Who Should Disciple And Be Discipled?

Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:32
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MULTIPLY WHO SHOULD DISCIPLE? WHO SHOULD BE DISCIPLED? March 1st, 2020 VIDEO – MULTIPLY SLIDE 2 – TITLE WELCOME Good Morning! Welcome to Fox Valley Christian Church, where every member is a missionary. INTRO We have been talking about returning 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. Last week we talked through the goals of discipleship. There are 9 areas and 51 goals that we talked through. Discipleship is an overwhelming task, but that’s okay because if it wasn’t our mission … the mission that God has sent us on would be a pretty underwhelming mission. This is a process that takes time. It is also a process that takes more than one person. Discipleship cannot be accomplished alone. There must be both a disciple and a disciple maker. A disciple and a teacher. Which leads us to the focus today: Who is qualified to disciple whom should you seek out to disciple? WHO SHOULD DISCIPLE OTHERS? Think about how hard of a task this is. Doesn’t it seem arrogant to think that any of is qualified to disciple others? What criteria should a person meet in order to qualify for this kind of ministry? Unfortunately, when we look at the Bible, we find silence on this subject. We find criteria for Elders, but we do not find criteria that encompasses all disciple makers. The Bible’s silence here suggests that we have a great deal of freedom in this area. Because of this freedom, we want to put our own rules on who is equipped and able to disciple. Some of these rules we make as reasons for why we personally are not equipped to disciple. We are too young, too new to Christ, we are not qualified. So, to start I want to give some suggestions and direction on who should disciple. SPIRITUAL MATURITY It would be nice if the disciple maker has made more progress than the disciple. I know that sounds like a funny statement because of course in order to disciple someone you MUST know more / be more mature … or what do you have to offer? The reality of it is though, spiritual peers can actually disciple each other. PROVERBS 27:17 SLIDE 3 – SCRIPTURE 17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Imagine: - - A husband and wife come to Christ at the same time. Are they not allowed to pursue Christ together? Seek Him in His Word? Pray together? Are they not able to sharpen each other and grow into maturity by seeking Him together and practicing the spiritual disciplines? Two ministers that want to grow deeper into their relationship with Christ, so they begin meeting to mutually disciple each other. Sure they might have areas that they are sharper in than the other, but aren’t they able to be spiritual peers in some areas and still mutually disciple each other in those areas? It is suggested that you are more spiritually mature than the person you are discipling, but it is in fact not required. God has equipped us with tools and the means to disciple and do this incredible feat even when we might feel ill equipped. SLIDE 4 – TITLE Really, having a disciple is great motivation to grow. I love seeing people take on a disciple as soon as they are able, because I recognize the growth that occurs in the disciple maker. - - When my father first accepted Christ, it wasn’t long and he saw that there was a need for a class studying through scripture. But there was no one to teach it. So he began teaching a Bible Study. Teaching is a funny word, because for him, he spent the week reading, studying, and learning with the hopes that he could teach. This step caused him to radically grow because he was motivated to learn so that he could teach. When I first began in ministry I was not just learning about Christ, I had years of growing up in the Church, but I was not ready to really lead people to Christ. I am embarrassed of the man I - was compared to the man I am now. But, God still used me and in the process He radically changed me because I began to realize that I couldn’t stay where I was and lead people. It wouldn’t take long for them to surpass me. It motivated me to grow. When I see parents accept Christ as the Lord and Savior, I try to immediately encourage them to begin teaching the kids. Begin praying with them, reading to them, equipping yourself so that you are able to lead them up and train them. When parents take ownership of discipling their own children, the result is radical growth in the whole family. Spiritual maturity should not be a barrier to discipleship, instead it should encourage us to grow in spiritual maturity so that we become better disciple makers. If you are worried about your spiritual maturity, then find someone to disciple you so that you can better disciple those that God is calling you to disciple. SEX The next suggestion I will give you is to try to disciple someone of the same sex as you. Men disciple men, women disciple women. This is not to say that a man cannot disciple a woman or that a woman cannot disciple a man. Don’t take it as a hard and fast rule. Instead, recognize the heart of the suggestion. If I begin discipling women (besides my wife and daughters), then I open the door to temptation. The temptation for both parties involved in the discipling and temptation for spouses, significant others, and others in the church to question and accuse of inappropriate behavior. This is not to say that I cannot disciple a female or that I never will, but it is to say that I will have appropriate barriers and guidelines if I do. SPIRITUAL PARENTHOOD Next, I suggest that you take hold of spiritual parenthood. 1 CORINTHIANS 4:14-15 SLIDE 5 – SCRIPTURE 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Paul mentions the concept of spiritual parenthood. We would hardly expect natural parents to leave their infant children on the sidewalk somewhere, assuming someone will take care of them. Why do we do this with people we lead to Christ? - We get them to Church and feel like our work is done They receive Christ and are baptized and we feel like our work is done SLIDE 6 – TITLE We want to see you not just leading people to Christ, but to take the natural step and disciple those that you lead to Christ. If you lead someone to Christ, but think you are unqualified then again … find someone to disciple you as you disciple … or find someone that will disciple you both at the same time. PRAISE SEEKING The final suggestion in regards to who should disciple, is really just a caution/reminder. Discipling work is quiet, slow, and often thankless labor. Public teaching, preaching, and leading … public ministry roles appeal to some because they are drawn to self-glorification through those roles. If you think that you will be tempted to seek praise and glory, then discipling others on a personal private level is a great first step for you. Don’t immediately jump into public ministry. Discipleship Building a friendship and trying to influence and instruct another within that friendship is exactly the kind of ministry best suited for those that want to learn all the skills that are necessary in larger more public ministries, but without the public acclaim that poses such a temptation to the immature. I often find that those who are successful in discipleship are the best candidates for public ministry later. BEING A DISCIPLE MAKER MAY SEEM LIKE A DAUNTING TASK THAT FEW ARE REALLY QUALIFIED TO DO, BUT IN REALITY THE VAST MAJORITY OF BELIEVERS IN ANY LOCAL BODY ARE QUALIFIED TO DISCIPLE. Of course those who are more mature and experienced might do a better job than the inexperienced, but to a new Christian, receiving help from a less experienced discipler is much better than receiving no help at all. WHO SHOULD WE TRY TO WIN INTO DISCIPLESHIP? This is an important question. As we have pointed out, discipleship is a process and it takes time. It is a large time and energy investment. You might spend hundreds of hours investing in someone that is just unwilling to move past the most basic of faith. You might invest in someone that in the end actually walks away from God in favor of a life of sin. You can never eliminate the risk that your efforts might end in failure. But you can minimize the risk if you are careful about whom you commit yourself to in the first place. SIDE NOTE: I am not saying that you should be selective about who you witness to, who you extend help to, who you are friends with. But, when it comes to a commitment like discipleship, selection is essential for more than one reason: - Stewardship: You want to be a good steward of your time and energy Need for Leaders: The Church needs mature leaders and role models, you can’t justify wasting years when other people’s spiritual lives are at stake. Both suffer: If discipleship succeeds, both are built up. If discipleship fails, both suffer. Nobody is happy when discipleship fails. PRECONDITIONS Discipleships aim is to lead Christians to maturity and fruitfulness; disciples who make disciples. This implies that certain conditions should be present before we enter into a disciple making relationship. There should be preconditions. - Those we seek to disciple should be authentic Christians. Evangelism and Discipleship are not the same thing. Friendship building with non-Christians is good, evangelism is good, but discipleship should be reserved for those with a clear testimony and convincing evidence that they are Christians. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:14 SLIDE 7 – SCRIPTURE 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. - We should only disciple those who are fully involved in Christian fellowship. Christian fellowship, including the sharing of spiritual gifts and giving and receiving of Christian love, is essential for healthy spiritual growth. Therefore, it is essential for Discipleship. SLIDE 8 – TITLE When we set out these preconditions before entering into a disciple making relationship, we give ourselves and our disciples a reasonable chance of success. FEATURES TO LOOK FOR Alright, so what features should we look for? RELIABLE/FAITHFUL First, we should be looking for people that are reliable. Paul urges Timothy to look for reliable men, to look for faithful men. 2 TIMOTHY 2:2 SLIDE 9 – SCRIPTURE 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Here is the best rule of thumb here; the best predictor of a future behavior is past behavior. We should carefully consider a persons past. And not, are they going to get into trouble? Have they sinned? etc. The more critical question is, what was their response? How did they respond? Is this someone that is faithful, are they reliable? Will they pursue God even if it is hard? Will they pursue God even through their set backs and failures? SLIDE 10 – TITLE WILLING HEART / LOYAL TO CHRIST Robert Coleman, in the Master Plan of Evangelism, argues that we are to seek disciples with a willing heart and disciples that are loyal to Christ. Please understand, and we will talk about this more in a little bit, but willing does not mean compliance. Sometimes our disciples are going to be argumentative and they are going to need persuading, this is okay as long as they desire to be loyal to Christ and they have a heart that is willing to follow Him. DOER Finally, we are looking for doers. JAMES 1:22-23 SLIDE 11 – SCRIPTURE 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. When we see someone that is trying to serve God, even if they are ineffective at first, the mere act of being a doer should mark that person for discipleship. - A young believer who voluntarily, takes some measure to overcome sin is a doer. Christians who read scripture or related books on their own are doers. Those who bring non-Christian friends into fellowship are doers. Christians who give money to the Lord’s work are doers. In many different areas, but especially in areas where others probably won’t notice (i.e. things not done for attention), we can recognize doers as those who actually take action, rather than simply talking about spiritual things. SLIDE 12 – TITLE In Matthew 21, Jesus tells the story of a man that tells his two sons to work in the fields. The first says no, but then changes his mind and works in the field. The second son says he will work in the field, but then doesn’t. Jesus then asks, “which of the two did the will of his father?” We are looking for doers. Not hearers and sayers only … but doers. MISLEADING FEATURES Here is the thing when it comes to choosing a disciple though. There are many misleading features, so I want to briefly highlight them. This does not disqualify these people from discipleship, but for some reason they often become features we look for when they are not as important as the issues of the heart that we just talked about. HIGHLY GIFTED A person who is a highly gifted person may seem like a natural choice, but just because someone is gifted that does not automatically translate to a faithful, willing, doer. Look deeper than just their skill sets. WELL-EDUCATED / HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL Along those lines, well educated and highly successful people are attractive choices because they might be influential. They might be, but they also might be distracted by their worldly opportunities making them unwilling or unable to devote themselves to spiritual growth and ministry. PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS Speaking of attractive, we often look for people that are physically attractive or that have winsome personalities. Why? Because we think that they will have more success attracting disciple makers. Have you noticed … we look at the outside, God looks at the heart. Again, this is not to say that we are seeking only non-attractive people … It is just a simple reminder to look at the heart. COMPLIANT Sometimes we look for compliant people (I mentioned this earlier). But a yes man is not always cut out for ministry. They are often just trying to please people and unfortunately the Gospel (although it is Good News) does not always please people to hear it. SIDE NOTE: DAUNTING SINS … a side note here on what are misleading features. Sometimes we look at negative features as misleading also. Someone that has been struggling with a huge sin; like drugs, sexual sin, materialistic gain … these are sins that can paralyze a person from growing and doing ministry. But, they in and of themselves should not exclude a person from discipleship. They might be worth the risk of discipleship as long as they are willing to do the hard work of putting off the old self. THE HUNGRY HEART As we come to God, missionaries and missionaries in the making … I pray for hungry hearts. I pray that we have a heart that is hungry to grow in spiritual disciplines and disciple others. I also pray that we find hearts that are hungry to be discipled. In Luke 19, we read that Jesus was in a huge crowd, but he singled out one man to spend time with. He singled out a criminal, a tax collector. Why? Because Zacchaeus was so eager to hear Jesus that he climbed a tree. He was a grown man, climbing a tree to see Jesus. That is hunger. Spiritual hunger should be a premium feature in a disciple maker and a disciple. Jesus must have looked over the crowd and saw a man in a tree and said, “There, that’s my guy.”
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