What is the key to transforming the world? More education? Better government? Clearer communication? While these items have their place, none of them hold the real key to lasting change. Jesus, however, provided us with the key to bring about radical, lasting transformation.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18 – 20 NLT
Ask the average Christian to define the Great Commission and they will likely respond, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). True enough. However, in the mind of Jesus, the proclamation of the Gospel had a specific end in view. The end that Christ had in view was making disciples of all the nations, as we see in the passage above. Disciples are not merely converts to the Christian faith. Disciples are those who are learning to do life under the rule of God. Disciples are those whose lives are being radically transformed as they learn how to march to the beat of a different drummer. Therefore we must return to Jesus’ plan of discipleship. It is actually quite simple.
Baptism is a rite of initiation. It is a declaration that one has died to their old way of living and come alive to a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As you study the Book of Acts, you discover that baptism was the primary way the early disciples expressed their faith in Jesus Christ. As such, it was never considered optional. Those who were baptized were then embraced by the community of faith so the next part of the discipleship process could begin.
Jesus said we were to instruct the disciples in how to live in obedience to His commands. In other words, we are supposed to show them how to live in the Reign. Too often we think we are supposed to instruct them in correct doctrine. While this may be important, it may or may not affect the way a person actually lives their life. The discipleship Jesus is talking about does not happen in the basement of the church on Wednesday night. Instead it takes place day after day with life as the classroom. It is showing others how to follow Jesus in every aspect of their every-day lives. It is walking with them and modeling life in the Kingdom until they can go and model it for others.
What Would Happen?
In a previous post I asked the question, “What if 90% of the Christians in a city would actually live the Sermon on the Mount?” I think the answer is obvious. It will never happen, however, until they are shown how to do so. All our best laid plans have not seemed to accomplish this. Maybe we should return to the simple plan of Jesus and start really transforming our world by discipling others to live in the Reign.