Not "The Great Suggestion"
Before Jesus left this earth, He gave marching orders to His disciples. It was a simple, clear directive to “make disciples.” (Matthew 28:18-20). It’s worth noting that this command is the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion. Jesus didn’t suggest we make disciples, He commanded it! He also made clear that this command is for all Believers, not just a select group of His followers. This command is directed to us, as His disciples.
Chances are that you’ve heard this before, but how seriously do you take it? Maybe you haven’t thought much about it, or didn’t think Jesus was talking to you, or you just shrugged it off. But Jesus expects His disciples to make more disciples. And, He tells us exactly how to do that by going, baptizing and teaching. He even equips and empowers us each step of the way! (Acts 1:8)
“Going” may involve taking a mission trip to another country, which every Believer should do; but it can also mean “as you are going” about your day, everyday! “Baptizing” is the act of bringing people into the family of Believers. It is an important symbol of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord and it identifies us with Him. “Teaching” involves helping others be transformed into fully devoted followers of Christ. Obedience is the aim of teaching, not knowledge. A lot of people “know” what Jesus taught; they just don’t follow it! Making disciples involves helping others to be transformed into fully devoted followers of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
So how did Jesus teach us to make disciples? Jesus teaches us to make disciples by being salt and light.
Salt was a vital resource in the first century. In fact, Romans soldiers were often paid their wages in salt, which is where we get the phrase, “He’s not worth his salt!” Jesus expects us to be worth our salt… to make an impression and leave a mark for Him!
When Jesus finished up teaching about discipleship in Luke 14, He concluded with this statement… 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.”
Being salt is living what we believe. Jesus wants us to understand how valuable we are and that we can make a difference. Salt is a difference maker! If you put a little salt in a glass of water, it transforms that entire glass of water. If you put salt on food, it can dramatically transform that food. Just as salt transforms, faithful disciples can transform the world we live in!
How can you be a transforming influence where you live, in the situations you find yourself in, in the company you keep? Are you salt or have you lost your saltiness, making no difference for Christ’s sake? Salt is a difference maker; salt transforms.
Salt also inspires thirst! Have you ever had a big bag of popcorn at the movies? If so, you needed a huge soda to wash it down! When we live Christ-honoring lives, we can inspire thirst for Christ in others. People who don’t yet believe will look at you and see something different about you, something that makes them thirst for more. It can be the way you handle a difficult circumstance, the way you process loss, the way you respond to a hostility, the way you parent your children, or the way you act even when you are enduring hardship. That can and will inspire others and cause them to thirst for what you have in Christ.
Being salt is living what we believe. Being light is proclaiming what we believe.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.
Proclaiming doesn’t mean cramming the gospel down someone’s throat. (2 Timothy 2:24-25). It involves sharing it in a way that is inspiring and attractive with the way you live your life, carefully looking for an opportunity to share your faith. (Romans 10:14).
A preacher should share the gospel from the pulpit; but even more effective may be all Believers living it and proclaiming it as salt and light in our world. Here are some practical steps we can take to make disciples:
Open your eyes to lost people in your sphere of influence.
Meet them where they are.
Listen, and be a friend to them.
Share how God is at work in your life, including biblical truths.
Invite them to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Study God’s Word with them and invite them to church!
For much more, click here to listen to Follow Me: Becoming a Disciple of Jesus - Part 8.