“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
In the Great Commission, we find our marching orders. The mission of the church is to make disciples who make disciples who…..make disciples. Jesus did not simply say this to the apostles. He did not simply say this to pastors and church leaders. He gave these instructions to all Christians for all time – to go and make disciples. One way to personalize this would be to ask – are you helping other Christians follow Jesus? This is a simple but important question.
Next Sunday in church (if you are able to attend), take a look at the people sitting next to you. These are your brothers and sisters in Christ and there is a sense in which we are responsible and accountable to one another. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Our desire for “one another” should be that we are more in love with Jesus this week than we were last week. More in love with Jesus this month than we were last month. And more in love with Jesus this year than last. As we grow in our love for Jesus, it translates into “love and good works” and we should desire this to increase in fellow believers as well.
It is remarkable how much influence we have on one another – both for good and for bad. Someone who is pursuing hard after God can fuel the fire in the hearts of those around him or her. Unfortunately, it works the other way as well. A Christian who is stagnant and not diligently pursuing God can tame the fire in the heart of a fellow believer. Even something like spreading gossip can have a destructive impact and actually hinder their walk with the Lord. So ask yourself; what kind of influence I am having on the Christian’s around me? Do they see someone who is growing more in love with Christ? Or am I being a tool of Satan and leading them further away from Jesus?
From a practical standpoint, how does this work? How do we point one another to Christ? How can we act as a catalyst for growth in the life of a fellow Christian? Well, I think it starts by simply checking in from time to time. Ask – how is your walk with the Lord? Are you staying in the Word? Are you experiencing victory over sin in your life? Are you growing in your prayer life? How are you applying the gospel to your life?
I realize this is hard because we live in such a privatized world where we never feel the right to ask those kinds of personal questions, but what it comes down to is a matter of “care.” The greatest thing in all the world is knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8, John 17:3) and I want to be able to say that I did my best to help the Christians around me to follow Jesus. Ignoring a brother or sister in Christ is not a way to show love and support. Sometimes this even involves a gentle challenge. Hey brother, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been in church for some time – everything all right?” That kind of thing can be hard, but sometimes it’s needed.
Friend, are you helping other Christian’s follow Jesus? What’s neat is that as you help them to follow Jesus, they can help other people follow Jesus. Disciples making disciples. This was the Master’s plan all along. It is true that sometimes this process does not move along as fast as ‘we’ would like, but the plan has worked marvelously for 2000 years, so why change it? Just do your best to help others follow Jesus and then trust “the Lord of the harvest” (Luke 10:2) to do His good work.