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    Is the great commission to go and make CONVERTS? Or is it to make DISCIPLES? If the great commission is to make disciples, then why isn't this being done in our churches? How ARE disciples made? By what process? Who is qualified to make disciples? Is this process visible in the local expressions of the Body of Christ? If not, then why not?
    Matthew 28:16-20
    The Great Commission
    16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
    18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[a] 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.
    I have been a believer since '76 and have been part of many churches and have yet to see a visible expression of this truth being accomplished. When I've asked, many shrug their shoulders or simply do not answer. Some leaders believe the church service is a form of discipleship but when challenged to show how this is so in comparison to what Jesus demonstrated with the twelve, they say it cannot be done that way any longer.

    Over the years, I have constantly heard preachers speak about the need for discipleship but none of these leaders were actively involved in the actual working out of their own messages. This, they say, is left for others of their staff or volunteers to accomplish and when questioned about following the biblical examples, they rebuff the ones questioning them because of that person's "arrogance".

    God has set in His Body, certain GIFT ministries for the express purpose of DISCIPLING His people.
    Ephesians 4:11-16
    11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
    Please note verse 16…the goal is to bring the BODY of Christ to the place where it can EDIFY ITSELF IN LOVE. Isn't the goal of a parent to train their children to become parents themselves and no longer be just children? If this is true, why don't we see this in the church? In a family, are the children separated according to age groups and taught separately from one another or are they all taught and learn to live as a family all together as one unit? Why then do we separate the children at church into specific age groups and not keep them all together to learn how they should grow up together as a single living unit?

    In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is addressing an area of much concern in that the Corinthians are gathering together with much confusion and disorder. To curb this disorder, he reveals in what manner each one is to do or accomplish when they gather together. THIS is the clearest picture for us today of what the first century church did when they came together as a body. Let's take a peek now:
    1 Corinthians 14:26-33
    Order in Church Meetings
    26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
    You may say that this cannot be done because there are too many in church. Then, why keep the size of the churches as they are? Why not break them down to smaller sizes that will accommodate what we see in verses 26-33?

    I asked this question to the pastor in one particular church some years ago and his response shocked me. He said, "And let the blind lead the blind?!?" The attitude in which he said this cannot be revealed in type but let me describe it this way. He said this contemptuously! Apparently, according to this pastor, Christians cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and cannot be trusted. Also, according to the pastor, only he was qualified to speak and interpret the bible correctly because he was the only one who had formal training.

    In other churches, I have heard even worse things than this as they have separated themselves from the rest of the body of believers because the rest of the Body of Christ are simply DUMB SHEEP!

    Yet, Jesus Himself said we were not to elevate ourselves to be called by titles such as, "father", "teacher", "rabbi", etc. We were to refer to ourselves only as "brother or sister". In essence, we are called not to follow the pattern of this world but to follow the pattern of heaven where no such distinctions are made. AND YET, we see these distinctions across the entire spectrum of Christianity today in DIRECT CONFLICT with Jesus' teachings! Why is this so? Why do we allow it?

    In life, families are not raised by the community nor should they be. Families are raised as families in their individual homes, just as God intended. Yet, we do not do the same in church where the church family is intended to grow and mature where every part, every "joint", gives of themselves to benefit the whole. The only way this can occur is to reduce the numbers attending, no longer elevate the "pastor" as the only one speaking the word of the Lord, allow the Holy Spirit to use each one with a leader or several leaders who will have oversight but not control.

    The leader's job is not to rule over the body as the world rules by lording over one another. The leader's job is to have oversight and guide as directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Their job is to bring the body to the place where each member can both hear and learn to obey the Spirit of the Lord, to become sones and daughters and learn to be led of the Spirit of the Lord and in this, become EFFECTIVE members that may then contribute the valuable lessons Holy Spirit is teaching them.

    In 1 Corinthians 14 verse 27, a limit is placed by the Holy Spirit through Paul on the numbers of those who will speak in tongues with interpretations. That number is 2 or 3, at most. While those who speak prophetically BEGIN at 2 or 3 and culminate with EVERYONE being able to prophecy (verse 31). Out of the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses and in this case, up to all participants, all the details of what the Spirit of God wishes to make known His truth will be shared. In this way, the narrative of what Holy Spirit can be revealed. It was never God's intent that only ONE person speaks with everyone else passively listening. How then can what is spoken be sure to be understood by all unless everyone with questions or doubts be allowed a voice?

    In today's church, this simply cannot occur. A message is given with the expectation that everyone in the room will have perfect understanding and be able to perfectly execute what is being presented. How many have ever sat in school, listened to a lecture, tested on that lecture and everyone in attendance had a perfect understanding reflected by a perfect score? Very few have this capacity as reflected in those scores. Then why do we, as a church, insist on this methodology to "disciple" the entire congregation? Only in a small group setting can time be made to satisfy the command given by Jesus to disciple or train every soul and be sure of their understanding of what is being presented.

    I led a prophetic group once where Holy Spirit had anointed me to oversee this group. I was recently asked how can this group be protected from false prophets. What the questioner was not aware of is how the Holy Spirit works in such a setting. To the one anointed by Him to do this work, all insight and oversight is granted and the ability to SEE everything that is happening is also given by the Spirit of God. Since nothing escapes the foreknowledge of God, there can be no surprises.

    A great example of this is in the book of Acts where Ananias and his wife conspired to lie to the leaders of this movement called "The Way". They told Peter that what they brought of their goods to give to this community of believers was "all they had" while, in truth, they kept back a portion for themselves. When the leaders of the church are in full dependency on Holy Spirit and not according to their own "manmade rules" set up to "protect themselves", THEN Holy Spirit will be the One who will PROTECT them from liars and thieves. It was Holy Spirit who revealed to Peter that these two people lied to the Holy Spirit and it was this same Holy Spirit of God that judged them and took away their lives. Peter had nothing to do with this process other than to speak what Holy Spirit revealed to him. God promises to protect His children but this can occur ONLY when we release ourselves to Him fully.

    Most leaders in churches fear letting go of their control. Most do not believe that God is actually capable of using His children to do that which they believe themselves as the only ones who can lead and yet, the scriptures speak otherwise.
    Jeremiah 31:31-34 Amplified Bible (AMP)
    31 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
    32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was their Husband, says the Lord.
    33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
    34 And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.
    Jesus also confirms this promise in that He said that it was necessary for Him to return to heaven in order that Holy Spirit could come and it is HE, the Spirit of Truth, who lead and guide us into ALL TRUTH.

    What then should we do if this is the truth? We are called to, each of us individually, walk with Him as He leads us and in the doing of this, we become sons and daughters of God. With such a broad spectrum to be seen of the manifold grace of God, no single one of us as the ability to see nor fully express the glory of God. The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus without limit and to each of us, in contrast, has been given a measure of faith. This is why God says in His Word, that we are, each of us, an expression of the whole. Some are feet, some are hands, some are other parts or expressions of the whole and together, with every part doing their part, make up the whole expression. We are fitly joined together by which every part brings their part so that all can benefit and be edified in love.

    The trouble we have today is very simple when you give it an honest evaluation. We, as a whole, have accepted the "status quo" without question simply on the basis that "we have ALWAYS done it this way!" Whatever a leader has spoken from the pulpit, we have been trained to accept what has been said as if God Himself said it….without question…without challenge. In fact, no challenge or questions are even allowed and are considered by most, if not all, as insubordinate and completely out of order! How, then, can this be a learning environment when all questions and challenges are considered out of order and dismissed? The purpose of questions is not to disrupt but to seek further clarification but that is not how they are perceived.

    Since I was a child, I was raised as a catholic and it was greatly discouraged to question anything but to accept, at face value, all that was being taught. If you had questions, you just had to keep them to yourself because asking questions would put you in the position of opposition. The same can be said in most protestant churches. In fact, it was extremely rare that I have found any of those in leadership that would allow their messages to be either questioned or challenged.

    If I am not sure, how then can I make sure unless I question or challenge? I am a seeker of truth and love the truth but if a message has an uncertain sound, how then can I learn if given no recourse to question or challenge?

    To create a learning environment, the leader must always be open to questions and challenges. This is why, I believe, God had the foreknowledge to put within the scripture 1 Corinthians 14, to illustrate for future generations, how "church" was conducted during the first century after Christ. Shouldn't we follow this example today. If it worked then, why then could it not work today? Do we not have the Holy Spirit working in each of us today as they did then? Then why not provide an environment where He can have full expression?

    If we are to fulfill the great commission, then the only way for this to happen is the entire church must be focused on making disciples. We must first become disciples of God through Holy Spirit. We must learn to hear and obey His voice and allow His complete guidance in our daily lives. Only a life fully surrendered to Him can have full access. What ever part of our lives we withhold, that part cannot contain His glory for we have kept that part for ourselves. Is this not sin just as it was for Ananias and Sapphira? Let us not hold anything for ourselves but give to the Spirit of the Lord everything that we are so that we can have everything that He is!

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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