Summary: The positive impact we have on others is directly related to how effective we are in being and making disciples.
Dynamics of Effective Discipleship
Intro: What is discipleship? Some of the last words Jesus spoke to His followers was for them to make disciples. What did that mean for them and what does it mean for us? It helps us to review how Jesus made disciples.
-Rob Bell speaks on the selection process that Jewish Rabbis would use to choose their disciples. At the Age of 6, children would begin to learn the Torah, this training was called Bat cipher, from 8 to 10 they would have the Torah memorized (Gen. – Deut.); by the end of bat-cipher, most kids would go and learn their family trade, but the best of the best would advance to the next level. The ones with the most natural ability would then memorize (Gen to Mal); after this the best of the best of the best would then apply to a rabbi to become his disciple.
-What did Jesus do with the 12 disciples? Well, He called them to follow Him and to become fulltime students under His tutelage. It was an honor to be chosen by a rabbi for fulltime instruction. It meant that he saw something in you that told Him it would be worth his time to invest his life in you. As the disciples followed Jesus, they learned by watching Him, listening to Him, imitating Him, making mistakes, studying the Scriptures in light of His instruction, asking questions, and so on.
-We believe that Jesus wants us to be disciples and to make disciples. We all need to commit ourselves to being lifetime learners of God and His word, the Bible. We also need to discover how to pass it on to others. How do we get involved in the teaching, training, and transforming of people into mature disciples who love God and others?
-We will be looking at some dynamics of effective discipleship today. However, before we jump in, consider this statement:
Prop: The positive impact we have on others is directly related to how effective we are in being and making disciples.
Int. Sentence: In light of that, how should we approach discipleship?
TS: Let’s look at a few marks of effective discipleship.
I. Effective Discipleship Is Marked by a Positive Team Approach (Acts 20:1-6)
1 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
-It appears that Paul may have arrived in Troas on Easter Sunday or Monday. Luke chose not to break up his narrative with any comments about the 5-days journey between Philippi and Troas, nor about anything that happened during their 7 days in Troas. Nevertheless, we can look at the big event of this passage and at the very least appreciate the fact that Resurrection Day, or First Fruits, had just come and gone, reminding them all that Jesus had conquered death, having risen from the dead. These details are just part of the background of the story, but they are of interest.
-Let’s focus for a moment on Paul’s model of discipleship. As was his custom, he got together with the disciples at Ephesus and encouraged them. After bidding them farewell, he went off to Macedonia to encourage other disciples. See, Paul knew that it was not all about him. He knew it was all about Jesus and that it took a team approach to carry out the great task that the Lord had called them to.
-Luke lists 7 godly men who were part of the team. We won’t stop to comment on each one due to time, but each one was a faithful Christ follower and helped make the team effective. BTW, vv.5-6 show us that Luke is traveling with Paul during this time. He uses “us” and “we” to show that he was with Paul as a firsthand eyewitness.
-So Paul approached discipleship by gathering believers together as a team and then encouraging them all along the way to spread the good news about Jesus and to honor and obey Him each day.
-What does this mean to us? We need to remember that we are all on the same team. We also need to realize that we can be much more effective at being and making disciples if we will get together as a team and encourage one another. There probably isn’t a person in here who would say they are not busy. We’ve all got things going on in our lives that eat up our time and energy. We’re busy, but are we busy making disciples? I believe that we can begin to link our lives together more effectively so that we can approach discipleship as a team. Teams practice together, work together, plan together, laugh together, win together, and get together.