24 Jan 2021
Discipleship. Jesus loved the world so much, that He invested His life in a few good men. His method is straightforward- disciple a few good men so that they will disciple others to do the same. This is His masterplan for worldwide evangelism. It is not glamorous or glitzy. It takes a long time. It takes opening up His whole life. But it was all worth it. Today, the missional church must also "think big, start small & grow deep. " May this concluding sermon of "The Missional Church" lead you to make ministry decisions in God's will.
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Let's look at this last sermon in this series on “The Missional Church”. Well, this has been a joyful three, four weeks for myself, going through something that is very familiar, something deep in my heart, something that is close to my heart.
One of the things that really enable, I think, many of us to go through this pandemic, not feeling lost, or without purpose, is understanding the Word of God, dissecting what is form and what is function. The form changes; a lot of what we do is no more possible. But we can still be the church God wants us to be, if we are living missional lives.
And what is the mission God has given to us? I think it is very simple, it is very clear, found in Matthew chapter 28, when Jesus says: “Go therefore and make disciples”. [Matthew 28:19-20] Isn't that the mission of the church, that we are to live out and give out the Gospel, so that more people may follow the Lord Jesus Christ? That's God's mission to us.
Now, that means we are to share with them the Good News about Jesus; we are to give them the Gospel. We learned about that last week in evangelism. But the mission of the church is not just to give the Gospel, and walk away. It's not just to have someone get saved, and we neglect them. But the Great Commission says when we make disciples, we don't just give them the Gospel in evangelism, but we need to disciple them, we need to teach them to observe all that Jesus commands. [Matt 28:19-20]
So we need to understand that disciple making, making disciples involves evangelism, and also discipleship. So we help them know Christ, and then we help them grow in Christ. That is what the church is all about - whether we are in lockdown or not, whether we are on-site or online, we all must aim to fulfill the mission God has given to us. This is what church is all about. Take a look at this video before we proceed.
The Missional Church is about the Great Commission. And last few sermons we focused on what it means to follow Jesus ourselves, that we might be good disciples ourselves. We want to bring that home, we want to teach our kids, we want to lead them in the Gospel. Then we need to evangelize - the people God has placed around our lives. And today, in our final instalment of this four-part series, I'd like to focus on discipleship - “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” [Matthew 28:20]; helping people know and obey the very Word of God.
Now, the text I’d like to just loosely base this on is Matthew, chapter 4 verses 18 to 22, that you have just read. But because it's so short, let me read this again. “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”’ [Matthew 4:18-22]
I'd like you to notice a few things from this simple short passage.
 The Invitation
Number one, let's look at the invitation that God gave - or Jesus gave - to them. Jesus said to them, “Follow Me.” Now, sometimes we call our friends to “follow me”, but that kind of “follow” is different from this kind of “follow”. This is not a casual one, two-hour following, this is a commitment. This is calling them to follow Him so that He may impart to them their lives. He is calling them to a life of discipleship.
Now, it's very clear they understood this, because they subsequently called Jesus “Master” or “Lord”. I mean, Jesus is not an old man; He is a 30year-old man. But they recognize that there's something special about the Lord Jesus Christ. And they were willing to leave their boats, their nets, their fathers. Later on, the Bible would also describe them to be disciples.
So this is not a casual acquaintance. This is a commitment to follow Jesus, for a long, extended period of time, in order to learn from Jesus. That's what a disciple is. He's a follower, and he's a learner. So what is Jesus inviting them to learn about? Jesus says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
So the imagery here is that Jesus would teach them to rescue, as it were, souls who are perishing in the sea of sin. Just as Jesus left Heaven, to come to this earth to seek and save that which is lost, Jesus is saying to them, “Follow Me, and I'll teach you what it takes to rescue people who are perishing in a sea of sin.”
So this is the way Jesus would teach and equip men to be soul winners. He's not going to call them to just one class. He's not calling them to one seminar. He's not calling them to one workshop. He's calling them to follow Him, so that He may open His life, and indeed, pour His life into theirs, to help them become who God wants them to be.
I think this is the best way to learn, isn't it? Because you can watch Jesus in everything that He does, everything that He says. They are going to eat with Him, walk with Him, sleep with Him, serve with Him, preach with Him. They are going to see everything about Jesus' life. They're going to hear everything that He teaches. And that's how Jesus will equip these men.
Now, I think this is very common sense, especially if you're thinking about fishing. Now, I've always wanted to learn about fishing. I think it's fun, although I don't think I will have the patience to sit it through, waiting for hours for fish to latch. But I think it's a cool concept, if the fish can come all the time lah!
I think it's really cool, but I know that fishing is not something that can be learned just by reading. Now, it helps to read, it's good to see some YouTube videos, but I think if you really want to learn to fish, you've got to follow someone. Isn't it? You've got to follow a very skilled and experienced fisherman. You got to watch the way he buys the bait, puts on the bait. You got to see the way he throws the rod or the line. You've got to see how he - how far he throws, what kind of bait he chooses. There are so many questions in my head, that I think I just need to observe a skilled master fisherman to learn.
And I think that's the same for following Jesus. We have many questions about Christianity. There are many questions you have about: How should I conduct myself at home, at work? How should I share the Gospel with people who are like this, and like that? And you know, the best way is if you watch and learn from someone.
Look at the way Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman. Look at the way he interacted with the demoniac. Look at the way he interacted the Scribes and Pharisees.
You know, those things are precious. Because you now see the truth applied in His life. It's almost liked a fisherman. He knows how to fish, in different seas, or in different rivers, and in different ponds. He's wise! And Jesus demonstrated that in a way He related to different people, in different times.
Now, I suppose my illustration of being a fisherman is not so good, because I've never learned fishing, and it's not something close to my heart. But something I've learned before is surgery. I wanted to be a doctor, because I wanted to be a medical missionary. I wanted to go overseas - some third world country - and heal and, like as I've always shared, help them in their medical sicknesses, so that they give me some vegetables and eggs, and I can survive there, and I can preach the Gospel to them.
So in order to go overseas, I knew that I needed to pick up some surgical skills. I mean if you go there, it's cowboy country, right? Cowboy town. You can do all kinds of surgery, and if it helps them, that's great! So I wanted to pick up some surgical skills, and so I went to a surgical department.
And this is the thing about med school - at least during my days, I'm not sure about now; my med school was like 20 years ago. During med school - 20 over years ago, during med school, we learnt a lot about symptoms, and signs, and diagnosis and the kinds of medicines to give. But you know, we were never taught, we were never trained in surgery. You don't actually get to do surgery, because you are a student.
But the moment you graduate as a doctor, somehow people think that you can now do surgery. So when I was a fresh grad - I am now a houseman, and I'm a medical officer, I've never learned surgery - I'm told, “Go and take that lump out.” You know lump? A lot of people have a lot of lumps, right? All kinds of lumps. He said, “You go and do the lump surgery.” I looked at him - but of course, “paiseh” [colloquial expression used to signify embarrassment], you don't dare to say a doctor don't know how to do what. So you say, “Okay, I do.”
Wah, “cham” [colloquial expression used signify a dire state of affairs] lah! Now, all of you're scared of going to the - I hope the medical training system has improved since my time lah. But during my time, I'm so sorry for the guinea pig that I operated on. I mean I was like - it's a small lump, it's supposed to be a what, 10-minute surgery, but I struggled there big time.
You see, I've never done it before, and the needle we used - you have to sew things up lah; after you take out, you’ve got to close mah, you cannot leave it open bleeding, you’ve got to close. So in order to close, they give you a needle with a thread. And the needle I'm familiar with is a straight needle, right? All the ladies here, when you sew things, it's a straight needle. But you know, for surgery, they don't give you a straight needle, you know; they give you a curved needle, you know. So I’m like, “What! How does this?”
By the way if you're skilled at it, it should be just a nice pass. Rotate your elbow, and it goes through. But I never learned and so I “ngeh ngeh” [colloquial expression to describe doing something by brute force rather than skill] - I just keep pushing it and pushing it, and after a while the needle becomes straight, you know. Well, it's amazing, I did it, man! I managed to make it straight, so that it's easy for me to pull through now!
Wah, but I'm sure - I don't dare to see the patient after surgery! I'm sure with recovery, plenty of “orh cheh” [colloquial expression for bruising] there lah. Because this guy who is so blur, never trained before, just operated on the poor patient, using his own methods.
Now, I became so discouraged, I became so fearful of doing any surgery. Until one day, I was called to assist in a senior surgeon's surgery. And he said, “No, this one you do.” “Siao liao” [colloquial expression used to signify distress when someone is in serious trouble]. He said, “Don't worry, I will show you, and I will guide you.”
You know it is way faster for him to do it himself, right? “Wah, this slow coach! Why let him do, I'll do myself lah.” But you know what? He was there to disciple, he was there to teach. He showed me a few strokes, and after that, he says, “You do.” And he puts his hand on mine, and guides me through that motion.
He just spent five minutes. And that unlocked the surgical brilliance in – ah no, no; he helped me gain confidence in doing surgery. And ever since that time, just mastering some basic strokes, I went on to do other kinds of surgery, and so on and so forth.
And I realized, that that's something I could not read from the books. That's something I could not just see from a YouTube video. That's something that I got to learn when someone spends time, life-on-life, helping me.
Now, I'm not saying that sermons are useless. I'm not saying that Bible studies are useless. I'm not saying that classes are useless. But I'm saying there are many things that we can learn in classes, but there are some things we've just got to learn also watching people's lives, asking questions, when there is a life-on-life impartation of all that God wants us to gain.
I want you to notice that this invitation also is given to very special people. To what kind of people? Ordinary fishermen. You know something about Peter, Andrew, James and John, they were the no-hopers. They were the - they were the despised group, if I may say. They are not the higher echelon of society. They are not the Scribes. They are not the U-grads. They are not the RI and RGS kind of people. They were ordinary folks. But Jesus chose them.
I think there's hope for all of us, isn't it? Doesn't matter if you're not a genius. Doesn't matter if you're not good in your studies. Doesn't matter if you're not earning a lot of money. Well, God specializes in choosing weak people like us.
But there is one thing about these men that I think we can learn from, and we must learn from. What is it about these men?
When Jesus called them, the Bible tells us, “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” This means that they were willing to leave behind their jobs, and their personal ambitions, even their father, their family, to follow Jesus, so that they might become fishers of men.
Wow! If there's one thing I learned about Peter, Andrew - now, they were fumbling people, they had their own problems. They were sinful, they fought amongst themselves later on, to be the best, or to be the first in the Kingdom of God. And they squabbled. But at the end of the day, you've got to give it to them, they were willing to leave all.
The problem with us, is not that we can't be disciples of Jesus, or we can't be good followers of Jesus. The issue is that we won't. We are not willing to give up our boats, our nets, our personal ambitions to follow Jesus. We are not willing to follow Jesus when He said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and trust that all these things will be added to you.” You're not willing to do that. But Peter, Andrew, James and John were.
Can I ask you today - are you willing? Because the Missional Church is not something we just hear about or learn about. It demands a choice. It demands a choice of your life to say that, “God's mission is my mission.” The Great Commission is the priority in my life. Yes, I have to work, I have to sustain the family. God provides for my family through my work, but work is never going to be my main mission in life. My main mission is the Great Commission.
Because too many of us, here in Singapore at least, are sold to the boats, and to the nets of our lives. That is what we actually live for. But Jesus is saying, “If you want to be fishers of men, if you want to fulfill the Great Commission, you've got to be willing to follow Me. And that means leaving these things as priorities of life. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and trust that God will add all these things unto you.”
So this is the invitation Jesus gave. I say to you, folks - Jesus gives the same invitation to you. You can be missional. You can be effective fisher of men. You can be doing God's mission - if you are willing to. I think that's the exciting thing, but that is the defining thing.
 The Importance
Let me move on. I’d like you to see that Jesus attaches great importance to this invitation.
Maybe it helps if I were to ask you to complete this sentence. “Jesus loved the world so much that -” What would you say? Jesus loved the world so much that He gave His life on the Cross. That would not be wrong. Jesus loved the world so much that He gave His life on the cross; or He gave His life for the world, right?
But I also say - Jesus loved the world so much that He gave His life to a few good men.
“Pastor, Jesus died for millions of people you know, throughout the ages.” Well, yes, but if you look at the Bible, if you looked at His life in ministry, I can tell you He uniquely poured His life to just 12 men. He gave His life to a few good men.
In other words, what I'm saying to you is: Jesus understood the great importance of discipling these 12 men, because they will be key to reaching the whole world for God's glory. Jesus loved the world so much, that in order to reach many in the world, He will have to pour His life to just a few good men.
You see, this is the very – well, maybe not the first, but one of the first things Jesus did, after His public declaration by God, as the Son of God. This was one of the first things He did in, for His public ministry. He did not just go around preaching only. He initially and quickly selected men to follow Him. That was His plan.
And as He was nearing the crucifixion, as He was going nearer the cross, He spent less and less time preaching to the crowds, and more and more time with the disciples. He was getting them ready, because that was His key strategy.
If you have never read this book, I recommend that you read it. Get a copy, physical copy or online copy, I think there is even free copies, I'm not sure. There may be people who are very good at sourcing for stuff like this. But hey, do yourself a favor, read this! Because this was eye opening for me.
This book is called, “The Master Plan of Evangelism”. It's a classic. I mean, it's a well-known book in Christian circle. It's written by Dr Robert Coleman. I don't think he speaks as well as he writes, because his writing here is just excellent, superb. And I think it's very scriptural.
What Robert Coleman was setting out to do, was to show from the pages of the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - the real strategy of Jesus. To many people who read the Gospels, we think that the real strategy of Jesus is preaching, and healing, and so on and so forth - the big stuff, the public stuff.
Now, that is what we are enamored with, because it's spectacular, it's big. But Robert Coleman actually sets out to show you, show us, that the real strategy of Jesus is with the few good men, with just His disciples.
It's ironical, isn't it? The title is “Master Plan of Evangelism”. And the answer is – discipleship. He's saying that discipleship is the key to real, wide, influential evangelism.
We often think evangelism is best done Billy Graham style. You know, when he came to Singapore, tens of thousands packed into the stadium. We think, “Wah, that is the master plan!” No, no, no, no, no, no! Robert Coleman is going to show you, from the pages of the Gospels - it's not filling a stadium that is the master plan, it is the discipling of a few good men - that is the master plan.
There is a slogan we say here in Gospel Light, and in actually many churches. We say, “We must think big”. Right? We must think big, because the Great Commission is to all peoples, unto the uttermost parts of the world, unto the ends of the age. It is big! And we must not satisfy ourselves thinking, “Oh, we just want to reach people in Punggol.” Now, we must reach people in Punggol, but we must think beyond. We must think big! We must think beyond our own generation.
But the key to doing big is not doing big. The key to doing big is starting small. People like to think big, do big, and then they fail big. That's life, right? Think big, do big, sure collapse.
You think big, but you start small. And you really start small. Just a few, just a few. And when you are able to concentrate on a few, you can build deep; you can pour your life deep into their lives.
And when you do that - well, you have caught a vision of Jesus' brilliant strategy. So genius that it is so natural, you don't even realize it until you really think about it.
So I want to say to you - Jesus understood this. It was of great importance to Him. He loved the world so much that right at the beginning of His public ministry, He would choose a few men, and He would give His life to these few men.
 The Impact
Finally, I want to say to you the impact. Does this work? Does this really work? I mean – “Come on, Jason, you're saying we must think big, reach many people. But how can a few people make any difference? Too slow”, you say. “I’d rather preach to thousands.”
Well, let me demonstrate something to you. I'm not going to do it here because of COVID. We can't move around. We can't gather around. But I remember an experiment we did in Gospel Light - I don't know, 15 years ago, maybe 13 years ago, I can't remember now - in SCGS. Now, some of you have watched this video before, but hey, let's relive those days where we were in SCGS, alright.
It's a simple demonstration of two people wanting to fulfill the Great Commission. One reaches more people each year. The other reaches less people each year, but he disciples the people he reaches, so that they too may go out. And let's look at the difference after 10 years. So that's in essence what it is. Take a look.
[Start of Video]
There are two evangelists here. So what we're going to do is - within one year, Benita is so effective in reaching the lost, that she reaches two persons for the Lord. Alright, she won two persons to the Lord in Year 1.
Because she's such a great evangelist, she is burdened for the work of the Lord, and she's going to go again in 2nd year. So next year - can you please go and choose, not choose, go and win two more persons to the Lord.
After 10 fruitful years of ministry by Benita - praise God, she has 20 souls won to the Lord.
Ee Kwang is a faithful Christian. He is a faithful soul winner for the Lord. Though he can do less, he's still going to do his part. So Ee Kwang, since you are inferior, just bring one soul to the Lord. One soul. Alright, Jeff. So Jeff comes forward, and Jeff is won to the Lord, because of Ee Kwang's faithful ministry. Praise God for that!
And you know something? Ee Kwang realizes that Jeff is his good buddy. And Ee Kwang doesn't want him just to be saved; Ee Kwang wants him to know the Lord, to grow in the Lord, and to do what he himself is doing. So he's now investing his life in just one man, in Jeff.
After one year, after one year of investing his life, Ee Kwang says, “It's time for me to go and win one more soul for the Lord. I can only one, not like my wife, she can win two, but I'll just do one.”
And you know something, Jeff is also burdened, because Ee Kwang invested his life in his, and Jeff will also go with Ee Kwang. So both of you, each win just one soul to the Lord.
And so both of them, or the four of them now starts to go. I mean, Jeff invests his live in Oi Chin and Ee Kwang invest his life in Desmond, and they grew together for a year.
And after a year, all of them are now on fire for the Lord and say, “I want to win more soul for the Lord!” So Ee Kwang on the third year, please go and win someone, and all of you also go and win someone. One more person, that's all.
But Ee Kwang is now saying, “Hey guys, let's, let's keep focused. Let’s grow in the Lord, and let's study the Word together. Let me invest my life in Jeff, Jeff is going to invest his life in Oi Chin, Oi Chin is going to invest her life in someone else.” And after one more year, it's the fourth year, they're all going to go, and all of them go out to win one more soul for the Lord. Let's go.
By the fifth year, by the fifth year, how many people have come to know the Lord? 16 have come to know the Lord.
Let's go for a sixth year at least, alright? Let's get one more person for the Lord. Every one of you, one more person for the Lord. So by the sixth year, we have 32. Wow, this is getting crowded up front! This is great! This is good!
By sixth, seventh year, you will now go one more time, alright? Seventh year, everyone, just go and get one more person for the Lord. 7 years we have 64, alright. Wow!
Eighth year, we are at the ninth year. Ninth year is what? 256; no, 512.
In our tenth year - everybody come up front; everybody come up front!
Hey guys, look around you, look around you! We came to a room full of people in the beginning. But because of Ee Kwang's strategy of 1 touching 1, by the end of 10 years, he outstripped the superior evangelist in Benita by miles. Benita could reach 20 people at the end of 10 years. But Ee Kwang ‘s influence extended to 1024 people at the end of 10 years.
How many people did he reach, in the course of 10 years? Personally, just 10. But as a result of his obedience in discipling others, as a result of him following the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ, in investing in a few good men - just one good man, we reached 1024 people.
[End of video]
Well, that's the video I always love to show. I'm sure you will understand why we can't do it here now, right? It's just illegal now. But I hope you will see that that is the brilliance of the plan of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think big, but don't start big; start small. We don't have to be thinking that we are the saviors of the world. Even the real Savior of the world gave His life just to a few good men, to build deep into their lives, that they might do what He Himself would do. That is the brilliant vision and strategy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, am I then saying that we should never preach to crowds? No, that's not the point! Jesus had both a public ministry, of preaching to the crowds, and a private ministry, of investing in a few good men. And I think that is what we need to do.
I'm not trying to tear down public ministry. I'm just asking - where is our private ministry? Where is your few good men?
Some of you here have been Christians for a long time, you're well taught in Scriptures, you're mature, you're equipped, and you're saying, “What should I do?” Let me say this - Don't think about doing big things. You may; but don't think about doing big things until you are willing first, to follow Jesus, and to invest in a few good men.
Now, it's not easy. Because it's something that nobody knows. It's not glamorous. It's not cool in that sense, but it is Christ-like. I want to encourage you to catch a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He has done, and follow in His footsteps. That is His method! That it is His strategy! And I don't think any one of us is smarter than the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think this is the wisdom that He has given to us. So I'm not running down public preaching, I'm still a preacher. But more important than that actually, is that I must pray that God will use me for the rest of my life, to be investing in a few good men. Every season of my life.
I hope that when I die, it could be said that I was faithful in evangelism, I was faithful in discipleship. And I think it will be fine; even if I was a lousy preacher, that will be quite alright, I've been investing in a few good men.
Now, some of you may say, “But I'm too old already lah! Pastor, I'm too old. I want to do more stuff. This is too slow for me. I can't see the end result.” Can I say this - Jesus had only three years, but He chose to do this. In fact, if you have less years, you say, “I'm lau kok kok’ [colloquial expression for someone who is aged]. I want to, I want to - I'm already retired, I don't have much to do.” I say - all the more, do this! You don't have time to waste any more. Build deep into a few men, so that they may reproduce, and your legacy, in a sense, can progress beyond your lifetime here.
So it's ironical that people say, “I'm already too old, I don't have time for this.” I say all the more you should do this. Jesus had only three years, and He invested Himself in discipling a few good men.
Folks, at the end of the day, do you know the reason why you're here? Do you know why you believe in Jesus? Because Jesus invested in the apostles, in a few good men.
There was a day that the apostles were preaching so boldly, that they irked the religious leaders of their time. So they were hauled up. And the Bible says: “[W]hen they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” [Acts 4:13]
Now, like I told you, the apostles were a bunch of nobodies - fishermen, not the elites of society. But they were bold, and they were effective in preaching. Thousands came to faith in Jesus Christ.
They were stunned. They were astonished. Who are these men that they have such magnetism and power? And then they recognized the secret. “[T]hey recognized that they had been with Jesus.” [Acts 4:13] Jesus did such a good job, that these ordinary nobodies became world changers for a long time.
I don't know, but when I read this text, I’ve always imagined that Jesus in the, at the right hand of the throne of God, would have a smile on His face, as this scene plays out. “I've done my job well. I've invested in these men.” And it is exactly what it should be.
Well, what I preach to you today, it's not something that I got right from the start of my Christian faith. I remember being resistant to something called discipleship, because I say, “We have good Bible studies. We've got sermons, that should be good enough.” But hey, God worked in my heart, and I had to listen to messages like this, encouragement from different preachers, pastors. I remember listening to the exact same message twice, before it struck a chord within me. And I realized we needed to get on board discipleship.
So maybe you have heard this before, but I'm praying that God will not just give you information, but God will work in you conviction. That this will be life changing for you; that if you are a mature and equipped follower of Jesus, you would say, “I have no time to waste. I am going to think big, but I'm going to start small, and I'm going to build deep in a few good men or women.”
Well, let me show you a third video. Many videos today, but let's look at this last one.
[Start of Video]
Why is it that countless churches excel at preaching and programs, but struggle to make mature and equipped followers of Christ? Churches typically go from preaching and teaching to deploying. We tell people what to do, then send them off to do it. But the problem with proclamational leadership is that it sends out believers who aren't yet trained and matured. It leads to discouragement, disillusionment, and disengagement.
Jesus didn't direct and delegate, He discipled. He didn't merely inform his followers by sharing His knowledge. He transformed them by sharing His life, and having them join in His ministry. Jesus modelled incarnational leadership, discipling His men, joining them in the trenches, while preparing and coaching them to multiply and to be sent to the frontlines. We call it “Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship”, and we believe it's the missing middle in the life of the church; the center of the hourglass.
Preaching, teaching and small groups deliver great truth and create meaningful fellowship. But Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship equips us to go from belief to maturity, leadership and impacting other disciples and the lost world. Without Christ-like discipleship, Christ followers cannot become Kingdom leaders. And congregations can cherish the Word, but can't change the world.
Remember, when God wanted to build His church, He didn't send a program to implement. He sent a person to imitate. And the life that Jesus lived, the model He gave, was defined by Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship.
Jesus shows us how to think big, start small, and go deep. He pursued a big vision for the world, by selecting a small group of men and investing deeply in their lives. As Paul says, “We shared the Gospel with you and our lives as well.” [1 Thessalonians 2:8] This is the heart of discipleship. When people who are being conformed to Christ share their lives, they pass on Jesus' life. The life of Christ leaves a legacy of generations, and the Gospel spreads around the world.
That's why Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship groups are unlike traditional small groups. They focus on life transformation, not just fellowship or knowledge transfer. They're small, with four to six people who are carefully selected and highly committed. And they multiply - we make disciples who can go and make more disciple makers. As each leader goes on to raise up more leaders, and those leaders raise more leaders still, the growth of the movement is exponential and explosive.
This is not a novel idea or a quick fix. It's simply the way of Jesus. It's not a new method, but an old method with new people.
Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. As we focused on Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship, the blessing has been profound. By God's grace alone, we're seeing Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship movements rise up throughout the United States, and around the globe. Wherever God's plan is followed, we see new believers, new leaders emerging, and congregations impacting their families, neighborhoods, cities and nations. Discipleship was Jesus' model - His method, His mandate, and His mission. There is no Plan B.
[End of Video]
There is no Plan B.
The mission of Gospel Light is: Leading generations into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Loosely adapted from, of course, the Great Commission. And the only way we can impact generations, having a legacy of impacting generations, is if we are willing to disciple those who come after us.
And I hope that we will be a church focused on that. Pandemic, or no pandemic, we are giving ourselves to evangelism, giving ourselves to discipleship, giving ourselves to disciple-making.
Well, this is the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ - Go and make disciples. Don't just help them know Jesus, help them to grow in Jesus, by giving them your lives. We can't give everybody our lives in a unique way, but we can give to a few. And maybe some of you today ought to be thinking of the few.
And if you are here today, and you are saying, “I want to grow as a Christian. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to be an effective fisher of men.” Would you start opening your eyes, and pray for someone to disciple you? Wait for a certain surgeon to come into your life, to help you with the strokes of life. And I pray that it will be life changing, just as it was for Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
And that great encouragement is this - “[B]ehold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matt 28:20] This is the blessing of being a missional church. We know that God's blessing is upon us, as we concern ourselves with His mission.
With that, we end this series on the Missional Church. I know, as in all series, it's easy for you to just hear this, and brush your hands off this, and say, “We have understood this.” The question for you is: Will you ask God, and make changes in your life in order to be a missional people?
Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
I'd like you to maybe take this time to think about what has been shared. A lot has been shared. But I just want to keep this free, and open and easy for you to think through and pray through to God.
What are some of the things that God is repeatedly saying to you? What are some of the things that you should be praying about? What are the changes He would have you make in your life?
“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” It begins with “Me”; it begins with a life of personal discipleship to Jesus. It begins with a commitment to the means of grace - in Scripture, in prayer. Understanding adversity, committing ourselves to community, and looking for encouragers and elders to help us in our lives. It begins with a commitment to S-P-A-C-E.
And then, my brothers and sisters, bring it home. Bring it home to your children. Don't pass on the missing link in the Great Commission. Don't pass on your family. The number one target, focus, and audience should be your children at home. Don't farm this out to Sunday school. Fathers, teach your children the way of the Lord.
And then let's be committed to be evangelists; to bring Good News to those around us. And when people come to faith in Jesus Christ, let us then willingly, gladly, invest ourselves in a few good men.
Yes, is not flashy, it's not spectacular, it's not glamorous, but that is the way of Jesus. This is His model. This is His manner. This is His mandate. This is His mission.
Don't just listen to this as a theory. Think about this, as something you would like to commit to do, as you seek the Lord. Where are your men? And where are the women in your life?
Not all of us will get to preach like Billy Graham. But all of us can follow Jesus, and make a lasting impression and difference in the world that God has called us to live in. May Gospel Light be a missional church indeed.
Dear Lord, we present our hearts’ cry to You. Help us to obey You. We pray that the Great Commission will not be relegated to third place, fourth place, tenth place in our lives, but let Your mission be our mission. May we be wise to seek first the Kingdom of God.
I pray that Gospel Light, through this pandemic and even beyond, will be a Gospel Light indeed. May we be faithful and effective in leading generations into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Bless Your church, we pray for Your own glory and honor. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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