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DNA - Discples and Discipleship

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Faithful to being the kind of church that glorifies God and makes an impact on the community
Purpose Statement - We exist to reflect the nature and character of God to the world.
Mission Statement - Make disciples who make disciples in every nation and neighborhood until all have heard and seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Vision Statement - We see a multicultural, multiethnic people that take risks to live out what it means to love God and love others.

Introduction:

The purpose is what we’re called to be the mission is what we’re called to do and the vision is what we believe we will look like if we’re faithful to be and do what we’ve been called to be and do.
If the great co-mission that Jesus started is to make disciples we must begin with a clear definition of what a disciple is, what discipleship means, and how we plan to do that

Scripture: Matthew 4

After Jesus is baptized, He’s led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he’s tested by the tempter (devil) for 40 days with no food
Jesus then moves to Capernaum to begin His ministry
Matthew tells us that he began to preach, what were his sermons about?
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
Repent of what?
Israel clogged the flow of blessing to all families of the earth (YHWH promised Abraham)
How? By assuming YHWH only cared about Israel’s national security; by believing that YHWH was mostly concerned with outward adherence to the law
Jesus demolished their false preconceptions about YHWH and revealed to them (and us) that the greatest enemy is not a human army, but the greatest enemy is the host of spiritual beings in rebellion against YHWH and His reign in the cosmos.
The Sermon on the Mount is all about repentance from believing YHWH is only interested in a dull adherence to the law; in order to be the humans we were designed and created and called to be, we must be transformed at the heart level (motivations, wider world view, perspectives, dependence) radical change must happen
What does the next phrase “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” mean?
Jesus is announcing that the Rule of YHWH is breaking onto the scene on earth and His way will be on earth as it is in heaven
What would it look like if YHWH were to take His world back over? It would look like the Sermon on the Mount; it would look like the “blessed” person in the beatitudes.
Okay, so what does Jesus do in order to put God’s missions project back on track?
Matthew 4:19–22 ESV
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Matthew 4:19-22
He calls a small group of fisherman to follow Him
Then, He gathers a group of diseased, afflicted, sick, demon oppressed, and paralyzed people of Galilee and Syria
And then what does he do?
He begins to proclaim the “Gospel of the Kingdom” to them
After he teaches them, what does he do? He heals, he performs miracles, he calls more highly unlikely followers (Matthew), he deals with doubters and haters, he teaches some more, then he empowers and sends out those followers.
When we look at the life of Jesus in the BIG PICTURE He’s really repeating a lot of what we just saw.
So from that, I think we can confidently say what a disciple is and what a disciple is not:

What a disciple is not:

A disciple is not a super Christian; they don’t have it altogether (insert any disciple’s name)
A disciple is not someone who never fails (Peter)
A disciple can be a person who knows very little (initially) about Jesus, the Bible, or the Church
Certain camps of Christianity have made a distinction between Christians (to simply be the ones who have enough faith to believe Jesus is the only way to the Father) but disciples are like the college students (they really want to read books, become pastors and teachers and missionaries, etc) but that is a distinction that Jesus and the Apostles never made
Are we teaching LORDSHIP salvation? I prefer to call it Christianity.
Did Jesus say these things to Israel and then because the majority rejected Him, He decided to change His mind?
Where do we think Peter, James, John, and Paul received their teaching?
Let’s be very clear,

“A disciple is someone that is following Jesus, being transformed by the Spirit, and is committed to the mission of the Father.”

We get this from Jesus own call, “Follow me, I will make you, fishers of men.”

Follow Me - A disciple is someone who is following Jesus (Head)

Not everyone literally began to follow Jesus around, like his group of 12
So many stagnant Christians
What all of them did have to do was respond to the invitation of Jesus
Too many know the right answers, but are not submitting to the transformational work of the Spirit and certainly aren’t committed to the mission of the Father
Everyone wants to be a part of something BIGGER
The invitation to accept His authority and his truth
To follow a Rabbi meant to agree with his teachings - including who He claimed to be
You’re all committed to something, what is it? Is it the Father’s mission or a mission of your own choosing?
You find that in your career,
A follower of Jesus is one who sees Jesus as LORD, leader, and master of all of life
John 12:26 ESV
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
A follower of Jesus is someone who understands that Jesus calls us to accept His free gift, but recognizes that following Jesus is connected to the dreaded “O” word
John 14:23–24 ESV
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
You cannot say you LOVE Jesus and disobey Jesus, that’s called lying
A follower of Jesus is an imperfect follower of Jesus; one who is struggling to see Jesus as more than just an encouraging friend and cheerleader. Jesus is LORD
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
But the wonderful thing about this is, Jesus is not like any other King or leader. If we must be led by someone, we want it to be Jesus

I Will Make You - A disciple is someone who is being transformed by the Spirit (Heart)

Jesus doesn’t just tell Simon Peter and Andrew to follow Him, He tells them HE is going to make them into something
In order for this to happen, we must humbly acknowledge that we are incomplete and require real, radical change
Read through the Gospels, was this a one time thing? No it was continual. Peter is a great example. Even the Apostle Paul called out Peter for being out of step with the Gospel because He wouldn’t eat with Gentiles while the Jews were in town.
Romans 8:29 ESV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
2 Corinthians 3:17–18 ESV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
A disciple is again NOT someone who has already gone through the transformation, but one who is being transformed
Jesus calls us and then by the grace-filled work of the Spirit, He unmakes us and then remakes us again
John 15:1–2 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
What will that look like? Sermon on the Mount, Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The Spirit of GOD works through the WORD and the PEOPLE of God to bring forth this transformation
Ephesians 3:14–18 ESV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
We’ll learn this later, but GOD loves to involve others, so we learn that

Fishers of Men - A disciple is someone who is committed to the mission of the Father (Hands)

Discipleship begins in the head, extends to the heart, and leads to a change of what we do with our hands.
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
What were Simon Peter and Andrew? They were fisherman.
Jesus took what they were familiar with and He repurposed it. Now they were going to become fishers of men.
A fisherman’s career was much like yours and their pursuits were much like yours
Jesus wants to change that. Jesus does call some to vocational ministry, but not most
Most people will be disciple-makers through their jobs, with their neighbors, and places you play
Money, fame, power, prestige don’t taste the same when you’re feasting on the WORD
As He’s changing you, you become more aware of the needs of the world around you
2 Corinthians 5:15–20 ESV
and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:
Who was that written to? Pastors? Missionaries? Nope. The people in the chairs.
Disciples know that they have been rescued by Jesus for a greater mission
We are going to spend next week discussing spiritual gifts and how we can use those for serving the Church and others
When we look at the definition this way, we recognize that we’re not talking about making converts or reaching people. The mission is making disciples. How else will we be faithful to
Colossians 1:28 ESV
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

If we want to make disciples, where do we start?

We have a lot more to say and learn about discipleship, but I want to end with a word of encouragement
A Disciple is one that is following Jesus, being changed by His Spirit, and is committed to the mission of the Father.

We begin with a commitment to a long and messy process for ourselves and for those we disciple

How many have ever been frustrated by how slowly you’re progressing in holiness? So our maturing will be long and messy.
What happened to the original twelve disciples that Jesus called to be a part of His launch team?
The same will be true of what Redemption Church will look like 1, 5, 10 years from now. Slow and messy.
We know they spent three years traveling with Jesus, being taught, rebuked, seeing the miracles, performing miracles and we even know that one of the disciples (Judas) completely walked away from Jesus and even betrayed Jesus
Why messy? Because discipleship happens in relational environment. You can’t say you love others and avoid every possible human interaction except for the one’s you’re totally confident in that you won’t experience conflict.
One interesting passage to consider to see where all of that led them is one we’ve read and will continue to keep reading:

Then it requires an honest and in depth assessment of a disciple’s phase of Spiritual Growth

Matt 28:16
Matthew 28:16 ESV
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
Before Jesus died, He told them to meet him at this mountain (presumably the same place where the Sermon on the Mount was preached) in Galilee
David taught about judging others when he taught the famous “Get the beam out of your eye before you reach get the sliver out of your brother or sister’s eye.”
Assessing others to gain an understanding of where a person is at in their discipleship journey is the loving thing to do if it is motivated by love and practiced with grace.
Later in the series we’ll learn HOW to assess where a person is at, just like Jesus and the biblical writers were able to assess others, but for today let’s learn what those stages are.
Think - the place where His ministry began is the same place the disciple’s ministry will begin
Every one of us is at one of these five stages
Jesus shows up like He said He would and what happens?

Spiritually Dead

Matthew 28:17 ESV
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
Ephesians 2:1–5 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Characterized by unbelief
What should we expect from a physically dead person?
This should help us understand what to expect from a spiritually dead person
Spiritually dead people NEED love through honest relationships and friendships with believers
They NEED to be introduced to Jesus and the Good News of Jesus through our conversations and our lives
They worshiped him

Spiritual Infants

1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
This is very specific language (doesn’t mean a ton to us, but for a Jew this meant only one thing) JESUS IS WORTHY to be worshiped because, JESUS IS GOD in the flesh
Characterized by little understanding of Christian orthodoxy
They believe and have made a profession of faith, but also tend to fuse worldly philosophy and even other religious with Christian doctrine
Again, not too much should be expected of a baby Christian, but some Christians have been in the Church for a long time and are still Biblically illiterate
Hebrews 5:12–14 ESV
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
We should expect baby Christians to be messy and in need of significant amounts of attention
Spiritual infants NEED someone to feed them and care for them so they can flourish as they’re growing in their understanding of Jesus
They NEED a guided example and protection
They NEED to develop good habits of spiritual disciplines
They NEED to have a safe place to ask questions and wrestle with doctrine
They NEED to see how to practice what they’re learning
It took these disciples years before pure worship was their response to Jesus

Spiritual Children

AND, not all of them fell on their face, Matthew tells us that some doubted (they were hesitant)
1 Corinthians 14:20 ESV
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
1 Thessalonians 2:10–12 ESV
You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Categorized by an increase in Christian terminology and “knowing what to do”
They’re able to join in on Spiritual conversations, but much of their life still revolves around themselves
They desire to grow and apply God’s Word to their lives, but struggle with the discipline to do so
This phase classifies (in my opinion) the majority of our church
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fairly new Christian or you’ve been one for 50 years
The real question is not, “How long have you been a Christian?” Or “How much do you know about the Bible?” The real question is, “How have you seen the Holy Spirit bring about change and development into the likeness of Christ?”

Spiritual Young Adults

The same level of discipleship was given to the disciples, but each one responded a little differently, and guess what, Jesus did not make a fuss
1 John 2:12–15 ESV
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Don’t be discouraged about where you’re at in your journey, just keep moving to the center, and the center is Jesus (I believe, help my unbelief)
Following Jesus led to worshiping Jesus

Spiritual Parents

2 Timothy 2:1–2 ESV
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
1 Timothy 2:1–2 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Matthew 28:18–19 ESV
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,
What happened to them as they spent those three years submitting (not perfectly) to the work of Jesus changing them?
It led them to just begin to understand what their new identity was
Being transformed by the Spirit will deepen the reality that we are being made into who we are
When a baby enters into a family, the family will spend the next 18 years trying to instill the values that guide that family so that when the baby is being released from the home, they will know who they are.
Baptism is the outward expression of an inward transformation. What is that transformation?
It’s a transformation of identity.
The Name of the Father - immersed into our new identity as SONS of the Father
The Name of the Son - immersed into our new identity as SERVANTS with the Son
The Name of the Spirit - immersed into our new identity as Missionaries by the Spirit
That’s what we’ve been given at the moment of our new birth and it is outwardly expressed in our baptism
The rest of our lives the Holy Spirit is making us into what we already are as SONS, Servants, and Missionaries
Submitting to the transforming work of Jesus led them to a brand new identity
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
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.”
And lastly, what did the “Fishers of men” statement of Jesus turn in to?
It led them to now see that their entire lives were now about the mission that Jesus put back on track. The mission of reconciling men and women back to their Creator.
He says, “Make disciples - which means, baptize them and teach them to obey the same commands I commanded you.”
That’s the mission. It has NOT and will not change until the return of Christ.
It is for YOU. You are to follow Jesus, submit to being transformed by the Spirit, and commit to the mission of the Father.
All that we do should fit within that mission.
As we come to HIS table, I want to exhort you to search out your own heart and lives and ask, “Am I committed to His mission or a modified version of it that fits with my lifestyle?”
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