‘SAVED’ anew and in a mighty hurry to get going. We study the Word and the doctrines of the faith. We study the issues that divide and pick our side – Calvinism or Arminianism? We listen to youtube preachers and carefully sieve out who is true to the Word and who is not. Once discerned, we follow our guy on social media and gather more knowledge. Then we go to church and start dissecting each word of the Pastor according to our new-found knowledge. Hmm…they really don’t measure up, do they? It is only the thought of gratitude of being saved that keeps you from bashing the sermon as soon as you walk out of the service. You remember the time before “salvation” when you just let out your opinion without any reservation to anyone who would lend a sympathetic ear. At least now, you will keep your mouth shut, but in your heart, feel so elevated because now you know better than everybody else. Your heart gives a joyful leap at your new wisdom compared to the stupidity of the rest. And because you need to feel charitable, you feel pity for their ignorance and their obvious “un-saved” status. No wonder Billy Graham advised new believers to ‘take time’ before launching out.
But we want to make disciples.
Here is some good advise from Oswald Chambers –
Don’t get impatient, remember how God dealt with you – with patience and with gentleness; but never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said,”Go and make disciples,” not “make converts to your opinion.”
So what are we to do? We have to learn to stay put until we realize with all our hearts and minds, that we had no contribution in our salvation. It was the work of God. He called, we answered. He justified and we were saved for all eternity. The Holy Spirit works in us to perfect us into the image of Christ. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to do this work. We interrupt this work when we try to push our own way – maybe out of pride, maybe out of our zeal, nevertheless, we want our ideas to take precedence. The indwelling Holy Spirit is grieved. But through this cycle of error and repentance, God works in us to fulfill His purpose.
Finally we see the faint light of where He is leading us. A huge sigh of relief as we realize God did not forget us nor ignore us. But was slowly molding us according to the vessel that He wanted to use for His glory. He knows when we are ready. He knows when our ego is subdued through the trials that He allowed us to go through. He knows when we have surrendered our will 100%. He knows when Christ is glorified in us. Now we ‘go make disciples’ and bear much fruit.
When we go out, what is our prime concern – it’s not to get others to believe this doctrine and that theory. It’s not to get others to believe the Bible. But we are to project Jesus – who is revealed in the Bible. Our opinions are not important, but rather, do we project Jesus? If we are upheld by the Spirit of God and we have glorified Christ in our lives, it is natural that we project Jesus. And what happens then :
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” – Psalms 51:13
Converted – not saved. We can never think for a moment that we have any part in the “saving” of a soul. That belongs to God and God alone. Our job is :
“To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” – Acts 26:18
Conversion is not regeneration. Most of us “Christians” are converted. We see the light. But we have not received anything from God. A “born-again” person knows when he or she has received something from God. That persons knows it is wholly from God. It is a total spiritual experience. It cannot be learned or understood by reading the Bible. According to Oswald Chambers, salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, viz., remission of sins.
So now we know our job when Jesus told us “Go and make disciples.” How?
We do need knowledge of the Word and we do need to learn how to defend our faith to unbelievers. We also need humility to be able to understand and respect the other person’s faith in his own religion.
Ravi Zacharias has given a wonderful illustration – If you attack another person’s faith, there will be no possibility for you to introduce Jesus to that person. He would have already shut-down. Its like if you cut off a person’s nose, there is no point offering him a rose to smell.
What are the occupational hazards of making disciples?
We love spiritual success.
Jesus told us not to rejoice at spiritual success (Luke 10:22) but this is what we do. We forget that God’s foundation of grace has been laid, and grace has made it possible for us to convert hearts. He made it possible. It is God who justifies and sanctifies. One saved life is more valuable that a hundred converted. So we nourish the sheep in the knowledge of the Lord in total obedience to Christ.
Bonhoeffer says the road to faith begins with this real and tangible step of obedience. In other words, being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t mean simply agreeing with Jesus or even heading in the same general direction as Jesus. It’s sort of like this: You can agree smoking is hazardous to your health, but it means nothing until you stop smoking.
Let’s go and make disciples – not by asking them to sign a contract to agree in principle. But by asking them to die.
Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.