However, there is a catch. What if I told all of these men to construct this skyscraper and be a part of something great, yet I withheld all tools necessary for them to not only complete the work, but to even start it? What if I picked up my megaphone and spoke to them all, telling them that "it needs to be completed by such and such a time, but I am not giving you any tools, wood, metal, or really anything to build with?"
This reminds me a lot of this nation's history. Several centuries ago in American history when the Roman Catholics ruled the religious system, they had declared it to be illegal for the "average joe" to read the Bible. This religious group had felt it to be a sin in translating the Scriptures into the English language even though they had apparently "forgotten" that the Word of God had already been translated from Greek into Latin over a millenia before.
Were they right in withholding this holy book from the average person? Absolutely not! They were withholding the tools and the means necessary to accomplish the greatest work of all time from the very people whom God had placed in position to see it to completion. The priests were spending their lives trying to disarm the armies of God, but they could not. There are now hundreds of English translations that are easily accessible to even the poorest of the poor.
With all that said I am now aiming to cut straight to the point. So often as we use these Christian terms and talk about "making disciples" it can become easy for us to forget who's disciples we are making. It can be easy for us to desire to teach each other things, even good and Scriptural things, yet we can fail at getting them to look to Christ in His Word for the answers.
Don't get me wrong. God has gifted the church with men and women whom He has appointed by His divine decree to teach and maintain the truth; however, so often I find that we have questions, and instead of coming to His Word and asking the only One who truly has the right and full answer, we have a natural tendency to run to mere men all of the time. Thus, instead of making disciples of Christ through His Word, we are making ourselves disciples of a mortal.
One of the reasons I do not like commentaries is because my natural response when I have a question about a verse is to run to them. Instead of just getting my hands dirty and studying the Bible like a lion devouring its prey, I tend to take the easy way out. This can be the same with teachers. So often I believe that we as Christians (myself included) have become weak in the Scriptures because instead of seeking the Lord desperately in prayer and putting effort into finding the answer through God's Word, we have the ability to google search an answer to any question we might have. This can be and has been used as a curse by the enemy to make us both lazy and less efficient.
Many of you are aware of my great respect for men such as John Piper, David Platt, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Ryrie, etc. But if I simply follow them for answers to God's Word, then I am not a disciple learning from God, but one learning from mortal men. Thus, as a result, my level of influence will be smaller than theirs was because no matter how much they try, they cannot give me everything they have learned and gained through intense study and incredible devotion to God. The picture below reveals this concept and shows what discipleship will be like if it is just from man to man.
The image below is the correct way in that it reveals to us that if we are pointing each other back to God's Word, then disciple #1, #2, or #3 can all have an immense level of influence because all answers lie within the pages of Scripture. Thus, their circles do not get smaller, but because they are each eating from the same source, they can all be full grown disciples of Christ and thus have greater potential!
So let me ask you...whom are you making disciples of? Him? You? Or a teacher and his commentary?
NOTE: Before you can make disciples, you must first be one.