And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go 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. You can know I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
God invites us into His passion for building His Kingdom among our neighbors. Just as Jesus came to do this very thing on behalf of His Father, we are included in His planting and cultivating, or, making Kingdom disciples. Because we are image-bearers of our Creator, we continue the original intent of Adam and Eve (and all humanity) to be fruitful and multiply. This is more than having babies and grand babies. It is relational fruitfulness and multiplication. Jesus says to His Father, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done – on earth as it is in heaven.” When His Kingdom comes, and we are co-workers in it, God is honored and people are blessed.
Making disciples is in no way limited to church officials, pastors, teachers – “professionals.” It is the spiritual birthright and directive of every Kingdom follower of Jesus. Let’s consider Matthew 28 a little further:
1. Disciples operate under Jesus’ authority and GO. He does not give us authority, He invites us to cultivate under His authority. His command is to put one spiritual foot in front of the other and do just as He did. We follow Him!
2. We baptize in the Name of the Father/Son/and Holy Spirit, because we are disciples of the Kingdom, living in the power of God. The Father is our authority, Jesus provides our connective friendship with His Father, and the Spirit lives within us to communicate God to us and to empower our actions.
3. We teach men and women to hold fast to God’s Word. We have no authority of our own, but only that which is found connecting in the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
How do we encourage someone to become a Christ follower and how do we help them move from here to there? Here are some thoughts!
√ Define there for yourself – and then for them. The words and works of Jesus are everything. What did Jesus teach us? What did Jesus DO?
√ How do I define people processes that are Jesus-centered and personally adaptive to others? God has given us everything we need in the example of Jesus. “Leave your nets and follow me. I will make you fishers of men.”
√ How do I give my heart and mind to pursue movement in the Spirit each day? Where does He wish for me to go this day, and most importantly, to whom? How does He want us to use our gifts to disciple others?
How do I identify whom God has placed in my circle of discipleship?
My kids and grand kids?
Who are my likely “neighbors” where I have connection options?
What is my God-role at work?
How do I bless these relationships through sharing good and cultivating truth?
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16
A little later we will be talking about building each of our Kingdom “tribes.” Imagine your life as a matrix of God-appointed people connections. Things change, people grow and move on, but heart connections never end. In fact, some of our most powerful discipleship occurs as we intercede for others before His throne. When we view our discipleship connections as those of the heart, we move to a deeper level. This is why Jesus said “love your enemies, and bless those who persecute you.” Even our enemies are targets for God’s heart prosperity, right?
This is key:
√ Connectivity requires effort, cultivating, and vigilance
√ Distractions are many and must be wisely navigated
√ Focus must be pursued each day
√ Discipleship is best accomplished one to one
Where would you consider yourself on the engaged discipleship spectrum? This is not an overwhelming or difficult process. It involved directed choices and experiences. Intentionality. It took the disciples 3-4 years to get the picture, and then one by one each of them engaged, as the years after the resurrection (and the words of Matthew 28) unfolded.
This is why it is called Kingdom “work.”
And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
– Luke 10:2
Enjoying being harvest workers with you!
Dave and Burnadette