Making Disciples

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Seeing the Big Picture

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33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. - Luke 24:33-35

As he boarded the plane, Nicholas was filled with excitement as well as a little trepidation. He had never before been on an airplane. In fact, he had not even left his small village. And in this moment, as he took his seat next to his adoptive parents, his “forever family” as the orphanage called them, he knew life in America was going to be far better than he had experienced in his impoverished country. Sure, he would miss his friends, but he knew he would make new ones. After all, his life had a continual state of adjustment to this point. He was eight years old and had seen more of the dark side of life than most adults. But he had not seen everything.

As the plane lifted off the runway, a new world began to appear out the window. First, he saw runway below, then the trees on the hillsides, and soon the coastline. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, the vastness of the ocean below completely filled his small window, and for the first time Nicholas realized he had lived on an island. From the plane, he was seeing the big picture.

In Luke 24, on the original Easter Sunday, two men encountered Jesus as they were returning home from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. Interestingly, their eyes were kept from recognizing him (v. 16). As they dialogued with the Lord and recounted the events of crucifixion and resurrection, they were drawn to this “stranger” in a profound way, and as he taught them the Scriptures and shared a meal with him, their eyes were opened and they recognized the Lord and their hearts burned within them (v. 32). They had finally understood the “big picture” of God’s plan as foretold in the Scriptures and was now visible to them in the person of Jesus Christ. 

What was their response?  “And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (vv, 33-35).

Instead of being tired and ready for bed, these two believers were now energized; they had a story to tell and they could not wait until morning. They fully understood the plan of God and knew their calling was to intentionally make disciples. Seeing the big picture brought profound clarity to the mission of God (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).

Let’s ask these questions to help us understand the big picture of what it means to live on mission as a Jesus follower:

  • How has Jesus Christ made himself known to me this past week?
  • What events have occurred in my life that were difficult at the time, but now I see that God used them to build my trust and to understand his plan?
  • God does not always reveal his plan (Deuteronomy 29:29). What are some promises of God that help me trust him even when I do not understand why things happen as they do?
  • With whom can I share how God moved in my life over the past week and the lessons I have learned as a way to encourage them?
  • Is there an individual with whom I have a relationship that I can approach about being in a discipleship relationship?

Prayer: Father, help me to remember that you know all things and that you love me as your child.  When I get discouraged, may I cast my cares on you and trust that there is bigger plan than what I currently understand. Lord, I especially thank you that you revealed the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ to me. May I continually follow Jesus and be bold in proclaiming the hope of salvation to others. I want to be a faithful disciple who teaches others to obey all that Jesus has revealed to us. Amen.

Posted by Ed Lutz with
in Gospel

Guarding the Gospel

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Follow the pattern of the sound[a] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.  - 2 Timothy 1:14

As a follower of Christ one of the most important things we are charged to do is to protect the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:14 instructs us,  'By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you."  How do we guard the Gospel? Four ways come to mind.

Be Unashamed of our Faith

In 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul urges Timothy to be unashamed of Christ and the gospel and to join him in suffering for the faith. There is a great social pressure today to compromise our biblical views. Proverbs 29:25 says "the fear of people becomes a snare."  Yet we are empowered by the Holy Spirit  to be bold with our words, to show love to those who criticize, and to live out a life of holiness for others to witness. Through the Spirit we can stand up against persecution and guard the good deposit entrusted to us.

Paul was never ashamed of his faith, his trust in Jesus never swayed. Paul said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."  And this commitment to the gospel never diminished.  Paul’s last words include “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The word translated "kept" means "to keep by guarding, to watch over."  To the end, Paul modeled the importance of being unashamed of our faith.

Knowing the Genuine Article

Knowing God's word empowers us to discern the counterfeits. Timothy was one step ahead in knowing God's word better than most as he was taught the Word of God by his mother and grandmother. He then was discipled by Paul and served with Paul in ministry for years. Even though Timothy knew the Word of God and was well equipped, Paul tells Timothy that he needed to be diligent in the study of the word and in rightly dividing the Word of truth. Surely Timothy realized the importance of knowing God’s word and to distinguish it from false doctrine.

Share The Gospel

In 2 Timothy 1:13 Paul tells Timothy to be vigilant in teaching and preaching the gospel and that his teaching should be reflected by a life that has been transformed by the gospel. The early Christians took this command seriously and they let nothing stop them - not fear or persecution, and the gospel spread because they refused to stop! We must honestly ask ourselves how determined are we? We must continue the call both to share and live the gospel. This is discipleship in its purest form. Sharing the gospel is not about trying to convert people to Christianity, that is the work of the Holy Spirit, but in sharing and living the gospel we partner with the Holy Spirit in that work. 

Make Disciples

Discipleship is a relationship that provides an opportunity to share the gospel and to exercise the 3 ways above to guard it.  It is an honor to teach someone how to apply the gospel to their lives and to witness the transformation it produces.  Making disciples keeps us anchored to God’s Word.  And working with a disciple provides a perfect opportunity to encourage your disciple to boldly share the gospel and fulfill the Great Commandment to "therefore go and make disciples of all nations." 

If we are confident in the truthfulness of the gospel, and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to know it, to live it and to share it, we can guard the good deposit entrusted to us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You have entrusted me with something of utmost importance - your Word and the responsibility to share it with others.  Help me understand the gravity of your words.  Provide the daily opportunity to study it and to see how it can help me to be a reflection of you.  And give me the courage to use it, share it and protect it.

Posted by Pam Phillips with

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