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The Role of Obedience in Disciple-Making

What if you started to disciple those around you up to and through conversion?

I’m sure one could ask many great questions as to what this would look like, but for now consider the concept of obedience. Jesus commands us to make disciples and teach them to obey all that He has commanded (Matthew 28:19,20). Just like Jesus and the early disciples, let me suggest that you can supplement your Gospel preaching by teaching people to follow the commands of Christ even before conversion.

Here’s an example of what this might look like. I once met a Muslim man and asked him what he had learned recently. He said, “Nothing,” and so I started telling him about the Greatest Commandment, in Matthew 22:36–40. I asked him what would change in his life if he loved God with all his heart and loved his neighbor as himself. I asked him about trying it out and letting me know how it went.

Two days later he called me and said, “You know what, that helped me! I was at work and having a difficult time, then for some reason I remembered that verse.” We continued to have conversations like this and soon enough he was studying the major Gospel stories in the Bible.

Notice that you can share with unbelievers how God wants people to live, and invite them to live this way. The next step is to check back and see if the Holy Spirit was working in their lives and convicting them of truth. The great thing about this method is that you can also find out who is actually open to spiritual things not by what they say but by what they do.

Interested in trying this out? Here are some obedience-oriented questions you could pose to those who don’t yet follow Jesus:

  • What do you think about prayer? How do you think God wants people to pray (Mathew 6:5–15)?
  • What is your goal in life? Is it lasting or temporary (Matthew 6:19–21)?
  • How are you doing? What’s your stress level, and what could you do to bring it down a few notches (Matthew 6:24–34)?

This is a new idea for many of us. Do you think it would be helpful in your context? Feel free to leave a question or comment below!

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This guest post is written by Emir Nassar.

4 Responses

  1. Peggy Mains says:

    Pastor Mike gave our staff an assignment this past Tuesday at chapel to give our “elevator speech”, that is, to share the gospel through our brief testimony in the time it takes to go up several floors in an elevator. Like Emir’s suggestions above, Pastor Jim recommended “setting the hook” by asking a question or addressing a known heart need before sharing. In ministry to kids, I am reminded we need to allow children the opportunity to process what they heard in the scripture and ask questions. Too often, we teach the Word and move right on to the next activity. Sunday teacher Karen Pierce always asked her 5 year olds, “Now do you have any questions about what God’s Word says?” Karen is with the Lord today, but we have so many outstanding disciplers like her in GraceKIDS!

    • Beau Stanley says:

      Great thoughts, Peggy. Yes, with kids it is all the more important to allow time for processing things. Thank God for servants like Pastor Jim and Karen Pierce, and those who follow in their footsteps.

  2. Kelly says:

    I think this will really help me in conversations with my neighbor, who is a mom of toddlers, as it relates to parenting. Thanks.

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