Summary: Just how do we "disciple" people?
OPEN: A young American engineer was sent to Ireland for a year. When he left, his fiancé gave him a harmonica. She said, "I want you to learn to play this: it will help to keep your mind off those Irish girls."
He wrote to her often and told he her that he was practicing his harmonica every night. After a year she met him at the airport, he grabbed her to kiss her and she pushed back and said, "Wait before you kiss me, I want to hear you play the harmonica."
APPLY: That girl was no fool. She knew that the man’s love would be reflected in what he did. If he’d done what he’d promised – she’d know it by his actions.
I. What is it that God would like us to do to show our love for Him?
Good answers might be:
* by our church attendance
* faithfulness in prayer
* by regular Bible reading
* by loving each another
... and these are all part of showing God our love by our actions.
BUT the last request Jesus made of His disciples before He ascended into heaven was Matthew 28:19-20. And because this was the last command he gave his disciples before going to His throne in heaven, it would seem this was important to Jesus. I don’t know if this was THE most important thing to Him, but it was obviously important enough for Him to mention as his last minute instructions.
NOW, I want to please God.
And I know how to go to church.
I know how to pray.
I know how to read my Bible
and I think I’m getting the hang of loving others.
But, how do I do this? How do I make disciples? Isn’t that what preachers do? Isn’t that job of highly paid professionals with lots of training. Apparently not. Apparently God expects EVERY Christian to make disciples.
II. Why isn’t this the job just for highly trained professionals?
Turn to Matthew 13:3-9 & 19-23. There you will read the parable of the four soils. The farmer in the parable casts his seed on hard ground, shallow ground, weedy soil and good soil. Notice that those who "received the seed" – grew up as a crop. They were the harvest of the farmer’s labors. Those who were of the good soil heard & understood and… they produced a crop, a crop (I believe) of others who believed as they did.
What does that mean? It means that one of Jesus’ primary objectives in His ministry was to teach us the importance of making disciples. Producing a crop meant helping create new followers of Jesus.
III. Now, the good news is this – we’re not expected to do produce this crop by ourselves.
Speaking of how believers at Corinth had become Christians, Paul wrote: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
“The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:6-9)
What was Paul saying? He was saying that he didn’t disciple people all by himself – he worked with others like Apollos, Timothy, Luke, etc. Paul may have planted the seed, but then he handed off the new Christians to Apollos and others, who watered and nurtured converts into maturity.
Another way of looking at this is to notice that Paul described the church not only as “God’s field” and also “God’s building (vs 9).
ILLUS: Go to any building project & you’ll usually see more than 1 worker doing the labor. There’ll be one or two people hammering nails, another will be wiring the electricity, someone else will be doing the plumbing… etc.
When they’re done: they’ll have built home for someone live in. By asking us to disciple people, that’s what Jesus is asking of us. He’s asking us to work together as a team to build His House … a house for Him to dwell in.
That’s the good news. You and I don’t have to do disciple others by ourselves.
IV. The bad news (for some people) is – you and I have to do be involved in discipling.
If you and I are going to tell God we love Him - we do have actively disciple others. We have to learn to play the Harmonica… we have to learn to make disciples.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit...” John 15:5