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Kingdom Focus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Most of us are familiar with what we call The Great Commission.
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The only command in that passage is the command to “make disciples.
The verbs “go”, “baptizing”, and “teaching” are all participles that tell us how the command is to be complied with.
In other words, we could paraphrase the great commission by saying “make disciples, by going, baptizing, and teaching”.
One definition I read for the word discipleship is “The process of becoming a committed follower of Jesus Christ, with all the spiritual discipline and benefits which this brings.
The sense of the word tells
Given the great commission, it is clear that one of the five biblical functions of the church is to engage in that process of discipleship
A disciple’s journey begins the moment they are born again.
I found a story this week that saw for the first time probably 10 or so years ago.
The question we must
Imagine a large shoe manufacturing plant is built in your town.
The owners and managers have invested to insure that the plant has everything it needs.
Workers are brought in and given all the supplies, equipment, and tools they need to produce shoes.
One day the president of the company asks the production manager how many pairs of shoes have been produced. The manager says “none”.
The President asks “how long have we been in business?” Two years the manager replies.
Two years! and still no shoes?
That’s right, but everyone is really busy.
In fact we are so busy, it’s hard to find people and time to do anything else.
I don’t know how long we can work at this pace.
Clearly that would be cause for great concern, and the owners and managers would make it a priority to identify the problems and fix them so they can start producing shoes.
Now put a cross or steeple on the building.
There is a lot of activity.
We have been equipped with everything we need.
People are busy.
How do we fare when our owner comes back and asks “how many disciples have been produced?”
This morning I want to talk about discipleship and try to answer three questions
I believe that it is our responsibility
Regardless of the age you were when you placed your faith and trust in Christ and were saved
You became a spiritual baby on that day
How do we make disciples?
We would consider it a crime for someone to have a baby
Who’s responsibility is it?
Lay a few bottles of formula, a pack of diapers, and a onezee next to the newborn
Am I willing to engage?
Maybe give it a hug or shake it’s hand

How do we make disciples?

A pack of diapers
Say welcome to the family, good luck
Luke 9:23 ESV
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
And a onezee next to the newborn
This verse tells us much about the process of discipleship
And walk away
What we have to understand first is that an intentional, individual decision must be made
Yet that is what happens time and time again to new believers
The word we render come in this verse means to proceed on a course with a destination or goal
They pray a prayer
We are not wandering this world aimlessly
Maybe get baptized
We are waking up every day and making decisions in pursuit of something
We welcome them to the family, and walk away
What we need to decide first, is what are our individual and collective goals
Our goals and priorities are often determined by what we value
An investment banker who’s top priority is making money, is going to live a life centered around money
What we
That what he will spend his time thinking about
That’s what he will invest his energy in
His happiness and sense of satisfaction will be full when he makes money
A world class athlete will spend their time, talents, and resources training and competing.
A disciple and disciple-maker will think about making disciples
He or she will invest time and energy training and engaging in the process
The person who values discipleship will not be satisfied unless they are making disciples
We have to decide what our goals and priorities will be
Once we have decided what our goals and priorities are going to be, we have to decide how we are going to achieve them
If we are going to be committed followers of Christ, we have to follow Christ
Jesus says
We have to come after Him
That means we get behind Him and trust His leadership and follow Him as closely as possible
The word used here means more than just following however
It is a word that requires full submission and commitment
It is a voluntary commitment, and is based solely on the choice we make
It is a reciprocal commitment
That means that we are making a commitment to Him, but He is also making a commitment to us
His commitment to us is that by following Him we will be fishers of men and do great things in His name
He will be with us, to lead us in everything we do
He will equip us with everything we need to do everything He requires of us
We will experience the Kingdom of God
We will not become, nor will we lead others to become committed followers of Christ, if our goals and priorities are not focused on Him and His Kingdom
We are not called to come after what our culture or the world says is important, we are called to come after Jesus
We are not called to come after money, possessions, career success, fun, or even happiness; we are called to come after Jesus
When we make that commitment and put it into practice, we will experience true joy
We will also become an example for others
Paul said in “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”
Why should I imitate you Paul?
Because of who I am imitating; our Lord Jesus Christ
In Him great things can happen in your life, and in the lives of those you influence

Who’s Responsibility is It?

Discipleship is a mutual responsibility
Our Lord Jesus Christ must do His part
We must do our Part
Christ has done His part
Our Lord Jesus Christ stepped down from heaven
Clothed Himself in human flesh
Lived a life in this world worthy of following
Then died as a once for all sacrifice for our sins
What more can we ask of someone than His life
He continues to do His part,
acting as our mediator with our Heavenly Father
and indwelling us with His Spirit
So that we might know His will
and be equipped to accomplish that will
We must do our part
The best way for a person to demonstrate that our desire is to come after Jesus, is to deny ourselves
The word deny here should be understood to mean that we refuse to pay attention to ourselves, and disregard our own will
What is important to Him is what matters
What He wants for us and from us is what matters and drives our decisions
Once we have decided that we are going make Him and His will more important than our own, we have to act
That means we take up our cross
One commentator said that the meaning of this statement was “to put your head on the chopping block”
It is a figure of speech that conveys the idea that a total commitment is what is required to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ
It is a picture of the person who knows they are going to be crucified
The custom, just as we see in the execution of Jesus, was required to carry their own cross bar to the place of execution
The idea here is
Even though it may be hard
Even though it may cost us something
Even though our human will and desires may want us to go in another direction
We accept and willingly act on His desires
We do it in the same way that Jesus took up His cross, because it was the will of His Father.
Jesus takes this command one step farther in saying that we do not just take up our cross once; we do it every day.
Charles Stanley said this about the idea of taking up our cross daily
In the back of your mind, when you hear the words deny and cross, you usually think of suffering. You might even get the vague idea that yielding to God’s will for your life is going to mean always walking a hard road or giving up everything you ever hoped for in favor of a foreign plan.
In the back of your mind, when you hear the words deny and cross, you usually think of suffering. You might even get the vague idea that yielding to God’s will for your life is going to mean always walking a hard road or giving up everything you ever hoped for in favor of a foreign plan.
Denying yourself doesn’t mean eating only bread and water or not letting yourself have good things. Jesus was talking about submission, the act of saying to the Lord that He is in charge, that Christ is your Master and Savior and is free to use your life any way He pleases.
“Taking up your cross daily” is the step-by-step process of acting out that commitment and affirming it each day as you make decisions.
The responsibility for discipleship rests with Jesus and with us
We can be certain that He has, is, and will continue to do His part
Our choice is to wake up every day and make and act on the commitment to do our part

Are we willing to engage

Luke 9:24–25 ESV
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
We have to ask ourselves if we want to come after Christ, and willing to do what it takes to do so
Are we willing to give up our lives to follow Him?
Are we willing to change our priorities in pursuit of the our culture and the world, in order to be disciples of Christ?
Those are difficult choices to make, and should not be made lightly.
In , after talking about the cost of discipleship, Jesus says
Luke 14:28 ESV
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Stanley, Charles F. On Holy Ground. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999. Print.
Luke 14
In evaluating the personal cost to follow Jesus and His desire and will for us, we have to think about what it means we may have to give up and sacrifice
For many of those we read about in the New Testament, and many since, it meant paying a heavy price
In some cases they gave up careers and businesses
In some cases it meant giving up homes, family, and friends
For some it meant giving up possessions and property
For some it meant giving their lives
Many have been killed and continue to die for their faith
All of the apostles, with the exception of John, were executed because of their commitment to Christ
Even John however suffered greatly as a result of His discipleship
Most of us will probably never have to sacrifice in the same way the apostles and Christians in other part of the world must
For most of us, the greatest sacrifice we will be required to make is out time, talents, and resources
Though I have given up nothing in comparison to what many others have given, I do think I understand sacrifice
I used to make a lot of money
Thirty years ago I envisioned a much different future in this world than I have today
I gave that up to follow Him and His will
I do not regret it, nor do I desire to go back
A cost-benefit analysis does not focus only on the cost
What are the benefits of being a committed follower Christ?
Any cost-benefit analysis must
The greatest benefit is forgiveness of sin and eternal life
But there are daily benefits as well
We have His guidance
His provision
His protection
His comfort
His help when we face difficulty and hardship
The active presence of God in our lives


A Kingdom focused church, is a church that is committed to discipleship.
It is a group of people who are committed followers of Christ, and committed to helping others become committed followers.
In his book “The Kingdom Focused Church” Gene Mims said “Discipling is the process of teaching the new citizens in the kingdom of God to love, trust, and obey Him; and teach them how to win and train others.”
I agree completely with that definition, but take it a step farther.
As Jesus said, discipleship is a daily commitment.
It is commitment that we must make individually and collectively.
It is a commitment that does not take holidays or time off.
No matter where we are, or what our schedules look like, we are called to be disciples and disciple-makers.
When a person accepts Christ, He or she is a baby disciple.
Just like any baby, they require special care, special food, and treatment.
As that baby grows into a toddler, their diet changes and the type of care they need changes.
As they continue to grow, they are able to do more for themselves, and are able to make more decisions on their own.
But if you are a parent, you know that even when your child becomes an adult, they still need guidance, encouragement, and sometimes direction.
My daughter will be thirty in October, and she still needs her mom and dad from time to time.
For many years I have taught a new believers study that I was taken through when I became a new Christian.
It is the spiritual formula that is intended to provide a foundation for an infant to grow into a toddler.
When I introduce that study, I tell the story of my experience with buffet restaurants.
When my daughter was a baby, she could not eat off the buffet, we had to give her special food.
At some point she was able to sit in a highchair and begin eating certain foods off the buffet, but they had to be chopped up and prepared to that she would not choke.
As she grew, she was able to walk up to the buffet with us, but her mother or I would have to make her plate.
Soon she was able to make her own plate, but we would have to make sure she ate properly.
At some point she was able to go up and and make her own plate, and knew what a proper meal looked like.
That is the principle we must have in place as a church if we are going to make disciples who become disciple makers.
Individually and collectively we must commit to “growing in a relationship with Christ, so we can help others come into, and grow in a relationship with Christ.”
Before a person can grow, they must be born.
If you do not have a relationship with Christ, that is the first step you must take.
Come this morning and place your faith and trust in the person who gave His life for you.
He did so because He loves you and that was the only way it would be possible for any of us to have a relationship with Him.
Jesus Christ came into this world, died for you, was buried, and raised from the dead.
He is alive today in heaven and has a place for you. His Spirit is the one who is speaking to you right now.
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