Beloved, making disciples is not the ultimate purpose of God.
I imagine that declaration shocks a few folks…but it is true. God’s purposes do not terminate on making-disciples. OR, to put it another way…making disciples serves a higher goal. That goal is the exaltation of Jesus among the disciples. The apostle Paul helps us here:
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Many great, indeed stunning, truths could be highlighted from this text, but we will concern ourselves with one. That one concern begins with the words “in order that” in the last clause of verse 29. The first clause of verse 29 states that God has determined to conform men and women into the image of Jesus. This is none other than disciple-making. God intends to make disciples who look (in thought, affections, words, responses, and actions) more and more like Jesus. BUT…a disciple made serves a higher purpose.
God conforms men and women into the image of Jesus for a higher purpose…that Jesus be preeminent among them (The word “firstborn” has both chronological and prominence implications). As men and women are conformed into the image of Jesus they will grow to appreciate Him more. Just like a studied pianist appreciates Mozart more than a pilot, so too a sanctified disciple will appreciate Jesus the most.
Disciples are made to enjoy and glory over Jesus.
Are you a disciple-maker? Are you helping the redeemed increased in their conformity to Jesus THAT they may also increase in their capacity to enjoy Jesus. Do not settle for the former without the latter. Indeed, real disciples are only made when Jesus’s glory is the ultimate objective.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,