In our evangelistic efforts, are we making disciples of Jesus Christ, or are we merely seeking to get sinners to “make a decision for Christ”?
Judging by the results, it seems obvious that the latter is the case.
In his book, Christ’s Call to Discipleship, James Boice writes,
There is a fatal defect in the life of Christ’s church in the twentieth century: a lack of true discipleship. Discipleship means forsaking everything to follow Christ. But for many of today’s supposed Christians – perhaps the majority – it is the case that while there is much talk about Christ and even much furious activity, there is actually very little following of Christ Himself. And that means in some circles there is very little genuine Christianity. Many who fervently call Him “Lord, Lord” are not Christians (Matthew 7:21). (p.13)
That is a sobering observation. And, sadly, it still seems to hold true for the church in the 21st century.
We must remember that the Lord Jesus commanded His church to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). And if that were not clear enough, He tells us that the way we are to do so involves not just baptizing them (v.19), and teaching them in general, but rather “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (v.20).
While we must never settle for mere moralism (i.e. just telling us what we need to do), in our preaching and teaching, neither may we settle for a type of preaching or teaching that does not lead to discipleship – to following the commands of Christ as well as believing on Him for eternal life.
Do the ministries of our churches tend toward the making of disciples? (Perhaps that should be one of the questions asked when considering any new ministry or activity in our churches.)
Does our teaching and preaching tend toward making disciples, teaching believers to observe all of the commands of Christ? (If not, why not?)
May we in the church in the 21st century never settle for “much talk about Christ and even much furious activity” with “very little following of Christ Himself.”