"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 the Son and Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age". (Matthew 28:18-20).
Hey Gang: In the last Gramps Morning Thoughts I mentioned my management style, which was to give as much responsibility to those with talents, so it would release me to do far greater things. It is a management style that Jesus used with the development of His disciples. Remember at the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus said to the disciples, "You feed them ". (Luke 14:16)
His command to us is “Go and make disciples” so that they can go and make disciples so that they can go and make disciples. Several months ago our pastor preached on building disciples and used a five step plan to complete the task. The first step requires initiative - you must find the right candidates. I can attest to the fact that this is most difficult part of the process.
"Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casing a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Come here after Me and I will make you fishes of men." (Matthew 4:18-19) Note: we see Jesus’ pattern in these two verses "Come", and "I will".
Step two is to develop or establish a clear pattern of life doctrines and ministry. In Matthew 5:1-2 we are told that Jesus, seeing the crowd, sat down and He began to teach them in what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. Later in 8:13 we note that Jesus’ teaching was active as well as verbal, He did something that was absolutely taboo - He touched and healed a leper! Hey gang, would you lay hands on an HIV infected believer? or for that matter non believer?
Step three - grant authority and give ministry opportunities. In Matthew 10:1-5 that is precisely what Jesus did. He called the disciples together and gave them their tool box of powers and then sent them on their way to test these new weapons. In Matthew 17 we note that the disciples blew it; they could not cast demons out of a man. Failure? No, need for more training? Yes. Jesus said it takes a prayer. Did they not pray? Probably. But how many know there are steps to growth in prayer? What I could not do yesterday, I can do today.
Step four - gracefully correct and recommit. An evangelist was asked what he does when he prays for someone and they die. His response, "I go to the next one". In Matthew 16:8-9 Jesus takes the disciples to task: "Don't you remember the miracle of the 4000, or 50000. O ye of little faith, why are you worrying about whether we have enough bread".
Soooo, good buddies, step five is repeat steps one through four until it becomes engrained in your head and heart. How quickly we sometimes turn our back when the process becomes burdensome. Jesus gives us the purpose for steps one through five in Matthew 28:19-20, "All authority is given to Me and I give it to You - so go!!!"