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5 reasons for making disciples

Sept. 16, 2017 | by John B. MacDonald

Why should I make disciples?

As I examine my reasons, I listen again to Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20.

Here are five reasons. Each is an area of life or an attitude to test whether we're aligned with Jesus and what He is doing.

1. His focus.

As I listen and watch with the 11 disciples, my attention is focused on Jesus.

We hear him say, “go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything … I am with you always.”

He focuses on others: all nations; them; with you.

On the cross, antagonists chided him: “he saved others … but he can’t save himself!” (27:42). Part of that was true. Paul is clear: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—others (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus’ life and purpose are other-centered, not self-centered. He calls his disciples to be the same.

Making disciples is not about me; it’s about others.

Are you aligned with this focus of Jesus’ life and purpose?

2. His authority.

Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

The combination of “heaven and earth” means everywhere; the universe and more—no place is left out.

Jesus has all authority in our universe!

Hear David (1 Chronicles 29:11):

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

Is there a greater authority than this?

So, to whose voice do you respond?

How do you answer His pre-eminent authority?

3. His command.

Having declared his authority, Jesus then says,

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

In Greek grammar, “make disciples” is an imperative, meaning it is a command. It is also in the active voice, that is, it’s what we are to be doing.

Have you noticed how Jesus links his commands with our obedience in John 14:15?

If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Well? 

4. His desire.

God revealed his heart when he chose Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3).

“All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

That isn’t the only time the Lord expresses this desire. God’s mission has always been to bless the entire world—“all nations.”      

To make disciples is to engage with God in fulfilling his desire to bless all the peoples of the earth.

How does your life align with God’s desires?

5. His mission.

Chris Wright defines in his book The Mission of God:

Fundamentally, our mission (if it is biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’ creation.

Making disciples aligns with God’s mission to the world.

In Quiet Talks on Service, S. D. Gordon imagines a scene in which Jesus has ascended into heaven after his resurrection, and is conversing with the angel Gabriel. This is a fictional account, yet it makes a point.

Gabriel is portrayed as asking the Lord what his plans are for making his suffering, love, forgiveness, and salvation known to the world.

According to Gordon, Jesus responded that he had asked the eleven disciples “to make it the business of their lives to tell others, and the others were to tell others … until the last [person] in the farthest circle has heard the story and has felt the thrilling and the thralling power of it.”

Gabriel then asks:

Suppose their descendants, their successors away off in the first edge of the 20th [or, even the 21st] century, get so busy with things—some of them proper enough, some may be not quite so proper—that they do not tell others – what then?

*** 

“And back comes that quiet wondrous voice of Jesus, ‘Gabriel, I haven't made any other plans – I'm counting on them.’ ”

We do know that God’s ultimate purposes will never be frustrated.

The question for each of us is: “Will I join him in his purposes?”

After we answer that, the next question is “How?”

Photo source: istock


John B. MacDonald

Dr. John B. MacDonald has served for decades as a lawyer and pastor-teacher. He is an associate with Outreach Canada and focuses on equipping and encouraging others to become more like Jesus Christ and to live all of life with God-honoring competence and joy.



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