Sharing God’s Story and Making Disciples

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“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”
Matthew 28:18-20

“And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'”
Mark 16:15-16

As many of you know, To Every Tribe, the mission agency through whom I am sent as a missionary, has as their mission statement the following: To Every Tribe exists to extend the worship of Christ among all peoples by mobilizing the church, training disciple-makers and sending missionary teams to plant churches among the unreached.

In other words, this mission statement is simply an attempt to capture, with a little more specifics, what Matthew (28:18-20) and Mark (16:15-16) have communicated to us, the church.

So, as we (you and I) live our daily lives carrying out our daily activities, we will certainly come across other people. It is a mandate for all Christians, each and every one of us. Stop and really think about it… It is a privilege beyond comprehension. The mandate for us all (not just pastors and leaders) is clear: In the context of going about our daily lives (which should, in and of itself, be testifying to the regenerating work God has done and is doing in us) we are to “Proclaim the gospel and make disciples.”

The process can be compared to that of a paint gun- the color of paint that comes out of the nozzle is (will be) the color of paint that is contained within the paint gun.

So, if the paint gun contains black paint, it logically and naturally follows that black paint will come out of the nozzle of the paint gun. If that paint gun contains white paint, then white paint will come out of the nozzle.

If you and I have been captured by God (God pursues and captures us, we don’t pursue and capture God) and if you and I have truly been given (and therefore have received) the new birth of the Spirit of God, then the spirit of God lives in us and what logically and naturally flows out is white paint (good works and fruits of the Spirit). That which is inside is what comes out.

There are a number of small “church” groups in this district town where I am now living. Two years ago, when God brought me back to this main district town of this region, I began to think about my role as a disciple-maker but now more specifically in the context of the church-at-large (making disciples of disciple-makers). This district town could be strategic. It governs politically, socially, and economically the surrounding region and is home to two people groups (one unreached and the other least-reached).

We have been examining the following questions: “Are these ‘churches’ true biblical churches and how healthy are they?” It only makes sense to start with the true biblical gospel and see what kind of responses we get.

It has become clear that the churches with whom we have been in contact are ultimately believing in a salvation by their own efforts to obey and persevere to the end. What one is left with is the question: “If salvation depends upon your ability to obey (do good works) and your ability to persevere to the end (doing good works), then wouldn’t salvation simply be compensation for your own efforts?” It is a gospel of works and not a gospel of true biblical grace.

This is where the illustration of the paint gun comes into play. The paint gun illustration is not the gospel but rather a product of it. There is much confusion about what the gospel is and what the gospel produces in the person. The gospel message of Jesus Christ is not that the Spirit comes to live within us and changes our lives, although this certainly is good news. It is but a product of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Since many in this area where I am living are welders and makers of metal doors/windows and staircases, etc. and they paint their finished work, I intend to use this paint gun analogy with the hope of illustrating what good works are and where they come from. Jesus left us with some illustrations of this very thing (good tree/good fruit and bad tree/bad fruit, vine and branches, living water, etc…). However, sometimes it seems that those whom have grown up in a “church” culture are kind of numb to the teachings of Christ in such a way that a different illustration (not provided in the scripture) can sometimes be helpful.

Really, none of this was a surprise to me. I have seen this in most of Mexico and much of the USA. We, of course, do not want to be mobilizing these churches (as is) and have them send out missionary church planning teams in order to plant their own works-based (false gospel) churches among the unreached.

Working with pastors and other leaders is a work I see as making disciples of other disciple-makers. I am starting with how we study the Bible in the first place, and the objective is to quickly get to the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is it? What is it not? Who does the work of salvation? What does it produce? It is basically evangelism but among a people whom have received a false gospel At this point, I have one study on Wednesdays and two studies on Friday evening, and I am focusing on men, especially men in leadership roles within their local congregations.

My philosophy here is to honor 2 Timothy 2:2, entrusting truth to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Instead of me doing all the teaching with both men and women, I am encouraging the men to take what they are learning back to their homes to teach their wives the same. If the men begin doing this, they will be learning even more as they teach what they have been learning and they will be sharpening their teaching skills at the same time.

Please pray for me and my team here as we seek to evangelize, mobilize, train, and send the men and women in our area for the extension of the worship of Christ to all the world.