Published by Jason Taylor on Wed, 2 Aug 2017 07:57

Jesus, in the Great Commission, told his followers to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20.

To recap then, we are supposed to help other people to become more like Jesus (that’s what the term disciple means), we are also to baptise them and teach them the scriptures; oh, and I missed a bit off the verses above – Jesus further promised that he would, “be with you always, to the very end of the age.” So as we carry out the Great Commission we are to be comforted and encouraged by the presence of Christ. As the now famous car insurance adverts end, “Simples!”.

Our primary focus then should be to help others become more like Jesus and, implicitly here (but explicitly elsewhere), we must ourselves become more like him; indeed this personal transformation is arguably the most effective way of guiding others in The Way.

I remember many years ago hearing a well known preacher say “If we all stopped learning new things about Christianity today and spent the rest of our lives just applying what we already know, it would take us a lifetime to complete”. Discipleship is just that – a lifelong process of applying the teaching of Jesus, the living word, as well as what we find in the bible, the written word, to our lives and the lives of others. And it is as we focus our lives on Jesus that we find ourselves transformed or to use a phrase more recognisable to most Christians ‘saved’.

In the Early Church, to become a Christian you had to spend years learning scripture and doctrine before you were baptised and admitted to membership of the church. You did the Catechism or a version of it. 

In what has been termed the ‘Great Omission’ the modern church will gladly say “the sinners prayer” with anyone who is willing and assume that they are saved and there is no more to do. The result is ignorant and weak Christians with an immature faith; of course they are ‘saved’ but their lack of discipleship hinders them in their walk with God and prevents them reaching their full potential in the Kingdom of God. Instead of teaching these new converts about Jesus and helping them to conform their lives to his, we indoctrinate them in the ways of the church. We make them more like us not more like Jesus. Jesus has been subverted out of his own religion!

It’s time to reverse the trend. In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole says this:

“we want to to lower the bar on how church is done and raise the bar on what it means to be a disciple”

If Church is simple enough that everyone can do it and is made up of people who take up their cross and follow Jesus at any cost, the result will be church that empowers the common Christian to do the uncommon works of God. 

Categories Rector's Blog