By Dr. Ronald L. Taylor
In the "Great Commission," Jesus told his disciples,
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven
and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that
I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age." Matt 28:18-20.
Implicit in this statement are two aspects of the vision
and ministry of Pinecrest, to which we have been called by
our Lord in these last days.
We are to “make” disciples, but first, we are
called to be disciples. Our teaching others to obey all that
our Lord has commanded should flow out from our relationship
Being a Disciple
One of the primary things that is imparted to the students
in the Bible School at Pinecrest is a strong desire to be
a disciple of Jesus. It is not enough to simply know about
Him, or even to be skilled in the various methods of serving
Him. We must know Him, and develop a personal relationship
As we spend time with Jesus, we learn to recognize and hear
His Voice. Along with this, we learn how to daily yield our
wills, plans, and expectations to His will. Jesus said,
"If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and
My Father will love him, and We will come unto
him, and make Our abode with him.” John 14:23.
The essence of our relationship with Jesus is based on our
loving Him. And because we love Him, we become willing (or,
willing to be made willing) to die to our own desires and
ways, so He might come and dwell with us.
"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ
Jesus our Lord, I die daily." I Cor 15:31.
This is what it means to be a disciple - to live with Jesus
and walk out our life with Him. As we are faithful to Him
in the so-called "little things" of this life, then
He will entrust us with the greater, "true riches"
of His Kingdom.
As we learn to lean only upon Him, rather than on our talents
or abilities, and say from our heart, "not my will, but
thy will be done," then He will raise us up into a newness
of life and purpose. Our old life under the "law of sin
and death" will yield to the "law of the Spirit
Jesus places great importance on our obedience to Him, but
this obedience is always to flow out from our love for Him.
Paul exhorted Timothy,
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence
of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will
also be qualified to teach others." II Tim 2:2.
As beneficial as the Gospel message is for us personally,
it is not to stop there; we must pass it on to others.
Jesus recruited disciples from under trees, from fishing
boats, and from a tax collector's booth. These disciples learned
how to apply His teachings to their lives as they lived and
worked together with Him. Then He sent them out, two by two,
that others might partake of that which had become a reality
Today, Jesus continues to call disciples from a wide variety
of backgrounds. When potential disciples arrive at Pinecrest,
one of our first tasks is to teach them how to live together
in community, to love and respect each other, and to be faithful
with a variety of "little things." As we learn to
allow the government of the Kingdom of God to rule in our
relationships, then we find we are in a position to become
acquainted with the "true riches."
Jesus did not compromise the cost of being a disciple in
order to gain followers. When many of His disciples began
to leave Him, He simply asked the Twelve if they also would
leave Him (John 6:67). When the rich young ruler declined
the opportunity to be a follower, Jesus was sorrowful, but
did not lower the cost in order to make discipleship acceptable
Through all of His ministry, Jesus set forth a very basic,
uncomplicated model for us to follow,
"The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do
only what He sees His Father doing." John 5:19a.
We are not to place our emphasis upon new ideas, methods,
or programs. Rather, we are to discover what our Father desires
to do, and submit ourselves to its outworking through us.
Training a disciple has two primary components: The first
has to do with our personal life style.
"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the
sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with
perseverance the race marked out for us." Heb 12:1.
Many things in our lives are not necessarily bad, but they
hinder the best. In order to make room for the best, we need
to leave the "OK" behind. In this way we can press
on for the prize of His high calling (Phil 3:14).
The second component has to do with study. Paul encouraged
Timothy to study to show himself approved unto God (II Tim
2:15). The study of God's Word is the primary way we have
to be certain that we are obeying him. This is of primary
However, there may be other areas in which we are to study
in order to show ourselves to be an excellent workman. For
example, if we are called to be a missionary pilot, we must
learn about airplanes, map reading, and certain foreign cultures.
This should also be done with diligence and skill. However,
we are not to lose sight of the fact that these things only
support the primary call of God, which is to make disciples.
As I assume the presidency of Pinecrest, we are praying
that the Lord will continue sending to Pinecrest those who
desire to be discipled, so they will be able to effectively
disciple others. As each of us learns how to minister out
of our relationship with Jesus, we will be able to say with
all sincerity, "O taste and see that the Lord is good!"
If this stirs something within your spirit, perhaps the Lord
is speaking to you about coming to Pinecrest - for a few days;
a few weeks; or perhaps for a few years, to become a disciple.
Let each one of us commit ourselves to do what the Father
is doing, to minister out of relationship, and to base it