Courage for life Blog

Help Others Follow Jesus

May 16, 2023

Have you ever heard these words, “You have an assignment to complete”? Depending on who said these words to you – a work supervisor, a course instructor, a family member – could determine not only how you received them but also your level of engagement. When an assignment comes with clear instructions, realistic expectations, and continual support, the possibility of your engagement most likely increases.

If you are a follower of Jesus, did you know Jesus has given you an assignment to complete? Jesus has commissioned you to serve as His ambassador to the world and to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But, with this assignment to make disciples, Jesus provides clear instructions, realistic expectations, and continual support.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus declares that this assignment “to make disciples” is empowered by His authority and presence and the Holy Spirit’s power and work. Jesus has “all authority in heaven and on earth,” meaning His power covers all realms and is over all persons and things. Jesus’ authority “has been given” to Him, referring to an action in the past in which God, the Father, gave Jesus this authority to grant individuals identification with God, Himself – “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” – and all that God’s name stands for. When individuals embrace a relationship with God through Jesus, this marks the beginning of a life of learning and teaching – “teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” But no disciples of Jesus are ever alone in this assignment – they have Jesus’ presence. And, no “new” disciples are expected to have their obedience perfected already – they have the Holy Spirit as a guide to their learning and obedience. This assignment, “to make disciples,” includes purposeful engagement, unashamed identification, and life-long learning and teaching.

But just to be transparent, Jesus also explained that His disciples would face difficulties in this world if they chose to fulfill His mission of making disciples (reference John 16:1-4). However, while completing this assignment, Jesus expected His disciples to love one another. In fact, Jesus commanded them to love one another.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35

Jesus also explained that the world would hate them for following Him. They needed to be prepared for persecution when they tried to fulfill their assignment (reference John 15:18-25).

But have no fear; this assignment comes with help. In John 15:26-27, Jesus describes how He would support His disciples. Jesus would send a parakletos (Greek word). Depending on the translation of the Bible you are reading, this one Greek word, parakletos, has been translated as helper, advocate, counselor, comforter, and companion – it is God, the Holy Spirit, who comes from God, the Father, to partner in the work of making disciples and provide the truth to present who Jesus is. The Holy Spirit also comes to convict the world of sin and righteousness while serving as a guide for Jesus’ disciples to discern truth, resulting in Jesus receiving the glory due Him (reference John 16:7-14).

In conclusion, Jesus gave all those who believe in Him (you and me) an assignment to make disciples wherever they go. However, Jesus prepared us for how the world would treat us and promised us the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of presenting Jesus, convicting the world, guiding us in all truth, and glorifying Jesus through our participation.

What does making disciples look like?

A biblical example of making disciples is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. Paul, Silas, and Timothy have already encountered Jesus, believed in Him, and now are seeking to fulfill their assignment to make disciples. These three men travel to the people in Macedonia and Achaia to share who Jesus is and what Jesus has done to reconcile them to God. These people, the Thessalonians, believe the “Good News” of the gospel for the Holy Spirit gave them full assurance that what Paul, Silas, and Timothy said was true and convicted them to receive the gospel with joy from the Holy Spirit (reference 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6).

Paul, Silas, and Timothy are purposefully engaging in Jesus’ mission wherever they go. They unashamedly identify themselves as believers in Jesus and share the gospel with the Thessalonians. The result is the Holy Spirit convinces the Thessalonians of the truth of the gospel. They believe despite the severe suffering it brought them and have become an example to all the believers in the entire region and beyond. They are learning and teaching others – “now the word of the Lord is ringing out from [them] to people everywhere.” They are imitating Jesus and serving the true and living God (reference 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9).

What are some actions of disciple makers?

1 Thessalonians 2 provides some actions that Paul, Silas, and Timothy took when making disciples.

Disciplemakers …

  • speak the gospel with courage and boldness.
  • share the gospel with others out of pure motives.
  • seek approval from God, not people.
  • allow God to examine their motives.
  • prove to be gentle and caring, a characteristic of Jesus’ heart (reference Matthew 11:29).
  • demonstrate genuine affection for others (like a mother would her children).
  • work continually, day and night.
  • behave uprightly and blamelessly.
  • live rightly before God and others.
  • encourage others to obey God.
  • correct others (like a good father would do for his children).
  • learn God’s Word and live in obedience to God, worthy of His mission.

Disciplemakers do not …

  • Seek to please people.
  • Use flattery speech.
  • Have greed as their motive.
  • Seek the praise of people.
  • Assert their own authority.
  • Labor for God in vain.
  • Ascribe or teach “another” gospel other than the one, true gospel of Jesus.

You have an assignment to complete – go make disciples! But you do not go alone, nor do you accomplish the work alone. Jesus’ authority, presence, and the Holy Spirit’s power and work actively support your engagement in His mission.

Watch the LIVE REPLAY to learn more about helping others follow Jesus. Join us LIVE every Monday at 3 p.m. ET for our Spiritual Growth Series and check back here on Tuesdays for the companion blog post.

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