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09-01-04 The Discipleship Map

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The Discipleship Map

Colossians 1:9-11


  1. New Year resolutions.  Is there anyone praying for you? Who are you praying into the kingdom of God?
  2. Jesus left a command to all His followers: Go, make disciples.  In September we clarified what we are about at GNBC: We are about making disciples of Jesus Christ. We summed it up in 3 words: Knowing, Walking, Serving.
  3. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he told them of his prayer for them (1:9) and the result he looked for (:10-12)

What I want to say: Everything about being a Christian is an inward change that results in outward evidence of that change. Today I want to find answers to four questions: What is a Christian? What is a disciple? How does someone become a disciple? Are you a disciple of Jesus? Are you making disciples?

I.      Two questions that open the Map

A.    What is a Christian? The Change from death to life (Ephesians 2:1)

1.    Conviction

2.    Repentance

3.    Rebirth

4.    Are you a Christian today?  You cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless you are a Christian

B.    What is a disciple? The process of becoming a daily follower of Jesus

1.    The difference between a Christian and a disciple

a)    The word “Christian” appears 3 times in the Bible

b)    The word “disciple” appears over 260 times

2.    Christian defined: One who believes the teaching of Jesus and rests in His sacrifice

3.    Disciple defined

a)    A disciple is a Christian who believes the teaching of Jesus, rests in His sacrifice, drinks His Spirit, imitates His example in daily life.

4.    It all comes down to “Me” or Jesus?

a)    When you were dead in sin it was all about you – because that’s what sin is – all about you in defiance of God

5.    Becoming a disciple is a process that follows choices

a)    Sadly, not every Christian is a disciple

b)    If you were arrested for being a disciple of Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you?


II.    Where do new disciples come from? (Ephesians 2:1-5)

A.    Where we all begin - Without Christ – far from God (Ephesians 2:1)

B.    The Cross - Made alive! (Ephesians 2:4-5)

1.    There is a moment of crossing from death to life – that is called salvation.

2.    Salvation is the moment when a sinner acknowledges his sin and need for a Savior.

3.    We will have these gospel tracts available for you to use to share the gospel.

Challenge #1: Learn to use the Bridge to Life illustration (handout)

C.   They are invited to meet Jesus (John 1:29-51)

1.    John was sent before Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus. Everything he said prepared his hearers to respond to Jesus.

2.    In John 1 we have the account written by John many years later of his recollection of the first meeting of Jesus by John and Andrew.

3.    :41 – the first thing Andrew did was to bring his brother, Peter, to meet Jesus. Jesus found Philip who went to tell his friend, Nathanael about Jesus.

ILLUS> Popcorn testimony: I’m here because I was invited by…

D.   Who have you invited?

Challenge #2: Gospel challenge for 2009 – Each of us invite 10 people to worship, small group, trust Christ -- 2,000 gospel invitations. FRIEND DAY – January 25


1.    Beginning next week we will have a slip of paper in your bulletin that says, “I invited the following __________ to meet Jesus:” Then you will write their names. Or, if you gave tracts to strangers, or invited them to come to worship, put a number.  You will also be able to report this online at our web site or Facebook page.

2.    Some will say, “So, it is really just about numbers, isn’t it!” First, you cannot measure progress unless you know where you are and what you have done.  Second, Yes it is about numbers – and those numbers all have names and faces and they are your friends and relatives.

If you are leading someone to becoming a disciple you will guide them through three choices.

III.   Three Choices comprise the Journey (Colossians 1:9-10)

A.    The first choice is to follow Jesus – in Knowing Him through the Word (:9)

1.    Cp. Psalm 119 the great Psalm of David declaring his love for the word of God

Oh how I love your law!

It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97 ESV

2.    To become a Pharisee, you had to memorize all 150 Psalms. Were the ancients any more intelligent than you? No!  They were more focused. The limitations of technology gave them the gift of time. For you and I, it is a deliberate choice: turn off the TV; pull out the earphones; turn off the cell phone; open the BIBLE

Challenge #3: The 2009 challenge: learn 52 verses – show the chart

a)    You will use up precious brain cells learning the latest ditty to hit the pop charts but what will you dedicate to learning that which will save your soul?

B.    The second choice is to follow Jesus – by Walking beside Him daily in the company of other Christians (:10)

1.    If you are going to become a disciple of Jesus Christ you must walk with others

2.    Jesus chose 12 disciples so they could encourage one another and challenge one another.

3.    (Colossians 1:9) Paul prayed for the spiritual well-being of the Colossians.

a)    He prayed continually

b)    You must have someone praying for you!

ILLUS>  the American Dairy association used to have a TV ad that said “You never outgrow your need for milk.” In the same way, you will never outgrow your need to be prayed for.


4.    You must be praying for others! Pray that God will fill them with the knowledge of his will

a)    “through” – the will of God is known in two ways:

b)    by spiritual wisdom and by spiritual understanding

c)    you cannot know the will of God aside from knowing the word of God!

d)    What a difference would be seen in this church if all those who claim to be Christians would daily pursue knowing the will of God!

5.    I heard someone implore people to begin the day with ten minutes with Jesus.

a)    That is a beginning place – it is necessary nutrition – if you cannot spend 10 minutes with Jesus, you cannot be His disciple

b)    But that is spiritual baby food

c)    It is most pathetic to observe many Christians who do not even feed themselves baby food and they wonder why the life in Christ does not interest them – their soul is starving, not thriving.

ILLUS> our grandchild #3, Emelia, entered this world on December 18.  Within a week the doctor wanted to check up on her condition.  The question was, “Is she thriving?”  That is, a healthy newborn will begin to gain weight. What is the weight of your soul? Is your soul thriving?

d)    Most American Christians spend more time with American Idol than they do with Jesus. What do you expect your soul to look like?

e)    Even worse, those 10 minutes are usually not spent in learning about Jesus’ will but in placing your drive-thru order for the day.

ILLUS> John Piper’s reference to reading through the Bible every year. (Spectacular Sins)

Challenge #4: Read & journal.  50% of GNBC reading and journaling in 2009; Life Journals can be purchased or ordered today.


6.    If, after knowing Christ for a while, you are still just spending ten minutes with God in a day, you are fooling yourself about your spiritual maturity.

7.    Colossians 1:10 – it is impossible to walk worthy of Jesus without being obedient.

C.   The third choice is to follow Jesus – by Serving others (:10)

1.    I was thrilled to see the year-end recounting of a church in SC that bought shoes for children; built a playground for a public school; bought houses for single parents; bought a ramp-equipped van

2.    I have watched this church care for people in so many ways: making meals when a baby is born or illness strikes; giving money for food; calling to encourage (e.g. Jose and Benny); giving to fund a Health Fair or Cross Street Festival; backpacks for children; serving by playing in the band, teaching children or adults; buying gifts for children in Awana; giving to fund missionaries.

3.    There are large and small ways in which to serve others. All are important to the health of your soul.


  1. The destination – where you should be going (Colossians 1:9-10)- That you may live a life worthy of the Lord
  2. if your life is not being lived worthy of the Lord, what is it worthy of?
  3. Too many Christians are striving for too little – and achieving it easily
  4. Four Challenges for 2009: Learn the Bridge to Life illustration; Invite 10 people; learn 52 passages; read and journal.
  5. It is all summed up in three words: Knowing; Walking; Serving
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