The Cornerstone Church, September 16, 2018
When I first came to faith in Jesus, it was totally unexpected. To be honest, it rocked my world and shook me to the core. To that point, my life was going in the exact opposite direction. I was living for myself and there was no room for God anywhere. So, when I committed to Jesus, I was sort of clueless. I knew something really big had happened inside, but I couldn't explain it. And I definitely didn't know how to follow Jesus - NOT. A. CLUE.
I'm sure about this: if two guys - Andy and Phil - hadn't stepped into my life at just the right time, I would have turned back to my old life. No doubt. I was about the most pagan follower of Jesus ever. Just my potty mouth was a major re-construction project. It took a long time and a lot of work to become the giant man of God you see before you today :)
Andy and Phil were on staff with a campus ministry called CRU. They taught me how to read the Bible, to pray, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to come to Jesus for daily cleansing, to make lifestyle changes, to live by truth not feelings, to share my faith. I met with Andy at least once a week for a whole school year.
Everything I know about following Jesus, I learned from Andy and Phil; well, almost everything. I owe them big time. They discipled me Jesus-style.
What if you did that for one person in your lifetime? What if you did it for one person a year? What if you joined our youth ministry and did it for 30 people a year?
It's called Jesus-style disciple-making and it is our life's purpose: Jesus told us to make disciples. Jesus followed a four-step process and we can too. Then, the legacy of your life will be a generation of committed Jesus-followers.
STEP ONE: FIND - John 1:39.
In the first chapter of John's Gospel, we read about John the Baptist. He saw Jesus and called him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The Jewish context for this is the Passover lamb of Exodus 12 and the suffering servant of Isaiah 42:1ff.
Two of the Baptizer's disciples (Andrew and perhaps John) were curious, so they took off after Jesus, who turned to them and said, "What do you want?" That isn't a casual question. Jesus wanted the disciples to search their hearts and figure out what they wanted from him?
They asked him where he was staying. That was a polite way of asking, "Can we meet with you?" Jesus replied, "Come, and you will see." - John 1:39a. So they spent the late afternoon and evening with him. I'm guessing they asked him one question after another, trying to figure him out. They "saw" much more than they expected. Meeting Jesus rocked their world - just like it did mine.
COME AND SEE is the first step in disciple-making. It's not pushy, it's just sharing information about Jesus.
If you've got kids at home, you can take a little time each day and talk about Jesus. The Jesus Storybook Bible is great for this.
If you have a co-worker who's shown some interest, you could meet for coffee. Not a debate. Not talking about what's wrong with the world. Just Jesus.
Maybe there's a friend at school or on your team or wherever who seems open. Share a good book or video with them. We have a free resource table in the atrium for this. The Jesus Film is free online: jesusfilm.org.
STEP TWO: FOLLOW - John 1:43
Step two is also found in John chapter one. Jesus was in a village called Bethany by the Jordan (John 1:29) where John was baptizing, down on the east side of the Jordan River, between 10-15 miles from Jerusalem. Then verse 43 lets us know that Jesus went to Galilee. That was maybe a 100 mile walk.
When Jesus got there, he met a man called Philip. We don't know much about the meeting, but at some point, Jesus said, "Follow me" - John 1:43. That's an invitation to commit to Jesus - to be his apprentice, to learn, to obey, to copy.
Philip must have signed on became he's in the list of the 12 apostles in Matthew 10, the small team of students that Jesus equipped to change the world.
Step two in the disciple making process is COMMIT TO ME.
After we share information about Jesus, we invite people to follow Jesus. We don't have to be pushy, we just have to be clear: The way to be restored to God is to come to Jesus and to commit to him. That's faith.
There are different ways to help people with this:
The ABC prayer: A - I admit that I am a sinner, alienated from God. B - I believe that Jesus died and rose again to cleanse me from sin, restoring me to God. C - I call on him now to be my Savior from sin and I confess with my mouth that he is Lord.
The call to commit: Jesus called people to follow him; that is, to learn from him and to trust him and to obey him. Jesus called people to commit to him even if it cost them everything (Mark 8:34).
Use one or both or something else. Whatever way you go, keep talking to the Holy Spirit, asking him to bring new life, new heart, true faith. It's supernatural.
If someone is ready and they take this step, that's not the end of the disciple-making process. There are two more steps to take ...
STEP THREE: FISH - Matthew 4:19
Jesus went down to the lake looking for Andrew and Peter, James and John. He wanted them to join his team of disciples too. He added a line to the invitation:
(Matthew 4:19-20) Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
What does it mean to fish for people? It means to do what Jesus did. His whole ministry was a fishing expedition. His teaching, healing, casting out demons, his love for people - all of it was designed to show the Kingdom of God was near and the doors were open.
I call this step SEE ME DO. Jesus took them on a "see me do" tour:
(Matthew 4:23-24) Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.
In step three, we let people see us living the Christian life. That's what Phil and Andy did for me. They showed me the basics - Bible-reading, prayer, and so on. They took me along on ministry projects - sharing Jesus with college students.
Give your baby disciple two main things:
Time with you. People learn by watching, by copying what they see.
Vision, encouragement, and confidence.
STEP FOUR: FRUIT - Luke 9:1-2, 10
After that ministry tour, Jesus sent his disciples out on their own.
(Luke 9:1-2) When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
They did what they saw Jesus do. Then, they returned to tell Jesus all about it:
(Luke 9:10) When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida ...
They fished and they produced fruit. That's a bit of a mixed metaphor, but you get the point. They did what Jesus did and they got what Jesus got: people healed, set free, and restored to God. That's the fruit.
When they got back, Jesus took them to Bethsaida - away from home and interruptions - so they could talk about their mission experience. I call this stage DO AND REVIEW.
We love and support our friends as they grow and try new things. We refresh their vision. We encourage them and give them confidence to keep going.
So, let's review the four stages of Jesus-Style Disciple-Making:
Where do you see yourself in this process? Where would you like to be? Do you feel like its time to commit to Jesus? Or is it time to help someone else find and follow Jesus?
Three things to consider:
Ask God to capture your attention with a vision for something greater than yourself, a life of supernatural influence, a legacy of changed lives.
Ask God for a team so you can work together to make disciples. We don't have to be responsible for the whole process - all four steps. Jumping into one of our ministries is a great way to find a team.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you right now?