Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Making Disciples

A disciple of Jesus is a person who is consistently cooperating with Jesus.

The process of learning to cooperate with Jesus can only effectively be taught and measured by those who already are cooperating with Jesus. This is why Jesus sent his first cooperating disciples into all the world to make disciples. He told the first disciples to teach new disciples to “observe” all the things that Jesus had commanded them. To “observe” a commandment of Jesus is to cooperate with the One making the command.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

Every disciple is initially surprised at what Jesus commands. The kind of cooperation He demands seems so foreign to our normal way of dealing with day to life that we are shocked at how Jesus wants us to behave.

Listen to just a few of Jesus commands and ask yourself how cooperative you are with Jesus in these areas.

“Do not resist an evil person.”

“Take no thought about tomorrow.”

“Forgive 70 times 7.”

“Wash feet.”

For many who produce discipleship materials the goal of discipleship seems to be the accumulation of information about Jesus’ commands. They love producing discipleship resources. They know what Jesus commands and they teach it with great skill. Unfortunately they often fail to measure cooperation with Jesus because measuring another disciple’s personal cooperation with Jesus is messy and time consuming. It is easier to measure sales of the material about Jesus’ commands and focus on increasing the numbers of students who successfully finished the course about cooperating.

For Jesus, discipleship is about continuous cooperation with Him. This is clear by watching how Jesus discipled his first followers. Cooperation with the Bible is not discipleship. However, true cooperation with the Bible will always lead to cooperation with Jesus which is discipleship. If cooperation with the Bible does not lead to cooperation with Jesus it is not discipleship. “Follow Me”, “Believe in Me” and “Abide in Me” cannot be replaced with “Believe what the Bible says about Me whether you cooperate with Me or not.”

Resources that help us cooperate more easily with Jesus are welcome. Resources that simply fill our minds with Christian ideas about the commands of Jesus can often mask a lack of actual cooperation with Jesus. Jesus shows us that Pharisees always know a lot about their Bible and little or nothing about cooperating with Him.

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5: 37-40

Today, choose any command of Jesus and test your level of cooperation with Jesus as this day passes by. If you need help evaluating, ask someone who consistently cooperates with Jesus to observe your cooperation with Jesus’ commands. Be prepared to adjust to Jesus not the person making the evaluation.

Remember, Jesus abides in you so your cooperation is directly with Him and not with the person who is discipling you. To abide in Him is to cooperate with Him moment by moment. Cooperation with Jesus makes us disciples who bear fruit. Cooperate with Jesus!

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