Matthew 28:19a Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…. Acts 11:26b The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
I wonder if among God’s gifts, is one of food appreciation. If there is, I think I have it. Good food, prepared well is such a joy to eat. Each bite is a pleasure in itself. Have you noticed how we especially anticipate a meal where a favorite dish is being served? Then, when we take the first taste, we evaluate everything about it to see if it measures up. That might take all of a split second if it is done right. A friend of ours describes his response to one of Donna’s desserts as a ‘party in his mouth’!
But what if that first taste generates a ‘something is amiss’ response? Maybe it’s something simple like salt or pepper which can be remedied right there at the table. But what if it’s overcooked or undercooked; too dry or watered down; or somehow significantly different? What if it’s not at all the dish we were led to believe was going to be served because the recipe has been changed – it is new and improved! Unfortunately, it sure isn’t the dish we love.
Three things are at work here: 1) Recognizing that specific dishes are called for, 2) Making those dishes correctly and 3) Being able to recognize the correct dishes when tasted. A dish might qualify as food, but if it isn’t a required dish or made according to the correct recipe, it’s not acceptable – no matter how well meaning or sincere the cooks are.
You might be asking yourself, where is all this going? Christians are disciples of Christ. As Christians we are to be disciples – and are to make disciples. In today’s illustration, disciples are made according to very specific recipes found in God’s cookbook (Bible). Disciples are NOT simply things that fall into the general category of food. Contrary to our culture, the term Christian is only correctly applied when it refers to disciples (‘dishes’) made by truly Biblical recipes.
The term ‘Christian’ is being used less and less by many because it has become far too general. In our food illustration it now refers to anything edible – rather than the specific dishes the Bible requires. The descriptive terms ‘Christ follower’ and ‘follower of Jesus’ are attempts to bring the focus once again upon the required characteristics of such a life. God requires us to not only be such people, but to work with Him to produce such people. He has the recipes and they must be followed in order to be a disciple of Christ or to make them. His recipes are the only ones that count.