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Tag: disciple

Unguarded Discipleship

Have you ever wondered why you’re still here? I’ve often thought “Wouldn’t it be nicer if God would just teleport us to heaven the moment we accepted him as our Saviour?” We could be done with sin once for all and we could immediately enjoy the wonders of being with our Creator. That would be way better than staying here on this sin-soaked planet – enduring the pain and the hardships of life.

The Apostle Paul wrestled with this very thought of how it would be better to go and be with the Lord, but at the same time, he knew that God had a purpose for him to remain. He writes in his letter to the Philippians:

I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. 25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. Philippians 1:20-25

Paul recognized that he had a job to do. He had a purpose on this planet – and that was to make disciples – in Paul’s words, his job was “to help people grow and experience the joy of their faith.”

And our job is no different. We read in Matthew 28:18-20:

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

God has chosen for us to be part of his plan of redemption. We are to be his messengers of this Good News. We are to be disciples who make disciples.

Last week we defined a disciple as:

One who is following Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus.

Those three elements are key to true discipleship. And the big question that we’ve been trying to tackle for the last several weeks is: how do we become and how do we make those kind of disciples as Jesus commanded us?

If that’s one of the main tasks that Jesus has given us to do, if that’s a major reason why we are still on this planet, then how do we do that effectively? How, in 2017 here in Canada, do we make disciples who are following Jesus, are being changed by Jesus, and are committed to the mission of Jesus?

Well, the Bible doesn’t give us a checklist to follow or a no-fail formula for disciple making – but it does give us all kinds of examples in the New Testament and in the old, of people making disciples – helping others trust and follow God.

And so for this message series, we’ve categorized those examples into 5 different contexts. These are five types of relationships in the Bible where we can see discipleship happening.

And so far we’ve looked at the public context, the social context, and the personal context.

And I don’t want to take too long to give you a full recap, but here are the keys points for those three contexts so far.

  • In the public context, disciples can be made in a crowd through teaching, preaching, and inspiration. A good modern example of this would be the Sunday Morning service. It is here that we are we are motivated, persuaded, encouraged, influenced, moved, stirred, spurred on, energized, and awakened in our journey with Jesus.
  • In the social context, Christianity is caught, more-so than taught as we see first hand from others what it looks like to follow Jesus. This sort of discipleship happens within a community – usually 20-70 people. For us this would include many of our church functions outside of the Sunday service – such as backyard BBQs or serving together in the town’s Fall Festival or our Mother’s Day brunch.
  • Then last week we looked at the personal context. If, in the public context we can be discipled by strangers, and in the social context by acquaintances, then in the personal context, we are discipled by friends who support and challenge us. These family-like relationships allow us to practice things like forgiveness and mercy and patience and all that other good stuff as we learn to love others like Jesus did. This is the kind of discipleship that happens in families or small groups of 4-12 people.

And now today we want to look at a fourth context – the Transparent Context.

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What is Discipleship?

This video was certainly made to make a point – but I like it mostly because it asks a really good question. They frame it in different ways, but really, the bottom line of what they’re asking is “What does it look like to make disciples?”

Does it look like a big building and lots of programs? Does it look like a soup kitchen or a Bible study? Are disciples made in a Sunday morning service or over coffee at Tim Hortons?

And furthermore, how are you and I supposed to be involved in the whole process? What is our own discipleship look like? Is it faithfully attending church every Sunday? Is it signing up for a small group Bible study? Is it going for coffee with a mentor every second Wednesday?

What does it look like to be a disciple? And what does it look like to make disciples?

Because that really is the core of what Jesus has called us to do. I think that’s the main reason why we are still on this planet. We are called both to be disciples and to make disciples.

So exactly what does that look like?

Two Sundays ago, we baptized Allison and Lisa – and they declared in front of all of us by being baptized, that they desire to be a disciple of Jesus. And I know that many of you have made that same declaration – either through public baptism or through just your own personal resolution.

So what do we need to do? What do Lisa and Allison need to do now – to be disciples of Jesus Christ? How does that actually play out in their lives? How does that all play out in our lives?

Well, it’s those questions that are exactly I want to explore in the next few weeks as we look at “Discipleship that Fits”. 

I think most of us would agree that Jesus calls us to make disciples. I think we’ve heard that often enough. But I think we struggle with figuring out exactly how we do that. In fact, I’d argue that many of us struggle just to understand what it really means to be a disciple.

So to help us work through all this, here’s my plan for the next several weeks. First of all, I want to bring some clarity to what it means to be a disciple – that’ll be my main focus for this week. But then, in the weeks to follow, I want to look at some practical ways for us to be discipled and to make disciples within five different contexts of life.

And I’ll explain all that a little later – but my framework for these messages is coming from a book I read some time ago called ‘Discipleship that Fits’ and I’ll be borrowing quite a bit of my content from those pages. Don’t worry – the Bible is still very much the foundation for everything I’m going to say, but this book has just helped me organize my presentation of those Biblical truths. You’re welcome to read the book yourself – it’s a pretty easy read and of course, is very Biblically based.

So in order to clarify exactly, what is a disciple, I think perhaps the best place to start is with the great commission. This is the passage where Jesus’ original disciples are directly commanded to go and make disciples. It’s found in Matthew 28 – starting at verse 18. To give you the context of this passage, Jesus has just risen from the dead, he has appeared to his disciples, and he’s about to return to his Father in Heaven. And so Matthew is about to conclude his whole account of Jesus’ life on earth with these final sentences from Jesus. This is what it says:

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Investing in Eternity

I want to start off today with a question: And this is the question: What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

And you would think that it would be unnecessary or even redundant to ask such a question in church of all places. Surely we all know what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. But do we really? Do we really grasp the implications for our lives we say we are a follower of Jesus Christ?

Is it simply that we’ve prayed a prayer and asked God to forgive our sins? Is that what it means to follow Christ? Does it mean we’ve been baptized and we regularly attend church? Is that following Christ? Does it mean we’re trying to be more good and less bad? Is that following Christ? Or does following Christ mean something totally different?

Well, this week we want to take a brief look at what Bible has to say about following Christ. And we’re sure not going to be able to touch on everything – because the Bible actually has a lot to say about what it means to follow Christ. But I want to at least pull out a few key points today and perhaps that will motivate you to do some further study on your own!

Because according to the Bible, there’s a lot more to following Christ than just praying a prayer, being baptized, attending a church, and trying to be more good than bad. So let’s open our Bibles and have a look.

Let’s get started with a passage from Colossians. If you have your Bibles with you, you can turn with me to Colossians chapter 2 – verse 6 to begin with. It goes like this:

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” Colossians 2:6

And I’ll just pause here for a minute. If you were here last week, you’ll recall that we talked about the spiritual journey that each of us is on and how we always need to keep moving forward in our journey with God. There’s no standing still. If we think we are standing still, we’re actually most likely drifting away. We need to keep moving forward – always taking those next steps of obedience to Christ. And that’s really what this verse is telling us. “Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”

That means that getting to that point where you accept Christ as your Saviour is not the end of your journey. That’s why in our little “spiritual journey” handout that we gave you last week, we find “Faith Commitment” in middle. It’s not the end. Salvation alone is not our goal. Our goal is to follow Jesus.

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What Does it Mean to be a Follower of Jesus Christ?


What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?  This isn’t a test. You’re not going to be graded on your answers. But I want to get your minds thinking in that direction. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

For the past several weeks we’ve been looking at this thing called “Your Spiritual Journey”. And we’ve been trying to answer three basic questions:

#1. Where am I in my spiritual journey?
#2. Where do I want to be?
#3. What steps do I need to take to get there?

We’ve been using Your Spiritual Journey Handout as a guide, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but there are two main headings in this booklet. There is “Searching” on the left and “Following” on the right.

And so that’s what has led me to the question you’ve just been discussing – what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

Because if the point of our spiritual journey is to move us from searching for God to following God, then its important for us to know exactly what it means to follow Him.

Is it simply that we’ve prayed a prayer and asked God to forgive our sins? Is that what this is all about? Does it mean we regularly attend church? Is that following Christ? Does it mean we’re trying to be more good and less bad? Is that following Christ? Or does following Christ mean something totally different?

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