The Distinguishing Mark

There is little doubt in Jesus' last words to His followers in Matthew 28:19-20 about the role of disciples to make more disciples:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

And yet the statistics tell us that nearly 90% of church-going people have NEVER made a disciple. 90% of us have never been involved in the spiritual formation and maturation of a new convert. 90% of us would say that we understand Jesus' words in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 but, in reality, have not done a great job of "making disciples".

This Sunday, January 30, we will be looking once again at the State of the Church here at West Pines and, specifically, the area of discipleship. Our focus will be on the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The one "distinguishing mark" that we will see this Sunday is: A disciple will have visible fruit.

Fruit = what is seen by all. What is recognizable by others about us. Our character. Our conduct. Our converts (disciples we've invested in).

There is Biblical truth that presents a very convincing argument that disciples should be producing visible spiritual fruit.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23)

I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— (1 Corinthians 16:15)

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.. . . By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:4-5, 8)

I would encourage you to read and think through the above mentioned verses as you prepare your hearts to learn this Sunday.

If you say you're a disciple of Jesus Christ - is your spiritual fruit visible for people to see? Let's talk about that this Sunday.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Paul

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