For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
The Gospel is for Disciples, Not Just a Sinners
Many people often think that the Gospel is something that you share with unbelievers. Once someone trusts in Christ as their Savior, the Gospel message may be secondary to other Bible reading, devotions, or studies. The truth is that the Gospel is for sinners and saints alike and should always focus on our studies, worship (IE: music), conversations, relationships, and thoughts.
When we read scripture, we do it through the lens of the Gospel. When we speak with neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family, we do it through the lens of the Gospel. When we build relationships (with believers or non), we do that through the lens of the Gospel.
Jonathan Dodson writes in Gospel-centered Discipleship: The disciples of Jesus were always attached to other disciples. They lived in an authentic community. They confessed their sins and struggles alongside their successes as the disciples grew in maturity. They did not extend beyond the need for their Redeemer. They returned to him for forgiveness. Churches formed around their common need for Jesus. He says in a later chapter, When we become Jesus disciples, we also become his servants. Disciples are servants who take up their cross and follow him (Luke 9:23). We must always remember, we are all sinners, regardless of where we are in our walk with the Lord. We all find commonality in sin – no one is better than another. But more importantly, as believers, we also find commonality in our relationship with our Savior and our minute-by-minute need for forgiveness and grace. In light of this bond, we can build authentic relationships and disciple one another in intimate and powerful ways beyond a teacher-student scenario.
Disciple-Making is a Mess
In Chapter 1 of Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp’s book Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, they write: We are smack-dab in the middle of God’s process of sanctification. And because this is true, we will struggle, selfishness, pride, and unforgiving spirit, irritation, and impatience will undoubtedly return. But we are neither afraid nor hopeless. We have experienced what God can do in the middle of the mess. This side of heaven, relationships, and ministry are always shaped in the forge of struggle. None of us get to relate to perfect people or avoid the fall’s effects on the work we attempt to do. Yet, amid the mess, we find the highest joys of relationship and ministry. All relationships are complicated at times, and if we are truly transparent, honest, and intentional when building a relationship with others in the process of Discipleship, we should expect that process will be challenging, time-consuming, and require a lot of grace, humility, and putting up with a lot of mess. Discipleship isn’t quick, simple, convenient, or comfortable. But it is good, and it is our responsibility: Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20