Good People or Disciples of Christ?

March 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

After the resurrection of Jesus he met the disciples on a mountain in Galilee. After some preliminaries Jesus gives them what has been tagged “The Great Commission”.

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, Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

Go and make disciples of all nations. I love it. Basically, he was telling them never stop preaching the Gospel. Every person in the world needs to hear it. But think about this for a second with me. This is a big responsibility. Obviously, we are aware that only the Holy Spirit can really transform a persons heart, but Jesus was commanding us to get involved and play a part. This is the mission of the church. Every believer is supposed to get involved in sharing the Gospel with their sphere of influence so that their friends and family will experience transformation and become disciples of Christ.

I can’t think of anything more exciting than leading people to the cross and watching as the Holy Spirit begins to change their lives. But sadly, I have watched as a lot of churches have aborted mission. They would never admit to aborting their mission, but too many churches are settling for building good people. Obviously I am all for people changing and becoming good people, but is their a difference between a good person and a disciple of Christ? I think that we would all agree that there are people that are just good people based on the moral compass of our culture. They are honest. They don’t cheat on their spouse. They don’t break the law. They give to charities and they volunteer at the soup kitchen. They are good people. But are they Godly people? There is a difference between being a person with a moral compass and a disciple of Christ.

The church has to be careful that we don’t become a life skills institution. I have been in services where the message is “3 Steps to being a better father/mother”. 1. Spend thirty minutes each day helping them with their homework. 2. Do your best to eat meals as a family and ask your child questions about their day. 3. Schedule time weekly to take your child on play dates. These are all great things. I am for being the best Dad out, but what does this have to do with Jesus changing your life? I absolutely believe that it is the plan of God for each guy to be an incredible and loving Dad, but the “3 Steps” sermon doesn’t teach that person to allow God to make them a great father or for their changes to be made through faith in Christ. Being a Disciple of Christ will always make you a better person but being a good person doesn’t make you a disciple of Christ.

My challenge is for every speaker to put their trust in God as they speak to their church. It is easy for us to lose sight of the goal. It is too easy for me to get impatient with God and assume that the spiritual journey of a believer is progressing too slowly. The temptation is to try to change them myself. So I try to implement parameters into their lives. I teach them that going certain places are bad and doing certain things are harmful. I set up boundaries for them so that they will not fall victim to temptation. I do my best to make them into good people that are good for the image of the church. But have I created a good person or a disciple of Christ?

You may think that all of this is semantics but it is far from being semantics. Our righteousness is filthy rags in the sight of God. Our attempts to do good on our own are gross failures. No one can be righteous without being in Christ and this doesn’t just mean at our conversion. We must continually walk with Christ and allow him to transform us daily. Everything that we teach and preach must connect the believer to the cross. Without faith we cannot please God and our attempts to change by our own effort are faithless. The work that Jesus did on the cross is central to our journey with him. We must have the faith to allow him access into our hearts and into the hearts of the people we lead. When God is the origin of transformation we cease to be just good people, we become disciples of Christ.

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