When Jesus called his first disciples, he wasn’t just inviting them to an event or religious experience; he was calling them to take part in his work to reach the lost. Jesus’ first words to his disciples was “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus calls every one of his disciples to be a disciple-maker.
These definitions make clear that discipleship isn’t just hanging out — discipleship has a goal, for the disciple to become more like Jesus himself. This should be our goal for everyone we know; we should be working to help them become more like Jesus. This includes non-Christians (we want to make them disciples) and Christians (we want to help them grow as disciples). These definitions also make clear that discipleship doesn’t just take place in formal settings. You can disciple anyone, anytime you interact with them.
What does it look like to disciple non-Christians? The journey to becoming more like Jesus begins with saving faith. We don’t just want them to be conformed to Jesus on the outside; we want them to be born again and truly know God on the inside. It doesn’t matter if non-Christians clean their lives up and obey God a little bit more — they need to be saved, forgiven, and raised to new life in Christ. As we said in the last session, We are seeking to win souls, not arguments, so our message is, “Be reconciled to God” (1 Corinthians 5:20).
What does it look like to disciple Christians? We want to help our brothers and sisters continue becoming more like Jesus.
If every Christian is a disciple-maker, that means that you have a responsibility to help the other Christians in our church grow.
The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ ministry begins and ends with a call to make disciples (Matthew 4:19, quoted above; Matthew 28:18–20). In this final, climactic call to make disciples, Jesus encourages his hearers: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). You are not alone as you seek to make disciples — Christ is with you. You don’t have to have it all together. If only perfect Christians could make disciples, then none of us would make disciples.
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
In three conversations this week, share a truth from the Bible with another Christian.
Pray that God would help you to encourage one another.