Words by our Priest-in-Charge:
Who Makes Believers And Disciples?
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him ; and I will raise him up at the last day .” John 6:44
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,……” Matthew 28:19a
I just returned from attending a Conference for Christian Leaders at Ellel Grange. It was a valuable time of sharing fellowship with many Christian leaders and senior pastors. For many, it was a life changing experience, a turning point in their ministry. Some of us lamented how the Church has been “short changed” in the traditional teaching of many parts of the Body of Christ. As a result, many Christians are left to struggle over issues which they could not overcome in their life, accepting them as normal part of life. Some of the pastors shared their stories of how God miraculously brought them to the Lord. One of them was even a former member of the Irish Republic Army! (A militant group in Ireland) Most of the experience of these leaders in their ministry and even in their own life is that they need to strive very hard to be a “good” Christian, or help others to be one. As much as they want to love and serve Jesus, they sometimes see the people under their care as if there are leads tied to their feet.
I believe that a person’s conversion to Christianity is the work of God. The conviction of sin is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. “For by grace you have been saved through faith , and that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God , not of works , lest anyone should boast . (Ephesians 2:8-9). When a person accepts Jesus as Lord of his life, it is because God has drawn that person to Himself and the person has responded to the invitation of God. Often we find that Christians come to Church and remain as believers, but could not progress to be disciples of Jesus. Believers are made by God. But disciples are made by us. We have been mandated by Jesus to make disciples of all nations.
To make disciples requires obedience on the disciples makers and the disciples themselves. Jesus commanded us to teach others to obey all that He has commanded us. Disciples making requires our cooperation with God. It requires us to exercise our free will to choose to obey God’s words. It is in obedience that we enter into God’s Covenantal promises. When we obey “everything” that God’s words teach, when we stop compromising on the word of God, we then experience the freedom and power of the abundant and fruitful life that Jesus talks about. An essential part of what Jesus asks us to observe is to preach the Kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons. This is a central aspect of the gospel because it is restoring wholeness to broken lives. Healing and deliverance is not just a ministry of the moment. It is a hallmark of the life of a disciple of Jesus. Experiencing the supernatural power of God should be a normal part of the disciples’ lives.
Is there any part of the word of God which we find it inconvenient to obey and have swept it under the carpet? It is time to bring them and ask the Lord to help us to live out the truth of those words as part of the reality of our life.