God Called You! Did You Get The Message?


October, 1999

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.

In Hosea 4:6, God says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Proverbs 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 individual Christian.

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 in America.)

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, a Moslem, 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 that!

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,

Dale Leander


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