Our Lord and Savior commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples. But in our haste and microwave society, we want to rush to the good part and focus on conversions. Everyone likes a baby! They are so innocent and refreshing.

But discipleship doesn't begin with the born-again experience. There must be conception first. A seed must be sown before there can be fruit.

At what point were the disciples born again or saved? A theologian may say at Pentecost. Others may say the disciples were saved when Jesus breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit, a renewed picture of the garden when God breathed into the nostrils of the first man, and he became a living soul.

Still, others may say when Jesus asked the disciples who do you say that I am? Peter then hears from the Spirit of God and no longer second-hand revelation from flesh and blood. And we can't forget Nathan, who knew at his first meeting with Jesus. But conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our work is discipleship like Jesus did until the disciples start hearing from the Holy Spirit.

We are born-again or saved when we believe in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. Becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus is not the work of the disciples. The work of regeneration of a new spirit is the work of the Holy Spirit. The disciple's work is, wait for it, discipleship. Discipleship begins before salvation and continues discipleship after salvation. If you read my article, "The Glow of Pregnancy…, " you will catch on quicker. Discipling the nations requires prenatal care.

Before prenatal care, we must sow a seed for conception. Read the parable of the Sower sowing seed on four different grounds or hearts. Conception happens on three of the four, but only one is brought to delivery.

A disciple sows the Seed, which is the word of God, over all the fields of men. The first quarter of Seed will be lost to the birds and people of no understanding or care to understand. The second, third, and fourth quarters of Seed take root. Prenatal care now begins. As disciples of Jesus, we are to disciple those who are pregnant with the word of God but have not yet been delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

We need to help plow up the ground, sow more Seed, and explain the smell of manure coming up to those who thought receiving Jesus would be a walk in the park. We must diligently teach God's commands in the hope the Seed will take root long enough to harvest a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Repentance begins before turning to God. It continues as one turns to God and continues after turning to God. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus through the baptism of repentance. A complete immersion or understanding that there is no good in us so that we may see our need and turn to a Savior. When repentance is found, God considers that good ground or a good heart that will reap thirty-, sixty- or hundred-fold return.

We are saved by grace and not works lest we take credit or partial credit. Only God is good. Yet, God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. When a person repents, it is because of humility. God extends grace to those who humbly themselves. It is then the offer of salvation is made to the sinner. If repentance was a show or not done with the whole heart, salvation through Jesus is rejected and declined, which happens a lot. Again, read the parable of the Sower. But when a heart is thoroughly looking for forgiveness and a Savior Lord, the heart will receive Jesus.

Pregnancy to re-birth can be quick, and it can be years before someone gets to the point of surrender. But all of us have walked the Emmaus walk, not realizing Jesus was speaking to us. We felt the burning in our hearts. But only when our heart desires truth do we ask Him to stay, and in the process of breaking Bread is our eyes open to what we have been longing for all our life. We become born-again.

We must be diligent and patient with those having a long, troublesome pregnancy. Their field or heart is filled with the seeds of the enemy. Our hearts are filled with poisonous plants and venomous creatures before God gives us a new heart. And disciples will likely get stung with stickers and bitten by serpents while toiling for salvation.

What I understand about the most important parable to understand all others is that no one is born-again until they have a good ground or a 'good' heart. And I say good with quotes because good is subjective in this parable. No one is good enough to be saved—no good dwells in our flesh. However, there is a good ground that Jesus points out will be saved then bare thirty, sixty, and even a hundred-fold. It is not a good we can define. And since we cannot define good, conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. Who would have thought that Saul of Tarsus would get saved on his way to arrest and deliver Christians to prison and death? Man judges the outside, but God judges the heart. Would you have placed your bet on Peter or Judas for having a good heart? Yet Peter wrote two letters in the New Testament, a hundred-fold return.

You probably heard that we can't clean a fish before catching it. True enough. Jesus rebuked those who cleaned up their appearance on the outside but were full of dead man's bones. But if we clean the inside of the cup, the outside is also clean. However, I have seen many times where people with addictions had to find a place of rest and deliverance before seeing their need to be saved. Jesus delivered a lot of people before they were able to follow Him. The kindness or goodness of God leads to repentance. We can't clean a fish before catching it as fishers of men. But as gardeners, we can help pull up a few weeds of distraction through acts of compassion.

Prenatal discipleship is not about cleaning the fish before it is caught or making a trip across the seas that makes a hypocrite twice as bad. Prenatal care discipleship continually sows God's word into a heart in whatever state it is in. A little bit of light in a dark room goes far.

I have seen people go from having no heart toward God to a hard heart toward God to a complicated heart toward God to a good heart where the Seed comes to fruition and receives a new heart of flesh and spirit. It happened to me.

The way, the truth, and the life are always the same message. Repent and turn your heart toward God. For whatever reason, God knows, I no longer wanted to be part of the drinking and carousing scene every weekend with the boys. I didn't like who we were becoming, so by the grace of God, I made my exit.

I moved out into a house with no roommates or weekend parties. I bought a Bible and began to seek God as to why this world is the way it is. I left the partying behind, which is repentance, and turned my heart to seek God by reading the Bible. I didn't go to church during this time, nor was anyone witnessing to me. I know there were plenty of people praying for me. The Father was drawing me to His Son.

During this year, much of the Seed of the Word of God was being burned up by a hard heart and edged out by all the other things I wanted in life, the second and third ground. However, every day that the Word of God was sown and plucked out, so was the enemy's Seed. I had a heart that could not understand the things of God. But that heart was being plowed under. Then, one day, a seed took root and came to maturity, and I became born again with a new heart of flesh and a new spirit.

I'm showing the working of the Holy Spirit under the microscope, so don't get frustrated. The point is to become a disciple and disciple others, even those who are hearing from flesh and blood and not yet blessed to hear from God. Keep telling them about Jesus a zillion times until they no longer hear from you but hear from the Father.

Prenatal discipleship is what some call evangelism. But modern-day evangelism has become a contrived confession, for many, stuffed into their mouths by over-achieving evangelists. A repeat after me rather than a follow me as I follow Christ—a mouthwash repentance that is spit-out and not a heart-changing encounter. I am not dissuading anyone of alter calls or sealing of the deal if it is preceded by the call to repent and turn to God with all our heart. God gave all by crucifying Jesus on the cross, and in return, we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus to the Father if we believe Jesus is the way, truth, and life.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist even though he wasn't an evangelist. We all need to follow this command and make disciples of those around us. If we keep sowing the Seed of the Word of God in the wild garden of the world, by the grace of God, someone will be made new. The conversion, where and when it happens, belongs to the Lord. Now go into all the world and make disciples.

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