Class is in session!
Seems simple enough, just need to love on God and love on people, I can do that. Is there anything else? The typical response is “Let’s see, nope that’s it……well there is that thing about making disciples, but it’s mostly about loving God and people, oh and prayer that is in there too.”
So how do we love God and people? Back to Webster’s (cir.1953) and it says love is “ardent (fervent or fiery) affection, care, fondness”. How does God himself define it? Looking at the Ten Commandments we can see the first five describe how to love God and the second five detail the art loving people.
Placing other gods in higher authority, making idols, defaming His name (essence, being) and ignoring Him in worship and rebelling against your earthy father and mother which you were placed with for instruction are an offense to God, or an action not associated with loving Him.
As for the people, we love them by not murdering them, physically or spiritually, making them inferior or weaker by adding uncleanliness or lawlessness, lie about them or their actions, or harbor any angst against a person because of their possessions thus building a barrier between you and them. John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Again this is a lengthy discussion and honestly these are covered in a ton of detail in the letters to the congregations.
The make disciples “thing” seems to be the most overlooked and underappreciated aspect of Christianity. Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”
A disciple is a student or one who commits to a learning of the various aspects of a teaching and helps to spread this learning to others. Keeping the consistency of what we know today as being educated, there is a time of instruction and then there is a time of testing. Jesus tells us the parable of the sower or teacher whose instruction is accepted in joy but having no root, or depth to the teaching, when tested they fall away. This is repeated in His warning of the end of the age in Matthew 24: 9-10a “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away”
He goes on in the parable to say “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” This is the believer that has the right teachings, becoming a true disciple and becomes strong in his faith. The Bible warns us in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
The relevance of possessing the teaching of God’s word is vital to our growth and maturity in the faith. The vast majority of differences and quarrels within the body of Christ centers on the lack of Biblical knowledge. So many people rely on what one preacher said or what another believer has said and not what the Bible says in context.
This dedication to scripture, discipleship, is essential in the life of a believer for more reasons than we can possibly understand. Reliance upon what another man (or woman) has said, in a way, can be considered as putting your faith in them and not in God.
Jesus warns us “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”