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The Commission that God gave us is to make disciples not just converts

Posted by KOJ RESOURCE CENTRE on August 9, 2011

Article on Discipleship from Andrew Wommack

Dear Friends,

You  can’t  fix something without knowing the problem. You can’t treat a sickness if you don’t  know  the cause. You can’t solve your financial woes if you don’t know where your money is going.

Yet  Christians are hoping and praying for change in their personal lives and in society without  dealing  with  the  real problem. Most don’t even know what the problem is. So, what’s the bottom line? Why aren’t we and this world being transformed by the Gospel, as the Lord would have it be?

It’s  because God’s Word is THE seed that He uses to release His life into our lives and world,  and  the vast majority of Christians are not planting God’s Word in their hearts and  protecting  it. I dealt with this problem in last month’s magazine and have covered it   extensively  in  my  new  book,  released  October  1,  called  Effortless  Change. Here’s  the solution: The church must obey Jesus’ command to make disciples and not just converts.

“Go  then  and  make  disciples  of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, Amplified Bible).

Notice  that  Jesus  didn’t tell us to just make converts; He told us to make disciples. That  is  a huge difference. Jesus said a disciple is a person who continues in His Word until he or she is free.

“Then  said  Jesus  to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are  ye  my  disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

This isn’t what Christianity as a whole has been doing. The emphasis has been on getting people  to  pray  a  prayer so they won’t go to hell. That’s been the goal of nearly all “Christian evangelism.”

So,  what’s  wrong  with that? Don’t we want people to be born again so they won’t spend eternity  in  hell? Of course we do. But that’s not what the Lord told us to do. He told us to make disciples, and making disciples is the most effective way to evangelise.

Most Christians disconnect right there. They think evangelism is the first step and then discipleship  follows.  That’s why we see mass evangelistic crusades. If there is follow up,  it  is usually an afterthought that is watered down at best. The real goal has been

to get people born again.

But  that  wasn’t  Jesus’  method.  Jesus  reached out to sinners, not just saints (Mark 2:17).  He  taught  them  of  God’s  love  and demonstrated  it through the miracles He performed.  He  taught  sinners  how the kingdom of God worked, without giving an “altar call.”

Jesus  had  a rich young ruler come to Him and display a passion that would have granted him  acceptance into nearly any church today. Yet Jesus said he couldn’t receive eternal life without total commitment (Mark 10:17-27). The young ruler went away sad.

There  was  a  multitude  that believed on Jesus in Jerusalem, but Jesus wouldn’t commit Himself  to them, because they weren’t ready (John 2:23-25). Others believed on Him, but He told them they wouldn’t be free unless they continued in His Word (John 8:31-32).

This  offended  those  who  believed  on  Jesus  (John  8:33),  just  as it offends many “Christians”  today  to  say  that simply acknowledging Jesus isn’t enough. The Jews who believed  on  Jesus said they had always been free and were never in bondage to anyone. This  is laughable when you consider that the whole Jewish nation was being dominated by the  Romans  at that time and that each individual was being personally oppressed by sin and  the  devil (John 8:34). Yet they maintained their “freedom,” just as many religious people do today, despite their obvious bondage to sin and the world.

Jesus went on to reveal to these “believers” (John 8:31) that they were relying on their nationality and human effort instead of trusting Him. Jesus then proceeded to say things that  offended  them  even more (John 8:34-43). This culminated in Jesus telling them in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil.”

What  a statement! We need to remember that this was spoken to those who believed on Him (John  8:31). How would this go over today? I don’t believe Jesus would last as long now as  He  did  then. Our religious culture would have crucified Him much sooner than three years.

Most  “Christians” are so politically correct, trying not to offend, that they avoid any conflict  with  society’s  standards. They want people to just pray a prayer and receive Jesus as their Saviour, and then they hope these converts continue on with the Lord. But

to them, those are separate issues.

I remember ministering in India in the early 1980s. I had heard the reports of thousands accepting  the  Lord at huge gatherings, and I was excited to see that happen with me. I admit  that  I  didn’t  have  huge  crowds of hundreds of thousands, but I ministered to crowds  approaching  1,000. I should have seen hundreds accept the Lord. But that wasn’t my experience, and it really bothered me.

On  my plane ride home, a well-known minister sat next to me. He had been in India for a month  and  had hundreds of thousands “accept the Lord.” I was very curious as to how he did  this, so I started asking questions without telling him why I was asking. One of my questions  was,  “Did you tell them Jesus was the only way, truth, and life (John 14:6)? Did you have them commit themselves to Jesus as the only true God?”

I  asked this because I had actually taken a picture of an idol with three deities – one was  Hare  Krishna, one was Buddha, and right there in the middle was a statue of Jesus. You  see,  the  Indians  believe  in  350 million gods. They will easily accept Jesus as

another god just to cover all the bases. But that’s not true salvation.

This  minister  responded,  “Oh, no, I didn’t do that. The Lord gave me great wisdom and told  me  just  to  introduce  them  to Him and then He would straighten all of that out later.” He was out to make converts, not disciples. That’s wrong.

It’s  true  that  Philip  ministered to the Ethiopian eunuch, and then the Spirit of the Lord  caught  him  away  without  an  opportunity  for  Philip to disciple the man (Acts 8:27-39).  That  does  happen,  but that was the exception and not the rule. Today it

is reversed.  All  the emphasis is on getting people saved, and then they may or may not be discipled.  But  if  we  were to put the emphasis on discipleship, evangelism would be a necessary part of that process.

A  friend  of  mine  put  this into practice. He knocked on doors, and instead of asking people if they were saved, he asked if they needed any help from the Lord in any area of their  lives.  People  would  mention their marriage problems or sicknesses or financial problems,  and he would just start teaching them the solution to their problems from the Word of God.

Inevitably,  they  would  come  to  a  place where they couldn’t comply with the Bible’s instructions. That’s because the Christian life isn’t just hard to live; it’s impossible to live in one’s own strength.

For instance, as my friend instructed this one man about loving his wife as Christ loved the  church  (Ephesians  5:25), the man said he couldn’t do it. My friend confirmed that was  true  if  he only did it in his own power, but my friend showed him how he could be born again,  and  then  that supernatural love of Jesus would be in him. You can’t give what  you  don’t  have, so this man needed to receive God’s love for him before he could give that love to his wife. This led to his salvation and totally transformed life.

The  forgiveness of sins is an indispensable part of discipleship. However, it’s not the only  goal,  and  it  is not the end. Without intending to do so, the church’s method of evangelism  has  hindered  the  discipleship  of  converts.  The forgiveness of sins and escaping hell  have  been  the goal of “evangelism.” Once people obtain that goal, they lose  their  motivation  to go any further. They got what they wanted. This shows in the low  percentage  of  people  who,  after professing Christianity, continue to pursue the

Lord.

If  discipleship  was  the  goal,  then  people  would  have to be born again to be true disciples,  but  they  wouldn’t stop there. They would continue in God’s Word until they were  free and able to set others free too. They would become powerful witnesses for the Lord, something that is too often missing in those who claim Christianity.

Think  of  this:  If one man made 1,000 converts per year, then after thirty-five years, there  would  be  35,000  converts. Even though that would be exceptional, that wouldn’t even impact one large city. If the same man was to disciple one person every six months, who  in turn would do the same, that one person would begin a process of multiplication that  would produce over one billion disciples in just fifteen years. I know that sounds impossible, but do the maths – it’s a fact. Evangelism through discipleship is much more productive than evangelism alone.

This  has  been  on  my  heart  for  over  forty  years. The Lord instructed me from the beginning  of  my  ministry  to teach, not just preach or evangelise. That’s why I teach topically  in  series.  It’s the reason I founded Charis Bible College and its extension schools  and  developed  the  correspondence courses and online instruction. This is the command    the    Lord    gave    not    only    to    me    but    to    all   of   us: “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” (2 Timothy 2:2).

I  recently saw an interview with an ex-Muslim terrorist. He came to America to practice “cultural  jihad,”  but  was  converted  to Christianity. What he revealed about the war being waged was scary. It made me pray, “Lord, what can I do about this?” The Lord spoke to  me, “You are already doing something about this. The greatest defence against a lie is the truth. And you are sharing My truth with people all over the world. The Gospel is the greatest weapon in this war.”

This  lit  a new fire in me for discipleship. I firmly believe this is what the Lord has raised  this  ministry up to do. We are to take a lead in making disciples, and our most effective way of doing that is through Charis Bible College.

The  Lord  spoke to me last year that we needed to plan for growth. Then He miraculously provided  property  that  will  allow  us  to  build a first-rate campus large enough to accommodate  thousands.  There,  we  will  train  disciples  to go into all the world. I believe  we  will  have  thousands  in  our  Colorado  facility and thousands more being discipled through our other avenues.

This  is  what I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to. I’m going to put a new emphasis on discipleship,  and  I’ll  organize all the truths the Lord has taught me into topics and formats that will facilitate discipleship evangelism. I ask you to join me.

I  have a brand-new teaching on this that will make these points much more strongly than I’ve  been  able  to  in this letter. In addition, I have a package of tested and proven discipleship tools called The Discipleship Evangelism Package that I am making available to  you  at a special price. I encourage you to get these and let these truths enlighten you and motivate you to become a true disciple who can disciple others.

We  have hundreds of thousands of people going through these discipleship materials all over  the world, and they are experiencing miraculous results. These resources will work for  you  too.  The  discipleship guides will enable you to start making disciples right away.

We love you,

Andrew & Jamie

 

 

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