So You Want to Be a Disciple-Maker? (Part 5d)

Adam in the red t-shirt said. “To make Jesus your King, you need to emulate Him.”

The Principle Principle

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:18-20)

His answer shocked me!!! I was sharing the gospel with a young Army private named Adam today and when I asked him, “What does it mean to make Jesus your King?” He replied; “Emulate Him.” I almost fell out of my chair! Wow! Here’s a young guy who gets it. But what does that really mean; “To emulate Jesus?” Does that mean I need to grow a beard, wear sandals, be single, and walk around Judea preaching the gospel? No, but there are a lot of principles that motivated Jesus to do what He did. And if you’re looking for the absolute supreme principle that guided Jesus it was His complete surrender to His Father’s will. This was the quintessential principle that gave Jesus purpose and determined His practice.  The Principle Principle.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (Jn 5.19)

Jesus’ strategy was simple. He looked at what the Father was doing and did it in like manner. How did Jesus raise people from the dead, forgive sins, walk on water, etc…? By abiding so closely in the Father that He followed His every move. And now we are to abide in the Son as the Son abided in the Father. (Jn15.5) So we need to get a closer look at Jesus and ask the question; “Jesus, what are You doing and how can I join You in it?” I believe the best clarity we can get is by reading the gospels. This is where I get to see Jesus in action, extract the principles, ask for direction in my context, and put it into practice. Are you reading your Bible (Especially the gospels) daily? Are you asking the question?

So You Want to be a Disciple-Maker (Part 5c)

But Jesus is God!?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us… (John 1.1,14)

The most common rebuttal I hear to seeing Jesus as the aim of our discipleship is; “But Jesus was God! There’s no way we could be like Him. I mean He walked on water, raised the dead, and forgave sins!” And…so did Peter. (Mt 14.49, Ac 9.40-41, Jn 20.23)

I think the biggest mistakes in discipleship are to 1) not see Jesus as the primary and attainable model and 2) stripping Jesus of His deity in order to achieve this goal. Jesus was and is 100%, man and God. But this is an interesting theological conundrum. Let’s look at Philippians 2.5-8

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Phil 2.5-8)

Jesus is the God/Man. But He operated in the confines of the flesh. He restricted His activities to things we can fully emulate if we completely abide in Him. Otherwise, He wouldn’t be the sympathetic High Priest (Heb 4:14-16, Mk 10.45) and in a sense would be cheating. It’s like having special super powers that we could never have and yet that’s the expectation. We are only touching the tip of the iceberg on this topic but suffice it to say, while Jesus was in fact fully God, He did not tap into His deity during His earthly ministry. He is an exemplary and legitimate example for us to follow and be the aim of our discipleship. Yes, Jesus is God, always has been 100% but He did limit Himself to time, space, and energy as a man to give a pattern for life. He is what we were always meant to be in the image of God.

So You Want to be a Disciple-Maker (Part 5b)

Making Little Jesuses (Part 5b) 

Anytime I’m trying to answer a question or solve a problem, I always go to Jesus first. So, is this true Jesus? Are we really suppose to be like God? Be like You? Listen to how Jesus defines a disciple.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master…” (Mt 10.24-25)

A disciple is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. (Lk 6.40)

Jesus says the disciple is to become “like the teacher.” Jesus Himself had the goal of helping His followers become like Him. Now that puts a whole new twist on discipleship, doesn’t it? It’s no longer a program to complete or a list of To-Dos and To-Don’ts. It’s a person to become!

Consider these few verses to emphasize the point;

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (Jn 8.12)

You are the light of the world. (Mt 5.14)

As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (Jn 17.18)

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… (Rom 8.29)

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 Jn 2.6)

Once we train our eyes to look for these “Be Like Jesus” passages, we’ll start seeing them pop up all over the Bible. And here’s the punchline. If we do not define a disciple in the same manner as Jesus did, are we really obeying His Great Commission? BTW, this is why I never call someone “my disciple.” I’m not trying to make little Chucks. I’m making disciples of Jesus.

So You Want to be a Disciple-Maker? (Part 5a)

Making Little Jesuses

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples…”

(Matthew 28.18-19)

It almost sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it? Like, really, little Jesuses!? We are going to try and be like Him and help other people do the same? Not only is it not blasphemy but it’s actually commanded in the Scriptures by the Apostle Paul; 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children… (Eph 5.1)

And is it any wonder that we would be exhorted to be like God? It was His original intent from the beginning.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1.27)

Now there is “too much of a good thing” and we see this happening in Genesis 3 but we’ll save that for another post. 

But suffice it to say, we were always meant to be “like” God and live as direct reflections of His glory. (Isa 43.7, Col 1.27) And it is paramount that we capture this idea and integrate it into our disciple-making process. In fact, it is not just an element of discipleship, it is the very goal or end-state of discipleship if you will. Have you ever asked yourself how the Master disciple-maker would define discipleship? I would think He would have the definitive answer to the question! More in the next post…

When we set out to make a disciple, what should she or he look like when we’re done? Is our goal to help them become all that they originally were meant to be?

So You want to be a Disciple- Maker? (Part 4)

Go!

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore…”

(Matthew 28.18-19)

Jesus commands us to go. It seems it was one of His favorite commands. He told His disciples “Let us go to the next town…” (Mk 1.37) He told the Demoniac, “Go home and tell them…” (Mk 5.19) He told the Woman at the Well, “Go and get your husband…” (Jn 4.16) And in His Great Commission, He tells His disciples to “Go into all the earth…” (Mk 16.15) As followers, we are goers! Whether we are going across the ocean or across the street, we are to be a “Going People.” Jesus was sent by the Father and He has sent us (Jn 17.18). But the “Going “ has great purpose. It is to connect the next person with the gospel. It is intentional. I’ve heard it preached that this word in Greek actually means, “As you go.” This could be misunderstood as a laissez-fare approach to sharing the gospel and making disciples. A kind of “catch as catch can” and “I’ll get to it if the opportunity presents itself.” Oh, no, that’s not what the King is commanding. It’s more like, “This is My priority, now get after it!”  I love the story about the Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus was “going to go” to him and the Centurion responds; “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes…” (Mt 8.8-9) One of Jesus’ highest complements was given to a Gentile soldier with a keen awareness of true authority and to trust and obey the orders of his superior. The first step in obeying any command is to get started. In other words, “Get Going.” Are we a going people? Are we teaching others to go?

So You Want to Be a Disciple-Maker (Part 3)

Them? Really?! (Part 3)

And Jesus came up and spoke to them

(Matthew 28.18)

As I alluded to in the last post, the men with whom the King of the Universe entrusted the most precious enterprise in history, were, well, ordinary. In fact, they were so ordinary, every person on the planet could probably say, “Yup, I’ve done that.” or “Yep, I’ve said that.” And we’re not talking about the flattering things they did and said. No, these guys were sinners just like you and I. And I’m guessing that was a strategic choice on Jesus’ part. “Let me find men and women the world can identify with.” Some of their actions are downright embarrassing! They could go from hero to zero in a matter of seconds. Jesus even calls the ring leader “Satan” at one point. But on the other hand, these men were special. They were spiritually hungry. They endured the hardship of an austere apostolic lifestyle. They were lumped into the fierce scrutiny that Jesus attracted as a lightning rod of social, financial, political, and religious upheaval. They would eventually be known as the men who had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4.13) and all but one would ultimately be martyred for their allegiance to the King. Do you feel unqualified to be a disciple-maker? Welcome to the club! In fact, I would stay away from any would-be disciple-maker that thinks he or she has it all together. You might end up as “collateral damage” when that lightning bolt hits. We are all in need of a Savior. And that’s the beauty of the gospel. By the King’s mercy and grace, He molds and fashions us into the people we were always meant to be. (Rom 8.29) He takes that which is ordinary and uses them to perform the extraordinary. All we have to do is be willing teachable subjects and He “makes us into fishers of men.” Are we willing? Are we teachable? Are we looking for others that are willing and teachable?

So You Want to Be a Disciple-Maker (Part 2)

The King Has Spoken

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

(Matthew 28.18)

Jesus preached the kingdom of God. His disciples must have heard lessons on the kingdom until they were dripping with the royal discourse. But the funny thing was, it took them a while to figure out He was the King, standing right there in front of them. And as more and more disciples began to catch on they had expectations of their newfound King. But the King, in typical “Jesus fashion,” flipped the kingdom on its head. He would wash the subject’s feet, allow His creation to spit in His face, and ultimately torture Him to death. But His supreme reign would be gloriously demonstrated when He brought even death under His subjection. (Jn 10.18, Rev 1.5) And in the brilliance of His victory, even over the grave, He would issue His most pressing orders to the eleven disciples. He begins with an astounding statement; “All authority has been given to Me…” The King of kings is giving the most important edict to eleven ordinary men (whom by the way abandoned Him in the greatest moment in history). And with all authority in heaven and on earth, He tells these men to go and make disciples. Not, “I have all authority so I will end world hunger, wars, disease, crime, etc…” No, He said, “Go and make disciples.” Do you see the gravity of what Jesus is doing and what that means for you and I? With all the things the King of the Universe could have said, He, with all authority, commands us, His disciples, to go and make disciples. I don’t know about you but that completely blows me away! Making disciples must be one of Jesus’ highest priorities! Are we taking the King’s command as seriously as it merits? Are we doing everything we can to study and implement this most crucial endeavor?