A Word on Discipleship
Typically, we think of John the Baptist as fire and brimstone preacher crying in the wilderness. He certainly was that, but do you ever think of this rugged baptizer as a discipler? He was! John spent time with people, teaching them about Jesus. All Christians are called to do the same. We’re not only disciples – we’re called to make disciples!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
The above passage is what we know as The Great Commission. Some today might say it has become the Great Omission. Let’s face it; most of us are somewhat shy in this area. Perhaps we could use some encouragement.
Let’s begin by considering what this Great Commission is all about. What is Jesus asking of us? He didn’t say: “Go out and make converts, then wish them luck!” We don’t “make disciples” that way, or even by leading someone in a sinner’s prayer. Discipleship requires follow up. The objective is simple: Get the individual as near to Jesus as possible. That’s what John the Baptist did:
“John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37)
It was as if John had said: “Okay guys, there He is, the One I’ve been telling you about, The Lamb of God. You know what to do now!” Apparently, they did. They said, “Adios, John!” and followed after Jesus.
That’s discipleship! Getting people on right track and helping them to follow after Jesus. We’re not really helping when we make people feel as if they can’t make it without us. We shouldn’t be in the business of clipping wings. Discipling is about giving folks wings to soar! We’re to raise eagles, not turkeys!
I’m not convinced every Christian needs a life-long accountability partner. Though some might benefit from long-term accountability, it’s not a model found in scripture. The goal should always be to get God’s people more reliant upon the Him. May we learn from John the Baptist who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660