Making Disciples

“And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:25–26, NASB95)

Consider the following quote from author Bill Hull,

“Discipleship isn’t a program or an event; it’s a way of life. It’s not for a limited time, but for our whole life. Discipleship isn’t for beginners alone; it’s for all believers for every day of their life. Discipleship isn’t just one of the things the church does; it is what the church does.” ―Bill Hull

Discipleship is a way of life; if you are not spiritually growing, you are in danger of apathy and compromise. Many people believe that once they cross over from death to life, they are good, but that is not true. Walking into a church and sitting through a sermon doesn’t equal discipleship. Discipleship is the process of a continual transformation of being conformed into the image of Jesus through personal instruction. While Sunday attendance is important, it does not provide the personal challenges that discipleship provides.

It is important to note that many people were coming to faith in Antioch; these same people needed spiritual training. Barnabas knew the task was overwhelming for one person, so he went to Tarsus and retrieved Saul to come and help. Saul had spent ten years in Tarsus doing the work of evangelism and discipleship, and he was perfect for the job. The discipleship team of Barnabas and Saul would spend the next year teaching new believers and making disciples who, in turn, would make disciples.

What does a disciple look like? People that look like Jesus. Jesus made disciples by living with the twelve for three years and doing life together. Barnabas and Saul would spend a year in Antioch using that same method of making disciples. They gathered the new believers together in order to teach them the same principles that they had learned and then released them to teach others. Saul learned from Jesus, and Barnabas learned from the original twelve apostles in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem believers met daily for teaching and prayer, and now they are in Antioch teaching new believers.

The church that focuses on discipleship as their core purpose will be a thriving church. The church that has forgotten the command of Jesus to make disciples is a dying church.

Who are you teaching, and who is teaching you? A.W. Tozer once said, “Only a disciple can make a disciple.” Let’s go and make disciples.

In His Service,
Pastor Cary

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