Being a disciple is not the end goal of discipleship. Discipleship has a goal of its own: making more disciples. The Good News is not ours to keep or hoard. We are not simply containers of the Gospel, but a conduit through which God’s grace passes on to others. Consider 2 Timothy 2:2, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
In essence we have a ministry of spiritual reproduction.
In the first chapter of Genesis as God creates plants, fish, birds, and animals He creates them to reproduce after their own kind (Gen 1:11-12, 22). Then after creating man and woman, God gives them His first command, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28).
God’s first command to man is: Not to learn; Not about work; Not even about worship. God’s first command to creation is to reproduce. As a disciples we are learners. As a disciple I am to work for my Master. As disciples we worship God in Christ. And as disciples we are to reproduce disciples. God wants a full SPIRITUAL NURSERY! Jesus last command to His disciples was to make disciples (Matt 28:19).
Take a moment to survey the first few chapters of Acts and you find disciples busy making disciples.
- Acts 2:41 – 3,000 obey the gospel.
- Acts 4:4 – the number of the disciples was 5,000.
- Acts 5:14 – The number grew to the point we read not thousands, but multitudes.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and talk about biology and physical reproduction. Not all animals can reproduce. There are three hindrances to reproduction that have relevance to our discussion about disciples. 1) Immature plants and animals cannot reproduce. By immature I am referring to chronology. A young plant, a young animal, a small child is not physically able to reproduce. 2) No partner in reproduction. It takes male and female to reproduce in the plant and animal world. A man cannot have a child on his own. 3) Disease hinders reproduction. There are diseases that damage reproductive organs. There are emotional scars that can hinder reproduction as well.
These same hindrances affect Spiritual Reproduction.
- Immaturity – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14).
- Not partnered with Christ – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
- Poor Spiritual health – The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mark 4:14-19).
An unproductive spiritual life is an unfulfilled spiritual life. There is great joy in passing the Good News to others and seeing it bear fruit in their lives.