Hope you had a merry Christmas. I wish you all a happy New Year! Here's the conclusion to the making disciples series. Hope you enjoyed it.
5. Discipleship involves teaching God’s Word for the purpose of obedience out of love
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
The teaching of God’s Word was for the purpose of obedience which is to be motivated and driven by love for God. What good is sound doctrine if it is not acted out? God wanted His people (Hebrews in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament) to love Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength and love their neighbor as themselves. This guided everything Jesus did and taught. Loving God and others is at the center of what the Bible teaches. Everything hinges on this command. The principles Jesus used for making disciples focused on getting others to love God and neighbor. This love for God and neighbor led to obedience.
How do we implement this principle in our churches? A proper understanding of what the motivation behind our obedience to God should be is required. Here are several passages that could help with this.
§ Studying the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is a great starting point for understanding why God wants us to love Him with our hearts. This sermon of Jesus focuses on the heart (which is where action comes from).
§ Studying the Greek word for love (Agape) is another tool that can teach us about how God wants us to love Him. Tracing the use of this word through the Scriptures gives a great picture of how our love for God should look.
Another great way to implement this principle is by making sure our teaching in the church focuses on action and practical application. If we are just learning cognitively about God’s Word and not putting any of it into practice our faith is dead (James 2:17). The teachings and curriculums used in our churches might need to be evaluated for content and application. Do we offer ways to put into practice God’s Word? If not, we are not teaching in the way the Great Commission asks us to.
By studying Scripture to uncover principles rather than methodology we can successfully continue making disciples. The principles for disciple-making teach us there is no “cookie cutter” pattern for making disciples. God uses various ways to disciple us all. We must be careful not to make discipleship practices so dogmatic that we box ourselves in. Discipleship is not limited to the five principles I have highlighted from the Great Commission. Scripture offers many more principles to be found beyond what we have discovered in the Great Commission, but all contribute to its fulfillment.