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5 Steps to Make Disciples According to the Book of Acts

Preach the gospel and heal the sick everywhere you go

Throughout the book of Acts, there is a common trend among all of the early believers. They had to get the message of the Gospel out to as many people as possible, regardless of how those people treated them. They had an urgency and a purpose to their step that was evident to those around them.

Not to mention, that when they carried the message of salvation to cities and villages they brought with them the healing power of Jesus. There were powerful signs, wonders, and miracles that followed these preachers’ lives.

“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20).

“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength…Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people..” (Acts 3:7,11-12).

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“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did(Acts 8:4-6)

As you can see from the above passages, the early church preached the Gospel and healed the sick everywhere that they went, it was a common pattern throughout the book of Acts.

The reason that they did this so faithfully is because this pattern is exactly what Jesus taught them and demonstrated to them.

In Luke chapter 10, Christ was giving instructions to His seventy disciples about how He wanted them to go to the surrounding villages and prepare them for His coming. He said,

Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:8-9).

Notice how Jesus told them to (1) go to every city, (2) heal the sick there, and (3) share the Gospel with them.

He told His twelve disciples to do the same thing in Luke chapter 9.

“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere(Luke 9:1-2, 6).

As I mentioned before, Jesus followed this same pattern.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people(Matthew 4:23).

No wonder the early church disciples preached the Gospel and healed the sick everywhere they went! It was the only pattern they were ever given. It was all that they knew.

If you are wondering if this is possible for us today, it absolutely is! After Jesus rose from the grave, He told His disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you(Matthew 28:19-20).

Well, He commanded them to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. We are commanded by Christ to do so just like they were.

If you are a follower of Christ but have heard that the gifts are no longer today I encourage you to check this article that answers some common objections to that belief.

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Find the person of peace

Another pattern that was consistently demonstrated throughout the book of Acts was finding the person of peace. The person of peace is someone who, when they hear the Gospel, has a desire to repent and begin following Jesus.

Jesus told us to preach the Gospel everywhere we go, but He also gave us instructions about what we are to do once we’re there. This pattern was faithfully followed by the early church and they saw amazing results because of it. No doubt, if we follow the same pattern we too will also see amazing results.

Just as Jesus mentioned the healing of the sick and preaching of the Gospel in every city in Luke chapter 10, He also commanded that His disciples seek to find the person of peace in the areas that they travel to.

“But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house(Luke 10:5-7).

Notice how Jesus specifically told the seventy not to go from house to house. What Christ meant by this was don’t get the person of peace to repent and accept your message and then leave them to go find the next person.

Rather, Christ wants us to remain with them to assist them in their walk with God. He wants us to begin to disciple them.

Too often we as good intention people have a zeal to get as many people saved as possible, but unfortunately, it is at the expense of the newly converted. We should not get someone born-again, hand them a Bible, and tell them, “be sure to read it”, then leave them with nothing else in their arsenal.

Christ commands us to make disciples of all nations, not converts (Matthew 28:19). This is why when we are out to reach the lost the whole goal is to find the person of peace. If we can do this successfully it will save a lot of time.

We won’t get caught up in pointless arguments that go nowhere, nor will we be discouraged when someone rejects the Gospel because we’ll know that they aren’t the person we’re looking for.

Here are some examples of the early church doing this in the book of Acts:

“So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God…And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region(Acts 13:42-43, 49).

“Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed..Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:1-3).

“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:21-22).

There are many more examples but I think you get the point.

Clearly explain the Gospel and the proper response

Now that you found the person of peace, what do you do? That is an excellent question and the Bible clearly answers it with multiple examples from the book of Acts.

The first example is in Acts chapter 16 when Paul meets Lydia. The Bible says that the apostle Paul and Silas went to an area where God-fearing people often prayed. While there, Paul meets Lydia who is a person of peace. We know this cause the Bible says that the “Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).

After their conversation, Lydia and Paul go back to her house and Paul then clearly explains the whole Gospel to Lydia’s household. Now, if you read the story you won’t find that the Bible specifically says that Paul explained the Gospel to the household, but we know this based on the context.

“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us” (Acts 16:14-15).

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Another example is in the same chapter of the book of Acts when Paul and Silas get beat for casting out a demon of a young girl. While in prison, Paul and Silas began worshipping the Lord at midnight, and the Bible says that an earthquake took place that opened the cells of Paul and Silas.

This leads the Jailer to become a person of peace. Paul and Silas are then taken to His home where Paul clearly explains the Gospel to him and his whole household.

“Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 

Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house..And immediately he and all his family were baptized(Acts 16:29-33).

People of peace will often ask this same question the jailer asked, “what must I do to be saved?” They will either ask it out loud, or they will be wondering it internally the whole time you are speaking to them.

So, when you meet a person of peace you need to sit down with them and explain to them the Gospel and what their response should be. (Related article: What is the Gospel?).

It’s important to mention that all throughout the book of Acts the proper response that the early church preached was not the sinner’s prayer. They preached something much more radical.

Here is what Peter said when he was asked, “what must I do to be saved?”

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)

The response?

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41).

This is also why when Paul was asked by the Jailer this same question, he didn’t just stop at “believe on the Lord Jesus”, but he continued by explaining the Gospel which led to his whole family getting baptized immediately.

I encourage you to check out two of my articles that will explain the topics of water baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit in much more detail. The two articles are Water Baptism (Complete Study) and Baptism in the Holy Spirit (In-Depth Study).

Meet with the new disciples consistently

After you have found the person of peace, and you have clearly explained the Gospel to them, and they have carried out the proper response to the message of the cross by repenting, getting baptized, and then receiving the Holy Spirit, then it is time to disciple them.

You do this by meeting with them on a consistent basis, getting to know them, and assisting them in their walk with Christ.

Now there is a lot that we can cover regarding the discipleship of new believers, but, unfortunately, it is far too extensive of a topic to cover in a short section of a blog post.

However, there are some foundations that we should discuss because they are too important to neglect.

The first thing to mention is that the goal of discipleship is to become more like Christ. When you go to disciple someone you are there solely to assist them in their maturity process to look more like Jesus.

You are there so that they learn to become dependent on Christ, not you.

This is an important distinction because too often people get dependent on what their pastor is saying and doing because they don’t know how to follow God themselves.

Our goal when discipling someone is to guide them into a relationship with Christ so they can eventually follow Him effectively without our help.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

The goal of God saving us and maturing us is so that the image of God would be restored back into mankind. This process is called sanctification.

It is important to mention that you will be unable to guide someone through this process if you are not further down the road than they are, so be sure you are walking with God and growing in Him.

The process of discipleship can be summed up in two areas: (1) the inner life and (2) the outer life.

The inner life consists of prayer, fasting, reading and meditating on the scriptures, and controlling our thoughts. The outer life consists of caring for your family, giving to the needy, evangelizing the lost, discipleship of new believers, the gifts of the Spirit, etc.

If you cover these topics and teach others how to do the same in their life, you will bear much fruit.

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Repeat this process

Discipleship is a very repetitive process. Although every person is different, the foundational truths by which we walk with God are the same.

If we wish to bear the same fruit as the Apostles did in the book of Acts then we need to follow their example. The apostle Paul had a similar pattern that he followed throughout his missionary journeys.

He would preach the Gospel in the synagogues and marketplaces, get people born again, and then meet with them consistently to disciple them. Shortly after this, he would leave for the next city to repeat the process.

Here are some scriptures of Paul doing this.

“Then Paul, as his custom was, went into them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ” (Acts 17:2-3).

“Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17).

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:8-10).

“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:21-22).

As you can see the key to bearing much fruit is to create a discipleship process that can be repeated by yourself and others.

I hope this article assisted you in your walk with the Lord. If you enjoyed this article, please consider giving a donation of any amount by clicking the button below. The support we receive from you enables The Biblical Foundation to keep all of the resources free and to reach more people with the teachings of the Word of God.

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