Why "go make disciples"...

To me it is more than a sense of calling or obligation. As we discussed this very thing with leadership team in Italy this past week, it all starts and is founded on the "Great Commandment" as we say. All missions of the Church must be rooted in the love of God, the complete and absolute love that commits body, mind and soul to loving God. If we love God with all that we have we are compelled to love others as ourselves. If we love others, then we are compelled to love others as Jesus loved us. If we have that agape love of Jesus, then we are compelled to "go make disciples" or as Jesus said in John 21:17; "if you love me....feed my sheep". How do we feed His sheep, by "teaching them to obey His teaching".

This simplistic idea hit me hard many years ago when I was ask if I truly loved the people I was serving and leading at the time. It was very cutting to me when I had to answer that question, but the next question was even more revealing; "if I didn't love God's people, then how can I say I loved God with all my heart. If we follow the logic in a way that we look at a triangle or as we would the "Pythagorean" theorem...yes Dr. Wagner I was awake at least some of the time! One side of the triangle of love is "Love God", an other is "Love His People" and the third is Teaching His People to Love Him". They all go hand in hand, so to speak. If I leave out one of the sides it's no longer a triangle, it doesn't work. I discovered for myself the reason I wasn't "teaching others to obey" was, in-fact because I didn't love God with all my heart. mind and soul. The same was true for not loving others as my self, or as Jesus loved me.

Both of these instructions "teach them to obey" and "feed my sheep" came at the very end of Jesus's time on earth with His chosen disciples. You might say for Peter is was his final exam in discipleship 101 class. It was as if Jesus boiled down the 3+ year course to three simple words, "feed my sheep". If we look in John 15, we see the importance of Love in another way. I would say if we look at the parable of the vine, you might conclude that the only way we can love others as Jesus loved us is by living or abiding in the love of God. In a simplistic way; it says if we love God totally and consistently He will give us the love for others so that we may teach them to abide or to live in God's love continually as well. It's a circular, multiplicative way of expanding the Love of God on earth...His way, not our way. Interesting how God always includes Man in His divine plans!

So making disciples is a compulsion of loving God with all of our being. It's not an "obligation" or a duty, it's much more than a passion. It's an involuntary action or reaction of His love in us; "Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father." (John 15:8).  So not only do we prove our love for others, but we honor or show our love for God. So again the formula is Love God+Love Others+Teaching Obedience=Purpose. Following God's formula not only gives us eternal purpose, it also gives us temporal purpose or what we call peace. Peace comes from being in sync with God's purpose or what He created us; for His purpose. Jesus came to die for our sins, that we might live out His purpose. His life is a model for us to follow, more than an example but a blueprint. In 1Jn 2:4-6 it summed very simple for us; 

"Whoever says, “I have come to know Him,” but does not habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings), is a liar, and the truth [of the divine word] is not in him. But whoever habitually keeps His word and obeys His precepts [and treasures His message in its entirety], in him the love of God has truly been perfected [it is completed and has reached maturity]. By this we know [for certain] that we are in Him: whoever says he lives in Christ [that is, whoever says he has accepted Him as God and Savior] ought [as a moral obligation] to walk and conduct himself just as He walked and conducted Himself." AMP

ciao, ciao and arrivederci!

The picture below represents the scene that I have witnessed in person many days as I have walked to the alpine pastures. Most people overlook the roll of a shepherd, it would seem meaningless to many. It's certainly not glamorous, prestigious or some thing that brings earthly wealth. It is dirty, difficult and some what perilous. Just as the life of walking as Jesus walked would be overlooked by many, except that of the Master. He said "feed my sheep" to one of His most trusted companions, the importance is evident in His life as well. 

The Italian Alps are full of this image, the shepherd feeding sheep

The Italian Alps are full of this image, the shepherd feeding sheep