One thing: Make Disciples
Throughout His life, Jesus consistently and intentionally invested in a relatively small amount of men who He entrusted to continue His legacy and build His Church. It is our desire to follow this example of intentional spiritual investment for the building up of God’s people to maturity.
Something To Talk About:
- Jesus made disciples who made disciples: Since Jesus gave us this command to “make disciples” and since disciples are followers of Jesus, it makes sense to consider “how did Jesus himself go about making disciples” and follow His model in our attempt to make followers of Him. Essentially, Jesus lived life with a group of men and taught them all the time, not simply in formal classroom settings but also in how He modeled life for them in their day-to-day interactions. He shared ministry with His disciples, empowering them to minister alongside Him. He focused on going really deep with a smaller group (of 12) and especially with an even smaller group (of 3) in particular to really pour. Jesus didn’t simply seek for His disciples to increase in knowledge but He also sought for His disciples to live transformed lives of love and submission to God. And ultimately, Jesus made disciples who multiplied. Jesus’ followers multiplied from several dozen men and women meeting in a room after His death to a global movement spanning 2000 years and millions of people.
- Paul was a disciple who made disciples: The Apostle Paul always sought to be a part of a team. While working in the team, he built up the other leaders to the point that they could lead their own teams and ministries. Timothy is a prime example of this. When Paul led people to Christ, he always sought to train and equip them so that they could join him in this great calling of making disciples of all nations. Many of the churches that Paul planted ended up planting other churches. One example is this church in Ephesus. This church planted by Paul planted the other 6 churches that the Apostle John wrote to in the book of Revelation. These churches were planted when disciples were made via the proclaiming of the Word of God. “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2). As Christians, we are all commanded to make more disciples. Paul gives us a shining example of discipleship.
- Disciples are ordinary people who are strong in grace and pass on what they know: When we read the accounts of the Apostles, it is easy to think because they spent time with Jesus that they are superheroes. We put them on a pedestal. However, the reality of it was that they were a bunch of average people who spent time with Jesus and it changed their lives. When we really begin to look honestly at some of the people in the Bible and take them down off the stained-glass windows, it becomes obvious that God did extraordinary things through such ordinary, regular people. Disciples are simply ordinary people who use the grace of God to pass on what they know. Our inadequacies are an opportunity for Him to show Himself sufficient. In this, there is grace, a gift that shines in the inadequate, in those who know they need God’s power to succeed and endure. It shines when we pass on what we know to others so the discipleship cycle continues. He moves in—and through—ordinary people. He always has and always will.
- What does discipleship mean to you?
- Discuss Jesus’ method of discipleship. What are some aspects of it?
- Someone says, “Knowing God sounds like a difficult process. Why can’t it be easier?” Your response?
- Why do you think many Christians think of disciple-making as something that church leaders do? How do we elevate the priority of making disciples?
- How would you encourage a Christian who does not feel as if he or she can make disciples? What biblical truths would you remind them of?
- What should motivate our disciple-making efforts? What are some signs that we are motivated by the wrong things?
- Do you believe that God can do great things – impossible things – through the life of an ordinary person? Why or why not?
- What point in this message was most impactful for you? How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take One Thing Home with You:
Why is discipleship important? Discipleship is important because we want people to become fully committed followers of Christ. Discipleship helps believers to grow in their faith, to grow in maturity and wisdom, and build their faith on a strong foundation so that they can then disciple and lead others towards Christ. Discipleship is first, helping people draw closer to Christ. But another element is raising up leaders. Discipleship is meant to pass on the wisdom and leadership of Christ to every person who seeks to follow Him. Christians are not meant to stay stagnant in the body, looking to a few people for guidance and direction, it is instead the whole body that should be active and working together, operating in sound doctrine and using individual gifts. We need to elevate the priority of making disciples.