Converts or Disciples?

The audience cheered and gave a standing ovation to an accomplished actor as he quoted the Shepherd Psalm – the 23rd Psalm. Later an old Christian man who had walked with the Lord for over seventy years read the Psalm to the same people with an entirely different response. There was not a dry eye in the house. The actor was asked why he thought the crowd responded in such different manners. His answer is worth remember. He replied, “I know Psalm 23. He knows the Shepherd!”

Indeed there is a vast difference between knowing about the Lord and knowing the Lord. It could well become the Lord. It could well become an eternal difference. The Prophet Hosea said, “you shall know the Lord when you follow on to know the Lord.” Indeed it was Jesus Christ Himself who called His disciples with the simple admonition, “Follow Me.” Those who followed Him did not become converts. They become disciples.

Likewise when Jesus gave the Great Commission to the church He instructed His followers to make disciples – learners, followers – not converts. What He certainly didn’t do was to tell His disciples to lead people to repeat a note prayer and then tell them “If you prayed that prayer we believe you were born again.” When a person is actually born again no one will have to tell him, he will know it.

One of the best descriptions of a born again person is found in Second Corinthians 5:17 – “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away behold, all things have become new.” Think seriously about it! Are we leading people to know about the Lord or leading them to know the Lord?
What is our goal? Do we want converts to the institutional church or disciples who are followers of Christ? The difference between the two is an eternal difference!