What Is The Goal Of Discipleship?
MULTIPLY WHAT IS THE GOAL OF DISCIPLESHIP? February 23rd, 2020 VIDEO – MULTIPLY SLIDE 2 – TITLE WELCOME Good Morning! Welcome to Fox Valley Christian Church, where every member is a missionary. TITLE Last week we started our sermon series on Discipleship and we looked at what the Church could be if it returned to the original model of Discipleship. The model where growth; real spiritual teaching, transformation, life change … was initiated by the Church, built up by the Church, and passed on by the Church. What we do not mean is that the Minister or the Programs of the local Church body are the ones doing all of the teaching, leading, guiding, passing on … what we mean is that: - Each individual member of the Church body is reaching and teaching. Each individual member of the Church body is evangelizing and Discipling. Each individual member of the Church body is leading others to commit to Christ and then growing them to know Him more so that they can serve Him and share Him with others. The goal for the Elders, the staff, and myself then is not to do every bit of individual evangelism and discipleship, it is not to create a flawless program for evangelism and discipleship that works for all people, in all situations, at all times. It is, rather, to facilitate evangelism and discipleship by equipping and training each one of you so that you are able to equip and train others. THE CREATIVE DISCIPLESHIP PROCESS Making disciples is an intensely creative process, and God is able to use all kinds of people for the task. I have seen people disciple others that I could never reach, I have seen people disciple in ways that would never work for me. At first, I used to think … I am just not cut out for reaching others. I am not cut out for discipling others. Clearly God has another purpose for me. Then I began realizing, God has created me to reach specific people and to grow them in ways that are completely unique to me. I am not better at reaching others for the sake of the Gospel or or at share Christ in a way that others can know Him more. I may be better at both of those things for specific people in specific ways and the same can be said about each and every one of you. Because of this, the discipleship process an extremely creative process. In organic styles of ministry, lists of procedures and step-by-step manuals are off-target. We view the disciple maker as one who takes existing concepts and situations and creatively combines them into ever-changing new ways to build up believers. No two disciples are alike, and no two disciple makers are alike. Therefore, any attempt to describe the “right” way to make disciples is pointless. Because discipleship is creative, we will not offer a curriculum or specific lesson plan. Instead, I will be giving you goals and examples that should stimulate your creativity. As you are hear each week I would encourage you to pray that God will spark new ideas you can use in your situation. Although disciple making is a creative process, some principles are universal. The best way to think about the process of making Disciples is to consider what you want to see in well discipled people. Then think backward and determine what will be necessary to reach those goals. This week, we will look at the goals of discipleship. What are the goals? What are we trying to accomplish? What kind of person are we trying to lead people to be? Then, in a future week, we will talk about the steps that we can take to lead people to those goals. Now, I know that this sounds like a program and a specific process. It’s not and you will see that as you get to the steps. Because in the steps you will find tremendous creativity and you will find that you don’t have to take the steps in a specific order. Each step, must be taken, but we can all choose to take them in whatever order works best in each given situation. DISCIPLESHIP AIMED AT CREATING DISCIPLE MAKERS One of the main goals of discipleship is to provide the body of Christ with leaders and role models who can teach others and lead Bible studies, Ministry Teams, or Small Groups. We want our disciples to reach a point where they can raise up additional disciples, and that implies a level of maturity sufficient to teach and model true Christian living and ministry. Many times, when reading about disciple making I see recommendations that are solid and needed, but they often don’t go far enough. The themes of many popular books on discipleship center on basic grounding of new believers, MORE THAN ON RAISING UP CHRISTIAN LEADERS. We often see discipleship stressed in Church and the focus is on becoming a self-feeding Christian, encouraging holy living, an effective prayer life and sharing one’s faith. But discipling people to become mature leaders in ministry is often overlooked. To reach the point where your disciples can lead for God requires significantly more progress in several key areas. But the results of such a job well done are exciting and will likely last a lifetime. I know this sounds overwhelming and intimidating to many. On one hand, it should be. That’s why what we are doing can only be accomplished with God’s strength. And if it weren’t a big feat, would we really be leading people to maturity? That being said, I want to remind you from the beginning … RAISING UP EVEN ONE MATURE DISCIPLE IS EQUAL TO YOUR WHOLE LIFE OF SERVICE TO GOD, BECAUSE NOW INSTEAD OF ONE OF YOU, THERE ARE TWO! NINE AREAS OF DISCIPLESHIP When we talk about goals in discipleship, we are going to look at them through the lens of areas of Discipleship. We have broken this down into nine areas, and each area has it’s own goals listed under them. We have a handout that we will keep back at our Welcome Center, near our Bible Study tools. The great thing about this handout is that it allows you to look at someone you are discipling, think through the different areas and goals, and make comments so that you can see growth, aim for growth, and take whatever steps necessary to lead them to maturity in these different areas. Another way to use a chart like this would be to sit down with someone you are discipling and ask them where they think they stand on these different aspects of Christian Maturity. The great thing is, people are usually harder on themselves and it gives opportunities for us to encourage and point out successes or at times to call people out in an area that they may not realize they are weak in. I would also encourage you to think through where you stand on the different areas in this chart and to seek out someone to help disciple you and build you up in these areas. As we look at these 9 areas and the 51 goals that are divided between them, I want you to recognize that our teachings are directed to help guide you to maturity in all of these areas. LAW AND GRACE SLIDE 3 – GOALS Our disciples need to understand the central biblical themes of Law and Grace. God works with us through grace—meaning a free and undeserved gift. Both personal salvation and spiritual growth are to be accomplished through drawing on God’s grace, rather than through our own humanistic self-improvement. KNOWS HOW TO CONFESS SIN AND CLAIM GRACE They should know how freeing it is to admit failures to one another because we understand God’s forgiveness in our lives! We need to teach our disciples how to avoid alienation from God (self imposed alienation from God) when they fall into sin. ABLE TO SET GOALS UNDER GRACE, AND ABLE TO SHAKE OFF FAILURE AND CARRY ON Grace doesn’t mean non-growth, it means being transformed by the Spirit of God. GRACE GIVES US THE COURAGE TO FAIL, AT THE SAME TIME IT GIVES US THE POWER TO SUCCEED. KNOWS, ARTICULATES, AND DEPENDS ON GOD’S PART IN MINISTRY Understanding grace also means that they know that God alone can empower us to win others and see lives changed. Healthy disciples depend on God’s power to come through for them when they go out to serve him. SLIDE 4 – GOALS DEVELOPED REASONABLE ETHICAL PRIORITIES, THE DISCIPLE IS FOCUSED ON THE MAIN ISSUES IN SANCTIFICATION When holding a legalistic mentality, people want to focus on external issues in order to distract attention from their own personal failures in major areas. This doesn’t mean that we ignore external issues, it just means that we do not become so consumed with them that we do it to the detriment of personal growth. We should not be looking at others and saying, “You need to be perfect.” Rather, we should be looking at ourselves and saying, “Are you being perfected by God?” We need to teach disciples that grace gives us the ability to be honest about where we are failing in our growth—and be sure to show them grace when they confess. UNDERSTANDS THE TRUE ROLE OF THE LAW UNDERSTANDS THE TRUE ROLE OF DISCIPLINE CONSISTENTLY GRATEFUL TO GOD CHARACTER CHANGE SLIDE 5 – GOALS This leads to our next big area; character change. We pray that our disciples will see their lives changed and their character conformed to the image of Christ. We have to teach them how to live in their identity in Christ. Negative habits may stand as key barriers to spiritual growth. Our disciples may have a habit involving sexual wrongdoing, over-eating, drugs, pornography, compulsive gambling, fits of rage, lack of forgiveness, self-righteousness, or a host of other problems. UNDERSTANDS THEIR SECURITY IN CHRIST, AND HOW OUR ACTIONS SHOULD BE EMPOWERED BY GOD, NOT SELF-EFFORT KNOWS HOW TO WORSHIP GOD IN ALL WAYS, AND WITH ENTHUSIASM Character transformation means not only loving other people, but also loving God. A successful disciple learns how to worship God in all the ways named in scripture. This includes: - fully committing there life to Christ (Rom. 12:1), serving him in ministry (Rom. 15:16), giving generously (Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:15) praising him consistently (Heb. 13:16). People need help seeing how reasonable, biblical, and pleasurable worshiping God can be. UNDERSTANDS THE PROCESS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH VERSES QUICK FIXES Seeing real progress in character development is very slow and difficult. We need to convince our disciples that being conformed to the image of Christ is a process of growth, not a quick fix or shortcut. We all want spiritual liposuction, but it just doesn’t work that way. Instead, God gives us the strength to win the battles of our heart little by little so that we will be fortified from future attacks. KNOWS AND PRACTICES THE MEANS OF GROWTH AS A LIFESTYLE If we want to help our disciples see change in their characters, we have to teach them to take advantage of key means of growth presented in scripture … spiritual disciplines. They must learn the importance of regular times in the word of God, deep involvement in body life and fellowship, a consistent prayer life, and ministry, or service to others. God uses all these to transform lives, and missing any one of them will eventually block spiritual growth. SLIDE 6 – GOALS ABLE TO WITHSTAND SUFFERING WITH AN ATTITUDE OF FAITH And even thanksgiving if they are to move on to full maturity. OBEYS GOD MUCH OF THE TIME Eventually, growing disciples need to reach the point where they enjoy obeying God much of the time. We don’t expect they will perfectly obey Him all the time, but we do hope to see them living a life generally centered in Christ, following His will, free from discrediting sin habits, and pursuing righteousness in Christ. LOYAL TO GOD OVER MATERIALISTIC GOALS Especially important in American culture is that mature disciples are loyal to God over materialistic goals. They will experience many trials where the world demands that they spend their time making and enjoying money and possessions. These demands will often conflict with God’s goals for their lives. ETERNAL VALUES SYSTEM To be victorious here, they must develop an eternal values system—a values system that sees how eternal things are much more important than passing pleasures. People with an eternal values system also draw their sense of security from their future with God rather than from laying up treasure on earth. INTERPRETING THE BIBLE SLIDE 7 – GOALS ABLE TO ARTICULATE AND DEFEND BIBLICAL AUTHORITY, INSPIRATION, AND CANON KNOWS AND CAN USE GRAMMATICAL AND HISTORICAL BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION KNOWS HOW TO DO INDUCTIVE STUDY Near our Welcome Center we have a resource title “Basic” where we teach the basics of inductive study. If you are unsure of what it is, or want to help lead some through this process. That is a great resource. KNOWS HOW TO USE BIBLE STUDY TOOLS UNDERSTANDS SALVATION HISTORY Has a Biblical understanding of our need for salvation, God’s promise of salvation, Christ’s past, present and future roles in Salvation, and our role in salvation. UNDERSTANDING GOD SLIDE 8 – GOALS KNOWS HOW GOD’S ATTRIBUTES APPLY TO PERSONAL TRUST, MINISTRY, AND PRAYER Our disciples need to understand God and his attributes. This area of theology has great impact in every area of life and biblical interpretation. The fact that we can trust God, how we do ministry, and how we pray are all based on the attributes of God as revealed in scripture. Our disciples should be able to correct people’s common misconceptions about God. ABLE TO ARTICULATE AND DEFEND THE TRINITY UNDERSTANDS HOW GOD’S IMAGE IS REFLECTED IN HUMANS SATAN SLIDE 9 – GOALS KNOWS WHO SATAN IS AND UNDERSTANDS THE ANGELIC REALM This is essential so that we can combat spiritual warfare and temptation. ABLE TO DISCERN ABERRANT TEACHING ON DEMONS KNOWS HOW TO RECOGNIZE AND FIGHT DEMONIC ATTACKS IN SELF AND OTHERS UNDERSTANDS THE “WORLD” AND THE PROPER RESPONSE TO IT EVANGELISM SLIDE 10 – GOALS ABLE TO SHARE THEIR OWN TESTIMONY ABLE TO WITNESS AND ACTIVELY WITNESS Being both equipped to be a missionary and living out the mission actively. HAVE LEARNED SENSITIVITY TO OTHERS DECISION MAKING PROCESSES This kind of sensitivity is dynamic, because you have to practice it on the fly. When should one put the question of conversion? When to back off until later? When to engage in argument, and when to change the subject? These are judgments based on experience and spiritual discernment. These are judgments learned by observing and learning through life experience and application, not from the classroom. HAVE WON PEOPLE TO CHRIST, OR AT LEAST BROUGHT PEOPLE TO CHURCH SERVICES OR A SMALL GROUP WHO RECEIVED CHRIST SLIDE 11 – GOALS CONVERSANT WITH THE MAIN WORLD VIEWS OPPOSING CHRIST IN THEIR CULTURE AND HAVE AT LEAST SOME DEFENSES FOR EACH UNDERSTANDS AND CAN EFFECTIVELY REFUTE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY UNDERSTANDS AND PARTICIPATES IN WORLD EVANGELISM THE CHURCH AND MINISTRY SLIDE 12 – GOALS The next area has to do with the church and related truths. Disciples need to understand what the body of Christ is and how they fit into it (1 Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12; Eph. 4:1-16). ACTIVE IN BODY LIFE AT ALL NEEDED LEVELS (LARGE AND SMALL MEETINGS) Worship, Small Groups, Studies, etc. The last thing we want to do is to create individualistic disciples who do not understand that Christian growth is a corporate activity that cannot be obtained in isolation. KNOWS AND EMBRACES THE IMPORTANCE OF MINISTRY Ministry is serving, but serving with the aims to make God known and to help believers grow in their faith. HAS ESTABLISHED A PERSONAL MINISTRY WITHIN, AND PERHAPS OUTSIDE, THE HOME AND CHURCH. UNDERSTANDS WHAT THE CHURCH IS AND CAN DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT COVENANT SLIDE 13 – GOALS UNDERSTANDS SPIRITUAL GIFTS, CHURCH OFFICES, CHURCH DISCIPLINE, AND CHURCH FINANCE IS A CONSISTENT GIVER A Christian who is enslaved to materialistic greed is ill-suited to serve God. Jesus warned that unless we are faithful in insignificant areas like the use of our money, God will not entrust us with the greater riches of the church, such as caring for other people’s lives (Luke 16:10-11). We have seen that disciples who won’t give in a disciplined way usually make poor leaders. The failure to give, especially in a culture as affluent as ours, signals a much bigger problem than some think. HAS WON ANOTHER PERSON INTO PERSONAL DISCIPLESHIP PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS SLIDE 14 – GOALS UNDERSTANDS BIBLICAL LOVE AND IS ABLE TO MAINTAIN LASTING FRIENDSHIPS ABLE TO HANDLE AND RESOLVE INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT PRACTICES SEXUAL SELF-CONTROL Many would be disciples are lost to christian service because they cannot control their sexual desires. SLIDE 15 – GOALS IF MARRIED, HAS ADJUSTED TO MARRIAGE AND FULFILLS ROLE AS A SPOUSE AND PARENT HAS DEVELOPED RELATIONSHIP-RELATED CHARACTER QUALITIES (PATIENCE, KINDNESS, INITIATIVE, HONESTY, ETC), SO THAT THEY ARE KNOWN AS A LOVING PERSON BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH TEACHING ON THE HOLY SPIRIT AND JESUS SLIDE 16 – GOALS KNOWS WHAT THE MINISTRIES OF THE SPIRIT ARE AND REGULARLY DEPENDS ON THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT FOR LIVING AND MINISTRY KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ROLE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT READY TO ANSWER ABERRANT TEACHING ON THE HOLY SPIRIT SLIDE 17 – GOALS LOOKS FOR WHERE THE SPIRIT IS LEADING AND RESPONDS ACCORDINGLY KNOWS SCRIPTURES AND CAN ARTICULATE THE UNIQUENESS OF CHRIST, HIS DUAL NATURES, HIS DEITY, HIS WORK, AND HIS RETURN WALKING POINTS SLIDE 18 – TITLE I know this seems like a lot, because it is. Remember, disciple making is a process. Plan to spend at least two years with your disciple. Building them up, teaching them, loving them, doing life with them. Plan to spend at least two years being discipled. Learning, growing, shaping, being transformed into the image of Christ, becoming a mature Christian. As we leave here missionaries and missionaries in the making; I want to leave you with the following. - - First, if you are a new Christian or feel immature in your faith, what are you doing to grow in the areas that we just walked through. Who is discipling you? Who could disciple you? Two years from now if there is no change it is because you have decided to make no change from what you are currently doing and how you are currently living. Next, who can you be purposefully discipling to lead them to maturity in Christ? And finally, spend time in prayer. Praying that God will lead you to someone to disciple you. That he will guide you to whom you should be discipling. Pray that He will give you the endurance, the strength, and the excitement to be a disciple and a disciple maker.