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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 8, 2019
How to Make Disciples: Becoming Mature
I have been talking about various aspects of the Great Commission for nearly two months. This morning I want to bring this short series to a conclusion by putting everything together in a way to help you apply the principles in your own life. I want you to know Jesus Christ if you do not already, and I want to you to grow into ever greater maturity as His disciple if you already do.
The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew’s gospel account concludes with Jesus’ final instructions to His followers that met Him on a mountain in Galilee. This may have been the more than 500 that is spoken about in 1 Corinthians 15:6, or a smaller group of the twelve and some additional disciples. Either way, the command given applies to all followers of Christ. Jesus said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Going therefore, 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.
Jesus begins this commission by stating that He has been given all authority. That means that He has both the right to command and the power to enable those He commands to complete the work assigned. As I have pointed out previously, Jesus is able to enable even the incapable if they are available to carry out His commands. Fulfilling this commission to make disciples is not dependent upon your abilities other than being willing to step out in faith to do what Jesus commands. It is Jesus working in and through you that will accomplish the work. This is reinforced at the conclusion of the passage by Jesus’ promise to be with His followers even to the end of the age. Jesus’ disciples are not left alone.
The commission itself is one command, to make disciples, which is fulfilled in three steps: going, baptizing and teaching. Jesus expects that everyone who follows Him will be involved in fulfilling this command. In other words, this is not optional for the true Christian. As this commission is fulfilled, then the work of the Lord is carried out from generation to generation for The Great Commission encompasses the means and purpose of the Christian life. The purpose is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The means is new people coming to know and believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus, personally identify with Him in baptism as His disciples who walk in newness of life, and then becoming like Him as they learn His commands and become obedient to them. (See: The Great Commission: Overview) & (See: How to Make Disciples: Jesus’ Example)
For the rest of this morning I want to take you through the steps of how fulfilling The Great Commission brings a person from sinner to saint, from ignorant and immature to mature in Christ.
Evangelism – going therefore to all nations – is the first step of fulfilling The Great Commission, but in order to understand its importance we have to take a step back to look at the purpose of Jesus becoming a man and coming to earth. Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that, “The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost.” In Luke 5:32 He stated, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” That is why Jesus began His ministry with the same message as John the Baptist, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).
As I have pointed out many times in past sermons, salvation breaks the bondage of sin and imparts righteousness by faith in Christ (Romans 6). That is the proper focus of the gospel message. Escape from condemnation in Hell and going to Heaven are consequences of being made righteous. Jesus Christ took on humanity and paid the price for sin at Calvary to redeem man and offer him forgiveness and cleansing from sin to be made righteous by faith in Him (Romans 4). Without that righteousness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Much that is wrong in American evangelicalism is due to the wrong motive and wrong emphasis that comes from that. Much too often the gospel is presented from a primary motivation to save the person from hell instead of calling them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and become His followers. The result is that the gospel message itself becomes perverted. The focus becomes getting the person to respond positively to the evangelist’s message and walk the aisle, raise their hand, pray a prayer, get baptized, or in the case of media preachers, touch the screen. The reality is that such faith is actually in the action taken instead of in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why in so many testimonies of supposed salvation the focus is on self instead of Jesus. They are filled with what “I” (self) did instead of what “He” (Jesus) did.
From Genesis to Revelation the message is about God bringing people into a relationship with Himself by personal faith in Him. Such faith results in trust in and submission to God and therefore living for Him. The call to everyone that has faith in God is to continue to mature in their walk with God. This is called sanctification and describes a life in which you become more righteous and holy in your daily life so that you might bring greater glory to God.
Romans 8:29 states that those whom God saves are also “predestined to become conformed to the image of [Christ].” The lives of the redeemed are to be marked by “Christ living in [them]” (Galatians 2:20), for such people are not to “be of this world,” but are rather “sanctified in truth” and unified in Him (John 17:16-24). The regenerate are to “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24) and “walk holy and blameless before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4) and do the good works which God ordained that we should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Certainly salvation has the future element of escape from God’s wrath because there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but in the present, salvation is also to be a taste of what is to come when “we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
The point of salvation then is for the saved to glorify God by becoming like Jesus Christ in daily life. Salvation is not the end goal of evangelism, but rather calling people to faith in Christ to become His followers and walk with Him throughout life. Salvation is about the glory of God in redeeming people through faith in Jesus Christ and their becoming like Him. That is why Jesus’ commission was to make disciples and not to save people.
The first step to becoming a disciple of Christ is finding out about Jesus in order to believe in Him. The process begins then with Christians going out to tell people about Jesus and invite them to learn more of Him. That is evangelism, and it leads to salvation, but it does not itself save people, for neither you nor I can save anyone. We proclaim Jesus Christ, but it is God that does the saving.
Jesus was the master evangelist, but you never see Him rushed at doing it. He would invite people to come and see for themselves who He is and learn what He taught. He would take His time to make sure the person understood what it means to believe in Him and the consequences such belief might bring. In a real sense, Jesus often made it more difficult to have faith in Him than to make it easier. It is important for us to follow His example.
It is easy to proclaim the gospel to someone that is interested in hearing about spiritual matters, as was Nicodemus in John 3, to whom Jesus explained the necessity of being born again and having faith in Him. However we also need to proclaim the gospel to people that may not be as openly interested. That requires us to be resourceful to find the point of interest that can be used to open the door to talk to people about Jesus and then invite them to learn more of Him. Jesus is the model for using events or location to bring up a spiritual subject and point people to their need of being reconciled with God. Here are a few examples.
In Luke 13 Jesus responds to an unplanned situation. He is told the news about Pilate killing some Galileans, and Jesus then used this news report to warn the people of their need to repent or perish in a similar manner. Jesus then brought up the news about a similar tragedy about a tower in Siloam falling and killing eighteen people to reinforce the point. In a similar way, we can use news events to bring up spiritual subjects and point people to their need of Christ.
In John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead to proclaim and prove that He is the resurrection and the life for those that believe in Him. But it must be pointed out that Jesus purposely set up this situation by delaying until Lazarus was dead before going to Bethany. In a similar way, we should plan and set up opportunities to proclaim the gospel to others. Our various gospel outreaches are done with the purpose of seeking to create opportunities to proclaim Jesus.
In John 4, Jesus used the well He was next to and His own thirst to begin a conversation with a woman. He began with an unusual request, then making an unusual offer, and eventually was able to proclaim to her the nature of true worship and that He was the Messiah. Learning to start a conversation and direct it to spiritual matters is a great way to create opportunities to witness to others.
We also need to follow Jesus’ example in making sure people understand who Jesus is, what it means to have faith in Him, and what the consequences of that will be. While it is proper to entreat the person you are talking with to respond and be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:20), you must also be careful in evangelism not to bring people into a false profession of faith or give them false assurance. Jesus was never in a hurry to get a person to “make a decision.” Give people room to say no. We have not been commissioned to market the gospel or sell Jesus.
As you present the gospel to others and invite them to learn more about Jesus, some will come to trust Jesus as savior and Lord while others will not. Some will show an initial interest only to later reject Christ as they learn more about Him. That was true in Jesus’ day and it is still true now. Some will reject Christ because, like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, they love the things of this world more than God. Some will reject Jesus like those in John 6 because they want a savior that will fit the workings of their minds. They will reject Him because He teaches things they do not understand or do not want to believe such as His claim to be God in human flesh, of salvation by grace through faith and not of works, of the historical and scientific accuracy of the scriptures, of His claim to be Lord and have a right to command and expect them to walk in obedient righteousness.
Praise the Lord for those that do respond with belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and want to be identified with Him regardless of the consequences. Jesus commissioned us to baptize such people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (See: How to Make Disciples: Evangelism)
Baptism is in a sense the culmination of evangelism in which those who have understood the gospel and have placed their faith in Christ willingly identify themselves as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have explained Christian water baptism in an earlier sermon, so I will not be going over that again except to point out again that Romans 6 explains that in Baptism the convert identifies with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection by going under the water and then being raised out if it into a new life. So baptism concludes evangelism, but it marks the beginning of a new life since it is also one of the first steps in learning to obey the commands of Christ, and learning to obey Jesus is the dominant imperative of being a disciple of Christ. (See: How to Make Disciples: Baptism) & (See: How to Make Disciples: Obedience)
Those who have learned enough about Jesus to place their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior have started a new life with Him. Ideally, they should then identify with Him in baptism and grow in their knowledge of the Lord as they learn to walk with Him. Tragically, it can often take a long time for new believers to learn even the foundations of walking as a disciple of Jesus. It has not been uncommon for me to baptize people that have been professing Christians for five years or more – sometimes much, much more. I find that this is another consequence of evangelism that focuses on getting people “saved” instead of calling them to become disciples of Jesus Christ. Since the goal was simply salvation, once the person is “saved,” they are left to figure out how to live as a Christian on their own by attending worship services, Sunday school and church social functions. They learn from the examples around them, and often those are not very good since all of them are for the most part simply conforming to that church’s standards. They become followers of men instead of followers of Christ. I want to lay out for you a better way in which new believers can avoid this trap and instead be trained to be true disciples of Jesus.
Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist, so when he pointed Jesus out to them as the Lamb of God, they went to talk with Him. Jesus then invited them to “come and see,” and they spent the rest of that day learning about Him. They were already looking for the Messiah, so it did not take them long to figure out Jesus’ identity. Andrew then found his brother, Peter, and brought him to Jesus. The next day, since these men now believed that Jesus was the Messiah, He called them to “follow Me.” This began their relationship with Jesus in which they would learn from Him about life, its God given purposes and how to serve the Lord. Eventually they would become disciple makers, but first they had to learn to be disciples themselves.
It is really the same with everyone else. We do not get saved as mature disciples. Jesus said in Matthew 19:3 that the entrance into the kingdom of heaven requires conversion and becoming like a child in humble faith. 1 Peter 2:2 describes the new believer as a newborn baby that needs the pure milk of the word so that he may grow. Just as a child starts off in ignorance and must learn and grow in knowledge and wisdom, so a new believer must do the same in regards to knowing and walking with the Lord. You start off with what is simple and then build upon that. You start with milk until you can handle solid food, in fact, according to 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, the inability to handle solid spiritual food is a sign of immaturity no matter how long you have been a Christian. If that is true of you, then you have to make up your mind whether you want to remain immature or grow to maturity. However, a problem with immaturity is that those who are that way often do not recognize it in themselves. That is why I set forth some of the marks of maturity in last week’s sermon. (See: How to Make Disciples: Marks of Maturity) But before I mention any more characteristics of the mature, let me describe some of the foundations that need to be laid upon which the characteristics of greater maturity will be built. Before you can go to college and out into the work force, you have to have an elementary education first.
I think it is tragic for it to take any longer than three to six months for a new believer to develop both a fundamental understanding of Christianity and the essential good habits of Christian living. A common element in Paul’s prayers for churches was that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9). It is upon these elements that the individual would be able to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the experiential knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
In terms of knowledge, the new Christian needs to have a foundation laid in understanding the basic truths about the following: *The nature and means of Salvation; *The nature and attributes of God; *the nature and importance of the Bible along with developing skills in hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on it; *the nature of prayer and how to pray properly; the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual; *the nature of Christian fellowship and how to develop that instead of just socialization; *how to share your new faith with others, which includes having a clear understanding of the gospel itself; *how to deal with temptation; *the necessity of obedience to Christ in walking with Him; *the Ordinances of Baptism and Communion.
Knowledge about these subjects can be gained from many different sources including books such as Following Jesus by Andrew Randall or First Steps for New Christians by Paul Chappell, but knowledge is not enough. You must apply what you learn to daily life which means that a class such as Fundamentals of the Faith, or a small group, or individual discipleship is much better. You want to develop relationships with people who are already mature that can answer your questions, help you develop good habits of spiritual discipline, encourage you and hold you accountable.
If is for that reason we seek to provide One-to-One Discipleship for those that are interested. You not only learn about the subjects I mentioned earlier, but you also develop spiritual disciplines of developing a daily devotional life of interactive Bible reading and prayer, how to actively listen to sermons and teachings, and witnessing within a context of a mentoring relationship as I already described. While there are those that can do well by just reading a book, I find that for most people it is this relationship with a more mature Christian that is critical for both their own spiritual growth and learning how God can use them in someone else’s life. If you think you would benefit from taking part in being taught the foundations of Christian living, or if you would like to learn how to be such a mentor to new Christians, then let me know or see Ed Colon or Diane Harris and we will see about arranging for you to go through basic discipleship.
I am calling the next level apprentice discipleship because that is a good term for putting into practice the principles learned in elementary discipleship while building additional skills upon the foundations already laid. While it may only take a few months to gain the fundamentals of Christian living, it can take a lot longer for all the major areas of your life to be affected. In a real sense, all of us will be in the process of learning to obey whatsoever Jesus has commanded for the rest of our lives.
If learning the fundamentals is elementary school, then this is High School as you expand your knowledge and gain wisdom to apply what has been learned. You will gain additional skills in all the areas already mentioned, but you are now also learning to be self feeding. Your teachers will bring up corollaries to things you have already learned, but you no longer need to be told exactly what to do since you are gaining the ability and sensitivity to apply the Biblical precepts in your own life. The goal is to increase your maturity so that under the guidance of mentors, you learn to think Biblically and come to your own conclusions and convictions from your own study. Those at this level would be mentors to those at the elementary level while also trying their hand at additional ministries as they seek to discover their spiritual gifts and how God will best use them in His service.
Most of the church programs have the goal of giving a greater understanding of God and His will so that you can live for Him. This is often new teaching to those at the elementary and apprentice levels, and reminders to those at higher levels. Sunday School, the sermons, Bible Studies and specialized classes such as the men’s or women’s Bible Study, parenting classes, youth or children’s programs, etc., are all designed with this in mind. All of these larger group opportunities strive to stimulate and encourage every level of disciple in their daily walk with the Lord over a very wide range of subjects, so take advantage of them.
But I also want to point out that such discipleship also occurs in small groups and between individuals within the church as they talk with one another. While you might make an appointment with someone to gain their counsel and advice about a particular matter, most of the time such counseling takes place informally when you start talking about a subject with a godly person and they present the biblical principles that apply. This is actually a part of normal church fellowship as we meet together and consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Turn to Ephesians 4. I want to quickly show you God’s plan for how this is supposed to work in the church. Paul begins this chapter speaking about the unity that is to exist in the church because of our common bond in Christ. He then goes on to explain in verse 11-16 the structure and purpose of the church. “And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him, who is the head, [even] Christ, 16 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.”
My past sermon series on Ephesians, the Church and Spiritual Gifts explore every aspect of this, but today I just want you to take note that God gives to the church gifted people (vs 11) to train the saints so that they can do the work of the church in building up the whole body (12). The purpose of all this is so that every Christian will be mature (13) and not be like children who are easily swayed to false beliefs (14). It takes every believer using their individual gifts for all of this to take place (15-16). 1 Corinthians 12 expands on this using the analogy of a physical body for the church, the body of Christ.
This means that every Christian is to be involved in the process of bringing the whole body to godly maturity. Those at the elementary level may not be able to do much, but even they, like a young child, can do something. Those at the apprentice level are still learning, but they are to already be putting into practice what they have learned. Those at the next level, which I will refer to as journeyman, have gained the skills and are walking with Christ and carrying out the work of the ministry. The level above this would be the foreman or manager level which would be those the most spiritually mature in the church that seek to guide the body in its spiritual growth and ministry.
Let me quickly expand on this idea of a journeyman disciple. They are the workforce of the church carrying out most of the various ministries and providing mentoring for those at apprentice and elementary levels. Those at this level of discipleship not only head up and run most of the ministries of the church, they also are the ones that are creative at starting both new ministries within the church to meet needs and build it up, and also ministries outside the church to reach those still lost in their sins.
Keep in mind that while journeymen have proven skills and abilities, they also will continue to grow as they get better at what they can already do and gain additional skills and abilities in other areas. This is true in the various trades, it is also true in the church, for whatever your particular gifts may be, there are also areas in which you are not gifted but still must learn to function in order to fulfill God’s commands. For example, not everyone is gifted in teaching, but everyone has responsibilities in teaching someone else. Not everyone is gifted with compassion and mercy, but every believer is commanded to be merciful, kind and forgiving. We learn to function in the areas in which we are not gifted from those who are gifted. That is how life within the body of Christ is supposed to work.
The classes that I teach on a rotating basis on Bible Survey, Hermeneutics, Theology, Counseling and Practical Theology are designed to equip those at both the apprentice and journeyman levels with additional knowledge, skills and abilities in serving Christ by understanding the Scriptures and applying them to life. These also lay the foundation needed to function well at a foremen level of leading others.
However, keep in mind that only Jesus Christ could individually bring someone into complete spiritual maturity for only He is perfect. Jesus could present a perfect model of a spiritual life and He could read the hearts of men and match His teaching perfectly to that person. Neither you nor I can do that. The whole body is involved in the task of discipleship so that you do not carry the same blind spot as the person who mentors you. Others help you grow in that area so that collectively we all grow to greater maturity. We stand on the shoulders of those that discipled us.
Timothy was a disciple of the Apostle Paul with Paul even calling him, “my true child in faith,” yet Timothy was not just the product of Paul, but that of his mother and grandmother, Silas and others. It takes the whole church to produce a mature disciple of Christ. One person cannot do it alone.
Foremen of Discipleship
The last level in making a disciple of Christ is becoming fully equipped to lead others. Personal involvement is the training ground for this level. Jesus trained His disciples over a period of several years, and He then released them to go out and repeat the process. They were not perfect and still learned things as they went along, but now the full responsibility was on their shoulders to make sure that Jesus’ commission was carried out. This is the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the mature Christians. We easily understand that this is the duty of pastors, missionaries and such. We may also understand that Elders, deacons and those on the Women’s Servant Council have an official duty to shoulder this responsibility, but this is to be the goal of every believer.
You do not have to have an official church position to do this, for you may not be gifted by God for that, however, you do have a responsibility to disciple others into spiritual maturity with whatever gifts God has given you. Teachers disciple others to teach. Evangelists disciple others to evangelize. Ministers of mercy train others to be merciful. Those with the gift of service or helps disciple others to serve. Every Christian disciples others in the area of their gifts.
Jesus’ pattern is the example for us. After His initial disciples had been with Him for a while, they began to work with Him as His apprentices. He would allow them to start doing things as He watched, and as they were successful, He gave them more responsibilities. By John 4, the disciples were performing the baptisms. By Luke 10, they are sent out to do ministry and prepare the people for His coming and then report back to Him. At the end of the gospel accounts, Jesus commissions them to carry out the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit after He ascends to heaven.
The same principles apply today within the church. You begin by just helping out with a ministry and then gain positions of increasing responsibility. Those who are faithful in little things are given greater responsibility (Luke 16:10).
I didn’t start out as a pastor, and Seminary was in reality only a small portion of my training. My ministry involvement began with helping my mom in the church nursery. In Jr & Sr High I was involved in puppet ministry including going to convalescent homes. A Sunday School teacher rotated responsibilities among his students and I gained skills in public reading and sharing my thoughts. At 18 a pastor taught me how to do the work of a Sunday School superintendent and I often filled in for missing teachers and helped in children’s church. In college I hauled equipment for friends whose father was an evangelist and would occasionally give my testimony at meetings. I worked one Summer as a camp counselor, and because I had taught children before, I became one of the Bible teachers. I was part of a jail ministry team and it was there I was first challenged to preach a sermon. While in Seminary I co-led a home Bible study and was trained how to lead a group. I then took a position as a Pastoral Intern, then later an Associate Pastor. I was challenged to make myself available. I was then given opportunities and I gained experience. I was trained by scores of people, and along every step of the way, I became better equipped and more useful for Christ’s kingdom.
The Great Commission’s element of “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” has a two sided responsibility. You must pursue learning to do this yourself, and you must help others to learn to do this too. You must pursue being discipled by those more mature and you must pursue discipling others who are less mature. No Christian will ever have an excuse for not becoming mature because God is always faithful to provide a way for that to happen, though it may be difficult at times.
The goal is spiritual maturity in life and service to our Lord. The goal of this church is to glorify God by making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We want everyone who comes here that wants to follow Christ to become mature in Him in an efficient and effective manner. Jesus trained His disciples and they turned the world upside down. That task now belongs to the church. Let’s make sure each of us is involved in the process of being and making disciples of Jesus whereby we can turn the Hudson Valley and beyond upside down for Christ.
Sermon Notes – December 8, 2019
How to Make Disciples: Becoming Mature – Selected Scriptures
The Great Commission -Matthew 28:18-20
The commission is based in Jesus having all ____________- the right to command & power to enable
Jesus is able to enable even the incapable if they are ___________ & He never forsakes His disciples
The command is to ___________________ by going, baptizing and teaching
Evangelism – Going therefore – to all the nations
Jesus came to seek and save lost sinners by calling them to _____________(Luke 5:32; 19:10; Matt. 4:17)
Salvation is from bondage to ____to righteousness. Escape from Hell & the promise of Heaven are benefits
Wrong motives and emphasis _________the gospel message to escape from hell instead of following Christ
God saves sinners so that they may walk with Him in increasing righteousness – __________________
Salvation is not the end goal, but the ______________of a walk of faith with Christ and becoming like Him
The first step in becoming a disciple is finding out about _________ in order to believe in Him
Jesus was the master evangelist, but He was never ________- always giving people time to learn & consider
Jesus could use both planned & unplanned events & situations to open the door to present the ___________
People will respond in ___________ways to the gospel – most will reject, but some will believe and follow
Baptism – Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
A step of obedience in self ___________with Jesus in dying to the old self & being raised to newness of life
Elementary Disciples – Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you
Tragically, it often takes many years for new Christians to learn the _______of walking as a disciple of Jesus
It took time for Jesus’ initial disciples to learn, but _______________ time
Each believer begins like a child & ______from there (Mt. 19:3; 1 Pet 2:2) infant – child – adolescent – adult
Fundamental spiritual knowledge & wisdom and good habits of Christian living can be gained _____months
Elementary knowledge will include _____________about Salvation, God, the Bible, Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Christian Fellowship, Witnessing, Temptation, Obedience, Baptism & Communion
Good _________include: Daily Bible reading / study and prayer, active listening, witnessing, accountability
Apprentice Disciples – Those still learning master basic abilities while also learning more advanced skills
Fundamentals can be gained in a few months, but it takes longer for all the areas of your _____to be affected
In this stage you learn additional skills and to think _________developing convictions from your own study
Most church ministries target those at this stage or greater giving ________understanding of God & His will
Discipleship continues formally in both large & small groups and _____________ between individuals
Ephesians 4:11-16 – God’s plan for ____________ the church
Gifted people equip the saints for ministry for the building up the body and bringing it to ____________
___________ Christian is gifted by God to serve Him and the body in helping the whole become mature
Journeyman Disciples – Those with proven skills and abilities
This is the ___________ of the church heading up & running most ministries & creating new ones
Journeyman have proven skills & abilities, but they also _______to learn getting better & gaining new skills
Only Jesus could _____________ disciple someone else, we need the whole body and every gift within it
Timothy was a disciple of Paul – but he was ________ affected by his mother, grandmother, Silas & others
Foremen of Discipleship – those fully equipped to lead others
Jesus trained His disciples so that they would eventually _________ the process with others
This is to be the goal of ________ Christian – not just the official church leaders
You are to disciple others to spiritual maturity with whatever spiritual gift God has given _________
Jesus trained His disciples through each stage until they could ____________ the Great Commission
You begin by helping, and as you gain skills, you are given ________________responsibilities (Luke 16:10)
You will be discipled by ___________people along the way, and in turn, will disciple many people too
You must pursue both learning to _____Jesus (be discipled) & teaching others to obey Him (disciple others)
The goal is spiritual ______: to be & to make disciples of Jesus Christ who will turn the world upside down
KIDS KORNER – Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following:1) Count how many “disciple” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about how you can be and mature as a disciple of Jesus
THINK ABOUT IT – Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. Why Jesus’ authority crucial in being able to fulfill the Great Commission? What is the command of the Commission and how is it to be carried out? What is salvation from? What is it to? Why does making salvation primarily about escape from Hell pervert the gospel? What is God’s purpose(s) in salvation? What is the first step in becoming a disciple of Jesus? Did Jesus ever rush anyone into a decision concerning Himself? Why or why not? Give some example of Jesus using unplanned and planned situations to present truths about Himself & the gospel? What are some ways in which you can follow that example? What is the purpose and meaning of Baptism? Why does it often take so long for new believes to learn even the foundations for walking with Christ? Why is such slow growth dangerous? What are some ways that learning the basics of walking with Christ can be made more efficient and more effective? What foundational areas of knowledge should be included learning to walk with Christ? What spiritual disciplines / godly habits should be developed at the same time? Why would a small group or individual mentoring be superior to reading a book, listening to sermons or a large class? What would distinguish a disciple as an apprentice in the faith? What church ministries would be helpful to those at this level? Read Ephesians 4:1-16. What is God’s design for maturity the people in a church? How do spiritual gifts and fellowship fit within His design? What would distinguish a journeyman disciple? What church ministries would be helpful to those at this level? What would be the level of ministry involvement for those at this stage of maturity? What would characterize those at a Foreman level of discipleship? Why would this level also include those that are not official church leaders (Pastors / Deacons / Deaconess / etc.). What are some of the indicators that Jesus’ initial disciples went through various levels of discipleship? What is the responsibility of believers to be discipled? What is the responsibility of those who are more mature to disciple others? What is the goal of discipleship? What level of maturity do you think you have attained? Explain. What can you do to attain the next level? What is your plan for doing that? When will you begin?
Basic Christianity – Stott, John R.W.
Essential Christianity – Martin, Walter
First Steps for New Christians – Chappell, Paul
Following Jesus – Randall, Andrew
Fundamentals of the Faith – Grace Community Church
How to be a Christian without being Religious – Ridenour, Fritz
Know What You Believe – Little, Paul E.
Practical Religion – Ryle, J.C.
Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life – Whitney, Donald
The Owner’s Manual for Christians – Swindoll, Charles
Welcome to the Family – What to Expect Now That You’re a Christian – MacArthur, John
What We Believe – Sproul, R.C.
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