TOUGH STUFF: Discipleship

Download Sermon Outline

Sermon Manuscript …Tough Stuff - Difficult Truths from the Bible

The Command to Make a Difference

The Great Commission: Make Disciples

Tough Stuff 2010

A little boy grew up in the great state of Kentucky.  He spent the bulk of his childhood sitting by the side of the road watching those massive tractor- trailer trucks swish by, dreaming that someday he would get the opportunity to ride in one.  When he became a teenager, he got his opportunity, and that convinced him that’s the way he wanted to spend the rest of his life . . . driving one of those big rigs.

He took the training, passed the program with distinction, and then he came up for the ultimate final.  He was required to appear before a battery of truck drivers who could confront him with any conceivable problem that he might face on the road.  He was expected to come up with the solution.

This is the problem they gave him.  They said, “You are driving down a very tortuous two-lane highway in the hills of Kentucky.  You look in your rear view mirror, and there are two cars in the process of passing you.  In the lane next to you, there is another huge truck coming in the opposite direction, and two cars in the process of passing it.  You look to your right and there is a sheer 500-foot precipice, and to your left–solid rock.  You hit your brakes, and they are gone.  What would you do?

The kid thought for a moment and said, “Well I’d wake up Leroy.”  They said, “Leroy, who is Leroy?”  “Well, you see Leroy is my relief driver.”

“Exactly what could he do?”

“Well,” he said, “I don’t know what he could do, but Leroy . . . he is from a small town here in Kentucky, and he has never seen an accident like he’s going to see right now.”

Interesting perspective–when you reach the end of your life, when it is all said and done . . . what legacy are you going to leave on this planet?

Having ministered to many people at death’s door, the things that were important to them were faith, friends, and family.  Having a near-death experience, getting a fatal disease, receiving a bad medical report–growing old for the Christian brings clarity to what is important.  And as you face eternity, it won’t be your income, education or sports history, your school or your pets that will be important.  It will be people, your family, church family and friends.  Things don’t matter, events never last, even books will be destroyed with this planet–trophy’s break, teams graduate, activities end, houses burn . . . but people are eternal–people matter.

And that alone makes obedience to the command for you to disciple incredibly important.  And now that I’ve said that, it’s precisely at this point that many Christians freeze up.  Just mention the word discipleship, and Christians get confused.  Making disciples is a Tough Stuff issue.

Some Christians see discipleship as only occurring one way, typically one-on-one, two Christians together in an intense relationship, dealing with sin and pursuing Christ.  Other Christians view discipleship as optional, something extra, only for the committed, or only if I have time.  A few Christians view discipleship as less important than parenting, or only for those who are really godly or older than me.  Some only view discipleship as a meeting where you read through a book and discuss it.  And all those Christians would be wrong–at least partially.

Every single one of you, who are born again, are in discipleship relationships right now–some are doing a great job, others a good job, but many are doing a poor job.  Which one are you?  Today you need to allow God’s Word to give you an eye exam in order to see God’s command clearly.  Some of you need to fix a distorted view.  Some of you need to feel the passion of Christ for discipleship.  A few need to understand that true Biblical parenting is discipleship, and if you’re not discipling your children and allowing the body of Christ to disciple your children, then you’re failing them.

And all of us need to embrace the process of discipleship as a church if we’re ever going to become more like Christ.  The Spirit of God wants to make you like Jesus, and He uses the discipleship process to accomplish His goal.  We have four major priorities as a church–the FOUR G’s.

God’s GLORY is over all

The Great Commandment to love God and love each other Biblically

The Gospel which is first and central

And the Great Commission, to make disciples–what’s that look like?

#1  Accept the importance of every Christian making disciples

One of the greatest threats to genuine Christianity today is lack of spiritual reproduction.  That’s why in the Old Testament Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”  This great parenting passage is describing discipleship–parenting is discipleship.   God expects us to impact others, like a relay racer passes on a baton.

It’s the opposite of when you are sick–when I have a cold, I don’t want to pass it on to my wife, my children or you.  But when you have Christ, you do want everyone around you to catch Him, see Him through you–you want to infect others with Christ.

In 2 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul writes, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  Also for women, Titus 2:3-4 instructs, “Older women likewise are to be teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage [train] the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”

Turn to Matthew 28.  Just like a baby needs to learn to feed itself, eventually run, speak, and grow to have its own children, Christians need to grow mature enough where they reproduce into other Christians.  Today you must get infected with, and develop a passion for, discipleship–it is the command of Christ.

Look at Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  It’s called the Great Commission, but today it’s the Great Omission.

It is found in all four gospels and Acts, but Matthew is the most comprehensive.  It is the briefing before the battle, the risen Head giving us His final directive and most important assignment–and today we are in the same war with no new instruction, no new battle plan.  Look at the setting in verses 16-18, “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”

This is a big event–Jesus is most likely speaking to three groups, 1) the eleven, 2) probably the 500, and 3) to us today.  They gathered, worshiped, but verse 17, some doubted–is this for real?  Why’d they doubt?  They had failed their leader–one sold Him out, one denied Him three times–they’re at their lowest point.  So Jesus says, “Let’s take the world, men!”  That’s crazy–most of them have never been more than 50 miles out of their own country.

This is you–you think you can’t influence, can’t reproduce, can’t disciple.  You can’t even get to church on time.  So how can you or I make a difference?  Verse 18,”All authority has been given to Me.”  You all here at FBC need to learn what the disciples learned–the Christian life is not difficult, it’s impossible.  Without Jesus, you can do nothing.  The Christian life is not what you can do for God, but what God will do through you.

Christ has all the legitimate power and authority.  Therefore, verse 19-20, “Go, make disciples.”  (How can our lives really count?)  Well ask yourself, what is Jesus commanding here?  What is the main verb?  Is it go, make disciples, baptize, or teach to obey?  Christ’s last words to us are these—pass it on:

The main verb is “make disciples”.  This is accomplished by three participles:  1) going, 2) baptizing, and 3) teaching to obey all I’ve commanded.

So to make a difference, I must . . .

First  Embrace the priority

God doesn’t need us to make disciples for Him because He is unable–no.  Christ commands us, because we need to make disciples.  God created us and redeemed us to spiritually reproduce.  Dogs bark, ducks swim, Christians make disciples.  “Make disciples” is a command from our general to His army.

Disobedience is being AWOL–every church must be focused on the next generation, and as a member of the Church body, that means you need to be concerned about more than your own children.  Discipleship is crucial to nurture new believers, and for the mature to grow spiritually.  Whatever your excuse, it must stop today–this is Christ’s command–all Christians make disciples.

Second  Follow the process

This is God’s way to reach the world.  Gallup did a survey of religious life in America, and the summary statement was shocking–“Never before in the history of the USA has the Gospel of Jesus Christ made such inroads, while at the same time making so little difference in how people live.”  Why?  1) a weak Gospel, 2) no discipleship.  It is the result of a fascination with making decisions without making disciples.  It’s like giving birth to a baby, then allowing it to raise itself.  Instead, Jesus says make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching.

1 Going

Evangelism, but it is literally as you are going.  As you’re going in sports, at work, in your neighborhood, with friends–true discipleship is never divorced from evangelism.  As you are going means as you walk through life you evangelize.  It never occurred to the early Church not to share the Gospel–it is good news.  They had to share it.  Today we bottle it, analyze it, inspect it and hoard it–anything but share it.

Don’t allow yourself to think you love lost people and then don’t share the Gospel with them. Do not say I want to become like Christ, but not be a fisher of men.  You don’t love someone if you say nothing and watch them go to hell.  “Go” or “as you’re going” means . . .

A  Evangelism is your lifestyle

Evangelism is not a part of your lifestyle, it is your lifestyle.  You salesmen are not merely salesmen–you’re God’s representatives in your field of contacts so that your territory, fellow salesmen, and every contact sees what God looks like if God were a salesman.  That goes for housewives, students and every other career path.  No matter what you do, as you go, you share and show Christ.

B  “As you’re going” means you endure

You don’t give up–evangelism is rarely a one-time event with immediate response.  True evangelism is continually sowing and sometimes reaping.  You never give up.  One of my friends, John Bates, invested 42 years of sharing the Gospel and showing off Christ before His own dad submitted to Christ—endure.

C  “As you are going” means you go out to them

We can and should invite the lost to come to church, but we must also go out to them in the world.   Life is a giant river headed toward a waterfall of doom called hell, which is located around a great curve you can’t see beyond called death.  Every person alive is floating toward that curve and the destructive falls beyond it in inner tubes–some floating with the current, others swimming against the current, a few in yachts, tour boats, pleasure cruises, science vessels . . . but all are headed for certain destruction.

All intrinsically know there is coming danger, but they still float down the river.  Only the Christian has been rescued and now stands upon the shore, able to see everyone floating by.  Some believers sit at waters edge and do nothing but think how foolish people are to keep floating.  Others envy those in yachts and pleasure boats–a few shout from the shore, or invite others to come visit us.  But a few will actually go out into the water to try to rescue some, knowing that God is the one who saves, but God is the one who also uses us to communicate His message.  Only a few are willing to get wet enough and close enough to see who the individuals are that the Savior wants to save.

Spurgeon said, “If the elect had a yellow stripe up their back, I would go around pulling up shirt tails, but because they don’t, and I don’t know who the elect are, I preach to all, I share with all, I talk to all, so that those who are elect will respond.”  Do you?  As-you’re-going evangelism . . . but the process of discipleship also includes:

2  Baptizing

Identification with Christ and incorporation within the Body, baptism is the symbol of commitment and allegiance to Christ and His Bride, the Church.  Being baptized is like choosing up teams, you publicly declare Christ is your captain, and the Church is now your only team.  You find out what position the captain wants you to play and go for it with all your heart as a part of the team.  Just like my wedding ring is an outward sign, indicating that I belong to Jean, baptism declares to all that you belong to Jesus, and are immersed in His Spirit and community.  Finally, the process of discipleship includes:

3  Teaching

A  Obedience Training

Discipleship includes teaching, but a particular kind of teaching–teaching them to obey/to observe – verse 20 “all I have commanded you.”  Like a dog being trained in obedience school, discipleship is training an individual how to follow his new master in all things.  A mature Christian is one who has come under the authority of the Word of God in every area of his life.  He knows what the Bible says, and seeks to follow God’s Word in every area, not perfectly but progressively.

The purpose of the teaching of the Word of God is not to make you a smarter sinner, but to make you more like Christ.  All our future Bible studies must have a strong discipleship element to them.  We never want to be those who merely hear the Word and delude ourselves. We need to know God’s Word, but the Bible was written to change your life to be more like Christ, not to merely satisfy your curiosity.  We have more information today than ever before, yet less and less people who live like Christ, because we are not discipling.  The verb “observe” not only involves obedience to Christ’s commands, but . . .

B  Esteem them

People are not to see only our obedience, but also our affections–that we want to obey God’s commands, not that we have to.  They need to see a transformed heart.

C  Discipleship is not merely a one-on-one process

Jesus says we’re teaching them–verse 20, “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”  The future body of Christ is in view, teaching them—all of us together–to obey Christ’s commands.

Clean your glasses, friends–adjust your view, hear me now, listen, don’t fade!  The actual word “disciple” does not appear chronologically in the New Testament past Acts 11.  It is not in any New Testament epistle at all.  Why?  Because as Jesus disciple, now His body disciples, the Church, the body of Christ, His manifest person now does the discipling–each member and all the members.

Right now in this service, later on the patio, in small groups, and one-on-one discipleship is occurring today in the lives of genuine Christians who are currently filled with the Spirit and relationally engaged in this church.  The more intimate the meeting, the greater the teeth of accountability, but discipling is done by the body when functioning properly.

Think, Christian–the goal of discipleship is to become like Christ.  The strength of one-on-one is accountability, but the danger of one-on-one is that they will become like you, not like Christ.  That’s why each person here and all of us as a corporate body must be passionate about discipling each other to become like Christ.  Then all the gifts and strengths of Christ are manifest through all of us to each of us.  In the New Testament, the entire Church is the discipler.

Ephesians 4:16 is pointed, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  We’re to be so connected to one another that we all grow in obedience to the commands of Christ in every area of our lives.

And in discipleship, Jesus makes it clear there is nothing left out, verse 20.  All the New Testament commands directed at believers are to be obeyed so all the areas of our lives put Christ on display.  When the Scripture refers to someone being perfect like James 3:2, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.”   Perfect is the idea of complete or every area of life under the authority of the Word–not perfection, but Christ’s will permeates every area of life.  Jesus is referring to . . .

All the New Testament commands of Christ, the royal law, the law of love, the commands of the new covenant are to be obeyed.  This is what John Piper writes in his book, What Jesus Demands from the World, which details all the New Testament commands directed at the disciples.  So the process is going, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all.

Third  Cling to the promise

As we pursue discipleship, Jesus says all authority is on our side and Christ is with us always.

Verse 18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Verse 20, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I am with you always does not apply to everything–though true in essence, this promise is directly linked to the Great Commission.  Christ promises to bless you if you do what Christ has commanded.  You will enjoy His presence in a special way if you continually make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching them to follow all Christ has commanded.

Our Lord has just exposed some dangers . . . pride and errors that Christians struggle with in discipleship.  Some are really possessive–these are my people.  No, they are Christ’s people–you didn’t die for them, Christ did.  The goal of discipleship is for Christ’s people to become like Him, not you.  You are only a part of the picture in any Christian’s life–only one color from Christ’s pallet.  Therefore, never be possessive of people.

Some think a large group has no value–so you alone are doing it better than Christ who rarely met one-on-one, and you are more effective than the body of Christ in a person’s life?  Are you owning the danger of impacting people to be more like you rather than more like Christ?

Some think they can’t be discipled by anyone who’s not older.  If it’s not Titus 2, it’s not for you.  So the Holy Spirit can’t use His Word through a Spirit-filled person of another age level, even younger than you, and one who is definitely stronger than you in areas where you are not gifted, nor passionate?  Wow!

#2  Embrace the description of a true disciple

How do you describe yourself?  As a Christian . . . reformed . . . Baptist . . . follower of Christ?  What’s your term?  In the New Testament they preferred the term disciple.  The word disciple is used 269 times to describe the followers of Christ.  Jesus discipled the apostles, the apostles discipled Philip, Philip discipled the Ethiopian eunuch, and tradition tells us God used the eunuch to establish the church in Ethiopia.

Discipleship = relationship + truth + Holy Spirit + time + life x intentionality x intimacy

So what IS a disciple?

First  Committed–like all true Christians

The Bible tells us in Luke 14 that all true disciples are willing to break any relationship for Christ–to die, or to give up everything I own for Christ.  Disciples have a desire to obey Christ, Romans 6:17.  Disciples will publicly confess Christ, Matthew 10:32-33; admit their sin, 1 John 1:10; obey God’s Word, 1 John 2:4; passionately love others, 1 John 2:40; believe sound doctrine, 1 John 2:22; and remain faithful to Christ, 1 John 2:19.

A disciple is not merely someone who makes a profession once, or goes to church occasionally–a disciple is one with a transformed heart that seeks to follow Christ in everything.  In other words, a true disciple is truly committed to Christ from day one.  Remember the term Christian=disciple . . . the first term for believers was a disciple.   A disciple is also . . .

Second  Teachable–hungry to learn and live the truth

Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”  The Greek word for learn is the verb form of the noun disciple.  A disciple is a learner.  In the spiritual realm, as long as you live, you learn–and as long as you learn, you live.  If you stop learning today, you stop growing tomorrow.  There is no such thing as marking time in the Christian life–you’re either developing or deteriorating.  Are you a learner?  Here are three tests:

#1 Application test–when is the last time you applied the Scripture to your life–being a doer, not just a hearer?

#2 Intensity test–are you intentionally, aggressively living the truth, or passively hoping it will apply on its own?

#3 Doctrine test–can you defend the deity of Christ, or the sufficiency of Scripture, or Lordship salvation?  Or do you battle with punching your way out of a theological paper bag over the simplest of issues, saying, “Someday I’ll learn that”?

The typical Christian today believes the truth, but cannot show or prove anything from the Word of God.  Are you teachable?

Third  A modeler–one who imitates Christ’s example

The meaning of the word disciple is learner, but disciple is used to describe “one who follows another’s teaching.”  The disciples of Moses, John the Baptist and the Pharisees didn’t merely learn truths from their teachers, but they followed their teachers’ lives.  A disciple is an imitator; he models his teacher.

The greatest form of unconscious learning is modeling.  Christianity is better caught than taught.  Our faith is better imitated than merely instructed.  First Corinthians 11:1, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  The problem today is this:  most Christians are patterning their life after the Christian community, and the Christian community is going to pot–the Church today has lost its way.  The pattern of the Christian life is Jesus, but people are looking for Christ fleshed-out in us, and today the pedestals are empty.

Let me make it more personal–does anybody want to be like you?  Are you modeled because of the way you love your wife, love your kids, serve your church, the way you use your free time, the way you work, and the way you help the needy?  A disciple is also . . .

Fourth  An impactor–a life that infects others

Luke 6:40 says, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”  It doesn’t say, they will know what their teacher knows, but they will become just like their teacher.  You reproduce after your own kind–which is scary.  So Jesus says in John 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”  Then verse 16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

How do you make an impact?  You own this truth–Christianity isn’t a work of man for God, but a work of God for man.  Why?  Just to keep you out of hell?  No, to bear fruit–to make an impact for Christ, to infect other lives for Christ.  But as you know, fruit tends to spoil, so Christ says in verse 16, “I appointed that you should bear fruit that will remain.”  The Holy Spirit, through you, will make you more like Christ, and work through you to make others like Christ.

It’s true, you can do all kinds of things without Jesus Christ–you can get an education without Christ, play sports, gain wealth, have lots of friends, even preach and teach without Christ.  (It’s done all the time on TV.)  But we can never become like Christ without Christ–we can never produce fruit that will remain without Christ.  True fruit is when someone comes to Christ or becomes like Christ–and when that happens, it will remain.

As you look at your life, do you see fruit?  Have you made a lasting impact for Christ in anyone’s life outside your immediate family?  That’s discipleship. True disciples make an impact.  But only born again disciples can influence others.  You cannot impart what you do not possess. You can’t sell hair restorer when you’re completely bald–you lack credibility.  But if you’re a true disciple, you will impact others for Christ.  The description of a true disciple is one who is committed, teachable, a modeler of Christ, and a fruitful impactor for Christ.  What should I do to get going?

#3  Pursue the process of making disciples

Remember your parents saying, “While we’re gone, clean your room.”  They said it five times.  When they came home, your room was still a mess.  The church of Jesus Christ has not cleaned its room.  The one thing Jesus said five times was to make disciples.  Yet not only is the message of Jesus Christ inspired, but also His methods are as well.  It was not only what Jesus said that was inspired, but what He did was also sourced in God.  In every situation Jesus said, “I do always those things that are pleasing to the Father.”  So how did Jesus train His disciples?  Three crucial steps . . .


Luke 6:12-13, “And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him; and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.”  “And it was at this time”–what time is that?  This time was at the beginning of the opposition.  The religious leaders were absolutely furious, and decided to put Jesus to death.

At the point when the cross and the end of His earthly ministry loomed, Jesus picked His twelve.  Key point:  you’ll never get serious about the process of discipleship until you realize you are in the process of dying, or until you realize you only have a small slice of time to make an impact for Christ.   Start praying about making an impact through discipleship.  Join a D-group, join a ministry, ask God to impact you, and for you to impact others.  Pray, then grab the hand of another, and as you hold the hand of someone else . . .

Second  Living

When God wants to speak to a generation He picks truth, and clothes it with a life.  You may be the only light the unsaved or immature Christians around you have.  Daniel and three friends took a stand, but it was not against Babylonian pagans around them, but the other 300 plus young God-fearing Jews–the best youths from Judah.

Look at Mark 3:13-14, where living is an essential element in the discipleship process.  Notice how Jesus discipled, “And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.14 And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach.”  Notice the order of purpose . . .

First  The disciples were to be with Him.

Second  He would send them out to represent Him.

Jesus was living with them, associated with them first before He had them communicate for Him.  He had a private ministry with them before a public ministry for Him.  He demonstrated how to live life, before He demanded them to show others.  Get this:  the first thing Christ did for His disciples was to involve them in the routine of His daily life.  They walked, slept, ate, experienced opposition together, and it made them grow.

You can impress people from a distance, but you can only impact them up close.  Apart from the power of God’s Word, you impact people in direct proportion to your personal involvement with them.  This is more than a meeting and a phone call, it is living life together.  Many of us are too far removed and private from fellow-Christians and the lost to really impact them for Jesus Christ.

Why is it if you teach a class, sometimes people can’t wait to leave–but sit down and talk in a living room or restaurant, and people will stay up half the night?  People are starving for interpersonal contact, real life examples, and authentic Christianity.  Somehow four walls condition us against learning.  We walk into a class, and we say, “I shall now be learned, learn me–I dare you.”  But open up your life, start living your Christian walk as an open book, and you’ll impact people.

Living means your disciples need to see you in a variety of settings and situations–at home, at school, at work, at play, discouraged, mad, tired, happy.  People need to see you in process to see if you are for real.  And genuineness can only be demonstrated in a person who is living for Christ at work, at home, at school and in life.  You cannot imitate a principle–you can only imitate a person.  So you pray, you live, and you focus on . . .

Third  Training

Since you can’t improve on perfection, and everything that Jesus did was perfect, how did Jesus train?

(1) Jesus expected great things from His men.  From these ordinary hillbilly types, He expected them to change the world, and they did.  He called Peter the Rock (not “Motor Mouth”)–imagine what that did for Him.  Expect great things from your disciples.  Believe in your kids and your disciples, even when they fail.  Critical, unforgiving, negative people make bad disciplers.

(2) Teach them the truth.  They need to know what the Scripture says (not the latest book, the Bible) about loving their wives, parenting their children, the Gospel, witnessing to the lost, integrity at work, praying, living pure and so much more.

3) Show them how to live.  Demonstrate what you are teaching them.  Jesus showed His men how to pray.  Don’t tell them to be pure without showing them what the Bible says, and how to practically live pure in everyday life.  Don’t tell them to be good stewards of money without teaching them the Bible on money, and showing them how to budget.  Teach them how to use their time wisely, then show them with a schedule.  Show them how to live.

(4) Coach them, practice the everyday plays together.  Walk through life with them, showing them how to live for Christ.  Take trips, have fun, interact with people, go to the store, work in your yard together, have them help you clean or cook, but as you do, talk, share, show them how to love your spouse, train your kids, keep your home, balance your budget and love the Lord.  True discipleship is you walking with them through life, step-by-step.  Show and tell, the talkie mom is best.

(5) Release them guardedly.  Like Jesus did, by sending the disciples out two-by-two, so there was a support system early on.  This was to make sure early on that their failures would not be so great it would destroy their heart to pursue Christ.

(6) Train them until they’re a reproducer.  They will only be true disciples when they walk by the Spirit, can proclaim the gospel, minister their giftedness and reproduce themselves in their children and others of the same sex.  Bring them to a place where they are ready to disciple others totally independent of you.  Why is it that the average Jehovah’s witness 90-day wonder can take apart most seminarians?  Because of training.

Why is that most Christians don’t witness? . . . because no one has faithfully shown them through their example how to share Christ.  Want to raise children to make an impact, to teach them and show them how to make an impact?  Do you desire to impact the students or adults in your group?  Show them how–by praying, living and training.  Are you ready?

1 Correct your view of discipleship

Many of us have a wrong view of discipleship, and not a Biblical view.  A healthy church is filled with people who desire to impact one another to come to Christ, and become more like Christ in all we do.  Sometimes we meet with people one-on-one–but we always own, we don’t have all the character, all the gifts, all the understanding that others will need to become like Christ.  Only the humble embrace that it is the body of Christ that disciples others to become like Christ, we are only a part of that process.  Only the humble know at times it’s better for a disciple to actually meet with someone else who is strong in an area we’re not.

2 Get in relationship with true disciples

Get involved in a D-group, man to men, woman to women, couple to couples.  Pray and get involved in children’s where they are training each other in an increasing way, life-on-life, as teachers and leaders minister to the next generation.  Serve with brothers, and find out what is going on in their lives.  Serve with sisters, and minister beyond the bounds of required ministry.   Enjoy the painful process of growth with each other.

3 Rely on Christ alone to disciple

You can’t do this without Christ–turn from your sin and depend on Christ alone, believing that He alone is the only way to be forgiven and cleansed of your sin.  Then be filled with His Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is not self-serving, it is for you to show to others so they might see Christ. You can’t disciple without depending upon the Spirit of God.  When you have stopped developing, you are deteriorating.  Today, commit to making an impact through discipleship.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.