Principles for making disciples
Now we will seek to elaborate further on these principles. The goal is to come up with practical ways these principles can be used to make our church effective in making disciples. Here again are the five principles for discipleship from the Great Commission.
- Discipleship involves God the Father, Son, and Spirit
- Discipleship involves the entire church working together
- Discipleship involves God’s people going to others
- Discipleship involves a growing relationship with Jesus
- Discipleship involves teaching God’s Word for the purpose of obedience out of love
1. Discipleship involves God the Father, Son, and Spirit
One cannot deny or forsake the role of God in the discipling process. After all, we are making disciples of Him. If it were not for the Father sending His Son to die for our sins we would be estranged from God. But God reconciled Himself to us so that we may know Him and walk with Him. God has sought to involve Himself in our lives (John 1:14). As His creation, we have the freedom to either reject or accept Him. Rejecting Him cuts us off from reality and hinders true freedom (John 6:53).
What does God do in our lives? God, through the Spirit working in our lives does several things:
- He gives us power to witness. This is evident in Acts 1 where the disciples are told to wait for the Spirit so they can receive power to be Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
- He makes us into new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. Sins are wiped away and believers are given a fresh start.
- He guides us into all truth. Jesus reminded His disciples in the Gospel of John that the Counselor (Holy Spirit) would guide and teach them. The Spirit is at work in the life of the new believer and their optimism is contagious. New Christians sometimes seem more open to God’s leading than older Christians.
- He gives us strength to resist evil. God’s Spirit enables us to say no to temptation and sin. His Spirit also does a deeper work too if we let Him. He eradicates our sinful nature allowing us to have a pure heart.