Last week I started looking at some foundational truths that those who make disciples should have at the forefront of their minds. Today we will look at the role of a disciplemaker as a teacher.
In the great commission, Jesus’ mandate is to “make disciples.” Disciplemaking involves both inviting people to come to faith in Jesus and once they come into relationship with Him, investing in them. At Replicate, we define disciplemaking as intentionally entering into someone’s life to help them know and follow Jesus (evangelism) and to teach them to obey His commands (discipleship).
The role of teaching is highlighted in these familiar passages that relate to disciplemaking:
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, CSB)
We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me. (Colossians 1:28-29, CSB)
You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:1-2, CSB)
Learning By Experience
The kind of teaching in the discipleship process involves both instruction and experience. D-Group members are not only learning through systematic teaching in group meetings, but they are also learning throughout the week as they read the Bible and journal, hide the Word of God in their hearts through memorization, and pray for one another. In fact, God will use all of the experiences of our lives to grow us and make us more like Christ if we belong to Him!
Doctrine And Devotion
Both Bible doctrine and devotion should be emphasized in the D-Group. As important as Bible doctrine is, it must not be held up higher than godly devotion. As someone has said, “doctrine without devotion leads to intellectualism.”
On the other hand, godly devotion cannot be held higher than doctrine for that leads to a kind of moralism that is not consistent with the truth about God! Healthy D-Groups have a balance between doctrine and devotion.
The Importance Of Application
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22, CSB)
D-Group leaders should focus on not only understanding the truth about their instruction, but also help those they invest in focus on ways to apply the truth they are learning. The puritan minister Thomas Watson said it this way, “Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the word thunders against sin, think thus: ‘God means my sins.’ When it presseth any duty, ‘God intends me in this.’ Many put of scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the word, bring it home to yourselves. A medicine will do no good unless it be applied.”