Disciples Making Disciples
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Disciples Making Disciples
Today’s sermon is different. We are taking a break from 1 Corinthians to talk about something I think is very important for our church, our future, and how we reach people. We have been in an unusual season with Corona.
*We are not meeting as church, but we still need to be the church.*
One day recently I found myself saying, I can’t wait to get back to normal, and I immediately felt weird saying that. I started to wonder if God might be using Corona to get us to change what we are doing.
People are not coming to church, to large gatherings. People are scared to go out, and yet desperately in need of meaningful relationships. I’m so glad we can do online church service for those who can’t be here. But each time I do one I am grateful for it, and yet there is also a sense in which it saddens me. It is superficial. I don’t want to have a relationship with my wife mediated through a screen. I love seeing her, being around her, holding her hand. It is just different to be in the actual presence of someone. And same for church.
*I want to find a way to get us into meaningful relationships that fuel our walk with God.* I have been feeling this a long time and I think Corona may be pushing us to find a way to do this. I have looked at different things to do, curriculum to follow, how to train, 400 page manuals, and it just didn’t feel right. Too complicated. But we do need some direction.
A couple weeks ago I was invited to a meeting with other pastors to hear from a missionary from London who had spent time in Australia and Asia. He was sharing about his experience in China and how he got there and heard a leader talk about how many people had trusted in Christ. He was floored because he had never heard of so many people coming to faith in his American church. He went up to the person and said, “Let me get this straight. You have ___ conversations last year. Did I hear that right???” The Chinese man said, “No. You misunderstood. We had that last month.” He was floored because he had not seen that many conversions in years in the states.
Some say ministry has gotten harder in the states. I think it has changed, and it is harder because we have not changed our ways. Want it done how we want it and not how others need it.
Ministry is going to start with you, and ripple out to those you are personally connected to. Probably not going to have a big response to an email about small groups. May not get people into church through a video. But they might go to the park with you. Might be able to do a phone call with one person. And we get our small groups on this.
I often fear it is too easy for people to come to church. Nod their head at some point, and then walk away and do nothing. A friend of mine shared his conversion and said his wife made him go to church, and he decided to go. He said, “I could go and sleep anywhere for an hour in order to have a little more peace in the house.” Many people in church are sleeping through Jesus commands to make disciples and I believe we need an awakening. I want to talk about how we make disciples today.
The Christian life isn’t comfortable but we also don’t need to over complicate.
Chick-fil-a: Makes chicken sandwiches.
Apple makes: gadgets.
Ford makes: automobiles.
Boeing Makes airplanes.
Hersheys makes chocolate.
Breyers makes ice cream.
Churches make disciples.
Big Idea: Churches make disciples… so we ought to make disciples.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)
Comment: disciples are to make disciples. They are to follow Jesus. Jesus is saying what I have done with you, go do for others.
The rest of the New Testament shows this commission being lived out.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, (Acts 2:42-46 ESV)
Comment: The church is obeying Jesus.
The book of 1 Corinthians, which we have been studying embodies this just like the other new testament letters.
He went there and occupied himself with the Word and reasoned with the people there (v5, 4). Persuading people to worship God (). Paul is teaching them the word of God (1 Cor 10:1-13). Paul knows these people and the book of 1 Corinthians is part of a correspondence with these believers where they wrote to ask him questions, and Paul is now responding to their questions and addressing other issues. Ministry flows out of relationships. It is Word centered as that is the ultimate criteria. And it is missional in the sense that we want to help others grow in knowing and making Christ known.
When we know people we can help them. If you don’t know people or don’t know what is really going on you can’t help them. If they don’t know how much you care they don’t care how much you know.
*I believe every follower of Jesus is a disciple maker.* Jesus told his disciples to do what he modeled for them. every disciple should be making other disciples. It is your life’s mission. You want others to know Christ as their Lord. You want them to experience the love, peace, guidance, and salvation that are in Christ. It is our lifework.
This is what we want to be about as a church. Making disciples should define us. We can’t presume people know Jesus. Increasingly people have never read the Bible, they do not know Jesus or what he did. And yet because of the fall we know all people have hardship, struggles, and difficulties in life. They have a longing for God that they try to fill.
We have talked about the great commission, helping people grow in their faith. But I also realized I have talked about this and it’s like just go do and teach the whole Bible! That is true. It is our calling. But I think we need some handles on it. We need something that is easily reproducible.
SOS Bible Study: The point of this Bible study structure is to keep things simple but also ensure a few important aspects of the Christian life are taught. I want this to give us clarity and focus.
Momentum will come when we focus our effort in a clear direction.
I want you to experience this in your relationships (family, friends, coworkers, etc).
The first “Say” gets one into and discussing the Word of God. The second “Obey” is to talk about the response to the Word and what we ought to do. We want to obey and not just create more unused head knowledge. Share focuses us on making disciples. We do this through evangelism but also in sharing with others the good things we have learned. Here is some explanation
- What does the passage mean?
- What does this tell me about God, myself, the world?
- Something confusing/Questions
- Where do I see myself in this passage?
- How does the passage impact you?
- Pray: what should you pray for in light of this passage?
- What do you sense God wants you to do this week?
Do we give time for people to reflect, open up about their life and what is going on? Are we sharing the hardship we are facing? It’s amazing we can give a laundry list of theological concepts, perspectives on Matt 28. Now teach me how to do it. Do you have a wealth of experience to go with your wealth of knowledge? There is a problem when all those teaching about evangelism have little experience of it.
Guys who work out but they only do the beach work out: biceps, chest and abs. Big upper bodies, and then these tiny little legs. Not just hearers but doers of the word. Most of what is being addressed in this book is their life style. It certainly involves knowledge but it can’t be only that.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
NIV “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Ex: husband and wife in perpetual conflict. Living in doubt and not focused on what God can do.
Ex: girl living with her boyfriend. Only thinking about the moment and not his spiritual development.
Ex: man being overbearing with his children. Live under authority of Jesus.
You hear this and you know how to pray for them that week. You know how to pray to help them do what God is calling them to do.
Led by the Spirit. Role in evangelism is not just to bring people into the church. Created such a concern with being a heretic or being wrong that we have parralyzed the people of God. You don’t have to know all the answers. Let them figure it out. Let the holy spirit be the teacher. Don’t have to know everything. Can’t have it all figured out. It may be unpredictable to some. It will get messy, but not as messy if you try to keep everything quarantined and under the surface.
- What should you share with others about this?
- Tell Another to Believe
- Confess your faults
- Share a praise
- Pass the blessing on: this is good, you should try it.
Have you ever had someone come up to you and share what God is doing in their life? It is amazing. You realize God is not dead! He is at work! And it stirs you to want to see that.
Teach them how to walk and abide with his people. Congregation isn’t healthy if they are not able to go out and share the faith. Daily testimony, daily word.
It changes what we do and how we learn.
Accountability: Ben said they seek to hold each other accountable on what they said they would do. Start out the meeting saying, who obeyed and shared. Tell us what happened.
Those who didn’t share – why not. What happened? Why did you do what God was telling you to do?
Everyone can do. I want you to do something. I want you to go home and answer these questions based on the passage of Matt 28. Do this with you family. If you don’t have someone to talk through then ask somebody to be that person for you.
We did this as a family. Everyone can do this! Not a spectator.
This is a good way to follow God’s command to make disciples. It is not the only way. But it is a clear, simple structure that gets you doing the things you need to do. I hope it gives us focus on a collective mission and I hope we get momentum in it.
I want to invite you to follow Jesus’ call to be a disciple. Discipleship is about following Christ, knowing that Jesus is the path of life. And it means imitating him in making disciples. Some of you are used to altar calls and may ask why don’t we do altar calls. They served a place, but I’m afraid most of those altar calls didn’t last to the parking lot. It was a momentary act that was not lived out in life.
Will you follow Jesus? If you make that decision, I would love to hear about it, but more is what you are going to decide to do after this message. You have heard it. Now what will you do?
- You can follow it.
- You can reject it.
- Tacit Denial
But don’t fall into the deadly, lukewarm of accepting but feeling like you can’t, or don’t know how. If you don’t know how then you need to stand up and say I don’t know what to do, I’m scared, I need help. God gives grace to the humble and that is where the church comes in. But don’t sit there and do nothing and think you are following Jesus.
- What does this passage say (About God, you, the world; where do you see yourself in the passage)?
- What do you need to do (obey) from this passage?
- How can you share with others what God is showing you?
- Will you commit to doing what you said you need to do and sharing with whom you need to share?