Dear Ministry Friends,
God has called you to be a disciple
but do you really know what that involves? The word "disciple"
in the original Greek language means learner. An unusual fact
about spiritual growth and maturity is that it does not occur
automatically with the passage of time. Literally, our spiritual
growth and maturity is stunted or stopped any time we are not
learning! The only way for a person to "grow more spiritually"
is to learn more.
Many people just go through the motions
of church attendance, but for various reasons they are not learning
anything. Sometimes that is why they drop out of church. Sometimes
they attend a church where they just have the same truths reinforced
over and over again. This is better than not going to church at
all. But God's best is to feed your spirit from time in the Word
of God each day and also receive new insights, revelation
knowledge, and fresh applications from anointed messages from
other men and women of God.
The word "disciple" or
"disciples" is used 273 times in the New Testament.
The word "Christian" is used only 2 times. And the noun
"convert" is not used at all. This is because God has
a priority on making disciples instead of just converts. Matthew
28:19 commissions us, "Go
ye therefore and teach all nations."
The NKJ translation makes it more specific, "Go
therefore and make disciples of all the nations."
And of course verse 20 goes on to say, "teaching
them to observe all things."
Why does God want us to make disciples
instead of just converts? It is because disciples are learners;
therefore they will keep growing to maturity. And when they mature,
they will reproduce! And if believers don't reproduce, Christianity
will die off in one generation.
What if you only got one person saved
per year, but you really helped disciple him or her into enough
growth and maturity that he or she was able to do the same (get
one person saved per year and disciple them to do the same). Under
this scenario, the number of Christians would double each year
one would become two in a year, and then there would be
four after the second year and so on. If you do the math, you
would discover that in just 33 years one person could cause 4.2
billion people to be saved! And that's approximately the number
of unsaved people on the planet. So the whole world could be evangelized
in 33 years by simply making disciples (learners) of the converts.
So we have always been just one generation
away from: 1) either Christianity dying
out, or 2) the whole world being
saved! The crucial issue is the level of teaching (learning)
each believer receives.
4:6, God says, "My people are destroyed for
lack of knowledge."
11:9 says, "The righteous are delivered through
knowledge." The teaching of God's Word is absolutely
essential to the spiritual growth, and even survival, of each
We have seen a media focus on a small
number of fervent evangelists which can make us feel the goal
is to make converts. Praise God for every evangelist, and for
every person that gets saved. But if we do not teach those converts
in a wide variety of pertinent areas, Christianity will disappear
as soon as they all die.
This is what we have been seeing
in the American culture war. The preceding Godly generations of
Americans have been dying off, so the "moral majority"
are no longer the majority! (See the enclosed fact sheet on Christianity
This is not a time to get discouraged
we have a lot of work to do! It is not too late, but there
has been a lot of damage done to Christianity in America. The
spiritual condition has to be rebuilt. And a primary way is through
teaching every believer truths from God's Word that he or she
needs to know to grow, to overcome, and to be and do what
God wants for their lives.
This is what Deuteronomy
6:1-7 is all about. "These are the statutes
and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you...
that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes
and commandments which I command you; you and your son and your
grandson... You shall teach them diligently to your children."
Of course, with 27% of children in America now growing up with
no father in the household, people other than the fathers doing
the teaching is now even more important.
Good teaching is vital. After all,
the only thing that makes you a Christian is what you believe!
Slightly change the teaching that you believe, and you could suddenly
be a Mormon,
or a Buddhist!
In the name of unity, some Christians
don't emphasize teaching, doctrine, or even absolute truth at
all. But I have seen the end result of that. I know of a "Christian"
ministry that promotes unity to such an extreme that I have been
told they have exhibits in their lobby honoring Islam, Buddhism,
and other religions. The only people they don't embrace
are believers that strongly emphasize the truths of the Bible!
I personally heard the leader of that organization say that it
was "emotional abuse to tell a person they would go to
hell if they didn't accept Jesus as Savior." God save
us from watering down our teaching of the truth to a level like
We all need teaching on the truths
of God's Word on a regular basis. There is room to have different
interpretations on minor issues. But there is so much clear truth
contained in the Word that we cannot exhaust it all in a lifetime.
And it is supposed to be our daily bread.
We appreciate your commitment to
God, and encourage you to do everything you can for God's work
here on the earth. And persevere in being a disciple one
who continues to learn.
Teaching God's Word,