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Growing in Your Faith

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Growing in Your Faith

Matthew 28:19–20 KJV 1900
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We as a church exist to make a difference in our community, proclaiming the Gospel by:
We as a church exist to make a difference in our community, proclaiming the Gospel by:
· Worshiping the Lord
· Praying Corporately
· Growing in Grace
· Reaching Our Community
Giving of Our Resources
"The Marks of a Mature Christian"
A Disciple Of Jesus.
As a church we are to make a big deal about teaching people to grow in their faith!
Our services, programs and opportunities should be geared toward learning more about Jesus.
Are you serious are going in your faith?
Reading your Bible for understanding
Praying and getting a hold of God’s promises
teaching others what you have learned
Too many churches have become felt need centers catering to the needs of its members and growth is an after thought.
Some view discipleship and growth and an ever increasing list of forbidden things.
yes there is a change in what we let into our ear gate, eye gate and how we present ourselves.
That can easily transform into legalism and burdensome.
Colossians 2:20–22 KJV 1900
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
col 2.20-22
The other end they consider discipleship and free from all restraints and holiness....
1 Corinthians 8:9 KJV 1900
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
The other end they consider discipleship and free from all restraints and holiness....
Question: "What is Christian discipleship?"
Question: "What is Christian discipleship?"
Answer: By definition, a disciple is a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines and/or teachings of another.
Answer: By definition, a disciple is a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.
A Christian disciple is a person who accepts and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christlike.
This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God.
This requires that we be in the Word daily—studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us () and to disciple others to walk in His way. According to Scripture, being a Christian disciple involves personal growth characterized by the following:
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We are to be teachable people that are not just learners but followers of Christ!
Illustration of mature- a 40 year old father ; different than 17 year old teen ager – spends time different; spends money different; goes to different places; different friends etc….
Mature Definition - fully developed in body or mind, as a person:
With a man a while back and he was told his diet was killing him! He did not care he would never eat vegetables or salad! Not teachable….
Some are not teachable!
With a man a while back and he was told his diet was killing him! He did not care he would never eat vegetables or salad! Not teachable….
Teachableness
A quality in those who desire to learn, present in the disciples of Jesus Christ and seen in Christ’s relationship to his Father. Unwillingness to receive the truth leads to spiritual darkness.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Illustration of followers – someone that hears then followers on what they have heard!
ISIS – they follow up and act on what they have been taught.
Are you a disciple of Christ?
Not just a hearer but a follower?
Jesus' command...
a. "Go therefore and teach of all the nations..."
b. To "make disciples," therefore, is the GOAL of evangelizing the world for Christ
Are you a disciple of Jesus?
More than likely you believe in Jesus...
You might even be one to attend church services regularly
-- But is that what it means to be His disciple?
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Notice the first disciples followed
The term is applied to Christians in general, not to the Twelve only. It emphasizes the importance of Jesus Christ’s followers learning from Christ as their teacher[1]
THE WORD "DISCIPLE"...
The word "disciple" literally means A LEARNER
2. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New Testamen Words, it denotes "one who follows another's teaching"
3. But a disciple was not only a learner, he was also AN ADHERENT
4. For this reason disciples were spoken of as IMITATORS of their teachers.
Many can be learners but not adherent!
THE GOAL IN BEING A DISCIPLE...
Stated by Jesus himself: to be like the teacher -
Luke 6:40 KJV 1900
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Illustration – son want to be like his dad….
To be Christ's disciple, then, is to strive to be like Him!
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him?
Unless you do, it cannot be said that you are truly His disciple!
There are also some "identifying marks" of discipleship given by Jesus which can help us to further identify a true disciple of Jesus...]
Illustration – identifying marks show what family you are in….
Lincoln Welsch – he has indentifying marks showing who he belongs to!
II. THE MARKS OF A DISCIPLE Making Church
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
I owe a significant debt to men and churches who, over the years, became my spiritual fathers and families.
Today I am a pastor and long for my church to grow in this kind of intentional disciple-making.
Discipleship at its core is the process of growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
That sounds simple. But what does it actually look like? And how do pastors lead their churches in discipleship? A good place to begin is Jesus' last words to his disciples: “go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . and teaching them” (). Three contours of discipleship culture emerge from this passage.
I owe a significant debt to four men and three churches who, over the years, became my spiritual fathers and families. These wonderful people walked alongside me through troubling and joyful times. They prayed with me, mentored me, and laughed with me. They celebrated my victories and wept with me when my dad unexpectedly died. They counseled me when I began to explore pastoral ministry and spoke the Word to me when I became discouraged. They reminded me not to take myself too seriously, and they lovingly pointed out sin in my life. God only knows where I'd be and who I'd be without his grace working through them.
Today I am a pastor and long for my church to grow in this kind of intentional disciple-making. Discipleship at its core is the process of growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. That sounds simple. But what does it actually look like? And how do pastors lead their churches in discipleship? A good place to begin is Jesus' last words to his disciples: “go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . and teaching them” (). Three contours of discipleship culture emerge from this passage.

1. Disciple-making is an intentional process of evangelizing non-believers, establishing believers in the faith, and equipping leaders. 
Matthew 28:19–20 KJV 1900
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
matt
“Make disciples” implies intentionality and process. Disciple-making doesn't just happen because a church exists and people show up.
“Make disciples” implies intentionality and process. Disciple-making doesn't just happen because a church exists and people show up. It is a deliberate process. Considering the modifying participles of “going . . . baptizing . . . teaching” help us recognize this process. It must include evangelizing (going to new people and new places), establishing (baptizing new believers and teaching obedience), and equipping (teaching believers to also make disciples). How does your church evangelize, establish, and equip?
It is a deliberate process. Considering the modifying participles of “going . . . baptizing . . . teaching” help us recognize this process.
It must include evangelizing (going to new people and new places), establishing (baptizing new believers and teaching obedience), and equipping (teaching believers to also make disciples). How does our church evangelize, establish, and equip?
Evangelizing - revivals, VBS, visits, race etc....
Establishing - bringing those that are saved into church membership - starts with baptism
Equipping - Small groups, teaching Answers SS etc...
2. Disciple-making happens in the context of a local church. 
1 Timothy 3:14–15 KJV 1900
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 tim 3.
It's a community project, not just a personal pursuit.
It's a community project, not just a personal pursuit. And that community must be the local church, because Jesus has given her unique authority to preach the gospel, baptize believers into faith and church membership, and teach obedience to Jesus. Disciple-making doesn't just happen in coffee shops and living rooms. It also happens in the sanctuary where the Word is sung, prayed, read, preached, and displayed through communion and baptism. Jesus didn't have in mind maverick disciple-makers; he had in mind a community of believers who, together and under the authority of the local church, seek to transfer the faith to the next generation. Does your church view disciple-making within the context of the church, or only as a solo endeavor?
And that community must be the local church, because Jesus has given the church authority to preach the gospel, baptize believers into faith and church membership, and teach obedience to Jesus.
Disciple-making doesn't just happen in coffee shops and living rooms. It also happens in the sanctuary where the Word is sung, prayed, read, preached, and displayed through communion and baptism.
Someone recently said since I have been coming to WCBC i have really grown.
Jesus didn't have in mind maverick disciple-makers; he had in mind a community of believers who, together and under the authority of the local church, seek to transfer the faith to the next generation.
Teaching and learning basic doctrines :
Word of God
Man
God Holy Spirit
Jesus
salvation
Heaven/hell
Church
Angles
Future
Prayer
3. Disciple-making is Word-centered, people-to-people ministry. 
1 Thessalonians 2:8 KJV 1900
8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
When Jesus said “make disciples” we cannot help but remember how he made disciples: three years of teaching twelve men on the dusty road.
When Jesus said “make disciples” we cannot help but remember how he made disciples: three years of teaching twelve men on the dusty road. Disciple-making, then, is the Word of God shaping men and women within life-on-life relationships. It's demonstrated in Paul's relationship with the Thessalonian church: “being so affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (). This is gospel-driven, Word-saturated, intentional one-anothering. It is men and women regularly teaching one another to obey what Jesus commanded. And it goes well beyond watching football and having inside jokes with Christian friends. How would you evaluate your church's Word-centered people-to-people ministry?
Disciple-making, then, is the Word of God shaping men and women within life-on-life relationships.
People don't come to church to get involved but they don't stay if they aren't involved.
It's demonstrated in Paul's relationship with the Thessalonian church: “being so affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” ().
This is gospel-driven, Word-saturated, intentional one-gathering. It is men and women regularly teaching one another to obey what Jesus commanded.

II Creating a Culture of Discipleship

1. Preach disciple-making sermons. 
2 Timothy 4:2 KJV 1900
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
1. Preach disciple-making sermons. 
1. Preach disciple-making sermons. 
Pastors are not called to preach convert-making sermons or scholar-making sermons. They are called to preach disciple-making sermons. This means that they must craft sermons that will evangelize, establish, and equip. This means that they are teachers, pleaders, and coaches from behind the pulpit. Sermons also disciple through modeling careful exegesis, keen application, and prayerful responses to the passage. After we preach, congregants should understand and feel the text at such a level that they long to be more obedient disciples.
2. Disciple-making worship services.
Every church worship service leads the people somewhere or disciples the people toward something.
The question is where. The non-sermon elements of a worship service—songs, prayers, scripture reading, testimonies, and tone—contribute to the formative discipling of our congregation.
Does our worship service lead people in thanksgiving for God's gifts and goodness?
Does it disciple people in confession and repentance?
Does your service lead people in celebrating our future hope?
3. Sunday School is the Foundation to our disciple-making strategy. 
We've heard it before, but let me say it again: Jesus and Paul ask their disciples to invest in a few who will in turn invest in others (; ). Pastors, choose a few men you can pour your life into and intentionally disciple for a period of time. Create a simple but effective format to accomplish this task. For example, meet with a few men twice a month to discuss sections of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, confess sin, and pray for one another. Keep it relational. At the end of your time together, ask each man to choose a few men with whom he can do the same. The benefits are manifold. You are obeying Jesus' disciple-making command, you are cultivating a disciple-making culture through strategic multiplication, and you are investing in those who may become your future elders.
4. Make small group Bible studies central to your disciple-making strategy. 
Many churches offer small groups like a side item at the buffet, but few offer it as a main course.
AIG - apologetic survey of the bible.
Systematic teaching of God’s word
While Sunday school and other teaching venues certainly disciple people, small group Bible studies are unique in that they achieve multiple discipleship goals. After your corporate worship gathering, consider making small groups ministry your next priority. This means identifying and training mature leaders to shepherd and disciple their members. It also means providing a clear vision for your small groups ministry. For example, our church asks our groups to commit to three disciple-making values: Bible, community, and mission.
5. Raise the bar of church membership. 
Unfortunately many Christians don't realize that joining a church is a vital step of discipleship.
When you join a church, you are not joining a social club; you are publicly declaring your faith in Jesus and joining yourself to a group of Christians in life and mission.
In view of this, pastors should view membership as discipleship and accordingly bolster their membership process and expectations.
Instead of making it easy to join your church, make the process more involved. Ensure membership actually means something for members. What unique privileges, roles, and responsibilities do members have in your church?
Are your members actually joined together in Word-centered people-to-people ministry, as they promised when they became members?
What am I asking you ?
How are you helping make our church a disciple making church?
Like church membership, discipline is neglected by some churches. Much like encouragement and affirmation are key components of disciple-making, so too are exhortation, confrontation, and if necessary more elevated measures of corrective discipline. God uses all of the above to make disciples and protect disciples within local churches.
7.
Let me recommend four books for your disciple-making arsenal. The Trellis and the Vine by Tony Payne and Colin Marshall outlines a practical vision for disciple-making. One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm will equip you with the motivation and tools to read the Bible regularly with others. Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman is the best lay-level book on the subject I've read and will help you understand how membership rightly practiced is discipleship. And The Shepherd Leader by Timothy Witmer calls elders to lead the way in disciple-making.
Growing a disciple-making culture at your church might sound daunting. It's hard enough to make disciples within a small group Bible study, but a church with all its complexities, systems, and baggage? Yikes. Here's a piece of advice: start small, keep it simple, and focus on areas where a little investment will go a long way. For example, you may want to invest in a few who will do the same with others. Start with your elders. Or perhaps you want to focus on ramping up your small groups ministry. Start by training your current and new leaders around key biblical values that encapsulate discipleship.
Whatever you decide to do, may you find tremendous energy and courage to make disciples from the bookends of the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me . . . and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Continue – abide, stay, wait
Illustration of leaving OR DEFECTING –
Football Wolfson High school 1977 – 90 tried out for the team!
Only 45 would make the squad
2 practices a day in late august with 100 heat and humidity would find many would walk away!
A disciple continue in the word!
This would imply being a diligent student of the teachings of Christ
It also requires one to be a "doer" of the Word –
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
A DISCIPLE IS ALSO "ONE WHO LOVES THE BRETHREN" -
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Illustration -
With a love patterned after the love of Jesus ("as I have loved you")
With a love that is visible to the world ("by this all will know")
Therefore, a true disciple would...
Make every effort to get to know his brethren
Take advantage of occasions to encourage and grow closer to them (e.g., attending services on Sunday and Wednesday nights)
Key - Remember, a disciple is one who wants to become like his teacher
Was Jesus willing to sacrifice time and effort for His brethren?
Of course, and so will we... IF we are truly HIS disciples!
A DISCIPLE IS "ONE WHO BEARS MUCH FRUIT" –
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Notice the word "much" (also found in verse 5)
Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed
But a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God!
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is so important,
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
[The point should be clear: to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means more that just a casual church member. It requires COMMITMENT, especially in regards to:
The teachings of Christ
The love of brethren
Bearing fruit to the glory of God
III. THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
JESUS MUST COME FIRST -
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Even before one's own self -
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
WE MUST BE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST –
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Trying to live godly lives in an ungodly world, we may find that following Christ sometimes involves ridicule and persecution –
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Even if we are blessed to escape such things, we must still be willing to expend time and effort in promoting the cause of Christ in positive ways
Summary
"The Marks of a Mature Christian"
A Disciple Of Jesus.
I Disciple - "one who follows another's teaching" - A Follower of Christ
II. THE MARKS OF A DISCIPLE
· A DISCIPLE IS "ONE WHO ABIDES IN JESUS' WORDS
· A DISCIPLE IS ALSO "ONE WHO LOVES THE BRETHREN"
· A DISCIPLE IS "ONE WHO BEARS MUCH FRUIT
III. THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE
· JESUS MUST COME FIRST
MUST BE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR C
[1] Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
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