Question: What is our calling as a church? Answer: To fulfill the Great Commission as effectively as we are capable (Mt 28:18-20).
1. Our Goal: To help as many people as possible go to heaven.
2. Our Method: To focus on making disciples for Jesus.
DEFINITION OF A DISCIPLE: A DISCIPLE IS A PERSON WHO:
A) Has been miraculously transformed by the Holy Spirit
3 baptisms (Mt 28:19; Ac 19:1-7)
unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God
do not throw your pearls before swine or they will trample you under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.
Transformation precedes education.
Note: He 8:8-12; Eze 31:31-34. The heart now wants to obey.
The heart must choose to obey (repent) in order to be born again, but afterward it wants to obey.
B) Is disciplined by the commands of Christ.
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.
Notice how this differs from the approach being taken by the modern American church. It does not start by asking, What do people want to hear? Jesus ordered the disciples to pass on to others what He had taught them.
Approach #1: Felt Need
Approach #2: James Daane: God has already told His church what He wants them to know. Your job is to let Him say it again.
It doesnt matter what people want to hear. What matters is what God wants to say. He alone knows what we need.
And Jesus said disciples need to be taught to observe all that I commanded you (Mt 28:20). The Commands of Christ are to be the foundation of our teaching and all Scripture should be interpreted in light of them.
In this way a disciple enters into a life-long process of being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Ro 8:29) by means of:
- the Bible (2Ti 3:16, 17)
- the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13-15; grieving, guiding, strengthening (Eph 4:11-16)
- the Family of God (Eph 4:11-16)
Surprisingly, this discipline does not lead to slavery but to freedom. The more we submit to Christ, the freer we become.
He refuses to enslave us. Instead He trains us like a parent until we see the truth for ourselves and are willingly choose it
if the Son makes you free
(Jn 8:34, 36)
Over time we freely choose to submit more and more areas to Jesus.
We recognize His superior goodness and wisdom and distrust our own (Pr 3:5, 6)
We still must refuse the impulses of the flesh (Ga 5:1, 13, 16-21) and temptations by the devil (Mt 6:13; 1Co 10:13; 2Pe 2:9), but our spirit is now joined to the Holy Spirit and can draw on His power. In this way our spirit is able to rule over our flesh and refuse temptation and so walk in freedom and blessing (Ro 8:5, 6).
Having been miraculously transformed inwardly, disciples are now able to understand and obey the commands of Christ. In this way they are conformed into His image until they become like Him in character and minister in the same power as He.
C) Is continually seeking to let God use them to reach others.
Most people come to God to get help in their personal or spiritual needs (I need Gods help)
But in time self-centeredness gives way to compassion for others.
When I start serving others, I discover the gifts God has given me. (John Bevere: seeds, Ps 92:13). In time I develop focused ministry.
A disciples passion is to help people come to Jesus. Each does this in the unique way God has fashioned him or her.
Serving Him is not an option, for our greatest desire is to please Him, not to seek our own glory or pleasure.
1) Can you confidently say these three marks of a disciple are true of you? Remember none of us claims to be perfect or have become all we need to be. But do you see these at work in your life?
2) Have you discovered some of the ways God has gifted you to serve others? If so, name one and give an example of how God has used you in this way.