Today’s Christians fail miserably at making disciples
One thing that Christians fail miserably at is in the area of discipleship. They fail to disciple new Christians. They probably “drop the ball” because they were never discipled themselves. When you disciple someone, you take them under your wing and show them how to live a Christian life. You don’t teach them. You show them. The byproduct of accompaniment is they inherently learn. In a sense, you don’t become their teacher. You become their example. If Christians are to be discipled, this is a very necessary element to their spiritual growth. Otherwise, you have a bunch of heady, “high minded” spiritual children filling the shoes of a battle hardened veteran. Children acting like adults, are not adults.
A soul winning church that does not make disciples, ends up like the first Jerusalem church. They stay at home and don’t go out to do anything. Only 1% of Christians today make even one disciple. Why is it that we are dragging our feet in this area? I believe it is because churches are not aware of the importance of discipleship. As you look at most churches, their entire discipleship program is contained in a series of 10 or 12 targeted sermons. A new convert is taught that once they have gone through the classes, that they have been discipled. Unfortunately, a ten step program of discipleship will not do it. It really takes a lifetime. Nor does going through a little booklet make person a disciple of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
The first thing that needs to be done to make a disciple is to take them into your house and treat them like a son or daughter. This means that you need to be willing to take someone under your wing and let them see who you are. They need to be close to you. They need to see your life. They need to see how you live it for Christ. You have to give people your time.
There is nothing more important than to disciple someone. Jesus’ disciples were always with him. They went every where He went. He invested His life into them. We need to deposit our life into those whom we disciple.
2 Timothy 2:3 says, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Some of our soldiers are pitiful. Some can’t even show up on time. Others fail to be faithful in giving, praying, or even attending church. When you lose the discipline to be a soldier of Jesus Christ, then your morale fail. The army becomes an undisciplined group of “rag-tag” individuals with low morale. It fails to work as a unit.
Young converts are watching you to see how to live the Christian life and they will emulate whom they watch. We certainly don’t want them to be anemic, misfit soldiers. We want to teach young men and women of God to be soldiers of the Lord. We want them to work as an effective unit. There is no other way to build them into a formidable unit than to multiply ourselves into them; to disciple them. We have to turn them into soldiers. The kind that are not intimidated by every wind of doctrine, trial or challenge that comes their way.
I am reminded of a story that I read in Memoirs of a twentieth century circuit riding preacher, by Peter Ruckman. There was a group out street preaching one evening and with them was a 17 year old girl. As the preachers preached from the back of a pickup truck, she was standing on the sidewalk passing out tracts and witnessing. Along came a biker whom she confronted with the gospel. He got so mad at her that he pulled out a switchblade and put it to her throat saying, “If you say one more thing to me about God, I’m going to kill you.” She stepped back about 6″ and put a tract on the end of his blade saying, “Here read this then.” Now that is the kind of soldier who is not ashamed of Jesus Christ. Where are the Christians like that today? They are not found because they have not been discipled.
2 Timothy 2:4 says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
Christians need to be careful to not get entangled with the things of the world. If we are entangled in things, then we cant please Him. It is almost impossible to function when we are bound up in other things. Too many Christians are all tangled up looking for their calling. Others are looking for a church or God that will “fit them” and their personality. It used to be that Christians went “church hopping” looking for a church that fit them. Nowadays people go “religion hopping” to see which one allows them the most latitude to do the things they want to do. Friends, God has already chosen the place for us. It is the place where we are to be discipled into a mature Christian. We are not to waste time getting all tangled up in denominational, religious, church webs. Satan has woven them to entrap you so that you will be an ineffective soldier.
2 Timothy 2:5 says, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
Disciples need to be taught how to strive for masteries. This is lacking in today’s Christians because they were never taught how to do this themselves. Everybody waits for the pastors or deacons to do everything. They conclude, “God has given them something to strive at, but He hasn’t given me anything.” You cannot achieve if you don’t accomplish, and you can never accomplish anything if you are not involved in doing something. Every member of a church should have some kind of job to do. There are certainly many things to do. All you have to do is look around. If you don’t see anything, then ask. I am sure you will find something if you diligently look for it.
When Christians go out into the world to stand by themselves, no one will be there to teach them the discipline that a Christian needs to live by. The discipline has gone out of the window in today’s churches. Christian children are addicted. If you want to see how much, just take their electronics away and see how they react. When Christians go to the field, they have to have initiative. They have to know how to make their own decisions for living a Christian life. Can he/she operate as a Christian by themselves? Can your child operate as a Christian by themselves? We need to teach them Christian discipline so they can strive lawfully.
2 Timothy 2:6 says, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.”
Discipled Christians need to be hard working people. They will never learn to do this if you are not. Farmers are hard working people. They have many trials to overcome. They have to work at it because they just can’t leave the job for someone else. There is no one else who can take their trials from them.
Christians today are too overprotected of their children in today’s anemic church. Children are not even allowed to go through any pain, get sick or even break a bone. Listen! If they are going to survive in the world, they need to learn how to go through a little hardness. We make anemic Christians by protecting them too much. They need to learn how to farm. Children of today have smooth skin. They lack the hard skin that comes from endless blisters and callous’. All they have to do is push buttons and run to mommy and daddy at every little whim so they can get a little attention. They don’t know how to bear a little hardship because they have never been taught to do so.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
You have to teach them that they need to be approved unto GOD. Too many people today want to be approved by people. They thrive on reward and building of ego. If they don’t get approval (positive reinforcement) then their life is shattered. Why? Because they were taught to be this way by the older generation of Christians whom they observed. They need to learn how to learn from God on their own. They need to know what it is to have their own quiet time. They need to learn how to interpret the Bible on their own.
When I was a boy living at home, I would ask my dad, “What’s the meaning of this word…?” He always responded, “What did the dictionary say?” He was teaching me how to look up the meaning of words on my own. Likewise, we have to teach younger Christians how to use the Bible themselves.
2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
Disciples need to learn how to be a vessel unto honor. They need to know how to work and do things. You need to teach them things that you know. You never know who you would be training. You never know what they will do when they grow up. They need to be prepared unto every good work. They need to know how to be meet or prepared for the masters use. You don’t know how the master will use them. It may be in construction, it may be in preaching. He has a plan and it is not to put spiritual children into positions that require spiritual adults.
The only way that a Christian will learn how to walk in the shoes of a Christian warrior is to be discipled. That is to say, to walk with them and see how to do it. This is what making disciples is all about!