Jul 16, 2013

Why the Church Exists Part 3: Make Faithful Disciples

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20).

The purpose of the church of Jesus Christ is best expressed in the great commission. There are three parts to the great commission:
1. Go
2. Make new disciples
3. Make faithful disciples

In the last several days we have looked at the first two parts of the great commission. Today we'll look at the third part of the great commission: making faithful disciples.

The church is to go to where people need to see the gospel of Jesus Christ incarnated where they live, work, and play. The church is sent to the people who need Jesus because the church is supposed to make new disciples.

When new disciples are made, then the church's task is to make all disciples into faithful disciples.

I need to make a disclaimer. Faithful disciples is redundant. If you are a disciple, you are faithful.

That being said, the truth is we've created a lot more church gathering attenders than we have made faithful disciples.

What is the definition of a faithful disciple? Jesus tells us. Faithful disciples are those who obey everything that Jesus has commanded. Faithful disciples are obedient disciples.

Discipleship has everything to do with following and obeying. It's not about how much of Bible we know, how long we've been going to church, what titles we might hold in the church.

It's all about following Christ and obeying Christ.

So how are our churches doing in making faithful disciples? How are we doing in the whole following and obeying thing?

The most honest answer I think we can give is that we do this well in parts.

One of the things about most mainline churches is that while we have been doing a fairly decent job of educating our members, we have not been doing as well in helping people become obedient and faithful disciples.

Howard Hendricks once said, "God doesn't reveal truth to us so that we can be smarter sinners. The purpose of revelation is for transformation."

The reason why God reveals truth is to change us. And we are changed when we obey everything that God has commanded us.

Most of our churches have wonderful God-loving people. That's certainly the case in my church. Our people love Jesus and genuinely want to do what God is asking of us...to a point.

I say to a point because in all honesty, this is something I personally wrestle with.

Jesus doesn't merely ask for 10% or a part of my life. Jesus demands my all.

The problem I have with discipleship is the "all" part. If one were to observe my life, most would think that I am doing better than most. But the truth is, there are still parts of my life that I have the hardest time surrendering to Christ. I don't mind giving to God 10%, 50%, heck, most of my life. I think I've done that. But there are parts that I still have trouble giving over to God.

That's the part of discipleship I struggle with.

That's the part of discipleship that I need to keep working on.

That's the part of discipleship that our churches need to work on.

The question we need to ask is, "Is what we're currently doing producing faithful, obedient disciples?"

The answer to this question will be addressed by not how much of the Bible we can recite, or how long we've been going to church. It simply comes down to how much we obey what God has commanded - not just the parts we agree with, not just the parts we like, but simply what God has commanded.

Do we resemble Jesus more and more in our actions and thoughts?

We are a congregation doing our part to pray, discern, and discover better ways to go and make new disciples and make faithful disciples.

What we're certain of is that what we're currently doing is not helping us accomplish our main mission.

Therefore, we are in a season to discern and discover what God wants the church to be about:
1. Go! - go to where people are and be good news to those who don't know Jesus
2. Make new disciples
3. Make faithful disciples

While we don't yet know the "answers" to being this church, we are convinced that it will involve our church changing and becoming something different than what we are currently.

How we can put the resources of people, talents, time, finances, and facilities of LCOP to maximize our ability to go and make new disciples and faithful disciples.

I hope that you too will journey with us in discovering better ways to accomplish the mission given to us by Christ.

This isn't our mission. It's not the pastor's mission. This is the mission which Jesus charged his church with when he ascended into heaven.

So let's get it!

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