The last of the Points to Ponder we have been sharing with our mission trip teams this summer:
Have you ever wondered how we could win the world to Christ in our lifetime?
The Great Commission, that command Jesus gave all his disciples to do while He was gone, boils down to this: make disciples. Tragically, we get distracted with programs and organizations and structures and almost anything other than making disciples like Jesus said to do. Making disciples, according to what Jesus said, very simply amounts to teaching them to obey everything He commanded.
Teaching everything Jesus commanded includes teaching disciples to make other disciples. That was one of His commands; therefore, a disciple, by definition, is one who makes other Christ-followers. Jesus spent His public ministry, first and foremost, raising up a group of followers and telling them to do the same. This is because He knows the power of multiplication.
Guess what would happen if just one follower of Christ, in the next year, raised up one new follower and taught him also to make one new disciple each year? On down the line, every new disciple makes one new disciple a year and each new one is taught to do the same. Get the picture? At the end of the first year, you have two followers of Jesus, at the end of the second year you have four since they each made one new disciple, and so on down the line. If things continued this way with no break in the chain of multiplication, the entire population of the world would be following Jesus in 34 years. (And that’s accounting for a lot of population growth.) Amazing!
And, by the way, this year if all people who call themselves followers of Jesus each made one new disciple and taught them to do the same, in four years the entire world would be won to Christ. Four years! That’s the power of multiplication.
When we look at the needs around us and the fact that over 2.5 billion people have no self-sufficient church among them capable of making disciples of the rest of their people group, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. We either get discouraged and do nothing, or we try and do everything, figuring, “It’s up to me to win the whole world”. Neither response is healthy or productive. The second response is the one that runs many professional clergymen into the ground as they try and build gigantic organizations and programs that will somehow turn the tide of lostness. The best action would be for us all to start obeying Jesus and disciple a few people around us as followers of Christ. This should be our first and most important work. If believers everywhere would only take this to heart, we would take territory from the kingdom of darkness on a scale rarely, if ever, witnessed before in human history.
So how about you? Will you take to heart the command to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded? Or did Jesus just give that command to special people not like you?