I had the privilege of preaching yesterday morning at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church. The text: Matthew 28:18-20. The title: Our One Objective. The theme: Our lives must be about the one objective of glorifying God by making disciples of all nations. Thanks to the strong work of our audio-visual team, you can listen online. I will not re-hash all of the message here. But, I will give you a few quick points that are heaviest on my heart as we seek to live in obedience to Christ’s command to “make disciples”:
1) In Matthew 28:17, though “some worshiped” and “some doubted,” Jesus “came near” to His disciples, stated His authority, and gave the commission to them all. Many today feel that they do not know enough or are not gifted enough to make disciples. Be that as it may, the responsibility to make disciples is not reserved for professionals, for a faithful few, or for individuals with certain gifts and abilities. To be an obedient follower of Christ means to be a disciple-maker. Every follower of Christ should have a more spiritually mature person helping him grow as a disciple, as he then helps others grow as disciples as well.
2) Our responsibility to make disciples must take place “as we go.” Disciple-making is not a one-time-per-week spasm that takes place on Sunday at the church building. Sermons, Bible Study classes, and other “discipleship programs” should help facilitate the ongoing process of discipleship in our lives. One’s overall discipleship, however, must be the normal way of life for followers of Christ. As we are going along through daily life, we are seeking to live as followers of Christ and to call others to become, or grow as, followers of Christ as well. This could happen over coffee, during a round of golf, at home on the couch, at the Chick-fil-A playground, etc. The point is, wherever you find yourself in the course of a day, seek to glorify God by making disciples there.
3) Parents must see their primary role as parents as being disciple-makers of their children. Many parents hinder their child’s growth as a Christ-follower by the unhealthy emphasis the parents place on academic progress, athletic participation/competition, etc. Obviously, academic excellence and athletic performance are not bad things, in and of themselves. But, when parents spend the vast majority of time encouraging those things in the lives of their children with little, or no, emphasis on calling their children to live and grow as Christ-followers, they are unwittingly aiming the direction of their children’s hearts and lives toward things that do not matter in light of eternity. As a parent, I was convicted by a quote I found from Francis Chan, “Our greatest fear should not be fear of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Parent’s, call your children to pursue what matters most in life – allowing God to use their lives for His glory as He uses them to make disciples of all nations. Parents, model that for your children in the way you disciple them. Brian Upshaw shared some practical steps for discipling your children on his blog post today, entitled: “3 Simple Ways You Can Start Discipling Your Kids.”
4) Our motivation for making disciples must be nothing less than our desire to glorify the great God we love and serve. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, we are to do everything to the glory of God. This includes making disciples. Other motivations such as love for the lost are not bad. They are simply insufficient. If my primary motive for sharing Christ and making disciples is my love for the lost, it will quickly run out. Why? I do not love others as I should. My heart is naturally sinful and self-focused. However, if my primary motivation is living my life for God’s glory, then I want His desires to become my desires. I want my heart to beat with His heartbeat. Therefore, it is no longer about my love for the lost, but rather about God putting His love for the lost in my heart and expressing His love for them through my life and witness. Further, the way I interact with, and seek to edify, other believers will also be fueled by my heart’s desire to bring glory to God.
Much more could be said here about making disciples. But, if we would simply live out the four principles outlined above, we would be amazed to see how God would work both IN us and THROUGH us for His glory.
(Feel free to share your thoughts and/or ways you are seeking to glorify God by making disciples of all nations.)