MAKE DISCIPLES

Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 1:6-10

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (I Thessalonians 1:6,7)

God calls us to be growing disciples of Jesus Christ. The Great Commission is very clear — “Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus, our Savior and King, gave these instructions to His Church. The Church’s primary mission is to glorify God by making disciples.

Paul clearly understood his calling to be a disciplemaker. He evangelized and he trained believers how to grow in their faith and witness. The Thessalonians were an example of his ministry of discipleship. Notice what Paul wrote about them — “You became imitators of us and of the Lord.” Discipleship takes place in the context of relationships. Paul established a relationships with some people in Thessalonica. He witnessed to them and then he taught them biblical truth — “for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” He spent time training and equipping them. He set the example and lived out the gospel before them. He showed them how to apply the gospel to all aspects of their lives. They learned to imitate the Lord by imitating Paul. Then they became examples to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians — “Be imitators of me, first as I also am of Christ ” (I Corinthians 11:1). It takes a spiritually mature person to say these words. But that is what God desires of us. We are to imitate Christ and we are to encourage others to follow our example. The ultimate goal is to be Christ-like. Disciplemakers imitate Christ and they equip others to do the same.

All believers are called to make disciples. Therefore, we must take our spiritual lives seriously. We must grow in our faith and in our ability to work out the gospel in our daily lives. Then we are to invest in the lives of others as we seek to make disciples of them. We cannot do this in our own strength. But remember these words from Paul — “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Jesus gives us the power to do what He has commanded us to do — Go and make disciples!

Lord Jesus, King and Head of the Church, You have given us clear instructions. You have called each of us to be disciple-makers. Give me the power to set a godly example before those I serve. Enable me to share my faith and to disciple those whom You bring into my life.

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