““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 that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
We live in a day of much evangelism, but few discipleship.
We live in a day of much evangelism, but few discipleship. Many are being told the name of Jesus, but are not guided with how to follow Him. We have left many astray in proclaiming the Good News. In our day, we have many that give the introduction to the faith, but fail to guide others down the path of saving faith. This is due to a neglect of discipleship. Our failure is not in leading others to Christ, but it is the failure of teaching them what it is to be in Christ. Anyone can lead others to the Cross, but they must see the Cross of Christ stamped within us. Merely speaking is not enough. Giving a nice five minute slideshow will not strengthen one's faith. Discipleship must always proceed evangelism, lest we have confused, weak, and misled Christians.
Like a soldier being led to the frontline of a war without training, so too do we have Christians roaming about in the world. They are confused and know not what the Word says because they have either refused to make it a priority or they are starving for spiritual direction from their church. Sadly in America, many pastors would rather hold and be acknowledged for their position, rather than taking the time to offer Biblical counsel and leadership within the church. For although a pastor cannot do everything, he does hold the responsibility of developing a group of staff who will disciple others after they are led to Christ. Any pastor who is against such Biblical teachings is either lazy or a dictator. Lazy in the sense of not training up solid Christians (or having a team do so). A dictator in the sense of keeping their church as a place that is solely led by the pastor’s thoughts and wants, not the needs of the people.
It is a sad irony that mega churches produce the least amount of born again believers.
Many mega churches rule the day. Many raise up and expand church buildings to evangelize, but do not invest in proper discipleship. The sad irony about many mega churches, however, is they produce the least amount of born again believers. For most mega churches are run as a business. Most messages from these places are soft introductions and fail in speaking on the deeper, tougher truths. They simply see their church as a means of filling seats and providing happy entertainment. The preachers preach an un-anointed message that has not been baptized in prayer. Rather, it is a similar, circular message that involves no call of discipleship or to be discipled. It is the same message with little passion, and it lacks any Holy Ghost unction behind it.
It is because of a lack of discipleship that self-proclaimed Christians are more influenced with the culture and the popular psychology of the day.
It is because of this that lukewarm Christianity has advanced. It is because of a lack of discipleship that self-proclaimed Christians are more influenced with the culture and popular psychology of the day. It is because of a lack of discipleship that lukewarm, self-proclaimed Christians are ostracizing the true body of Christ - those who are born again. For it is Christ who said, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”” (John 3:3 ESV).
It is because of a lack of discipleship that lukewarm, self-proclaimed Christians are ostracizing the true body of Christ. They believe they speak for God, when they know nothing of God.
As discipled born again believers, we are to be known by our love (John 13:35) and by our fruits (Matthew 7:20). However, we cannot fulfill Biblical love and learn how to bear fruit if we are not discipled. For without discipleship, we merely coast on with a faith that continually fluctuates. Wherever the current of our feelings go, there too goes our faith.
Without discipleship, we merely coast on with a faith that continually fluctuates. Wherever the current of our feelings go, there too goes our faith.
It takes responsibility and humility to admit that we the church have not fulfilled what we are called to do. Christ desires that we disciple others and teach them everything that He has taught us. Instead, we have left multitudes on their own to figure out what God’s Word says. Though the Holy Spirit can show the path of righteousness to a single person who desires God, it is also God’s desire to work in and through us to help others. God does not need us. We are merely vessels by which He allows us to be part of His work.
We must cease from having lethargic leadership in the church. We tell people the way, but we don’t show them the way. Christ says, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”” (John 14:6 ESV). Christ is not merely the Way, He is also the Truth and the Life. Evangelism shows others that Christ is the way. Discipleship through the speaking of God's Word and the Holy Spirit, however, shows that He is the Truth and Life. For without discipleship, people will see that the way looks nice, without fully understanding the Truth that lies down that way. They will merely take a glance, without experiencing the life that Christ offers down the way.
If we neglect to disciple, we will see even more of the world impact the church, rather than the church impact the world.
We must therefore not merely evangelize, but disciple. Evangelism is the introduction. Discipleship is the continuation into deeper truths and a deeper relationship with Christ. For how can we expect someone to follow the faith who is not discipled ? Although some have the gift of evangelism, and others the gift of teaching, that does not exclude us from sharing the Gospel. It does not exclude us from both discipling and being discipled. For it is the man who desires the easy path that will be led astray. It is the faith that does not grow that slows. It is the faith that does not work whose worth is dirt. We must take up the mantle that the church has forsaken for too long, and we must once again get back to discipleship. For if we neglect to disciple, we will see even more of the world impact the church, rather than the church impact the world.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You that we can come to know You through His atoning sacrifice. Lord, we are grateful and blessed to be able to read Your Word and to have Your Holy Spirit. Lord, for those who do not know You, may they come to know You. For those who are early on in their faith, guide them to the right people and resources to grow and be discipled. O Lord, send a shock wave of discipleship upon this land. May the Holy Spirit move mightily through Your servants, in order for many more to come to a saving knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Only by Your Spirit can this be done. O God, may we be vessels that not merely possess You, but know You. Disciple others through our lives. Prepare us for the conversations to come in the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.