Summary: Disciples aren’t born they’re made.
Intro: It’s summer time, and for many that means it’s family vacation time. Have you ever had a bad experience on a vacation? If you’ve been on many vacations then you know what I’m talking about. Things don’t always go as planned, people and weather doesn’t always cooperate. Sometimes the packing, traveling, and expenses aren’t worth the experience. So do we avoid vacations altogether? Never go on another? Do we just say I’ll pay someone else do all the packing, traveling, see all the sights, experience all the pains and enjoyment? Then when they return I’ll just listen to their experience.
Sometimes we do the same thing with pastors. We realize that we need to spend time with God praying, reading our Bible, and listening. But it’s much easier to let someone else who has more experience and is better at it than us just give us what they have. Besides isn’t’ that what we pay the pastor for anyway? God doesn’t want you just to settle for living through another person’s experience. He wants you to experience first hand the pains and joys of intimacy with Him.
Illustration: In a chapter about rethinking discipleship James Emery White states:
Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia; he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"
One of the most basic assumptions made about life change is that it happens instantly at salvation. According to this belief, when someone gives his or her life to Christ, there is an immediate, substantive, in-depth, miraculous change in habits, attitudes, and character. As a result disciples are born not made.
. . .The question for rethinking discipleship is this: Are these assumptions valid? If they are, then working this formula in the life of the church should consistently give the same result: new communities of people who are becoming increasingly like Jesus in their life and thought. If that is not the answer a church gets when it works the equation, then it needs to rethink whether the formula is sound.
Unfortunately, many churches are not getting the correct answer. In fact, a Search Institute study has found that only 11 percent of churchgoing teenagers have a well-developed faith, rising to only 32 percent for churchgoing adults. Why? Because true life change only begins at salvation, takes more than just time, is about training not trying, and is a team effort.
James Emery White, Rethinking the Church, Baker, 1997, p. 55-57
1 Tim 4:7-8
7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1. Ignoring God. No desire to hear God’s truth.
Amos 8:11"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
a). Sometimes we ignore God simply because we’re too busy with our own things to be considerate of God’s Word.
Illustration: During the Revolutionary War, a loyalist spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the guards at the Hessian camp began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington’s army, Rall was still playing cards. Without time to organize, the Hessian army was captured. The battle occurred the day after Christmas, 1776, giving the colonists a late present--their first major victory of the war. Today in the Word, October, 1991, p. 21.
--Some times God is warning us about our spiritual situation but we’re too busy with worldly stuff to hear Him.
Ex 20:18-19 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."