Disciple-making Takes Commitment

Pinnacle Conference  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

Disciple-making takes a lifetime.

ILL: I make the best Raman noodles ever! “These are so much better than mom’s!”
A lot of difference in the way that I cook, and the way that my life cooks. She cooks to care for our family. I cook to get it done. She cooks so that everyone has something that they enjoy. I cook so that I can’t be held liable for neglect.
We have different goals that lead to different processes. I want to say that it’s done. She wants to say that her family is healthier.
What is your goal for disciple-making? Is your goal to be able to say that you did it and checked that box? Is your goal to make a difference in people’s lives, families, and your church that lasts forever? Those two reasons require very different commitments. (You’ve got to come to an honest answer to that question)
There’s no microwavable plan to life-changing discipleship.
Some say you spell love T.I.M.E. That’s how we spell disciple-making.
When you think about it, this is the nature of the Kingdom.
Matthew 13:31-32 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
(Show pics of a mustard seed and then the tree) A mustard seed is chosen because it’s a particularly small seed that grows into a particularly impressive tree. What Jesus wanted his disciples to understand then and now is that though this kingdom would have humble beginnings, it will have a triumphant end. Jesus says that ‘when it has grown’. It’s not if, but when. The Kingdom of God may start small, but it is unstoppable. It will be the mighty tree in which the nations take shelter.
But, what’s the difference between the seed and the tree? T.I.M.E. How will the Kingdom grow? Disciple-making! How will the Kingdom multiply? Disciple-making! What will this take? T.I.M.E. Commitment by Jesus’ disciples to make disciples is I,-lied in the nature of the Kingdom.
The nature of the eternal Kingdom calls for a lifelong, life-lasting commitment to disciple-making.
The Great Commission explicitly calls for a great commitment of Jesus’ disciples.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Primary command is “make disciples” modified by three commitments: to make disciples, baptize these disciples into a new life, and then teach them the fullness of what that new life looks like. ALL of this makes up the Great Commission, and it can’t be wrapped up in an afternoon or a six week class.
Consider Jesus’ example.
When were the disciples converted? When would you have considered them mature disciples?
The changes happened almost so subtly that they were imperceptible. Consider the ups and downs of Peter alone.
They were around Jesus day and night for three years. Jesus is filing off rough edges, day-in and day-out for years. He’ll teach, send out, correct, and then reteach over and over. He confronts their sin. He informs their misunderstanding. And, they change far slower than we would ever expect WITH THE GREATEST DISCIPLE-MAKER EVER!
Then, Jesus says, “Make disciples, and be sure to teach them ALL that I have commanded you.” That’s not sermon series, man.
Man’s method is explosion. (Show pic of Mt. Rushmore)
14 years - Quick, sudden change that you can excited about.
That’s why we prefer mega-events to disciple-making. Dynamite looks great on a t-shirt.
The Kingdom method is erosion, not explosion. (Show pic of Grand Canyon)
Slow, tedious, subtle change that’s almost imperceptible.
Disciple them to the kingdom, and then in the Kingdom.
Rushmore is cool; Grand Canyon is awe-inspiring. Which is more beautiful? Which is more expansive? What is longer lasting?
YOU CAN’T DUPLICATE GOD’S RESULTS WITH MAN’S METHODS. Which do you want? Erosion requires a commitment. Erosion takes T.I.M.E.

Disciple-making endures life change.

Disciple-making involves walking with someone to regeneration and then into sanctification, into new birth and then teaching them the new life.
(Show straight line graphic) In our minds, growing in Christ happens as a straight line.
(Show up and down graphic) In reality, growing in Christ is an up and down experience that trends upward.
It’s painful for us personally. And, when we take up the task of disciple-making, we necessarily invite the pain and flightiness and naivite of our disciples into our lives as well. So, we’re a work in progress, and then disciple-making means that we take responsibility for other works in progress.
Consider Jesus’ experience.
And, remember Jesus wasn’t a work in progress.
Jesus’ disciples misunderstand him. They doubt him. They rebuke him. They request to be glorified by him. They tell him what to do. They abandon him, deny him, and betray him. They live for him, build his church, and die for him.
Man, it’s an up and down experience.
Is there any wonder that Paul so often talks about the need for endurance in his ministry?
I’ve always thought that Philippians 2:28 may just be where I most identify with Paul. “I am the more eager to send (Ephroditus), therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.”
If you know, you know!
Colossians 1:28-29 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Here’s a vision statement of Paul’s ministry followed by a summary of what it’s looked like.
Presenting everyone mature in Christ means toiling, struggling by energy and passion that can only be found in Jesus through the Spirit.
Disciple-making requires a Spirit-empowered, Spirit wrought grittiness. It’s a holy stubbornness that refuses to give up on helping others see life change. It’s being driven by a passion for Jesus through the power of the Spirit to grind away at disciple-making.
(Point to graphic) It’s going to the bottom of the valleys over and over to help your disciples up, perhaps the very ones who have wounded you, so that they can keep going.
2 Timothy 4:5-7 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Charges Timothy to fulfill his ministry.
Then, he talks about the importance of enduring.
What the ministry? What has Paul endured in? Making disciples. In fact, even here, in this letter, Paul is continuing to disciple his son in the faith, Timothy.
Endurance implies there’s pain involved.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
How do you become a disciple of Jesus? By laying down your life. By recognizing that Jesus is of greater value than your life so you will willingly die for his sake should the call come.
When you follow Jesus, you will do what Jesus did. What did Jesus do? He made disciples. What brought pain and suffering into Jesus’ life? Making disciples. Why did the apostles die a martyr’s death? For making disciples.
The method for making disciples is the same as the means of becoming a disciple — laying down your life.
It is to embrace a position of vulnerability in this world for the sake of the building of God's kingdom. Disciple-making makes us vulnerable to betrayal and to being misunderstood. It makes us vulnerable to disappointment and to heartache. It requires patience and long-suffering. It requires uncomfortable confrontations and painful forgiveness. Living as a disciple-maker has historically meant that the unreached world is uncomfortable with you and dislikes you. It is a call to live a life of patience and long-suffering as you deal with the ebbs and flows of not just your own Christian life, but the Christian life of those whom you are trying to disciple. It is to face the disappointment and devastation of witnessing a man or woman that you've poured your soul into falling away from the faith and into the throes of sin.
That is, it’s to follow Jesus to his cross by emulating his life. It’s to take on the burdens of others that you might help them walk in freedom.
A call to disciple-making is a call to endurance. There’s a price to be paid, and it’s the comfort and convenience of our lives.....for now.
(Show pic of Williams Carey) Consider Williams Carey’s life.
7.5 years before he saw his first convert in India. Abandoned by his partner after 2 Years. Young son dies. Wife’s mental health deteriorates.
Most churches today would’ve pulled mission support for success like that.
What if he had not kept going? We have to keep going. We have to commit. Judson. Livingstone. Hudson Taylor.

Disciple-making requires a lifestyle.

A lifetime commitment requires a lifelong pace. (ICBC: not a 5 year plan, but a 40 year plan)
(show marathon pic) ILL: Olympic Marathons. They know they want to make it to the end so they plan their race accordingly. I tried marathoning, and it almost killed me. But, if you’ve never done it, there’s a ton of prep that goes in to make sure that you finish the race. You plan your diet so that you have the sustenance you need. You plan your hydration schedule. You monitor your heart rate so that you can keep it at the right levels. You rotate your shoes. You build up your pace so that you don’t peak too soon. It’s all so that you can finish the race. It requires planning, focus, and discipline.
Disciple-making is a marathon event. Running intent on reaching the finish line. It requires planning, focus, and discipline.
Longevity is the single greatest indicator of effectiveness. The endurance required and pain experienced often short-circuit effective disciple-making.
Personal longevity in relationships with disciples (see Paul and Timothy)
Pastoral longevity in leading a congregation to make disciples.
And, the key to longevity is discipleship as a lifestyle and culture, not a program.
personally = lifestyle
congregationally = culture
(graphic of bicycle wheel) Think of it like a bicycle wheel
(create two wheels and show how this relates to personal lifestyle in the same way that it relates to church culture) We might typically see ministry as the wheel and then all of the various tasks and programs as the spokes. When we view ministry as the wheel, we’re really just thinking about activities that we need to do. We’re thinking of all the responsibilities that we have to fulfill. It’s overwhelming. So, in this model, discipleship is just one of the spokes in the wheel of ministry. The goal becomes to glorify God by just doing ministry. So, we stay busy.
But, in a discipleship culture, the goal is much more streamlined and refined. The wheel is not ministry; it’s discipleship. So now, all of our various ministries are spokes in the wheel of discipleship, aimed at helping us to make maturing and multiplying disciples. Every ministry in our churches and pastoral responsibilities aims at the same target — make disciples.
So, groups are not our only means of making disciples. Groups are just one spoke in the discipleship wheel. Preaching isn’t our only means. It’s a spoke. Youth ministry and evangelism and men’s ministry are all spokes.
A discipleship culture shifts pastoral behavior so that ministry becomes sustainable and enjoyable.
I may not be competent as an executive or a counselor or a manager, but I am competent at disciple-making.
This has been the game-changer for me.
It’s reshaped and reenergized my entire ministry.
I’m not freaked out any more, and it’s de-stigmatized in our church.
It’s just focused discipleship. I lead counseling like a d-group.
No time limit. “I’m in this for as long as it takes.” After all, this is discipleship.
A culture of discipleship, over time, creates a cultures of counselors.
Staff leadership:
More time discipling them rather than evaluating them. Correction has become far less traumatic.
Personal investment ahead of ministry performance.
By pouring into them, I’m pouring into every ministry and person in our church.
Brothers before employees.
Volunteer recruitment/training:
We always meet for discipleship, never for mere information transfer.
Every meeting is an opportunity to help someone see the gospel more clearly and grow in maturity/understanding.
Don’t complain; teach. “How did God shape your understanding as it is today?"
This is discipleship in the way of Jesus, isn’t it? It’s living your life and leading your ministry, day-in and day-out, aimed at making disciples, not getting stuff done. It’s waking up in the morning and playing golf at the golf course and working at Honda and leading worship at your church all for the purpose of making disciples.
Example: Chris and beginning a Bible study at work
Example: Andrew discipling us by structuring the music according to the storyline of the gospel.
A discipleship lifestyle creates a sustainable pace.

Disciple-making is worthy of your life.

Discipleship isn’t all pain and no gain.
There’s the joy of watching a life be changed. There’s nothing like it.
Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Bray + Chris + Joseph
There’s an even more secure and stable joy awaiting us.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
There’s a crown already there! And, not just for you!
We are calling you to a hard life that comes with a reward! This isn't all for nothing! How glorious will it be to watch your disciples receive their crowns? Won't it be worth it? Won't it be worth seeing your children receiving their crown? Won't it be worth it to see that young mother that's so hit or miss right now receive her crown? Won't it be worth it when you see that once young man that so struggled with self-discipline receive the crown of faithfulness? If there are tears to be found in heaven, they will be found streaming down your face as you behold the very children of God obtaining the very reward you helped them to receive.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more