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In the 3 ½ years of Jesus' teaching of His disciples there's no doubt about several recurring themes throughout. One of the most dynamic, recurring themes is Jesus' answer to the question, "What is the greatest of the commandments?" His answer was "You must love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself."
Another very familiar theme of Jesus' teachings is found in some of His final words to His disciples. It was one of Jesus' final commands. He commanded: "Make disciples of all nations (cultures)!" This is where I get SECRET #61: The follower of Jesus is diligent to make disciples of the Master wherever he goes.
Matthew recorded Jesus' words in this way: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
There is only one command in these verses and it's not "Go!" The only command is "Make disciple of all nations!" Then, there are three participles that offer how to do this-by going, by baptizing and by teaching. I don't want to get bogged down with the participles other than to give my quick opinion on them. "Going" has to do with taking the initiative in "making disciples".
"Baptizing" may not have anything to do with water. Remember John's words: "I baptize with water, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I and will baptize you with the Spirit." "Teaching" doesn't have to do with imparting more doctrines, but it is teaching in such a way that people will embrace these things Jesus taught by embracing them as a lifestyle-by being like Jesus. We can discuss these matters on a later podcast.
Historically, we have spent so much time cussing and discussing what Jesus meant by going, baptizing and teaching that we miss the primary command to make disciples. This is because it's much easier to go on a mission trip, sprinkle or dunk others in water, and teach, teach and teach more and more of our particular belief systems to our followers.
Making disciples is more difficult. There are two basic difficulties. FIRST-the command is to make disciples of Jesus, not make disciples of our particular spiritual flavor or bent. Now if you are going to commit yourself to make disciples of Jesus, you must be a disciple or follower of Jesus yourself. I've often said that following Jesus is the toughest thing I've ever tried to do. Before I became a stubborn follower of Jesus, I practiced "making disciples" by assembling people into a classroom. I thought it was all about teaching them to become a disciple of Jesus. Now, I get it. "Making disciples" cannot happen in a classroom. "Making disciples" must be caught and not taught! It's something that must be caught from you as a genuine follower of Jesus!
SECOND-Jesus said, "Make disciples of all nations!" This is the second difficulty in making disciples. We are to make disciples of all nations. Nations is actually the word that means cultures. Jesus commands His followers to make disciples of all cultures. The real difficulty here is the natural tendency is to change other cultures to be like our culture. Instead of making disciples of Jesus of all nations, where every culture freely responds to the good news of Jesus in their own way, we tend to make cultural disciples of all nations-to make them look and sound like us. So, other cultures are taught to sing our songs, speak our lingo and practice our culture as their own. This isn't making disciples of all cultures.
"Making disciples" of Jesus in every culture of the world is the mission of those who follow Jesus. Most of my life I only made disciples by accident. Since I have become passionate about being a follower of Jesus, I now see every person I meet as a potential follower of Jesus. You see, when you own it, you can't help but spill all over those you touch.
There are three steps I want to suggest: FIRST-Be a serious disciple or follower of Jesus yourself. SECOND-Make it your habit to insert Jesus into the conversation whenever you can. THIRD-When you see another person acting, talking, thinking or loving like Jesus, point this out to them and affirm them for it. SECRET #61: The follower of Jesus is diligent to make disciples of the Master wherever he goes. Remember, discipleship can't be taught-only caught!