FIRST, BE A DISCIPLE
FIRST, BE A DISCIPLE
Part 1 of Discipling Like Jesus. 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:2.
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. September 9, 2018.
Have you heard the term mission drift? Over time, every organization tends to drift away from his its true purpose into something else. The good becomes the enemy of the best. One job of a leader is to keep his company or church on mission.
Churches drift. It's just a fact of life.
The Cornerstone has a mission or a purpose: to help people find and follow Jesus. We should never drift from that. In fact, we should put maximum focus and resources and effort into it.
So, with that in mind, today, we begin a three week series called Discipling Like Jesus. Because making disciples is the mission - helping people find and follow Jesus. We have to do more than talk about it. Jesus want us all engaged, invested, and devoted to making disciples of Jesus.
Today, we'll look at the first step in disciple-making. But first, we need to be clear a disciple is ...
1. OUR MISSION: MAKE DISCIPLES
The mission of the church - you and me - is to make disciples of Jesus.
Jesus made this clear in what we call the Great Commission. After he was raised from the dead, he met with his disciples and launched them into global outreach:
(Matthew 28:18-20) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The mission of every single Christian today is to make disciples of Jesus here, there, and everywhere we go - "all nations." This Great Commission is for all of us, for all time - "the end of the age," when Jesus returns.
In the ancient world, lots of people were called disciples. The rabbis had disciples. Prophets had disciples. Philosophers had disciples. A disciple is a follower who learns from a teacher. It's a relationship of master and apprentice. Leader and follower. A disciple of Jesus learn his ways and obeys his teachings.
When I graduated from law school, in order to qualify as an attorney, I had to work as an apprentice to a senior lawyer. Mr. Bryden was my master and I was his young apprentice. Guess what my first assignment was. I was tasked with carrying his brief case to court and back. I had a law degree, but I was only ready to carry the briefcase. Over the next year, he taught me how to work as a lawyer. Most of the time my assignment was to watch. Then, he'd let me try something. Correct me. Show me more, give me another job, and correct me again. It was humbling and exciting and a huge privilege. I learned from the best.
So, that's our mission and that's a disciple. Now the question is how do we get it done? How are disciples made?
2. OUR METHOD: BE A DISCIPLE
The first step in making disciples is to be a disciple. Because the way people learn how to follow Jesus is to copy how we follow Jesus. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 11:1. Paul wrote:
"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."
Paul used a noun in verse 1 that might sound familiar to you: mimetes; mimic. Paul wanted the Corinthians to copy his behavior; in the context, to follow his love for God and people. Paul himself copied Jesus whose self-sacrifice for our sins was the perfect model of love (see Ephesians 5:1-2).
When I went to the DIA - Detroit Institute of Art - I was fascinated by the people sitting in front of the paintings with sketch pads. They were drawing the paintings. They were imitating a master-artist's work.
People learn to follow Jesus by copying us. Christian faith is caught before it is taught. There is no such thing as a self-made disciple. We're all the product of all the people who have invested in us over the years.
So many people have shaped me into a disciple. I've copied:
Phil Tovey who showed me a heart for spiritual seekers.
Lois Carmichael who showed me endurance through hard times.
John Piper's fire and John Wimber's openness to the Holy Spirit.
All of us have been shaped by the words and example of other disciples. The question to ask yourself is this: what kind of disciple will people become by copying me?
3. OUR MODEL: 4-C LIVING
If people are copying us, what kind of life should we live? A great model is the apostle Paul. He was characterized by 4-C living. That's what we should imitate. The apostle Paul talked about it in 1 Thessalonians 2.
Paul had brought the Gospel to the ancient city of Thessaloniki for the first time. But he had to leave just a few weeks later and he wrote to urge them to stay in the faith. He tells them about his 4-C life with them - a life they copied. 4-C Living is:
1. Commitment to Christ and his church: Love Jesus, invest in a church.
(1 Thessalonians 2:8b) Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
2. Courage under fire: Don't quit, stand firm.
(1 Thessalonians 2:2) We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition
3. Compassion for people: Do what Jesus did - heal, feed, encourage. Serve.
(1 Thessalonians 2:7-8a) Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you.
4. Consistently follow Jesus' teachings: Trust and obey.
(1 Thessalonians 2:10) You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
That's the model. Commitment, courage, compassion, and consistency. 4-C. Today, right now, make up your mind: I will live like a disciple of Jesus Christ.