Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship: Introduction
Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” We are all familiar with Christ’s commission to His disciples preceding His ascension into heaven. The command to “teach all nations” literally means to “make disciples in every nation!” This command is not a suggestion, but an urgent command indicated by the verb tense. Christ’s apostles took this command to heart as they literally “made disciples” in every nation in their lifetime. This apostolic commission to make disciples established reproducing local churches that would continue the work of making disciples in every nation till Christ’s return. It is our responsibility to continue making disciples in our generation!
This commission is not focused primarily on evangelism, though no man can follow Christ as a disciple without having first embraced the Gospel message of repentance toward God and faith alone in the finished work of Christ. Sadly, rather than “equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry,” many churches are becoming unbalanced. “Hobby horse/pep rally” preaching is not “equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry.” Preaching hard against the pet political and social issues of the day can often become a form of “hobby horse” preaching that robs Christian’s of the solid doctrinal foundation needed to make wise, biblical decisions in a worldly culture. Sunday morning evangelism has taken church from a corporate meeting of worshipping believers to a weekly Sunday morning evangelistic crusade. I am all for corporate evangelism though the local church, but this method misunderstands the ministry and nature of the church. Unbelievers cannot worship God in Spirit and in truth, and believers are robbed of opportunity to be taught the “whole counsel of God.” I am burdened that our local churches would become places of genuine corporate worship where we would grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am convinced that if our churches got serious about this issue of disciple making, we would see grounded exponential growth of the church in our generation. I will focus on several fundamentals of biblical discipleship in the next several posts. By looking at the methods of Christ and the Apostle Paul, we will see that: every believer must be a learner, every believer must be an investor, God is the great multiplier, and life is full of potential spheres of discipleship. I hope that this series will be a blessing and stir up your hearts to effective disciple making!