pouring yourself into another disciple. Or perhaps you look around and wonder why no one is pouring themselves into you. Let me give you three ideas to jumpstart the disciple making process and get it going again, or perhaps for the first time.

1. Sunday School is the perfect opportunity to come under the teaching of another mature believer, to study God’s word together with a group of believers, and to get to build relationships with other disciples. We have Sunday School classes for every age group, not just children. Why not try one out next Sunday?

2. 1-on-1 Discipling Relationships sound scary but are easier than you imagine. Would you like the experience of reading a few chapters of the Bible or a chapter or two of a Christian book and getting together with another believer over lunch or coffee to discuss it and pray together? The highlight of my week is often the lunches I have with other guys as we disciple one another.

3. Christian books and resources can be helpful tools to grow in obedience to Jesus. Pastor Noah and I recently put together a list of some of the top resources we know of and posted them to the church website. Go to tremontbaptist.org and click on “Resources” from the left hand menu to see it. And if you plan to read a book like this, why not read it together with another disciple?

I’m praying this month that you would overcome your fears, doubts, and past and step out to walk in greater faith and obedience as a disciple of Jesus.