Dr. Ray Cummings


April 18, 2024
Dr. Ray Cummings

Jesus gave a clear command in His final commission to His first disciples:

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Jesus did not stutter or make a suggestion. He stated a divine demand: “Make Disciples.” What many believers set aside as optional, Jesus stated as an essential command to be obeyed. When Jesus returns, His first words to His church just might be, “Why aren’t you doing what I demanded?”

If discipleship is hitting the spiritual bullseye for the believer, then defining the target is essential. The problem is that so many Christians have a different idea of what discipleship is according to Scripture. Many believers feel they are being discipled if they show up to a weekend worship service or Bible study. Many others feel that discipleship is a private matter that can be done completely alone. Still, others feel that discipleship can be done in large groups. None of these ideas mirror the approach Jesus used with His first disciples.

The word “disciple” shows up 261 times in the New Testament. It is found only in five books of the Bible: Each of the Gospels and the book of Acts. This term appears 78 times in the Gospel of John and 72 times in the Book of Matthew. This word is mentioned so many times during the life of Jesus, yet most present-day followers of Jesus can’t agree on what it actually means.

If we don’t know what we are aiming at, how will we know if we ever hit the target when it comes to making disciples? Zig Ziglar once said, “You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target that you do not have.” This statement rings true for so many churches and Christ-followers.

Therefore, we need a definition so that we can have a destination. If we have a purpose, maybe we can see the process to achieve it. If we can put the target up for discipleship, we can aim for all that God has for us. The following is my biblical definition of discipleship:

“Discipleship is the intentional process whereby forgiven people
become faithful followers of Jesus Christ who bear much fruit.”

Come join us as we study how to move people From Decisions to Disciples.

If you want to know more, please check out my Servant School Course: Discipleship