Jesus is the greatest leader that ever existed. There are so many qualities about Him that make Him the true standard of leadership (being God doesn’t hurt!) but the one that rises above the rest is that He truly loved everyone and poured His life out so that others would enter into their purposes and destinies. We see this time after time during His life- especially during His ministry.
Whether He was teaching, healing the sick, delivering those who were oppressed or possessed, or simply being Himself, His mission was all about the Father and His kingdom. His mission was to ensure that those who were around Him not only received His teaching and truth, but that they were transformed into the image of His heavenly Father by the truth they experienced.
Jesus has given us the same privilege. Yes, privilege! It is not a duty (although it does require time and effort) but a privilege to come along side someone else and help them to know and love Jesus more, to receive and remain in the love of their heavenly Father, ultimately being conformed into His image. Seeing people not only discover but to actually step into their purposes is one of the most rewarding things we could ever experience this side of heaven!
Matthew 28:18-20 records Jesus’ last words on earth. This is the mission that He left not only His disciples, but to us: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
I have been giving this command of Jesus much thought lately because this is what Jesus left us to do and I want to please Him. Making disciples is not just a good idea or something to do if we have some free time, but it is our living and breathing purpose as a church. This is why we are alive! If this is what we are to be spending our lives doing, we need to see this with fresh eyes and with the heart of God at what this looks like in our lives.
God’s heart in making disciples really comes from His longing as a Father to have His children from all over the entire globe come home to Him. To be a part of His family. The kingdom of God is family and in order for it to be expanded, we must operate as family. God’s kingdom, His church is not an organization or a building. Our life flows from our heavenly Father and we are now His royal sons and daughters. Only when we accept and step into our true identities will we be able to help others step into theirs. This is the essence of discipleship.
Over and over in scripture we see Father God reaching out to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation and giving us the same mandate. Paul expresses God’s heart so well in II Corinthians 5:20, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” God is making His appeal to the world through us. Not only for salvation, but to have a living, breathing relationship with the One who created them, ultimately fulfilling the purpose for why they are created.
Again, God expresses His heart through Paul in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” Paul addresses the Galatians (and all God’s people) as not only God’s kids, but his! Paul goes on to say in I Corinthians 4:15 that God’s people sometimes have many teachers but not many fathers. This verse clearly reveals the Father’s heart to have not only people listen to teaching, but to grow up, beginning as children, then maturing into strong, confident disciples of Jesus.
The verses above coupled with how Jesus poured His life into those around Him reveal the nature of discipleship. Discipleship is more than teaching people from a stage-it is giving and imparting your life to others just as a mother or father would their own children. If you are a parent, you already know how much time, energy, emotion, and effort goes into raising kids. Some stages require more than others (I am in a high-demand season of a pre-teen and a teen right now!). So, if we are to disciple others, what does it look like? How do we begin to not only step into being confident sons and daughters of King Jesus, but bring others along for them to begin to do the same?
Next week we will work through part 2 to see what making disciples looks like and to also remove the lie from our lives that we are not equipped to do this. I trust that you will step away empowered and more confident in what Jesus has placed inside of you to fulfill His purposes on the earth!