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Spiritual Gifts and Discipleship

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Vision Moment:

Prayer time
Park Outreach Oct 6th (Signups)

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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 - We make disciples who make disciples in every nation and neighborhood until all have heard and seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Vision Statement - We are a multicultural, multiethnic people that take risks to live out what it means to love God and love others.
Disciple - Someone that is following Jesus, being transformed by His Spirit, and committed to the mission of the Father.

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

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? Our maturing will be long and messy.The same will be true of what Redemption Church will look like 1, 5, 10 years from now. Slow and messy.Why messy? Because discipleship happens in relational environments. It’s hard to say you love others and avoid every possible human interaction except for the one’s you’re that totally confident that you won’t experience conflict.It requires us to be uncomfortable There are three roles The Triune God calls, indwells, and sanctifies the disciple and the disciplerThe Disciple submits and obeys the SpiritThe Discipler provides clear guidance and patient accountability

An honest and in depth assessment of a disciple’s phase of Spiritual Growth

Spiritually Dead
ESVAnd 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 Phrase from the StageI don’t believe in GodThe Bible is a bunch of mythsReligion isn’t my thingChristians are all intolerant homophobesThere are many ways to get to GodI don’t really believe in hellI’m a good personThere are really no absolute right or wrongsI like to consider myself spiritual, but not tied to any one religionExpectationsThis should help us understand what to expect from a spiritually dead personNeedsThey NEED to be introduced to Jesus and the Good News of Jesus through our conversations and our livesSpiritually dead people NEED love through honest relationships and friendships with believers
Spiritual Infants
ESVBut I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
Characterized Little understanding of Christian orthodoxyThey believe and have made a profession of faith through baptism, but they also tend to fuse worldly philosophy and even other religious with Christian doctrinePhrase from the StageI need to go to church regularly? Why?I need to go to the same church? Why? (Churches are like restaurants)I need to pray and read the Bible regularly? Why?I didn’t know the Bible said that?Tithes and offerings? Why?God is everywhere, right? Nature is my churchIt’s just Jesus and me. I really don’t need anyone else. People just get in the way.Trinity? That just sounds confusing? Things are not going well for my marriage. I thought Jesus was supposed to make all that stuff better?ExpectationsAgain, 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 We should expect baby Christians to be messy and in need of significant amounts of attention
ESVFor 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.
NeedsSpiritual infants NEED someone to feed them and care for them so they can flourish as they’re growing in their understanding of JesusThey NEED a guided example and protectionThey NEED to develop good habits of spiritual disciplinesThey NEED to have a safe place to ask questions and wrestle with doctrineThey NEED to see how to practice what they’re learning
Spiritual Children
ESVBrothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
ESVYou 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 conversationsThey desire to grow and apply God’s Word to their livesPhrase from the stageI don’t feel like this church is meeting my needs anymore. I saw one advertised on facebook that looked like it had a lot more to offerThe pastor talked about branching the fellowship groups into to… that would mean we wouldn’t be able to see our friends as muchHow do you plan on keeping this from becoming a mega church?I really don’t like the song choices, lately. Just stick with the good ole hymns.Or, I wish they would sing songs that were more for my generation, then I’d invite my friendsNo one says hi to me anymore. No one calls or spends time with me. The pastors don’t care about me.I wasn’t really fed by that sermon todayWhy don’t they have a singles ministry? This church probably doesn’t care much about singles.I’d join that ministry, but no one has ever asked meExpectationsKid’s say the darnedest thingsThey’re good at the Christianese, but will also say things that come across as judgmental and unlovingThey want to grow, but lack the discipline to develop good habitsAnd yet kids can be surprisingly sweet and other’s-centered while in the next minute heartless and self-centeredStill kids can be very dogmatic about like those in . It was those abstaining from meat and wine that were called the weaker brotherSC can be overconfident, proud, full of themselves, insecure, timid, shy, full of self-loathing and defeatedChildren will serve because it’s expected, but only until it impedes on their personal lifeIt doesn’t matter if you’re a fairly new Christian or you’ve been one for 50 yearsThe 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?”NEEDSStrong relational connection to a mature believer that will challenge them to be Christ-centered and Kingdom-focusedTo be weaned off being fed by others to feeding themselvesTo be taught weightier doctrinesTaught how to have close friendships with other believers and how to deal with unmet expectationsTaught to trust God’s Word regardless of their emotional setbacks
Spiritual Young Adults
ESVI 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.
CategorizedBy making the shift to being God and other’s centeredThey’re beginning to reorient their lives around God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s missionThey’re seeing that God wants them to give to the body of Christ and not just receive from the bodyThey’re actively and intentionally ministering to others - putting other’s needs before their ownThey’re doers of the Word and not hearers onlyThey see the world and knows something should be done about the state she’s inThey are patient with the failings of othersThey volunteer for the jobs no one else wants to doThey thing about ministering to others on their own timePhrase from the StageI was reading this passage and wanted to know more about itHave we ever considered going on a foreign missions trip?I love serving in this ministry. It’s awesome when God’s call on my life begins to take form.I have a few friends I’ve been witnessing to, but if I invite them to my GF it will be too full, do you think we can branch out and start a new one at my house?Jim and Pam missed GF this week, so I just wanted you to know that I called them to let them know we missed them. Their kids have the flu, so I arranged meals for them for the rest of the week.I’ve got some friends who are ready to be baptized, when can we schedule a service?NEEDSThey need an environment where they can be equipped in the areas of deeper theological truth, motivations, and ministryThey need wise and mature leaders who will mentor them through these processesThey need people who are going to encourage them and keep them accountable at a deeper levelThey need help establishing boundariesThey need OJT in dealing with othersThey need help in identifying their giftsThey need help when their hurt
Spiritual Parents
ESVYou 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.
CategorizedThey make disciples, they have spiritual childrenHas a solid understanding of God’s WordA deep, abiding relationship with ChristAnd a desire to be involved in raising up other disciplesThey live out God’s Word in their daily livesThey’re Kingdom-minded and God dependantThey are intentional about building their own, ongoing relationship with Christ and as a result are in relationships for the purpose of discipleshipParents know how to identify where another person is at spiritually speaking and how to get them to the next phase of their spiritual journeyPhrase from the StageWill you pray with me, I think the Spirit is leading me to invest in Sue and help her mature in her faithWill you pray with me, there’s a guy at work who is really open with me about his family struggles, I’ve offered to spend time in the Word with himWe’re baptizing someone from our GF this morning, when is the next Disciple’s Journey Class? We want to make sure he get’s plugged in.Our GF is partnering with a youth mentoring program, please pray we can be salt and light to this next generationI know discipling my family is my first ministry, will you keep me accountable with doing family worship?Will you pray with me? My wife and I are going to the game with another couple and they’re baby Christians… I don’t want do or say anything that will cause them to stumble on their pathway to maturity.We have a YA that is ready to apprentice in our GF, we’re excited to be branching our GF into another one ExpectationsImperfectly following JesusHumbly surrendering to the transforming power of the SpiritIntentionally committed to the mission of the FatherMindful of the needs of less mature disciples around themNEEDSClose peer relationships with other parents for encouragementPeer accountability Ongoing equippingTraining in delegating responsibilityPermission to develop people to maturity in relational environments

Intentionally Pursue Discipling Relationships with Outsiders

People are not projects
Harvey Turner, “You should assume that everyone close to you is God’s elect that doesn’t know him yet.”
There is a perpetual debate about whether this should be intentional or organic
Is it intentional or automatic?
That’s not a biblical debate
Do plants sprout up organically?
Loosen the soil
Pull the weeds
Dig holes
Plant seed
Fertilize
Water
If by organic you think automatic or people will spontaneously ask you “What must I do to be saved”, seeing unbelievers will continue to just be a surprise and not an expectation
If by organic you mean using biblical strategy to make disciples, then yes!
Here’s the strategy that we see set out by Jesus and the early church

Concentrated Seasons of Prayer

120 in the upper room
That’s what we’ve been encouraging everyone to do with the maps
Prayer aligns us with God’s Mission and Will
Prayer emboldens us to do the work of sharing the Gospel

Share the Gospel

The people in the upper room began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance
In other words, they were given the gift of speaking in their language and being heard in the language of the listeners
In addition we must share it in Proclamation and Demonstration
Some people were amazed
Doing good works for the benefit of others will help them SEE that the Gospel is Good News now and not just later
Some people mocked them
And when we’re faithful to demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel there will be some who accept the grace of Jesus by faith or at least show interest (we’ll hear about this again); what should we do with them?
Then Peter got up and preached a message of repentance
Many people repented (3000) and were baptized
Acts 2:41 ESV
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
These people experienced the new birth, and the disciples knew immediately what to do… what did they do?
Acts 2:42 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Connect them to God and His People

The first thing we see these new converts doing is? Devoting themselves
In an age where we don’t want to step on toes, this is missing
What did they continually devote themselves to?
Apostles teaching = Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus (Sermon the Mount)
Fellowship = this was a partnership and a sharing of possessions
Breaking of bread = communion (love feast) as taught by Jesus at His last supper (more than small wafer and wine)
Prayers = the Shema, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms
All of this was done together in community (daily from house to house and on the first day of the week)
This part of the process is where we invest in sitting down with an individual and show them, this is how to read the Bible, pray, tell your friends about Jesus, how to Worship Jesus with your life
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 show us the ministry of the apostles and their continuation of teaching and preaching
Acts 5:42 ESV
And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
This is where you’re constantly pointing this individual to Christ
It’s important to note the distinction that Luke is making of teaching and preaching. They kept teaching the new disciples and preaching the Gospel to those who hadn’t begun to follow Jesus.
It seems like their teaching would have had visible effects on the behavior of people in the congregation, you know what happens next, right?
Acts 6:
Acts 6:1 ESV
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

Equip to Minister

A problem in the church allowed for an opportunity for ministry
Acts 6:3–6 ESV
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
Acts 6:3
The very fact there were qualifications meant the apostles had a systematic way of teaching and mentoring the people
They’ll need to be mentored and encouraged to discover where they should and shouldn’t serve
Good reputations, full of the Spirit, full of wisdom doesn’t just happen, they had been equipped
And now, they were ready to use that equipping for actual ministry
That freed the apostles up for more preaching, teaching, and prayer
Acts 6:7 ESV
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
But it doesn’t stop here. The rest of the known world still hasn’t heard the Gospel of Jesus
Chapter 7, Stephen has now gone from waiter of table to full blown preacher
We don’t have details, but it must have been clear to the apostles that Stephen should join them in the preaching of the Word… and it cost him his life
Chapter 8, Saul persecutes the church and causes it to disperse to the rest of the known world
Chapter 9, Saul is struck down by Jesus and instead of being killed, is commissioned to be an apostle himself
Chapter 10, Peter preaches to the Gentiles and the hinges fall off
At this point the church might be tempted to think, we’ve done enough, but that’s not what happens
Acts 13:1–3 ESV
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
What does this reveal about what was going on in the church in Antioch?
There was a continuation of the pattern set out by Jesus and followed by the disciples
Acts 13:
Acts 13:1–3 ESV
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
But it didn’t stop with equipping for ministry
What did this mean?

Deploy for Disciple-Making

When the disciple has been equipped and is ready, they should be prodded to use those gifts to go and make disciples
This may mean that we deploy people to begin new ministries that work out of the local church
Or deploying people to go and plant a church in Sacramento or Hong Kong
The goal here is to see Redemption as an equipping center. A place where we plan and prepare for people to come to know Christ, become committed followers of Christ, transformed by the Spirit, and pursue the Father’s mission which will mean they leave this place, take others with them and (with our full blessing and support) plant a church in this area or somewhere else in the world.
This process was not just a one-time deal
Barnabas discipled Paul ()
Barnabas also discipled Mark ()
Paul discipled Titus and Timothy and Luke and Silas (; ; ; ) and many, many others
Timothy was instructed to repeat that process ()
This may mean that we deploy people to begin new ministries that work out of the local church
Or deploying people to go and plant a church in Sacramento or Hong Kong
The goal here is to see Redemption as an equipping center. A place where we plan and prepare for people to come to know Christ, become committed followers of Christ, transformed by the Spirit, and pursue the Father’s mission which will mean they leave this place, take others with them and (with our full blessing and support) plant a church in this area or somewhere else in the world.

Conclusion

If we are going to be disciple-makers, we are going to have to take risks
Will you not invite unbelievers into your home because you’re mostly concerned about safety?
Will you not hang out with an unbeliever because you’re mostly concerned about reputation?
Will you not open up about your own fears, doubts, and struggles because you’re too concerned about how what your unbelieving neighbor might think of you?
Will you not share the Gospel because it of the fact that the Gospel is actually really odd?
If we are going to be disciple-makers, we are going to have to make investments
Time
Money
Emotion
Career
No one stage is more valuable than the other
No one stage is more valuable than the other
Each stage moves in a linear fashion on paper, but we’re probably sliding back and forth between phases.
The point is that we understand, we are all incomplete in our spiritual maturity, we all need to be moving to the center, who is Christ, and we all need help doing it.
Even knowing all that I’ve said for the last several weeks can still leave us wondering, what do I do next?

Learn How the Spirit has gifted you

Submitting to the process of having an honest conversation with an elder

Learn How the Holy Spirit has Gifted You

Taking the SGA and learning where you should be serving the church and the world

Taking Part in a Gospel Fellowship

Ongoing accountability, mentoring, and missional discipleship

Conclusion

If we are going to be disciple-makers, we are going to have to take risks

Partner with other Believers to be Disciple-Makers

Will you not invite unbelievers into your home because you’re mostly concerned about safety?

Begin

Will you not hang out with an unbeliever because you’re mostly concerned about reputation?
Will you not open up about your own fears, doubts, and struggles because you’re too concerned about how what your unbelieving neighbor might think of you?
Will you not share the Gospel because it of the fact that the Gospel is actually really odd?
If we are going to be disciple-makers, we are going to have to make investments
Time
Money
Emotion
Career
I’ve never preached a message like this. You may have never heard discipleship explained like this, and for many of us, the idea of having a process is somewhat awkward and may seem to offer an assurance that’s unbiblical.
No one stage is more valuable than the other
Each stage moves in a linear fashion on paper, but we’re probably sliding back and forth between phases.
The point is that we understand, we are all incomplete in our spiritual maturity, we all need to be moving to the center, who is Christ, and we all need help doing it.
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