Sunday, October 25, 2009

Define Discipleship

This message was preached on October 11, 2009

      How Do I Disciple?     

Intro.: This message is a continuation of a message that was started on October 11, 1009.


The first question that was asked when Deanna Kustas visited last month was “What is the gospel?” We dealt with that last week. The other question that was raised that Sunday was “What is Discipleship?”. I would like to suggest four principles that may help us to understand what discipleship is all about.


  1. Discipleship is based on Jesus' authority
    1. When we think about Jesus' authority, we often think of the spiritual warfare that we all face.
    2. Ephesians 6:10-12 reminds us Jesus does have authority in the spiritual realm: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
    3. But remember Jesus told His disciples that he had “been given complete authority in heaven and on earth.

(Ill.)  A great example of authority occurs on the football field.  In a football game, the power of big, strong, muscular men is ruled by a man with a striped shirt and a whistle. The referee alone has ultimate authority in the game. He alone has the power to stop the game and even throw rebellious players off the field. That’s the type of authority Jesus claims for Himself. In spite of Satan’s attempts to control the universe and the affairs of men, Jesus wears the striped shirt and carries the whistle. He controls the field of play. If we are going to accomplish His mission, we must operate under His authority.

    1. We may find it easier to think of Jesus having control of our spiritual lives. But it is important that Jesus is also in control of our relationships – the people we come in contact with day by day. There are no exceptions to “all authority”.
    2. Discipleship is rooted in Jesus authority – and he has “all authority.”
  1. Discipleship is a world wide endeavor – both for those of us to disciple others and for those we are called to disciple.
    1. When Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples of all nations, we immediately understand that the church is to take the gospel to all the world. What might not be so easy to understand is that it will involve the entire church.
    2. The command is obvious – take the gospel to the entire world. Yet that command is given to eleven men. Though several of the apostles would eventually travel to points around the known world, the church's first missionary, Paul, was not present at that meeting.
    3. The command given that day to the apostles was not a command to only them – but a command for the entire church.
    4. We each are responsible for taking the gospel around the world. You may not go, but we are to involved in the effort – we can offer prayer, financial or material support, or encouragement to those God does call to go.

(Ill.)  Not all of the apostles left the Holy Land, some did.  Though is the best known missionary of the early church, Thomas is thought to have gone to India. Mark (a dear friend of Luke and Paul) went to Egypt and began what is the largest church in Africa – the Coptic church. They went to make disciples.

    1. All twelve did not go – all twelve were involved in supporting those who did.
  1. The one command we find in the Great Commission is to “make disciples”.
    1. The great commission is not to eradicate sin
      the great commission is not to indoctrinate
      the great commission is not to condemn those with whom we
      the command that stands front and center in the great
           commission is to “go and make disciples”
    2. The great commission starts with sharing the gospel with others – but if we stop there, we have missed the point. The Great commission is about making disciples.
    3. But what is that – how do is a disciple made.
  2. Let me suggest four attributes of discipleship.
    1. Discipleship means commitment -
      1. A commitment to God –

(Ill.) As Jesus comes the end of his ministry Jesus, on the night he is to be arrested, Jesus prays. The prayer begins by turning to God. (John 17:1-5)

      1. A commitment to those we are walking along side.

(Ill.) The same prayer that we just read, turns almost immediately into a pray for the eleven and for all of us that choose to follow Jesus.

      1. Jesus never left his commitment to God or His disciples – even as he prepared Himself to hang on the cross
    1. Discipleship also take Time
      1. For thirty years Jesus spent showing his world what God was like.
      2. For the last three of those years, He spent time with 12 men who He called to change the world.
      3. Disciples do not happen by accident – they are the result of time – time praying for them and time with them.
    2. Discipleship occurs implicitly as we live out our lives by example. Jesus show His disciples what it meant to be faithful in two ways. He did it by example.
    3. Discipleship also occurs explicitly as we live share what we have learned about our faith with those Christ puts across our path. Jesus lived by example, He also taught us how to live a Christ filled life.

(Appl.) In the same way that Jesus made disciples, we need to do the same:

        1. We need to be committed to Jesus
        2. We need to be committed to those lives he allows us to touch
        3. We need to take time – to be discipled and disciple
        4. We need to live lives that will set an example for those around us
        5. We need to be willing to share what God is teaching us with those around us



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