Vol.II No.I Pg.5
February 1965

"Go- - Make Disciples"

Robert F. Turner

This is a great day for "keeping up with the Jones'" and a large segment of the brotherhood tends to measure the welfare of the church by the extent to which "we" equal the denominations numerically, and buildingwise. We long to see more converts to Christ, and would not discourage nice places for assembling, as long as they are compatible in design and use with the divine purposes of the local church; but we fear we are too much concerned with our "corporate image", and too little concerned with making disciples for Christ.

Jesus sent His Apostles forth with the command, " -- make disciples of all nations -- " There is an important difference in the "teach" (KJ) "make disciples" (ARV) of MAT.28:19, and the "teaching them to observe all things" of verse 20. But there is more to making a disciple than "teaching".

The word "disciple" was applied by the Greeks to a close follower of some master -- perhaps one of some "school" of learners who gathered about a Philosopher. Day by day they listened, hung on every word, and imitated their teacher in every way. They drank of his wisdom, imbibed his "spirit"lack sacrificed for him.

The Apostles were not sent forth to "make members of the church" -- in the usual sense of numbers affiliated with a party. They were to fire human hearts with a "hunger and thirst for righteousness" -- to make "learners", "indicating thought accompanied by endeavor" according to W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary. When one understands the import of the word "disciple" he is sickened by its application to the casual, indifferent attitude of many who are today's nominal "Christians". Although the word "disciples" was applied in a limited way to some who were but for a while "learners" and then turned away; (JOH.6:66) its general application is to those who, learning, were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; (MAT.28:19-20) and who were later called "Christians" (ACT.11:26). All who claim to be "Christians" today obligate themselves as "disciples," and a grave obligation it is.

Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (JOH.8:31); and again, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (LUK.14:26-33) (Compare MAT.10:35-f). These passages clearly picture the cost and nature of true discipleship. They call for whole dedication -- total commitment. Here is "Christ-centeredness" stripped of its sectarian catch-phrases.

True disciples (Christians) conform their lives, individually and collectively (as a local church) to the divine pattern set by their Lord. They work together in love within the framework of a "thus saith the Lord" (JOH.13:34-f).

If we will concentrate on making more disciples, the growth in numbers and buildings will do well enough.