Pastor David calls this "the great command of the great commission." However, one can only be successful making new disciples by being a good disciple. In other words, it is more than just "going, baptising and teaching". These activities are underpinned and substantiated because it is actually the disciple, powered by the Holy Spirit, that can demonstrate what it is we are asking others to become.
Pastor David gives us three truths to understand what being a disciple means. 1) The goal of discipleship; 2) The characteristics of discipleship; 3) The extent of discipleship.
- The goal of the disciple is to become like their master. Unlike other religions, Christianity has only one master. Disciples will be learning all their lives to become closer and closer to the master but because our master is God, it is not for us to be masters (Matthew 23:8-10). This involves repentance. Repentance is not saying sorry just because we fear punishment. Repentance is realising when we stray from God's commandments then committing to modifying our behaviour, thoughts and spirit to align more closely with Jesus' example.
- The characteristics of a disciple can be highlighted three ways:
- John 8:31-32 shows us that we continue in the teachings of the Lord, incrementally getting closer and closer to Jesus' example and thus getting greater and greater freedom.
- John 13:35 shows us that we love one another as God loves us. Forgive each other. The other is all people. By this the world is able to witness the testimony of God's love.
- John 15:8 shows us a good disciple bears forth fruits in Jesus' name. Matthew 28:20 shows us that teaching others all the things that God has commanded us is one of his commandments. The teaching is best achieved by being a good example of knowing and following God's commandments. If we are to be disciple makers, we need to be good disciples first.
- The extent of being a disciple stretches to all nations. By implication, God wants all peoples of the earth to be disciples, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender or even religion. Reaching out to those not currently in the church is a profound challenge but John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus said "I am the way". It is great love to share that news to those who do not know this, for it informs them the path to salvation. Being a good disciple is the best way to testify to this fact.
Wow! What a challenge it is to live in Christ? Well, as Pastor David has taught us this challenge is worth our entire lives to work towards because the reward is so great. Everlasting life with our master. Amen.