1/8/13 Alfredo and Prith about 30 and 50
Our Great Commission as followers of Jesus is to go and make “disciples” – not converts. Is there a difference? It’s interesting that the only time Jesus refers to making “converts” is in his criticism of the Pharisees – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Mt 23:15) The problem with the Pharisees was that they were hypocrites – they didn’t practice what they preached, and by example trained their followers to do the same. They made converts to an empty religion rather than disciples in a loving relationship. It’s easy for us to conclude, then, that we should give up on evangelism to unbelievers in favor of discipling new believers. But where do new believers come from? And what do we get when we tell new believers that they should share their faith when we don’t intentionally do it ourselves? We get mere converts who follow our hypocritical example of not practicing what we preach. After work today I had the wonderful opportunity of discipling a young believer – Elias – not just by teaching out of the Bible but also by example. We were to meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts, but Elias was a little late so I began a witnessing conversation with a man named Alfredo who was sitting next to me. We were deep in a Spanish-only conversation about the Gospel when Elias arrived, and since Elias is a native Spanish speaker he was able to do a much better job of communicating some important truths to Alfredo than I could. After Elias and I finished our Bible study, I was also able to share some Gospel truths with Prith, a medical doctor from India who had sat down near us. As a disciple of Jesus, Elias is learning to share his faith in three ways; by studying God’s Word, by seeing my example, and by putting it into practice himself. And, perhaps most importantly, he is learning to be someone who loves Jesus by practicing what he preaches, not just by being a convert to empty religion.