WILL YOU READ THIS BLOG WITH AN OPEN HEART AND MIND?
I wrote a blog a few days ago entitled “What is your Ministry”?. I was highlighting the Eph. 4:11 Ascensions Gifts particularly spotlighting Pastors & Teachers. In the verse Apostles, Prophets, & Evangelists are listed as an individual Ministry Gift, but the Gifts of Pastor & Teacher are combined. I appointed out that there are some Pastors (with a great Shepherd’s heart) do not have an evident Teaching Ministry, and some exquisite Bible Teachers do not have a very evident Pastor’s heart.
I did not go on and say that the majority of Pastors I know are not Theologians, and many of them have not studied in-depth Biblical languages but most are Bible College graduates and they have very evident ability to feed the “flock of God”.
Like every believer these Pastors are experiencing John 16:13 NKJV However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. These Pastors have an intimate relationship with the Lord and have learnt to meditate on the Word of God.
I believe I fall into this category, you may say “You taught in Bible Colleges for over 20 years and yet you were not a Greek or Hebrew Scholar” correct. My Teaching Ministry was more in the areas of Leadership, Church Growth and Missiology. Although I did enjoy teaching some Theology subjects as well as some Book studies. I was also in full time Pastoral Ministry for over 20 years prior to this next direction in my life..
I believe I have what Scholars call “Intuitive Hermeneutics” I understand the basic Principles of Interpretation and with the Holy Spirit’s illumination, I can share through these blogs Pastorally.
There are times when I take the opportunity to communicate with a Theologian friend just to confirm I am interpreting Scripture correctly especially when I want to put it in writing in a blog. The whole purpose of my blogs is as a Shepherd to simply encourage and bless God’s sheep.
I have said all the above as I wrote another blog recently on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, especially in relation to the lack of Biblical Discipleship given to many new Believers. As I was praying soon after I posted it I felt the Lord speak to me again about this matter, and the Lord put a Scripture in my heart, ss you will soon read, I felt it was very important I bounce this off my friend (that I was on the right track) and he confirmed I was moving in the right direction.
The verses that came to my mind were Matt. 25:42-45 NKJV
for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch AS YOU DID NOT DO IT TO ONE OF THE LEAST YOU DID NOT DO IT UNTO ME.
I have always interpreted these verses from 2 perspectives, that if I do something for someone, I seek do it as if I am doing it for Jesus, and the opposite IF DIDN’T DO IT, I DIDN’T DO IT TO AND FOR JESUS.
This truth and principle really challenged me in relation to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT as for example we have a COMMEND in Matt. 28:18-20 NKJV
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We are COMMANDED TO MAKE DISCIPLES and if we do not fulfil this command not only are we disobeying Jesus and His word, there is that aspect of truth that WE ARE NEGLECTING AND DISREGARDING JESUS. I guess it comes down to this question:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO DISCIPLE A NEW BELIEVER?
If it simply means a “class” then few would be guilty, but if it means what I believe it means:
WALKING WITH A NEW BELIEVER FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES UNTIL LIVING AS A CHRISTIAN HAS BECOME A LIFESTYLE.
Then many are guilty, and will have to stand before the Lord at the Judgement Seat of Christ and answer for their neglect. I would prefer to hear “Well done good and faithful servant”.
We know the biggest excuse “It is is too hard and too time consuming for a Leader to do it”, and I agree 100%, so what can a Leader do?
TRAIN UP MANY BELIEVERS TO BE DISCIPLE-MAKERS.
Not only after a person makes his “decision” to follow Jesus and is then left to his own devices, there is ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, but there are many who when they make a “decision” this is only the beginning of a pilgrimage that may take weeks or months before the “spiritual transaction” has taken place, thus it is essential that “Discipleship” commences immediately to discern whether Repentance and forgiveness has taken place and this has produced ASSURANCE and the new believer knows without a doubt he is born again.
I have not written this blog to criticise and condemn you, but to challenge your heart and mind that if Biblical Discipleship looks anything like how I interpret it, then we must change our thinking and practice, not only to be saved from being condemned, for our disobedience, but if we do it right, we will GROW QUALITY DISCIPLES WHO IN TURN WILL BECOME DISCIPLE-MAKERS.
LET US BUILD GOD’S HOUSE ACCORDING TO THE PASTTERN OF THE WORD OF GOD.