The first and last words of Jesus had to do with challenging men to follow—making disciples. He then modeled it for three years and we still haven’t figured out how to make it happen in our churches in America. Check out these resources and begin the journey of following our Lord and Master and challenging others to follow you.
Multiplication is one of the foundational laws of the universe. Sheep, cattle, wildlife, trees, flowers, and even bacteria all operate on this foundational principle. Multiplication is God’s way to doing things.
In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’” In this verse we find the very first commandment that God ever gave to man, a commandment to multiply. It is about the only commandment that mankind has been successful in keeping. Though we have kept it in the physical realm, we have failed miserably to fulfill it in the spiritual realm.
Before Jesus left for heaven He gave the following instruction to His disciples. He told them to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). He then briefly outlined how to do that. He said, “…make disciples…, [by] baptizing them… and [by] teaching them to observe [obey] all that I have commanded you.” This simple instruction summarizes God’s purpose for leaving His children on the earth. We are here to continue the disciple making ministry of Jesus Christ—the ministry of multiplication.
Why did Jesus choose this method or approach to ministry? There are many obvious advantages to the principle of multiplication. But we will look at just one dynamic aspect of this principle in contrast to the principle of addition. Let’s say for example that a gifted evangelist is able to lead 1,000 people to Christ every day. Each year he will have reached 365,000 people, a phenomenal ministry indeed.
Let’s compare him with a disciple who leads not 1,000 people a day to Christ, but only one person a year. At the end of one year, the disciple has one convert; and the evangelist, 365,000 converts. But suppose the disciple has not only led his man to Christ, but has also discipled him. He has prayed with him, taught him how to feed himself from God’s Word and to also share the Gospel with others.
At the start of the second year, the disciple has doubled his ministry—the one has become two. During the second year, each man goes out and leads not 1,000 people per day to Christ, but only one person per year. At the end of the second year, we have four people. You can see how slow this process really is. But we do not have only converts, but disciples who are able to reproduce themselves. At this rate of doubling every year, the disciple, leading one man per year to Christ, will overtake the evangelist numerically somewhere in the 19th year. From then on, the disciple and his multiplying ministry will be propagating faster than the combined ministry of dozens of gifted evangelist. If the disciples continue to be faithful each year they will reach the world in 26 years. In other words, each of us has the opportunity to reach the entire world's population twice during our life. Jesus' way is to focus on disciple making. Why don't you try to make one just one faithful disciple each year and let the principle of multiplication do its’ job. No wonder, Jesus chose discipleship as His approach to reaching the world.
But how can we do this and where do we begin?
Jesus told us to begin with baptism and then to teach those new converts to observe (obey) all of His commands. To teach others to observe the commandments demands that we first know the commandments ourselves. So take some time to review the commands of God and then ask God to create in you a love for His law. Though we can never gain salvation by obeying these commandment we do discover the character of God and learn what He desire of us while still residents of this earth.
So let me ask you a question, “Have you ever baptized someone?” If you haven’t, why not? Is this command only for pastors and leaders to follow or does it apply to every disciple of Jesus? Remember, God hasn’t left us here on earth, not to do something (don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, etc). He has left us here to do the positive commands as well, including completing the command to make disciples and to continue to work out the dynamic principle of multiplication.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31)