Make Disciples (7)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear… 1 Peter 3.15
Get our classroom right
By far and away, the most important teaching aid that you bring into any teaching moment is the example of your own life. Only disciples can make disciples, so we need always to concentrate on growing in the Lord and His grace, setting Jesus before us as Lord over all things, and walking the Kingdom path He has marked out for us in His Word (2 Pet. 3.18; Ps. 16.8; Ps. 119.105).
The more we apply ourselves to being disciples, the more we will realize the hope of glory in which we stand (Rom. 5.1, 2), and be always ready to bear witness and make disciples as the Lord leads.
Peter believed that, when Christians are living out their hope, they will stand out so starkly in this shallow, fearful, and materialistic world, that others will be drawn to them to find out what makes them tick. Our hope is focused on our unchanging Lord and Savior, that we might know Him, grow in Him, and live for Him unto ever increasing glory (Jn. 17.3; 1 Cor. 10.31). Such a way of life cannot help but stand out as different from what most people experience, most of the time.
School teachers spend a lot of time getting their classrooms just right – just the right pictures on the wall, books on the shelves, order of desks and chairs, and all the rest. They know how important a pleasant, stimulating, and reinforcing classroom can be. We must learn the same as well, and prepare the living classroom of our lives for every disciple-making opportunity the Lord provides.
The starting point
Have you set Jesus Christ aside as Lord in your life? This is the starting-point both for growing in the hope of glory, and for becoming a welcoming classroom for potential students we will encounter in the as-you-are-goings of our lives.
What does this entail?
It means that you acknowledge that Jesus is not just your Savior; He is your King. All that we have is a gift from Him, and He intends us to use everything to further His rule and saving grace. We have acknowledged Jesus as Lord when, every day of our lives, we offer up to Him, for His use and approval, all we have, all we are, all we will do or say, and all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, every moment and opportunity of every day (Col. 3.23).
That’s a pretty tall order, I know. But this is the life of discipleship to which Jesus calls us, and which He sends us to nurture in others. We’re not likely to make that kind of commitment apart from the hope of gaining something positive and lasting. Ours is the hope of glory. But what does that mean?
In a day when people stake their hopes on good jobs, sufficient wealth and material possessions, reliable relationships, and a suitable amount of fun, it’s no wonder hope is such an elusive commodity. Christians must not look to such things for the fullness of life, peace, joy, purpose, and meaning. Instead, we must look to the glory of God. This is our great and unchanging hope.
That is, the Christian believes, and increasingly experiences, the reality of God’s awesome and powerful Presence with him, drawing him close, granting him joy and pleasure, and filling him with the sense of eternal truths and unmerited, holy pleasure (Ps. 16.11). The true disciple of Jesus Christ says with the apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ!” (Phil. 1.21), and longs to be transformed, from glory to glory, into the very image of the Lord (2 Cor. 3.12-18).
The Christian hopes to encounter this glory every day in his times with the Lord, and as the Lord makes Himself known through the glories of the creation (Ps. 19.1-4).
But beyond that, disciples of Jesus Christ hope to express the glory of God in their words and deeds (1 Cor. 10.31), so that others are exposed to the reality of a transcendent realm and an all-loving God. So great is our peace and joy in knowing the glory of God, that we want others to know it as well. So we commit to the work not only of being disciples, but of making disciples as well.
Disciples of Jesus Christ long to have Him increasing in them and making Himself known through every aspect of our lives, so that when people experience us, by word or deed, they get a little taste, a sweet fragrance, of Jesus Christ. They come into contact, that is, with His glory.
A commanding hope
When this hope commands our lives – the hope of meeting God in His glory and then serving God by expressing that glory to others – our lives will be fully furnished and warmly attractive classrooms for everyday teaching.
Grow as a disciple; grow in your commitment to making disciples for the glory of the Lord. Don’t be surprised if people begin commenting on the grace they experience in your life, or on how much they enjoy talking with you. This is what Jesus did, and when Jesus is set aside as Lord in your heart, it’s what He’ll do through you as well.
We are called to be witnesses for Christ and to make disciples as we are going about the normal, everyday situations of our lives. But we must be constantly preparing for these opportunities, always in communication with and submission to our gracious and powerful Lord, and ever ready to respond to the promptings of His Spirit as He leads us to initiate a teaching moment with someone else.
This is where the most important teaching of the Church goes forth. Make sure you’re ready to go forth and fulfill this high and holy calling in the living classroom of your daily life.
1. “Have you set Jesus Christ aside as Lord in your life?” How would you counsel a new believer to do this?
2. Meditate on 2 Corinthians 3.12-18. How can we know when we are encountering the glory of the Lord? Is it possible to know this experience in our times of prayer and Bible reading or study? Explain.
3. What does it mean for you to be constantly preparing for the teaching and witnessing opportunities the Lord brings to you each day?
Next steps – Preparation: Spend some time in prayer reflecting on the “classroom” which is your life. Are there things in your life that keep others from wanting to be around you? Or from being interested in talking with you? What can you do, in all the places you go throughout the week, to make the “classroom” of your life more appealing and ready for teaching moments?
T. M. Moore
Working Your Personal Mission Field
Two little books can help you be more effective in your calling to make disciples. You can order a free copy of Joy to Your World! andThe Gospel of the Kingdom by clicking here. Be sure to check out our free monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.