Where? Discipleship

Posted on 24 Sep 2018

The Mt. Pleasant Church Discipleship Campaign

Message #3: Where? Discipleship

MPC Discipleship Campaign

Message #3: Where? Discipleship

Jesus did not leave behind a book, a creed, a system of thought or a rule of life, but a viable community.

 

The Jesus Way: 1 + 3 + 12 + 120 = Discipleship

 1 – Jesus and the Father…

There should be time in our lives were Discipleship takes place between us and the Lord only… Luke 5:16 reads, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

3 – Jesus and the three…Peter, James and John

Jesus showed us that Discipleship should take place amongst close friends…these guys were Jesus’ inner circle…the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the transfiguration… Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. (Mark 9: 1)

12 – Jesus and the 12…Peter, James, John, Andrew, Phillip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alpheus), Simon, Jude (Thaddeus) and Judas…

Jesus showed us that Discipleship should take place in small groups…The Last Supper…

120 – Jesus and the 120…Acts 1    15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)…and Jesus’ mother, Mary, was also present along with the other women.

Jesus showed us that Discipleship should take place in the context of the church…

Then before He ascends into heaven, Jesus gives his disciples the mission to also make more disciples. Then over and over in Acts we see how they accomplished that mission. They did basically what Jesus did with His disciples; they proclaimed the good news about Jesus and established communities of believers to live this new life together as family.

Discipleship wasn’t merely a Sunday school class to attend or curriculum to be discussed or a smorgasbord of programs offered by a church. Those structures may teach what Jesus commanded, but alone they don’t create an environment where people learn to obey what Jesus commanded. A gospel-centered community on Jesus mission must be the context for discipleship.

As we talked last Sunday, we must grow as disciples so we can help others become disciples and grow. But as a pastor, I can no more force people to grow as disciples than a farmer can force a plant to grow. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor 3:7). So like a farmer, I want us as a church, to create an environment that supports growth.

That’s why discipleship needs to be holistic care of a small group of people who are consistently experiencing Jesus’ life and teaching together, in a healthy discipling environment, where they are learning to submit every area of life to the lordship of Jesus.

Where? Does Discipleship Happen? In an Environment that keeps these 10 things in mind:

A discipleship environment is…

 

  • Empowered by the Holy Spirit

 

John 14: 15-20…

Only the Holy Spirit can change hearts and transform lives. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the primary discipler and equipper of people. The Spirit teaches, reminds, convicts, helps, leads, reveals, counsels.

A discipleship environment must be…

  • Gospel saturated (Matthew 20: 20-28)

Romans 8: 28-29…

The gospel must permeate the discipling environment. It is ultimately the answer to every problem and the motivation to submit every area of life to the lordship of Jesus. In other words, the Gospel should apply to every area of the life of a disicple.

A discipleship environment must be…

  • Community-Influenced

Matthew 9: 9-13…

The disciples learned an extraordinary amount from watching and listening to Jesus, including his encountering people in the community and outside the faith. We can assume they also learned a great deal from their interaction with each other as they traveled, lived, and ministered together in close community.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Missional –it includes Serving Others

Matthew 8: 1-3, 14-17…

Jesus placed a high value on service and evangelism to those who were not yet His followers, especially to those in great need. Jesus was consistently exposing the disciples to different kinds of people, in different kinds of places, with different kinds of needs. Many of these people were physically, relationally, emotionally, or spiritually needy. He often placed the disciples in situations where they could learn to love and serve “the least of these” by watching Him or by serving alongside Him.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Holistic

Matthew 5: 1-12…

It’s obvious from the teaching and experiences Jesus had with the disciples that He was committed to developing them holistically, concerned with helping them bring their whole lives under the will of the Father and offering their whole lives as worship to the Father.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Frequent and Long-Term

Matthew 9: 35-38…He went through all the towns and villages…

It took Jesus three years of investment in the disciples before they were ready to minister and lead on their own. During those three years, they spent an incredible number of hours together.

Discipleship is not fast. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and sacrifice. A discipler must be with his or her disciples frequently and must care for them throughout the long term.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Experiential

Matthew 9: 18-33…the disciples witnessed Jesus’ love and compassion for people wherever they went with him.

Most of the time Jesus spent with His disciples was in an experiential learning environment. They were living together, traveling together, eating meals together, ministering to the needs of people together, etc. Very little of their time spent together seems to be in what we would consider a formal learning environment.

On Screen: People learn much more when they do something than when they just hear something.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Individually Tailored

Matthew 14: 28-31…Only Peter got out of the boat…

Luke 9: 28…Jesus took only the three with him…

Though we see Jesus spending a great deal of time with the disciples as a group, we also see Him speaking specifically into the lives of individual disciples at different times and in different ways.

A discipleship environment is…

  • Modeled

Luke 5: 12-13…

Luke 14: 1-6…

Though at times Jesus taught the disciples in more formal settings, it was His consistent example of love, servanthood, sacrifice, generosity, encouragement, worship, etc., that probably had the greatest impact on the lives of the disciples as they watched Jesus’ life.

A discipleship environment has the…

  • Expectation of Multiplication (Matthew 28: 19-20)

Matthew 4: 19…

Luke 10: 1-3…

It was Jesus’ strategy from the beginning that His disciples would be the foundation for the church and the foundation for the multiplication of followers of Jesus around the world.

Jesus always created an environment where people could grow and thrive. That is our goal as a church!