LD #001 – Purpose and Mission of Discipleship – Part 1

1.1 – Jesus as Leader and Disciple

 

(Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Leadership and Discipleship development programs have two different purpose and goals but with reference to the kingdom of God it needed to be done concurrently for the same individual and collectively for the community.

 

Jesus Himself was both a leader and a disciple during His earthly life

 

As a leader, Jesus was showing us the way to be disciple of the plan and purpose of our Father in heaven.

Jesus was showing us how to fulfill the will of God. Therefore while Jesus Himself lived in obedience to the Father’s will, He was being a faithful disciple of the Father’s plan and purpose here on Earth.

 

The Book of Hebrews and Philippians taught us about the humility of Christ.

Jesus was portrayed as a humble servant of God, which is in fact a live illustration of being a disciple according to the plan and purpose of our Father in heaven.

Jesus’s way of humility is in the purpose and intention to fulfill the Father’s will, regardless of circumstances even to the point of death on the cross.

Therefore our measure of humility should be as according to our willingness to make sacrifices to please our Father in heaven, to fulfill His plan and purpose.

In view of that we need to be careful of fake humility which focuses on glorification of the self and religious humanism, which end of the day got nothing to do with fulfilling the plan and purpose of God.

 

(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

 

Jeremiah’s message does appear very encouraging, reminding the people of God’s good plan and purpose for the individual and for the nation of Israel.

But that message was first proclaimed during Israel’s dark history, perhaps their darkest moment in time. Israel was severely judged and punished, suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of their enemies from all sides.

What was painful about this message from Jeremiah was that it reminded them of their disobedience to God, their unwillingness to listen to God’s instructions.

 

They stop being disciples of God’s plan and purpose!

 

Therefore we bear in mind; the kind of humility that pleases God is the kind of humility that will make us sacrifices our own agenda in exchange for the plan and purpose of God to be fulfilled in us.

Discipleship with Jesus is tough call and we need to do our own due diligence to know and understand the will of God so that we can apply it in our life!

You can think of it as “high calling” because Jesus is preparing us to live in eternity with the Father in a place where sin does not exist, death do not exist, and disobedience not allowed while we retain our free-will.

If you can believe God created man with free will in Genesis, then be prepared to know that God will allow people to retain their free-will in the new heavens and new earth, and we need to learn to live in obedience.

Using example from Jesus and his disciples Peter, James and John, we can learn effective ways of leadership and discipleship –

 

the important purpose of discipleship is in the impartation and passing on of values

 

Jesus was passing on values of kingdom living to His disciples, preparing us to live under the sovereignty of God Almighty.

In fact this is how we fulfill The Great Commission and continue the Gospel of our Lord and Savior from one generation to the next till Jesus returns.

A key purpose of The Great Commission is to prepare a generation of obedient sons and daughters of God.

 

(2 Timothy 3:14-17)

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 

The words of Jesus revealed to us and recorded in the Bible, will bring us on a journey towards maturity, perfection, righteous living in faith and obedience to the Father’s will.

In our world today, we have a lot of people who identify ourselves as “Christian” and most of us if not all have been “baptized” and become part of a local fellowship. But for the most part, Jesus’ last instruction within The Great Commission is still very lacking –

 

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

 

Discipleship and Christian Education have remained the most challenging yet most needed part of our Christian life.

I feel one of the most foolish mistakes a lot of churches have made and still making, thinking that Bible schooling, theology and doctrine are reserved for selected few prepared for key official roles in church.

The apostles identify the church as the body of Christ. And within this body of Christ every Christian is a minister and all of us needed to be thoroughly trained and educated in our faith and doctrine.

 

(Hosea 4:6)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

 

For those of us who can appreciate the value of good education, you want your next generation to learn more then you!

Dictators who are brutal and want to control people for their selfish gains, they know what people can do when they become empowered through education.

Leaders who deprive their subjects of good education are bad leaders!

In the kingdom of God, ignorance is not a virtue. You need to know how much Jesus loves you by giving His best education for free

 

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

 

Healthy mature Christian fellowship will involves discipleship and leadership development together and this is something every church is lacking.

Christian Education is an important crucial fundamental part of church life!

 

Leadership and discipleship development together will generates continuity to our Christian growth and maturity as a community while we wait for Jesus’ return

 

Taking our example from Jesus our Master and Leader – we read in the records of the Gospel, the same time Jesus started His public ministry He called Peter, James and John and prepared them to be leaders of the New Testament church while making them His disciples!

The day you become a disciple, you need to know you are destined to be a leader making disciples for Jesus.

Your discipleship experience with Jesus, you will pass it on to someone you bring to Christ.

If you look around yourself you will notice Christians who themselves do not have that leadership discipleship experiences with Jesus, they don’t pass on any values to people around them.

But Jesus called us to be salt and light. We have something valuable to give away.

We need to be properly trained and taught how to do that.

Very often even sincere and committed Christians wants to do something for Jesus but they lack the training.

In the kingdom of God your training always starts with a vision and a plan

 

You start your Christian life with a plan, a purpose and a mission

 

First the plan and the vision, then the textbook and instructions!

Your purpose and intention will make you understand God’s training program!

 

(2 Timothy 3:14-17) … the purpose is in v17

 

You know your purpose of being a disciple for Jesus.

Consider two of the most important things Jesus said to His disciples –

 

 “I will build my church”

“You shall be my witness”

 

The church of the living God do not refer to material buildings.

The church of the living God refers to people who follow the ways of Jesus.

That means Jesus will build His church with His people and through His people.

 

People influence society and social lives

We are called to express and reflect godly influence of Christ-likeness

 

This is where we become effective witness for Jesus in our life.

We start with a clear purpose and vision about where we are heading, where everything will end, and where everybody will meet together eventually.

Revelation 21 and 22 – We are supposed to end up living together with God in eternity and to enjoy the fruits of the tree of life together, but that ultimate goal is reserved for those made sacrifices and do the will of God.

We are saved by grace through faith, but apostasy can happen, people can stray.

Throughout Jesus’ teaching, and even warning, we are told to engage in active continuous discipleship for a purpose

 

(Matthew 22:11-14)

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

 

A key note of this parable was – ‘…. he was speechless…”

Do not be surprised this person does not even know he is in the midst of a wedding banquet! I mean what kind of a person goes to a wedding party and not dressed for the occasion?

This is not a case of a man who could not afford or too poor to get dressed for the function because this is no ordinary wedding we get to attend among friends in our daily life.

It is the royal family’s wedding and the king himself who send out the invitation.

If the king had the power to bring people in he has the power to provide if necessary. This is the rule!

There are cases of common folks invited to royal weddings and they have been duly provided by royal resources!

 

This is a parable of a man who knows not what he is doing but just trying to be part of the crowd!

 

Remember these very important observations, how often after Jesus spoke in parables to the masses, He rebuke them for lack of understanding about what to do at the right time

 

(Luke 12:56)

Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

 (Luke 24:25)

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

 

People missed the will of God because they don’t know what to do at the appropriate occasion and timing!

 

In-His-Service

David Z