The Great Commission contains this mandate: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19, 20, NIV).
This robust mandate and mission statement given by the Master Himself is our guiding principle for evangelism, and the impetus behind everything we do to share our Adventist message of hope and wholeness.
But as we preach, teach, and evangelize, how important is discipleship to us? Have we fully understood what it means to “go and make disciples”?
A disciple is defined as one who accepts and assists in the spreading of the gospel message of Jesus.
Giving the Assist
In my experience we Seventh-day Adventist Christians do a great job of empowering and equipping people to accept the gospel of Jesus. We aren’t always, however, the greatest at helping individuals learn how to assist in spreading the gospel of Jesus.
In John 1, after Philip accepted Jesus’ invitation, he was so excited that he went, found his friend Nathanael, and said, “‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”
“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
“‘Come and see,’ said Philip” (John 1:45, 46, NIV).
We need to develop this “come and see” philosophy. We must allow our passion and love for Christ to so fill our lives that we are overflowing with a desire to tell everyone we meet to “come and see.”
When was the last time you were at the supermarket or grocery store and you told someone about Jesus? When was the last time you invited a friend at your job or at school to attend your church so that they could “come and see”?
Being a disciple is more than just attending church and Sabbath School and carrying a big Bible. Being a disciple is a commitment to a “come and see” lifestyle. A commitment to reach out daily to the least, the lost, and the last. Being a disciple means that we will prayerfully commit to never let an opportunity to witness or give a “come and see” invitation pass us by.
Simon, Philip, and Nathanael began the foundation of the Christian church. John the Baptist directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these, Andrew, found his brother Simon. Philip was then called, and he went in search of Nathanael. These examples teach the importance of making direct appeals to our families, friends, and neighbors.
I challenge you to live a “come and see” lifestyle. Can we live in such a way that we are consistently scanning our surroundings to look for people whom we can invite to church, Bible study, or a Sabbath activity?
Philip did not engage in a Bible study with Nathanael. He did not try to convince him that his newfound religion of Jesus was better. He merely said, “Come and see.” This is powerful because Jesus proclaims that “when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32, NIV).
Is Jesus Christ lifted up in our homes, in our marriages, in our parenting, in our friendships and relationships? Is He lifted up in the way we interact with others, handle our anger, and communicate?
When Jesus is reflected in our lives and lifted up in our characters, others will be drawn to Him. This starts with inviting others to “come and see.”
— Philip Baptiste is secretary/treasurer for Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries.