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Its Time to Start Growing

By
Alex Hanevich
v1.3 (updated 4/26/15)

Forward
Disciple-making or discipleship is nearly a lost art in the North American church. It is not for lack of
attention. We have more books, seminars, and sermons on the subject than ever before, but less is
being done to teach people, especially young believers how to be good students of Jesus Christ. Part of
the problem is that most of us in the church no longer reflect good students ourselves, and we are
therefore ill equipped to properly tutor the next spiritual generation.
This must change if the church is to survive another generation in the West. The church most certainly
will survive, Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church, but He never
promised that they would not prevail against our church. Over the last few decades we have moved
ownership of the church out of Gods hands and into ours. Our buildings have gotten bigger and more
elaborate, while our spirituality has been increasingly shallow.
Shallow Christians teaching shallow Christians has resulted in a weak church that is neither faithful to
Christ, nor passionate for His pursuits. The last words of Jesus on earth was a simple plea for a grateful
people to go and make disciples. Thankfully, our children are not content to continue the superficial
faade that we have called church. The North American church is in crisis, because the next generation
of good church going people have effectively dropped out.
Some churches have attempted to win back this next generation with colorful services, creative
programs, or captivating music shows. Some have merely written off this generation as worldly, while
continuing their pursuit of materialism and throwing God a bone on Sunday. If the church is going to
weather this storm, it will happen because we got serious about being students of Jesus, and teaching
other people to be His students as well.
Solomon told us that there is nothing new under the sun, and I do not claim that the discussion on
discipleship that follows is revolutionary. Everything, in here has been elaborated by more godly and
intelligent men. However, I hope that the simple explanations encourage you with the importance of
being a student of Jesus Christ and helping others become students of Jesus Christ. The future of our
church, denomination and nation depends on it.
-Alex

INDEX
1) What is a Disciple? ..4
2) Why do we Make Disciples?........................................................................................................................8
3) How do we Make Disciples Part 1..12
4) How do we Make Disciples Part 2..17
5) Responses to Discipleship.24
6) What does Success Look Like?.....................................................................................................................30
About the Author....35

This is a self-published book, feel free to copy it, share it, or make use of it in any other way that builds the
kingdom of God.

1: What is a Disciple?
When my senior pastor asked me preach a series on discipleship, I was initially excited, but also
daunted. There are so many books, websites, and seminars on discipleship how could I bring anything
new to the discussion? While preparing I saw an internet site that included seventy definitions of
discipleship by Christian leaders. If seventy people defined discipleship differently, there was
apparently a lot of confusion out there about what it is. So I want to start simple and just define what
discipleship is.
When we hear the term disciple we usually think about the twelve disciples. If we are going to talk about
discipleship, we need to know what a disciple is. The Greek word behind the word disciple is Mathetes
which means a pupil (of a teacher) or an apprentice (to a master craftsman). College students
understand what a disciple is. College students have to study, go to class, write papers, do projects, have
a strict schedule, and prioritize their time. The word disciple comes from the same root as the word
discipline. To be a good student it takes discipline. When Jesus told the people of the New Testament to
make disciples, they knew exactly what he was talking about, but today we have confused the term.
We have books and seminars on discipleships, but when we hear the word we arent sure what should
come to our minds. I think the answer might surprise some of you, and some of you might find that you
are not a disciple like you thought. In Bible times, there were often rabbis, or teachers that traveled
around to synagogues teaching. They often attracted people who traveled with them and studied their
teachings and modeled their lives after the rabbis. These students were called disciples.

It has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and


automatic saintliness. It has become part of our instant
culture. Just pour a little water on it, stir mildly, pick up a gospel
tract, and you are on your way. A.W. Tozer
While being saved will cost you nothing, becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ will cost you everything. We
might say that a disciple is a student of Jesus Christ. In this chapter, I want to look at four aspects of
what it means to be a student of Jesus. So before we look at these four defining attributes , lets outline
a definition for the terms disciple and discipleship.
Disciple: Someone who spends close, intimate time with Jesus and as a result models their life on His
teachings and example.
Discipleship: The process by which we become a disciple.
In Matthew 28, Jesus outlines characteristics of what He wants His followers to be defined by
throughout the ages.
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Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed
for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and
spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go
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therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded
you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
The first characteristic is defined by the command to Go in verse 19. The primary role of the disciple is
not to be sought, but to be sent. In our country, we have the rise of the seeker friendly church. Now I am
all for removing the barriers between the lost and Jesus Christ, but the call on us as individuals and on
the church is not to draw people in, it is to go out and seek people because we are sent.
We are the seekers. A defining attribute of a true disciple is that they are constantly realizing that
everyone we encounter is a divine appointment so that Christ through us can meet a spiritual need.
Jesus told His disciples that He would make fishers of men. You dont go fishing by sitting in your living
room with a rod and reel and waiting for fish to come. You go to where the fish are.
We must be mission minded. We are a people on a mission with Jesus Christ. We never go just to work
or to the store. A disciple goes everywhere on a mission to spot and help spiritually hurting people. We
never get holidays or leave, we are always on mission for God, and that knowledge should shape our
goals, ambitions, and desires.
The next key word is Make. Not only are we a sent people if we are disciples, but we must also be
producing new disciples. A true disciple produces more disciples. If you are not spiritually reproducing
yourself are not spiritually healthy. We have created a dangerous culture in North America where
people can be faithful to church and ministries, even giving and we call them spiritual, yet they have had
little to no reproduction in the lives of other people.
A true disciple will always have people who are pushing them to become more like Christ, and they will
have people that they are pushing to become more like Jesus. The heart of a true disciple is to replicate
personal growth in other people. A disciple is interested in others growing just as much as they are
interested in seeing their selves grow. In our minds we think that if we divide our time between other
people instead of focusing on ourselves it will divide our efforts and outcomes, but in Gods economy
when we focus on others He focuses His grace and spiritual blessings on us.

If you really want to experience the power of God, go


and make disciples. Francis Chan
God gave us different spiritual gifts so that we can equip the church to be disciples and disciple makers. We
are often wondering why our churches do not experience the power of God as the early church did, or as
church overseas do. The reason we have not experienced the power of God, is because we have not obeyed
the commands of God. God has told us to be disciples.

The next attribute is in verse 19. Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ that Jesus did not come into the
world to condemn the world but to save it is the constant message of the true disciple. If you do not
actively share the message of Jesus, you are not a disciple of Jesus. We are only called to be witnesses.
Sometimes I think we overthink our role. We have seminars and books on how to share our faith.

A witness who saw a crime, only reports what they saw and experienced. They dont have to understand
forensics or crime scene analysis, they simply share what they witnessed. All we have to do is share
what we have seen Jesus Christ do in our lives. All we have to share is what we have personally
experienced. I think the reason we do not do this, is because some of us have never actually had an
encounter with Jesus Christ and so we cannot speak to that experience.
It is not wrong to meet the physical needs of people. Jesus often fed people and then preached to them,
but to do social work without salvation only serves to delay an inevitable hell. Sometimes people
describe the situation they find themselves as hell on earth or a living hell, but they really have no idea
of the horrors of hell. No evil, tragedy, or travesty on earth begins to come close to the terror and
torment of hell.
If we arent witnesses, than we arent disciples. Jesus has said that disciples will be witnesses. If you
arent a witness, you arent a disciple. If you have the Holy Spirit in you, the message of God will be
broadcast through you. Dont make excuses about it. Repent.
The final attribute is in verse 20. Not only will a true disciple be on mission, not only will they make more
disciples, and share the gospel, a true disciple will teach. What will they teach? What Jesus has
commanded. Where do we find that? In the Bible. In order to teach the word of God, we must know the
word of God. It is not enough to know about it or know someone who knows it. We must know it for
ourselves.
We must not pray as we have seen others pray, we must pray as we have read in scripture. We must not
think as our peers demands, but as the word of God commands. This book should be the basis for our
entire lives, and should be our constant companion and our source for study. You will never become a
student of Jesus Christ, if you never become a student to of the word of God.
The Christianity that most of us grew up with and have practiced is a shadow of what the Bible calls us
to do and be. We are saved from Hell, but we are not working for Heaven.
Remember the story of Christian in John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress? His adventure, his journey began
at the cross where the weight of his sin fell away, but he didnt stay there. He pressed on encountering
people along the road of life. Most who identify themselves as Christian today, have a moment where
they claim to be forgiven of their sins, but they simply sit down, instead of following a risen Savior.
How do we identify a true conversion from someone who simply had an emotional experience and went
away still lost in their sins: have they become a disciple?

The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its
heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by
profession, or culture, are identified as Christians will
become disciples students, apprentices, practitioners
of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from Him how to live the
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life of the Kingdom of Heaven into every corner of


human existence. Dallas Willard

2: Why Make Disciples?


In our first chapter we discussed what a disciple looks like. In the next few chapters we are going to
build upon the introduction, but here I want to take a few pages to discuss about why discipleship is so
important. Many times in the church we stress that you should or should not do things, and we often fail
to give a reason outside of this is what God says, or this is what the Bible says. I think understanding the
why behind Gods commands helps us obey them.
So why make discipleships? Why did God ordain disciples and disciple making as His method for the
church to grow and expand His kingdom? Discipleship is a form of stewardship, and stewardship is a
principle that God teaches throughout the entire Bible.
God has a principle of blessing many by blessing one. He promised Abraham, that through his family, all
the families of the world would be blessed. Discipleship is God sharing what He has taught you with
others. God blesses us so that through us, He can bless others. God wants us to be the conduit through
which His blessings flow and that is the greatest blessing He gives.
We usually think about stewardship when it comes to money, but stewardship involves every area of
our lives. There is nothing that you have that was not given by God. Your house, your family, your
money, and your spiritual growth are blessings given by God. These blessings He never intends to bless
you only, but desires for you to use what He has blessed you with to bless others as well.
God not only owns everything, but He owns all the people too. What He gives you, He gives you on loan,
with the understanding that it will meet your needs, but also with the expectation that we will meet the
needs of others. A lot of us practice this with our money or possessions, but many Christians fail to share
their spiritual growth with others. With great blessing comes great responsibility to share what you have
been given.
So I want to examine some key stewardship principles from Luke 16 and apply them to why we must
make disciples.
He also said to His disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was
brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, What is this I hear
about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward. 3 Then the steward
said within himself, What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig;
I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may
receive me into their houses. 5 So he called every one of his masters debtors to him, and said to the
first, How much do you owe my master? 6 And he said, A hundred measures of oil. So he said to him,
Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty. 7 Then he said to another, And how much do you
owe? So he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said to him, Take your bill, and write
eighty. 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of
this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for
yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting
home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is
unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will
commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another mans, who
will give you what is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and

love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
mammon.

Look back at verse 1. The first principle that we need to recognize regarding the steward of discipleship
is that nothing that we have is ours. Sometimes we begin to think of ourselves as high and mighty we
because we do not engage in certain sins, or because we have a Bible degree, or because we have been
raised in church and we know the Bible, and we begin to look down on those who dont know as much.
Or perhaps we despise those whose lives who do not as closely resembles Jesus as our lives do.
The work that has been done in us, has not been done by us. Jesus Christ saved us. It is Jesus Christ who
conforms us to the image of His Son.
What we know and what we have been taught about God must be shared, because it is not our
knowledge. It is His. Just as the steward in this parable managed the goods of His master, we manage
the message of our Master, and we have a responsibility to use it as He wants.

Find out how much God has given you and from it take
what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
Augustine
Many Christians spend all their time learning more about God for themselves and never sharing it with
others. God never intended to have spiritually knowledgeable followers who do not share what they
have learned with others. As God teaches you, you have an obligation to teach others.
Notice, the steward in the passage, when he realized that he had not been managing his masters
investments well, used what time he could to redeem the time that he had lost. If you and I are still
alive, the good news is we still have time to use what God has given us to accomplish His purposes.
Not only is the spiritual growth we have experienced Gods work that He has trusted to us. Look back at
verse 2. There will one day be an account given on how we have managed what He has given us. We will
have to give an account for how we used the body God gave us, the money He gave us, the talent He
gave us, the time He gave us, and how we used the spiritual growth that He gave us.
The first reason we must make disciples is because the spiritual work that God worked in us was not for
us alone. It is His work. But the second reason we must make disciples is because when our lives are
examined before Christ, discipleship will be a key indicator of whether we lived our lives for ourselves or
for Him.
Each month, at work, I have a scorecard. It tells me how much work I did, and what my quality score
was. It measures several key elements of my job title. There are some things that I am really good at and
do very well that are not measured on the scorecard. The scorecard in heaven does not have blanks
where you can write in the areas you would like to be graded on. You are going to be graded on whether
or not you made disciples.
Some people will stand before Jesus Christ and realize that they wasted 80 years of their life, because they
never made disciples and Jesus will point out that was the reason that they were part of the church and the

reason that they were alive. We do not live to eat, and enjoy entertainment and pleasure. We live to glorify
God, and we are saved so that we might make disciples.
The two areas that will be measured for the Christian is whether or not you gloried God with your talents,
and whether or not you made disciples with your spiritual gifts.

Christianity without discipleship is Christianity without


Christ. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We must make discipleships, because the spiritual growth that has been given us, has been given with
the expectation that we will share it. We must make disciples because we will be evaluated on whether
or not we did, and finally we must make disciples because faithful stewards will be rewarded with more
to steward. If God knows that you have been faithful with what He has given, He will give you more.
Faithful stewardship will lead God to do exponentially greater things in us and through us. We
understand this principle from the workplace. Even Jesus comments in verse 8, that the world
understands this principle better than the church. If two workers are getting paid the same thing with
the same responsibilities and one constantly goes above and beyond, that one will be given additional
responsibilities.
Many of us never grow past a certain point as Christians, because Jesus is still waiting for us to use what
He has given to make disciples before He trusts us with even more responsibilities. The call of a Christian
is to be a sponge and soak up the knowledge of God, but not to keep it, but rather to ring out life giving
water into the mouths of those who are thirsty for God.

The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the


activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself
in consummation. C.S. Lewis
We often talk about God rewarding us and our carnal minds either think he will bless us with more short
lived physical gifts like money or health, or we assume he will heap up a pile of gold coins in an eternal
kingdom where no one has any desires or wants. The reward for faithfully obeying God is the great
privilege to serve Him in more and expanded capacities both now and forever. If getting to do more for
God, does not sound like a good reward to you, it probably explains why you are currently doing so little
for Him.
In our first chapter, we looked at what it means to be a disciple. Disciples recognize that wherever they
go they are sent on a mission from God. Disciples make more disciples. Disciples share their faith.
Disciples teach what they have learned.
And in this chapter we looked at why we must make disciples. We must make disciples because the
spiritual knowledge and experiences that we have been given, were never given for our benefit alone,
but with the expectation that we would share. We must make disciples because there will be a
judgment and the scorecard lists discipleship as a key indicator of whether we have been a good and
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faithful servant. We must make disciples because further spiritual growth hinges on what we will do
with what we have already been given.
Maybe you havent been making disciples. Maybe you didnt understand why you had to. If you have
not been sharing what God has done in your life with other people you have been robbing God, instead
of properly managing what He has blessed you with. You need to repent.
Maybe you have not been growing spiritually. Maybe you started to spiritually grow and then you have
leveled off. The issue is that you have not been sharing what God has done in you with others, and He
will not trust you with more, until you are faithful with what has been given.
Maybe God convicted you about another area of stewardship. Maybe you have not been using your
time, money, or possessions to build Gods kingdom. God gives so that we can work alongside Him in the
lives of people. The moving satisfying experiences you will have in this life and in the next are working
alongside God when you use what He has given.

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3: How Jesus Made Disciples


In our first chapter, we discussed what is a disciple? We have to know what a disciple is, before we can
make them. Disciples are students of Jesus who model their lives after His teaching and behavior. In the
second chapter, we discussed why it was so important to make disciples. Many Christians only grow to a
certain point and spiritually stall, because they have not yet shared their current spiritual growth with
others. Discipleship, we defined as the process by which one becomes a disciple, but that definition is
purposefully vague.
In the church many times we stress things that you need to do. We push you to be a witness, or forgive,
or make disciples, but many times we dont equip you to do those things. We tell you what needs to be
done, but not how to do them. In this chapter, we are just quite simply going to talk about how you
make disciples. This chapter will be very practical. This is not a complicated program to make disciples.

Jesus is not concerned with programs to reach the


multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would
follow. Men were to be his method of winning the world
to God. Robert Coleman
And who better to model how to make disciples than on Jesus Christ, who made the first disciples and
gave us the command to make disciples in the first place? In this chapter we will look at how Jesus made
disciples and in the next chapter we will look at how the disciples of Jesus made disciples. Jesus, Himself,
said that a well-trained disciple will reflect their teacher,
And what better way to reflect our teacher, Jesus Christ, than by making disciples like He did. So lets dig into
this passage and pull out some practical truth for how we should be making disciples.
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From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and
Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to
them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 They immediately left their nets and
followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee,
and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called
them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His
fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with
various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and
paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Himfrom Galilee,
and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
12

Look back at verse 19. I want to draw your attention to the keyword saw. It is the same Greek word
used in verse 21, when Jesus sees the sons of Zebedee. But it is not merely a look. The Greek word
means to know and to understand. When Jesus looked at these men, He knew them. He understood
all their pain, dreams, and needs. When Jesus looked at them, He saw everything that they could be.
When Jesus looked at Peter, He saw both Pentecost and his denial.
The good news is that when Jesus looks at us, He knows everything about us, and every time we will fail,
but He sees us for our infinite potential. You might be reading this and be thinking, I could never make
disciples. If there was not a God, you would probably be right. But Jesus looks at you and sees
everything that He could do through you. Hes God, He can do anything. Jesus sees the potential in
people.
And if we are going to make disciples, we must first inspect people. We must see people on a deeper
level than outward appearance. We must see the potential in people, without being blinded by their
current state or alarming exterior. Notice what Jesus was doing before He called His disciples. Look back
at verse 17. He was involved in ministry. He was trying to meet the spiritual needs of people.
You wont see the spiritual potential of people, until you are actively meeting the spiritual needs of
people. Dont bother trying to make disciples, if you yourself arent doing anything for God. Now you
might argue, that it was easy for Jesus to see peoples potential, because He was God. That is true, and
we do not know everything. We cannot see the future, or every possible future, because of the decision
of a single choice.
Because we dont know everything. Because we cannot read minds, we have to get close enough to
people to identify whether or not they are open to discipleship. This means getting close enough to
people to share their burdens and pains. This means getting close enough to people to get hurt. I think a
reason true discipleship has suffered in the North American church, is we do not want to get too close to
other people or they would see our flaws.
But you have to get close to recognize people prime for discipleship. Some key things to listen for in the
life of someone who may be open to discipleship are phrases like:
I just dont understand the Bible.
I know I need to be in church more.
My marriage has really been struggling.
When I pray, its like my prayers dont go anywhere.
All these statements are people recognizing that they are spiritually missing something in their lives. All
these people know that they need to change. These people may appear to be hopeless wrecks. They be
ugly or hostile or rude. But these are potential disciples. Discipleship should not be based on who we
like hanging out with. Thats called friendship. Discipleship should be based on the spiritual potential of
people because they recognize they have a spiritual need.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to


a mere mortal. C.S. Lewis
13

Look back at verse 19. Once Jesus identified them, He called them. Once again this is the same wording
that is used in verses 21-22. Jesus invited these men to follow Him, after He understood who they were
and what they needed. Notice, the two key phrases follow me and make fishers of men.
Jesus explained that if they came with Him, what the result would be. If they came with Him, He would
make them into disciple-makers. We will talk about it more in session 6, but successful discipleship
always has discipled people making more disciples.
Jesus was very up front with His disciples. He didnt say that He was going to hang out around them for a
little while and try to rub off on them. The call to disciple them was straight forward. When we disciple
someone it must always involve an invitation. I think sometimes we want to secretly disciple people,
without them knowing it. You can certainly influence those you hang around, but discipleship is not
something you do subtly.
Both the disciple-maker and the disciple need to understand going in what is required. Quite simply you
approach someone you have already identified as having a spiritual need, and you invite them to spend
focused time with you as you teach them to be a student of Jesus. You should explain what the
expectations are. You should explain how often you are going to meet, and if you are going through a
book or material, what they should do.
Discipleship has to be a mutual agreement between two people or it will not be successful. Jesus had to
invite them, but they had to leave their boats. Inviting someone to be disciple will have costs for
everyone involved. You will sacrifice your time, and the process may not always be pleasant or easy. The
Enemy will try to prevent your growth, because stagnant Christians are Christians that the Enemy does
not have to worry about on the global battlefield.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Notice what the Apostle Paul said in this verse. Paul told people to follow him, only when He was
following Christ. Paul was not trying to reproduce little-Pauls, he was trying to produce little-Christs. In
our society today, Christian personalities who make videos, or speak on tour, or write hip books are
often the people that we become disciples of. Paul reminded the Corinthian church earlier in the book
not to follow men, but Christ.
And we must understand that this invitation to disciple people is not an invitation to make disciples of
yourself. This unfortunately is an easy mistake when you disciple people. It is easy to begin
subconsciously making a disciple of yourself. We dont need any more of you. God only made one of
you, because that is all the world needs. Unfortunately, I know several friends who have taken a
questionable theological positon all because the same man discipled them and drove that ideology
down their throats.
Discipleship is not making people agree with you politically. It is not making people dress or act like you.
It is making people like Jesus. After you are removed from the equation if you taught them to be like
Christ, they will continue learning from Him. But if you merely taught them to be like you, once you stop
discipling them, they will spiritually flounder. Nothing may make you more arrogant than robbing Jesus
of a disciple, by making one for yourself.

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Finally, look down at verse 23 for the final element of how Jesus made a disciple. He inspected people,
He invited people, and finally He instructed people. These disciples were with Him, so they heard Him
preach, teach and they joined Him in ministry.
Preaching is warning about the dangers of wrong behavior. Teaching is explaining the words of God. And
finally He involved them in ministry by giving them opportunities to serve alongside Himself. Our
discipleship should also model these principles. We should warn about lifestyles and behaviors that we
see in the disciple that the Bible warns against. We should explain what the Bible teaches so they
understand. And finally, we should give them opportunities to meet the spiritual needs of others.
Having one or two of these elements and leaving out the third makes for incomplete discipleship. We
cannot tell them to avoid certain lifestyles, and teach them how to study the word of God and fail to
teach them obedience to the word of God by ministering to others. Thats like teaching a toddler to
walk, but not to speak.
Studying the Bible is important. The Bible is a powerful life changing book, but we do not merely want to
educate people about the Christian life, we want to produce little Christs. The Bible preaches against our
sin, teaches us about our God, but does so that we can do every good work. This book is an equipping
book for the saints to effectively be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. If we use this book to teach,
reprove, correct, and train, but never meet the spiritual needs of other people, we have missed the
point.

Making disciples requires not only sharing your faith,


but also sharing our lives failures and successes,
disobedience, and obedience. Jonathan Dodson
If you are going to have successful discipleship, it will involve inviting people into your life. That is
uncomfortable, because in our modern church we can all wear our halos and masks. When we invite
people into our lives they sees our flaws and our failures. You do not make disciples by being perfect.
They arent your disciples. They are Jesus disciples and He is perfect.
If you want to produce disciples of Jesus Christ, invite people to do ministry with you. They will see you
make mistakes, but they will also realize that God can use them, because He uses a broken person like
you.
In this chapter, we have looked at how Jesus made disciples. In the next chapter, we will talk about how
the Apostles made disciples, and we will talk about how do you make time for discipleship in your busy
life. I want to challenge you, that if you are not discipling someone to get started. In the last chapter, we
talked about why it is so important that we make disciples. Our continued spiritual growth depends on
it, God will judge us on whether or not we did, and it is method by which God has chosen to advance His
kingdom.
If you are a lady I want you to pray that God sends a women into your life that you can disciple. If you
are a man, I want you to pray that God sends a man into your life to disciple. They may already be in
your life, and you just need to open your eyes and listen for their spiritual need.
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1 John tells us that if we ask anything in His name, according to His will, He will do it. He wants you to
make disciples, and He will bring someone into your life to disciple. Some of you may not be ready to
disciple anyone, because honestly you are not a disciple yourself. In the first chapter, we talked about
what a disciple is. A disciple recognizes that everywhere they go they are on mission with God. A disciple
wants to make more disciples. A disciple shares the gospel with others. A disciple explains the word of
God. Maybe in this chapter, you realized that you cannot make disciples because you have never
become one yourself.

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4: How to Make Disciples Part 2


Last chapter we talked about how Jesus made disciples. In this chapter, we are going to look at how his
disciples made disciples. We are going to look at the connection between the growth of the church and
discipleship. Discipleship is key to the church acting like the church, and the church growing
supernaturally.
In our day and age, we have attempted to replace discipleship, literally becoming students of Jesus with
programs, events, and technology. Programs, events, and technology arent bad. I like using all three,
and they help contextualize our message for our community that no longer has a Christian background,
but they are not replacements for discipleship.
I believe that God will not send converts to your church, if he knows that you wont disciple them. God is
going to bring the increase to a place where he knows that they will be taught to be obedient students
of Jesus. Somewhere during the history of the church, we have decided that Jesus died to save us from
Hell, rather than to equip us to do the work of heaven.
If we are merely going to tell people how to escape hell, but we are not going to tell them how to expand the
kingdom of God, I believe we will see God supernaturally grow other churches rather than ours. Escaping hell
is a benefit of salvation, but we are saved for a purpose and that purpose is to grow the kingdom of God.
How do we grow a spiritual kingdom? By bringing more minds and lives under the rule and reign of Jesus
Christ.

You can plant churches and not make disciples, but you
cannot make disciples and not plant churches. Dhati
Lewis
A student of Jesus Christ is not content with merely escaping the punishment of hell. A student of Jesus
Christ is interested in multiplying their experience across many people. If we are effectively making
disciples it will result in more disciples being made. When we begin measuring the success of our church
in how many we send out to minister instead of how many we gather on Sunday, then we will see the
supernatural power of God moving to bring lost souls to the point of repentance like He did in Acts 2:
40

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this

perverse generation. 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day
about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the
apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came
upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who
believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods,
and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
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46

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house,

they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all
the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

And there is no question that the Apostles created an environment where people, who were saved were
discipled with the chief purpose of making more disciples. I want to dig into what happened when
someone was saved in the local church, and see how a few men turned the world upside down. If we are
going to see the radical results like three thousand coming to Christ in verse 41, I think we have to use
their secret weapon: discipleship.
First, lets look back at verse 42. Just like with Jesus, discipleship involves some measure of instruction.
Remember what a disciple is? A disciple is a student of Jesus, and what we do is teach people how to
become lifelong learners of Jesus Christ.
Part of that instruction is doctrine. Doctrine determines how we live our lives. Doctrine has been
downplayed in recent years, especially by the rise of the emerging church. These movements encourage
churches to focus on their similarities rather than their differences. And for too long the church has
been in battle with itself in various forms, rather than engaged in a battle with the devil for the lost souls
of our generation, but we must not neglect doctrine.
We must teach people what the word of God says. Not our opinion, neither our theories, but what the
word of God clearly says. People are spiritually hungry when they first get saved, and we often waste
that time, by enjoying their faithful attendance, rather than by feeding them wholesome spiritual food
from the word of God. When people find that they have not been spiritual satisfied, they drop off in
their attendance and we lose them.
You cannot eat one meal a week and expect to be full. We must teach those who have come to Christ
the truths of Gods word. We must tell them about the life and words of Jesus, the instruction of Paul,
and foundation of the Old Testament.
So what do we teach them? There are many important doctrines, but I think if we are training people to
be lifelong students of Jesus and make more disciples, we need to focus in on three areas. The first is
prayer, notice it lists pray as one of the steadfast pursuits of the early church. We must teach people of
the importance of prayer. It is not a segue in the service, or a magical blessing over the food, it is
communication with the God of heaven who can empower and direct you depending upon your reliance
to communicate with Him. Second, we need to teach them the importance of sharing the gospel. The
reason many of you do not share your faith is because you were not discipled by someone who did. If
we are going to break the cycle of Christians uncomfortable about telling others about the good news of
Jesus, it is going to be because we present it to new believers as a foundational part of their relationship
as students of Jesus Christ.
And third, we must not only teach them prayer, and sharing the gospel, we must teach them how to
study Gods word on their own. My college professor used to always says, The job of a university is to
teach you how to be a life-long student. The goal of discipleship is to teach you how to continue
learning from Jesus as the time of formal church lead discipleship is over. Sadly, today we are raising
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young Christians who have no idea how to study their Bibles, and we think if they go to Awana, youth
group, Sunday school, or the church services somewhere in there they will magically learn. If we never
take the time to teach someone, they will not learn.
We are not just teaching them so that they can continue to teach themselves. We are teaching them, so
that they can teach others. In fact, we are teaching them with the expectation that they teach others.
Discipleship always sees beyond the person you are currently teaching, to all the people that this person
will teach after you.
And this is why our discipleship must be open and honest, and reflect more than our perfect Sunday
faade. Many times we walk through the church doors and put on a mask. We act like we are perfect in
the church building, rather than actually living like Christ in the world. We are more worried about not
looking perfect among our brethren, than we are about actually standing out in the world who needs to
hear our message.

Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their


life, or else they pull down with one hand what they
build up with the other. Matthew Henry
Discipleship will fail if you teach people one thing and practice another. It will fail with your kids, when
you tell them to be in church, and you often skip the services. It will fail with the people you disciple if
you teach them the word of God, and yet you actively disobey it. Be real with people, be honest about
your struggles, and failures, and successes or discipleship will be a waste of their time and yours.
Look down at verse 44, where we have the next element of the Apostles discipleship. The Apostles not
only taught doctrine, they also incorporated a communal element to discipleship. The disciples spent
intimate time with Jesus. Where He went, they went. Where He slept, they slept. What He did, they did.
The communal nature of the early church was based on a foundation of discipleship. Discipleship was
the glue that held the church together. I believe that discipleship is still the glue that reinforces our bond
with each other. We have a common love for Christ, but it is our common pursuit of becoming better
students of Jesus Christ together that connects us.
Many people have commented on the communal nature of the early church. Some have tried to
replicate it in cults, others have preached that we should sell our goods and share openly with each
other. I agree that we are materialist and we see our possessions as belonging to us rather than
belonging to God and open to be used in His ministry, but I think often we are missing the point. One of
my friends jokingly refers to the early church as communists, because of their practices.
But the early church was practicing community, as a means to disciple people. When it says they had all
things together or they shared everything. It means more than that they shared goods or money. It
means that they shared their lives with each other. This is an area where the modern church has failed
miserably, because we no longer share our lives with each, we share a few hours on Sunday morning.
These early believers would share their hearts with each other. They would share their burdens. They
would share their successes and their failures. You will not really care about peoples problems until you
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have their tear stains on your clothes. Discipleship will force us to get close enough to people so that
when their heart breaks, ours does too. Thats not a bad thing though, thats how the church is
supposed to operate.

The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a


brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only
when he is a burden that another person is really a
brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The
burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had
to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men
in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother
carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that
has been found. God took men upon Himself and they
weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with
them and they with God. In bearing with men God
maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ
that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share
in this law. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We need to be a part of experiencing peoples physical needs, and helping to meet those needs so that we
can meet their spiritual needs on a deeper level. You will pray with more passion for someone whose blood
has laced your clothes than you ever will for someone whose names comes across the church prayer list.
When people see that we care about them, and we do not merely care about growing our church or growing
our name, they will open up spiritually and be positioned to grow rapidly as a disciple.
I believe that most churches stagnate when they decide they want numbers more than individuals.
Individuals can be counted, but people know when we just want someone to come, and not necessarily
them. Discipleship forces us to slow down and look past the crowds and see the individual. Until we do that,
growth will be slow, not just for our local church, but for the kingdom. The whole message of the gospel is
that every person matters, but in our church services many times that message is practically lost in
application. It takes discipleship to show people their value to us, to God, and to the church.
And you might be saying, Thats great Alex, but how am I going to make time to disciple someone. Life is
busy. I know that. We need to prioritize our lives, and decide what God has called us to and what we have
merely signed up for because it sounded fun or because we dont like saying no. BUT DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT A

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CHOICE OR A CALLING. IT IS A COMMAND. If you dont make time for it, you are in disobedience to the Word
of God.
That being said, you are be practical and wise with your time. Weave people into the schedule that you have
already established. Find times that overlap. There is a guy I work with, that I disciple because we choose to
take a lunch break at the same time, every Tuesday. We just overlap our schedules to make time for
discipleship. Find common denominators, and go to the gym at the same time, or go fishing together. Find a
common element in your busy schedules and conform your schedule to disciple people.
As my pastors wife, once brilliantly reminded me, People do what they want to do. If you want to disciple
someone you will make time for it. And I believe it will be the most moving and meaningful time in your
week.

Finally, look down at verse 46. The final element of the Apostles discipleship is church attendance. The
book of Acts describes the transitional period as the early church moved away from the Jewish
traditions to the mystery of the local church. They chose to worship on the first day of the week, and
they had no church building and the church began in Jerusalem so they would go and worship in the
Temple.
Church attendance is necessary for spiritual growth. It bonds the body of Jesus Christ so it works more
effectively together. If you are not faithfully attending church services, you will not be connected with
other believers enough to have much of a concentrated impact on our community and culture. So how
much church attendance do you need? The better question is how much do you want to spiritually grow
and impact our community.
Your church attendance reveals how committed you are to the commission of Jesus and your own
personally spiritual growth. If attending church helps you grow spiritually, why would you choose not to
come to a service? I can only conclude that growing spiritually is not that important to you. As we
disciple people, they will pick up on our bad habits as well as our good ones. If we are disciple someone
and we do not faithfully attend church neither will they.
If people are not faithfully attending church it will fracture and divide the effectiveness of the body
working together to accomplish the work of Jesus. A lung operating outside of the body, no longer
accomplishes its purpose.
The Bible tells us, that we each have this role to play in the local church so that the body of Christ can mature
and accomplish the works of Christ in the world. This local church cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus
effectively if people do not gather together to be equipped, encouraged, organized and empowered.

Our church services come alive when we have been partnering together to accomplish the purposes of
Christ outside of this place and we return here to rejoice together. There was a couple who had begun
discipling another couple in my church, and I loved to watch the two couples worship on Sunday. They
would not sit together, but both of their worships were influenced by the other couple just being in the
room.
The music leader did not have to play just the right song to stir their emotions. They were worshipping
because of what they saw Jesus do all week long. When we disciple people it makes the communal
worship services we have sweet as we see the role we have played in helping another believer become a
student of Jesus Christ.
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And attending church empowers us throughout the week. We need to teach a new generation the
importance of church attendance. If the body of believers is meeting, that is where I belong. That is
where I need to be. I often wonder if many of the difficulties we face, is because we are often not where
we are supposed to be. On Sunday night, if your church is meeting and Jesus appeared in a vision to you
and you asked Him, Lord, where should I go tonight. I feel confident He would say go to church.
But the reality is that most of us, go where we want and rarely ask God where He wants us to go, what
He wants us to do, and what He wants us to say. Some of us are scared to surrender the life that God
saved to the God that saved us. God may very well intend to speak to us in a church service that we
refuse to attend.
I never want to take that chance. Imagine if Moses had ran up to the burn bush and poured water on it.
That is the spiritual equivalent when we avoid the places we know that God may speak from. It happens
when we refuse to take a few minutes of silence after we pray to listen for His still small voice. It
happens when we dont read our Bible, and it happens when we skip church. We purposefully spiritually
weaken ourselves when we miss church.

Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion


of rich, healthy blood to a sick man. Dwight L. Moody
If we are to produce disicples, we must teach them the importance of attending church. They will not
learn this by words. They will learn this, by the lifestyle we demonstrate. Many of us, have influenced a
young believers pattern of church attendance, not because we will discipling them, but because we
were not here when they came. Your lack of attendance is not just impacting you and your family, it is
hurting the growth of young believers in the faith. The question is, do you care?
We have looked at three elements of how the Apostles made disciples. There is no debate to how
effective these methods were. Christianity has spread across the planet, because the foundations set
out by these eleven men. If we are honest, these eleven men have been more effective than all our men
and women in all our churches across North America, but it is not too late for us to have a supernatural
impact on our community and culture.
We need to disciple people. We need to teach them the doctrines of the faith. Not our opinions, but
what Gods word says. And we need to teach them how to study Gods word for themselves. We need
to share our lives with other people. Our lack of community with people outside of our family, is selfish
and unspiritual. The health of the church and the effectiveness of the church depends on us getting
close enough to people to be hurt by them, and to help shoulder their burdens. Finally, we need to
recognize the importance of church attendance, and pass that importance on to the next spiritual
generation.
I believe that God wants to radically impact our community with the good news of Jesus Christ. I believe
the issue is that we do not. We want to see our city changed for Christ as long as it does not involve us
having to do anything. We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. If we dont reach out, we will not see
God work.

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I want to give you a simple challenge. Do you want to disciple someone? We have needs for individual
men and women and couples to disciple men, women, boys, and girls. If we want to see your
community reached and your church grow, it will take us showing God that we are serious about
spiritually growing the people He sends us. Find someone. Get busy.

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5: Responses to Discipleship
I want to take our final two chapters to talk about responses to discipleship and measuring success. As
we talk about the different responses to discipleship I want to encourage you, because not everyone will
become a disciple. We need to know how to make Biblical disciples and we need to apply ourselves to
the task, but no matter how well we do, some people will not become fruitful students of Jesus.
After all, even Jesus the greatest disciple-maker of them all had Judas. And we are going to look at some
responses to the word of God in Matthew 13.
3

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: Behold, a sower went out to
sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured
them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately
sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched,
and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the
thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
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Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom,
and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in
his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony
places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root
in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of
the word, immediately he stumbles.22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who
hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and
he becomes unfruitful.23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the
word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty,
some thirty.
This passage is not exclusively talking about discipleship. It is talking about the four responses that
people have when the word of God is shared. But it certainly has application for us as we think about
how people respond to the invitation to become students of Jesus Christ.
You and I cannot make anyone becomes a disciple of Jesus, any more than we can force someone to
become a Christian. Our responsibility is to teach them how to become students of Jesus, if they
surrender to become one. I have had people that I approached about discipling who simply refused.
There are others who initially said yes, but never would actually meet with me, and there are others that
we met and I poured out my heart into them and they did not become disciples of Jesus. And there are
still a few who I met with and taught, and who moved from nominal Christianity into a close relationship
with Jesus.
So above all, I want to encourage you in this chapter, that as I challenge you to begin discipling people
not to become discouraged at setbacks, or disinterest. The last words of Jesus were for us to go and
make disciples, and the last thing the Enemy wants you to do, is to fulfill the last command of Jesus.
There will be obstacles and barriers and you will often pour months of energy into a person and see little

24

growth. Our command is to be obedient and teach people how to be students of Jesus. We leave the
results in His hands.
So in this chapter, lets dig into the passage and look at the four responses to the word of God, and talk
about how these responses play out in discipleship. Along the way, you may be challenged by how you
respond to the word of God, yourself.
First, look back at verse 4. Jesus describes this soil as the beaten down or hard soil at the edge of a
roadway. Constant foot traffic packed the soil so that the seed could not penetrate the hard ground. In
verse 18, Jesus explains that this is when the word of God, does not even reach the heart to affect the
person. They consciously choose to reject Gods word before it even has a chance to begin working in
their heart.
These are individuals who have decided before they even hear the word of God that they are going to
do whatever they want. Before God even asks, the answer is no. These people assume that they have a
long time left to live on the earth and there is no hurry to get busy for God. The idea of standing before
a holy God and answering for the efforts of your life is utterly alien to them, or at best so far off as not
to be concerning.
Luke 12:19 But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you
have prepared, whose will they be?
Jesus in this parable was reminding people that life is short and none of us know how short it is. Each
time I travel down to Atlanta I see this digital sign over the highway that says roadway fatalities in 2014
and last time it had over 900 people who were killed in accidents. I often thing, I could be one of those
numbers. We need to have healthy appreciation for the fact that today may be the day that you stand
before a holy and terrible God and answer for the attitude of your heart that you were going to do
whatever you wanted regardless of what He commanded.
There will be no excuses. No explanations. There will simply be a loving God with holes in His hands
showing you how much He loved you and you recognizing how little that reality effected your everyday
life.
We should expect some people when asked to make disciples simply to refuse. We should expect some
people that we ask to disciple and they refuse. We cannot convince people who do not want to be
students of Jesus to be students. We cannot force them and hope they come around. If people are not
committed or interested there are others who are.
We should give opportunities to people to become students of Jesus, but dont waste your time trying
to convince someone who never wants to be a student in the first place. It does alarm me however,
when someone claims to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and they are utterly uninterested in becoming
like Him. I am not saying that all those are unsaved, but I am saying that it is highly alarming if someone
gets saved and has no interest in becoming like Christ.

[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do


all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you
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trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if


you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must
follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a
new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in
order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you
already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for
your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain
way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already
inside you. C.S. Lewis
We waste our lives when we base our lives on what we want to do. When we reject the commands of
the Bible and do whatever we want. We are wasting our lives. We only have a single life to live. What we
do in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ is what matters. It is what defines whether your time
here was wasted or meaningful.
Next, look back at verse 5. These seeds fell on rocky soil, so that they could not gain deep roots and
withered and died. Jesus explains in 20, these are people who initially consent to the word of God, but
later because they have a shallow faith they turn aside as soon as something unpleasant happens. We
have all seen people like this. People who are faithful as long as God blesses their business or as long as
their loved ones are healthy.
There will be some who initially consent to discipleship until they recognize that it will cost them
something. At the least it might cost them a free evening during the week when they can meet with
another believer. They mentally assent to the word of God, but agree to it only if it is convenient.
There are some people who will thank you for asking to disciple them. There are some who will be
excited and interested, and say how much they need it, but who will never show up. There are some
who will constantly reschedule, and make excuses. We need to be flexible and as supportive as possible,
but we must do so while recognizing that some people want to appear spiritual, they just dont want to
take the steps to be spiritual.
How many people wish they were thinner or healthier? How many are actually doing something about
it? This is the dilemma with the rocky soil. They are shallow Christians. They want to be better, but only
if it easy. They like the appearance of being spiritual, but they dont like the sacrifice or the work.

With their doctrine they build, and with their lives they
destroy. Augustine
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They say all the right things, they just rarely ever follow through with their lives. They talk the talk, but
dont walk the walk. It is easy to say the right things in church, and verbally assent to discipleship. It is
something else to actually start studying who Jesus was and modeling your life on His behavior.
Look at verse 7, Jesus describes how some seeds fell among thorns, but in verse 21 describes how these
are people who are distracted by the pursuits of the world.
We have people today who are trying to have the best of both worlds. They want to achieve the same
things as their unsaved neighbors, all while having the security of knowing that they wont go to Hell for
their selfish pursuits. This is where many of us fall when it comes to responding to the word of God.
Thorny soil people acknowledge the truth of Gods word and that it applies to them. They may leave
after a rousing sermon and thank the preacher for stepping on their toes, but nothing changes once they
leave. They are the same people. They agree with the word of God. They even admit that they need it
and need to obey it. They just cannot let obedience get in the way of their comfort, their pleasure, their
plans, or their entertainment.
You will find someone people who will never agree to be discipled because it will force them out of
nominal Christianity into something closer resembling Biblical Christianity and that would mean
changing their priorities. These people dont want to go to Hell, but they still want to enjoy as much of
the world as they can get away with.
Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the
kingdom of God.
Jesus said these types of people will not be good for anything, because all they do is look back on
fondness to what they gave up when they became a Christian. They are obsessed with what they are
missing out on rather than being obsessed with thanking their savior with service. These are carnal
people, who claim to know Christ and pursue the same things that the world does.
Do we spend our money, our energy, and our time the same way the world does? That does not mean
that we are godly. It means we are worldly. When we spend our money, our energy, and our time like
Christ did, than we are godly.
Jesus did not die, simply to save us from Hell, and for us to continue in the same pointless and vain
pursuits of the world. He died to make us dangerous. The reality is that these type of people would
rather live a quiet safe life without God, than a troubled life with Him. Their prayers reflect this.

All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back


the society around it, rather than a window revealing a
different way. Phillip Yancey
So we must acknowledge that some people that we invite to be discipled will be too busy being students
of the world to be interested in being students of Jesus.
Finally, look at verse 8. Some of the seeds fell on good soil These are people who hear the world of God,
acknowledge it as true, let it penetrate their hearts, and act in obedience to it. This is the type of soil we
27

all should be. This is the type of person we need to disciple others, and this is the type of person we
want to disciple.
Fruitfulness, in the life of a believer means that they obey the word of God, and we can see that they did
it with the right motivation because God blesses. Discipleship is not a buddy hangout, though you likely
will become close and even friends with those you disciple. It is a time intentionally set aside to help
someone become a student of Jesus.
If people pursue becoming students of Jesus with the right motivation and with obedience to the word
of God, we will see them grow, and see God use them. Being obedient to the word of God is not how we
earn our salvation. Salvation is a free gift of grace given by God on all those who will believe.
But it is expected that those that believe will obey the word of God. Our obedience to the word of God
does not save us, but it does reflect that we are saved. You can obey the word of God and not be saved,
but you cannot be saved and consistently disobey Gods word.
These are people who read the Bible and do not make excuses, but with the power of Spirit move to
obey what they read. We need people who obey Gods word to teach new believers to obey Gods
word. We have so many so called Christians who do not live in obedience to clear commands in
scripture because they saw our example.
The fact that we highlight one verse that promises blessing, while downplaying other verses that call us
to share our faith is not lost on a new believer. Our lack of diligent obedience quickly spreads to the
youngest believers and they settle into a comfortable pew, saying the right things and not doing
anything.

I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a


student of the Bible. D.L. Moody
We must be students of Jesus Christ, by being students of the Bible. All the Bible, not just the parts that
we like or are easy for us or are non-controversial. We must make the Bible our guide, and become
obedient to it. When we pick and choose what parts of the Bible we will be obedient to while rejecting
others, we teach the next generation of the church not to be students of Jesus, but to be students of
self.
So I want to ask you. What type of soil are you? When it comes to making disciples is it a choice to you a
suggestion? Is it something you agree needs to be done, but you will never do anything about it?
We never know the type of soil we are planting in until after we sow the seed.
Path mentally reject the word of God, so it takes no root in the heart.
Rocky give mental/verbal consent with no spiritual change. Wants to appear spiritual.
Thorns give mental consent, and wants change, but not at the cost of worldly pursuits
Good hears the word of God, consents to it, and obeys

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Your association with a soil type reflects how we respond to the word of God. If we want to change the
type of soil we are, the change is made by how we choose to respond to the word of God.
The next generation of the church depends on how you and I will respond to a simple command, Go
and make students of Jesus. Some will refuse, others will say yes and get distracted, others will say yes,
and never do anything. And some, a few will actually act.
How about you?

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6: Measuring Success
In this final chapter, I want to talk about how we can identify success. We know God brings the increase,
but God has promised to move when we are obedient, and we need to measure success. If we dont
measure it we might not correct something that is not working, and we may fail to thank God for what
He is doing.

Only the eyes of God can distinguish the difference


between success and failure. Anton Chekov
Sometimes, we can become obsessed with measuring success because it makes us feel successful. We
can begin ministering because of how to makes us feel, rather than who it helps. So when we measure
success we need to not only consider the people we disciple, but we must also consider ourselves. Are
we still making disciples for the right reason?
And the answer to what success looks like, cannot be merely about numbers. Numbers are important,
the Apostles kept accounts in the early church, but often simple numbers can skew reality. Just because
one hundred people went through your discipleship program does not mean it was successful.
And likewise, just because we have been successful in the past in does not mean that we will be
successful today. And we should not become so enamored with success that we constantly measure
everything so much that we have no time for the Spirit to work through us. So what is success?
Success at its simplest is obedience. When we obey what God said to do, we are successful. In the last
chapter we talked about responses to discipleship, and how not everyone who goes through a
discipleship program or relationship will actually come out changed. That does not mean that you have
not been successful. Do not become discouraged if we do not always see the results that we wish.

I do not pray for success; I ask for faithfulness.


Mother Teresa
When we remain faithful, God brings success. Sometimes we use our measure of success to stop doing
what God has commanded us to do. We decide we are not successful so we stop being obedient, and I
think many people have quit a Sunday school or a ministry right before God does a miracle. I have a
friend who started a ministry a little less than one year ago, and the ministry has not grown much in this
first year and he has decided to end it, because God has not blessed it. Sometimes we insist that God
bless our ministries and efforts in our time in a way that we can see and demand. One church planter
told me, The first five years dont matter. You cannot even begin to know if you are successful in the
first five, so dont worry about them. When we focus on obedience, God brings the increase.
So what would be the preferred results that we hope to see come from discipleship? Lets return to the
passage that we first started in back in chapter 1 when we talked about what it means to be a disciple,
and asked the question are we disciples?
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The reality is that our end goal is for people to look like students of Jesus Christ, and any measure we
use to weigh our effectiveness must be contrasted between how much the person has conformed to the
image of Jesus. Remember our definition:
Disciple: Someone who spends close, intimate time with Jesus and as a result models their life
on His teachings and example.
So lets examine the four areas of what it means to be a disciple and talk about how we can identify and
measure them in the lives of those we disciple. Consider Matthew 28:
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Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed
for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and
spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go
therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded
you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
Remember, the first characteristic of a true disciple? A true disciple recognizes that everywhere they go,
they are sent on mission by God to meet the spiritual needs of the people they meet. The first indicator
of whether or not someone has become a student of Jesus is if they have begun to notice the spiritual
needs of people around them and reached out to help.
This is why discipleship should involve inviting people to partner in the ministries where you already
serve. It helps them recognize that following Christ involves serving others. The move from nominal
Christianity to being a true disciple is a move from serving self to serving others.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans
and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Some people tend to help meet the physical needs while ignoring the spiritual needs, while others meet
the spiritual needs by ignoring the physical. Jesus did both. As His students we should too. To meet the
physical needs of someone and to ignore their spiritual needs is to simply make them more comfortable
on their road to Hell. We must train young disciples to identify and meet both needs of those around
them.

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked
was: If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?
But the good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do
not stop to help this man, what will happen to
him? Martin Luther King Jr
The shift to becoming a true student of Jesus Christ, is a shift to focus on the needs of others, rather
than on the needs of ourselves. This is what Jesus did when He went to the cross, and this is what we
must teach and model for new believers.
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If we have successfully taught someone to be a student of Jesus they will be meeting the physical and
spiritual needs of others.
Remember, the second characteristic of a true disciple? A true disciple begins discipling others. As a
student of Jesus Christ grows spiritually closer to Jesus, this should result in excitement to tell others
about what they have learned.
This is why we should be good models of true discipleship, because we are encouraging those that we
disciple to go and disciple others, and they will naturally model their discipleship behavior on our
example. A great place to encourage new believers to start discipleship is in the home. They should
disciple their children or spouse. They can then move to a friend or more distant family member.

The one indispensable requirement for producing


godly, mature Christians is godly, mature Christians.
Kevin DeYoung
We must be the student of Jesus that we hope to produce. What we do will overshadow anything that
we say. Remember, when we stop pouring our lives into others, we start stagnating and stop growing.
Teach, the disciple to pray and ask God to reveal who they should disciple to them. We must teach them
to be watchful and identify signs of people who may be open to discipleship.
God never lets us experience something or learn something to keep it to ourselves. He expects us to
share it with others. As we share with a young disciple openly and honestly, it teaches them to do the
same with others.
If we have successfully taught someone to be a student of Jesus they will be sharing what they learn
about Jesus with other believers and helping to push their peers to be better students of Jesus Christ.
Remember, the third characteristic of a true disciple? A true disciple shares the good news of Jesus
Christ with others. Above all other areas of discipleship, people will only do this if they see us doing it.
We all want new believers to share our faith, but they wont as long as they see that we dont.
Too many new believers quickly stop sharing their faith, because they never see us sharing ours. At its
simplest level this is simply talking about Jesus with people you encounter. Make it a natural part of your
conversation as you meet the people in public places to speak boldly our Jesus, the Bible, and prayer.
This helps train the young disciple to also be bold in their faith and witness.

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are


not saved yourself. Be sure of that. - Charles Spurgeon
Perhaps you would say, that you do want people to be saved, but you just dont do anything about it. If
you take no action to see it happen, I would argue that you do not want it very much. At least, not as

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much as you want many other things. It is because we have not been good examples of sharing our faith
to new believers that America is in the shape that it is in today.
What we need to produce in young disciples is a spiritual boldness to talk about Jesus Christ. You dont
need to have seminary degree or extensive training, you simply need to talk about what you have seen
Jesus do in your life. Talk about church, prayer, and the Bible in your everyday conversation. If you do it,
those you disciple will as well.
If we have successfully taught someone to be a student of Jesus they will share the good news of Jesus
wherever they go.
Remember, the last characteristic of a true disciple? A true disciple studies the word of God for
themselves so that they can teach others and do not have to rely on others to be taught.
Too many young believers need someone to dig out the word of God for them. Many relinquish their
Bibles to once a week use on Sunday. Many struggle with reading and see the Bible as a daunting book
to engage. We must show people how to study Gods word for themselves.

Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. St.


Jerome
Bible studies are great, sermons, Sunday school lessons, and small groups are great, but if you cannot
open up the word of God and study it for yourself, you do not yet really know Jesus Christ. Studying the
word of God is not complicated or difficult, but it is something that people must be taught. Do not
assume that just because someone gets save that they suddenly know what to do with the Bible. We
must teach them and model for them what to do.
Many young Christians are pulled astray by false teaching, because they only know what they have been
told and not what they have read in the foundation of Gods word. The authority in discipleship is not
the disciple-maker, but the word of God. You and I do not decide what is truth, the Bible does. We must
teach people to study Gods word, and we must model this behavior by using and knowing scripture,
and not just talking about our opinions and experiences.
If we have successfully taught someone to be a student of Jesus they will be able to study Gods word
for themselves, and explain it to others.
So ultimately we are asking: Is this person more like Jesus, because they spent time studying the life of
Christ with me? There will be instances where people willfully refuse to become a disciple of Jesus, but
we must evaluate, whether there are better ways to disciple so that we can create a more full, mature
and complete disciple of Jesus Christ.
As we share with others what we have learned following Jesus Christ, we need to be certain that we
training them in the four key areas that make a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Go: we need to make sure we are giving them opportunities to minister, so that they recognize
they are on mission with Jesus Christ.

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Make: we need to encourage them to disciple people in their own lives.


Baptize: we need to model for them how to share their faith, and encourage them to do the
same.
Teach: We need to teach them how to study the Bible for themselves, and encourage them to
explain it to others.
The church in North America is on the verge of not collapse, but something much worse: irrelevance.
We have assumed that what we need is new programs, or more money, or better buildings. We have
attempted to find shoddy replacements for discipleship. What we need is faithful students of Jesus
teaching others to be students of Jesus.
The church can exist without money. The church can exist without a building. The church can exist
without programs. But the church has no point in existing without discipleship. My challenge to you is
simple, will you disciple someone? The command is clear. The need is apparent. The question is will you
and I obey, or have we already resigned the North American church to her fate?

FINE

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About the Author


Alex Hanevich is a church planting apprentice with the
North American Mission Board (namb.net) following a God-sized
dream to plant a church in West Philadelphia. He is a graduate of
Temple Baptist Seminary in Chattanooga, TN and previously served
as Young Adult Pastor at Lake Drive Baptist church in Sale Creek,
TN. You can contact him at alexhanevich@gmail.com or follow him
on twitter @ravensbread.

Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend it must transcend all comprehension.
Martin Luther

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