Nowhere in the bible does it say to go out and make converts. It does however tell us to go out and make disciples.
What’s the difference? A whole world of difference!
A convert in today’s definition of the modern-day church, is an individual who repeats a prayer to “accepts” Jesus into their heart. One of the most popular sayings in today’s church culture is “Salvation is only a prayer away.” Once this ritual has been performed, then the whole church will rally around that individual and tell them over and over again that they are saved by grace. This too, is what they learned and “monkey see, monkey do”.
Yet, nowhere in scripture is this ritual supported. The closest scripture would be “Be converted” (Acts 3:19). The scriptures often used for this is:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. – Romans 10:9
Of course these scriptures are absolutely true, but they do not stand alone.
First of all, we don’t “accept” Jesus. He is the One Who accepts us when we repent and confess our sins and we submit all that we have to His Lordship and authority.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. – John 15:16
Jesus clearly tells us to count the cost and to forsake all that we have or we cannot be His disciple:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:28-33
Just as this applies to us as believers, so it also applies to those we witness to and call to discipleship. Never be afraid to show people the full cost of following Jesus. Only a full disclosure will allow them to make a full commitment.
Jesus is not looking for quick decisions and easy converts. These do not make for good soldiers. Only weekend warriors, if that. Jesus is looking for full-time enlisted warriors willing to sacrifice their own life and commit all they have to rescue others.
Only then, can He and will He absolutely supply all our needs and even our desires according to His riches in glory.
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalms 37:4
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19
If you do not give them full disclosure then you are not only diminishing the cost but also the value of being a follower of Christ. Without a full commitment, it is easier for them to fall away. Then it would have been better for them not to have believed than to have believed and fallen away.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 2 Peter 2:20-21
Making converts is also limited to your owns efforts within your personal sphere of influence. You can only convert so many people in your lifetime.
Just like an apple, there are only so many seeds in an apple. Perhaps 3 to 5 seeds in most apples. If you picture an area of your life as an apple, there are usually only a few people within your personal reach within that area. Then you need to get another apple and move into a different area to reach a few more people. This can be tedious to produce any substantial fruit to show for your own efforts.
However, if you disciple someone it is like planting an apple seed. With every seed that you plant you take a risk that it will take and grow or that it simply dies in the ground never to sprout. Carefully nourishing and watering it makes a big difference. Proper environment is important like making sure that they get enough sunlight and are not killed by frost or trampled underfoot.
But once the seed take root and sprouts, it produces many, many apples. Each of these apples have seeds that reproduce more apples which each have seeds that reproduce more apples, etc. and so on and so forth. There is no end to the amount of apples that can be reproduced by just one apple seed. So it is with just one disciple, properly discipled and trained hands on, in the field. This disciple will then make and train other disciples who in turn will make and train other disciples and so on and so forth. Ad infinitum.
Your investment will pay off in the many lives that this one disciple will touch. Jesus is our perfect example. He started with 12 disciples and touched the whole world.
Franciscus M. Dartee
Grow in Faith | Walk in Power
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