“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Discipleship has been on my mind quite a bit the last few weeks. We have traditionally thought about discipleship as something that comes after someone makes a commitment to Christ and prays for salvation. However, I have been wondering of late if we have been thinking about this wrong. God’s prevenient grace is the grace that goes before – the grace that prepares the soil to receive the seed – the grace that softens the heart to hear from God.
What if discipleship actually started before someone came to Christ? I firmly believe that we need to be building relationships with lost and broken people around us – whether they be our neighbor, co-workers, or others we might know within our community. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who only give lip service to discipling others or think it is someone else who has that responsibility. Most Christians are at least familiar with the Great Commission, however, we are also very good at making excuses as to why it is not our responsibility.
Here is the problem. I do not see any exceptions in Jesus’s words. It just says “therefore go and make disciples”. There are no qualifiers or disqualifiers. If we are followers of Jesus the Great Commission is our responsibility! Many believers do not see the lostness in their own community. They fail to understand that a person without a personal, saving relationship with Jesus is lost. These believers had rather invite people to the church as though it were a social group instead of leading the lost to a saving, intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. The United States is one of the greatest mission fields in the world. We don’t have to move anywhere to share the gospel, we can do that right here and now. There are many lost and broken people all around us who are looking for the hope that comes only from Jesus.
Let’s be a body of believers who take the Great Commission seriously and pray that God would open our eyes to the lostness and brokenness all around us. Pray that God would open our eyes to opportunities to share his grace and goodness each and every day. If we get serious about this, we might be surprised what God will do.
Sharing the hope of Jesus together,
~ Pastor Todd