Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the disciples a command to go into all the nations and make disciples of men. He taught the disciples and was and still is an example that we should follow.
Jesus came to do the will of the Father. It was His objective to glorify the Father and follow His commands (Matthew 26:39, John 6:38, 10:30, 15:10). He lived a life of doing what He was sent to do. Jesus did not have a personal agenda. It was not His will but the will of the Father. However, today we are more concerned about our personal agenda rather than the agenda of God. We try to do good but not the things of God. It is important that we live a life of obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice. What does God expect from us? He expects obedience (Luke 11:28, John 15:14).
One of the commandments that God has given us is to make disciples. Discipleship is a key foundational ministry of the church. It is what is expected of us. Discipleship is teaching and guiding new believers in the way of righteousness. It is connected with the power of evangelism. Discipleship is teaching biblical precepts while modeling and guiding others to live righteously as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a priority. It is the responsibility of every believer to make more disciples. When we do this, we are being obedient to God.
What did Jesus do to satisfy God’s heart through obedience in relation to discipleship? What did He do with those who followed Him? There were four aspects of Jesus’ life that we can benefit from.
1) Jesus spent time with the Father.
Effective disciples understand that there is power in spending time alone with God. Often times, Jesus stepped away from the crowd and went to the secret place with the Father (Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:45, Mark 6:46, Luke 5:16). He understood the importance of being in the presence of God. Therefore, we must understand that it is necessary for us to pull ourselves away to be edified and encouraged. This gives us the opportunity to be refilled. We can’t give something that we have not received. We cannot talk about God if we do not know Him.
In God’s presence, we receive wisdom, revelation, empowerment, character changes, practical wisdom to manage our daily lives, prophetic accuracy, and spiritual virtue. It is important that we abide in the vine (John 15). Abiding in the vine creates intimacy. Intimacy creates love. Before we can influence others externally, we must first be influenced by God internally.
2) Jesus served others.
Jesus came to the earth to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28, Philippians 2:8). Serving is not always easy. It may be hard and dirty at times. However, it is worth it. Jesus was a great teacher who knew how to exemplify servant hood. We must learn how to be servants. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He was being an example to follow (John 13:1-17). He stooped to a low level to demonstrate the importance of serving. In order for us to effectively make disciples, we must first have a heart of a servant. When we have this heart, we don’t see new believers according to their past but according to their destiny.
3) Jesus sacrificed His life.
Authentic discipleship requires sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed daily and made the biggest sacrifice on the cross. He gave His life so that we could have life eternally. How can we make sacrifices in our daily life? We can make sacrifices in our attitude. God is always pruning and changing us into His image. Before we can make disciples, we have to surrender to God and allow Him to change us. We have to allow Him to produce the fruit of the Spirit within us (Romans 8:12, 13:14, Galatians 5:22-23).
We must also be willing to sacrifice our time. In order for us to effectively disciples, we must make time. We must invest time. How do we invest time in a new believer?
I – We must inquire about their walk with the Lord. Ask them questions.
N – Help them navigate their steps to maturity. We must teach them.
V – We must be vigilant. We must keep our eyes open and be aware of what is happening.
E – We must evaluate their progress. We can’t just help them to start their journey and then forget them.
S – We must spend quality time with our disciples.
T – We must teach the principles of the kingdom.
4) Jesus spoke about the way to live.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to teach or speak. He taught the disciples in the way that they should go. He saw where they were going wrong and directed them unto the right path. He taught the disciples that they should not be hungry for money. He taught that the heart matters to God and prayer in secret places empowers you for power in public places.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)