“Go therefore and make disciples . . . .”
My regular Bible reading recently took me through Matthew’s Gospel once again, where I read these famous words of Jesus to the church, “Go therefore and make disciples.” Most of us know this as the beginning of the Great Commission where Jesus gives the church its marching orders. So what is the church to be about? We are to be about making “disciples” everywhere we go.
So what then, is a disciple? Somewhere along the line it seems many have gotten the idea that a “disciple” is a very special kind of Christian – a deeper level Christian! Not just your average every day Christian, but one who is truly and radically committed in a way others are not. If this is what you think when you hear the word “disciple”, you need to know that you are missing something very important. According to Scripture, every believer is called to be a disciple. This is really clear in the Book of Acts where “disciple” is just another word for a Christian (Acts 6:1-2, 7; 9:1, 10, 26-31, etc). Everyone who claims to follow Jesus must understand that they have been called to be a disciple. To be a Christian is to be a disciple. That’s how we should all think of ourselves.
So what, specifically, does that mean? Stephen Smallman helpfully defines a disciple as “a person who has heard the call of Jesus and responded by repenting, believing the Gospel and following him.” Learning to ‘follow Him’ is what we mean by discipleship. And it’s something every Christian is called to pursue – to take this gift Christ has given through faith and begin to live it out in the practical matters of daily life. That’s something each of us must be committed to in our personal lives, and in our life together as Christ’s church.
Do you think of yourself as a disciple of Christ? That’s the place to begin. Then follow that by asking, where do I need help learning to grow as a disciple?
Either Pastor Kyle or I would love to help you find the answer to that question.