“A MILD CASE OF CHRISTIANITY” by Rev. Tim Purcell
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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 (NIV)
I am becoming increasingly convinced that if we are really going to change the makeup of eternity we are going to have to make disciple-making a higher priority. We are busier than ever, but it seems that we are making more religious consumers than we are disciples. The Great Commission, in too many cases, has become The Great Omission.
Perhaps part of the problem is that we haven’t really taken the time to define what a disciples is. What does a disciple look like? What is it, exactly, that we are trying make?
I’ve been wrestling with that just a bit, so I searched the Gospels to see how Jesus defines discipleship (what Jesus says is always a good place to start). In fact, I wrote a sermon on the subject that I have preached in a number of our churches over the past few months. What I saw was:
- A disciple is a learner, Matthew 11:29. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Author, Preston Sprinkle says, “Discipleship is more than learning, but it isn’t less.” In Matthew 22, Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.
- A disciple is a follower, Mark 2:14. The word follow sounds pretty harmless but, as Chris Hodges said, “When you follow someone you give up control of where you are going.”
- A disciple lives in genuine community, John 13:34-35. Jesus said that people would know that we are disciples by how we love one another. The interesting thing about discipleship is that you can’t become a disciple in isolation. Shaking hands during the Sunday morning greeting time won’t get the job done; to beCOME disciples we need deep, authentic relationships.
A disciple is a reproducer, John 15:8. Fruit is one of the key marks of discipleship. Discipleship is as much about mission as it is about morality. Being a disciple isn’t just about becoming a better person; disciples are on mission.
Author Chad Walsh said this: “I suspect that Satan has called off his attempt to convert people to agnosticism. After all, if a man travels far enough away from Christianity, he is liable to see it in perspective and decide that it is true. It is much safer, from Satan’s point of view, to vaccinate a man with a mild case of Christianity so as to protect him from the real disease.”
May we never be satisfied with vaccinating people with a mild case of Christianity. May we always be driven to make disciples who learn, follow, love and reproduce.