The heart of a disciple maker

 

Go Make of All Disciples (Ellacombe) hymn

 

I actually get the Sermon on the Mount and the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. It makes sense to me and how my brain is wired, I understand what needs to change in my life if I am going to be a follower of Jesus. That is not the case with everyone. Some need different parts of their lives looked after in order to get the bigger picture. When I see certain individuals missing this, I see a life of frustration. They keep trying to change their lives without first changing the part of them that is broken – it cannot be done.

Can you imagine a person looking at 1 Corinthians 13 being in so much despair not really knowing that they could become a person possessed of love. Unfortunately, they cannot see it and end up getting off the train.. They do not want to go on. They sign off. The same goes with the Sermon on the Mount – because they are thinking wrongly about how change occurs. In order to get this right, we have to think about the parts of our self that need attention.

What does the heart of a disciple maker look like? It is one thing to change a person’s behaviour and quite another to change their heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8  ESV

I believe that it starts with pure motives. Remember James and John wanting positions of authority with Jesus? We see this in the three years Jesus was with the disciples and how many times did we ask ourselves why the disciples really wanted to follow Him.

The first experiences were quite awful – they forgot moments after Jesus taught. The blueprint of the Sermon on the Mount was for the disciples only. The blessing of this sermon were to be the blessings of those who committed their lives to the disciplined life of a follower of Jesus.

Moving to the matter of the heart – we are called to have a love for others. 1 Corinthians challenges me. The answer to division, confusion, chaos, fighting – love. A special love – agape – which means sacrificial love, a love that puts the needs of others ahead of my own. So really, my question is more in the line of how much I care for those around me? Do I love them, long to see them know God, share my faith and glorify God with my words and my actions? One thing is for certain, love is not a feeling. It’s action.

 

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Doing what we do

 

I have found this truth to be very real in my life – in my diligent performance of present duties I am engaged with, opens the door down the road for further usefulness and honour. David and Gideon are two examples from the Old Testament that come to mind and Levi and the fishermen (James, John and Peter) were the others from the New Testament.

Coming then into a relationship with others, I have to respect Paul’s teaching methods.

But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.  I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready. – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2  ESV

Discipling others is definitely a face-to-face experience yet I do come into instances where there is a group setting. I had best get to know the group setting first.

The value of what I put into those I disciple matter too.

 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3:14-15  ESV

The last part of this is a little bit harder to understand. I believe it is saying that I can mess up my work in discipling others but if my foundation is sure in Jesus, and is built up in faith and holiness, then all my work may be lost but I will not.  I found this quote from Dr. Macknight. I am not sure it clears things up, but it attempts in a lengthy fashion to enlighten me a bit.

“Other foundation of God’s temple, no teacher, if he teaches faithfully, can lay, except what is laid by me, which is Jesus, the Christ, promised in the Scriptures. Now if any teacher build on the foundation, Christ, sincere disciples, represented in this similitude by gold, silver, valuable stones; or if he buildeth hypocrites, represented by wood, hay, stubble, every teacher’s disciples shall be made manifest in their true characters; for the day of persecution, which is coming on them, will make every one’s character plain, because it is of such a nature as to be revealed by the fire of persecution: and so that fire, falling on the temple of God, will try every teacher’s disciples, of what sort they are. If the disciples, which any teacher has introduced into the church, endure persecution for the gospel without apostatizing, such a teacher shall receive the reward promised to them who turn others to righteousness, Daniel 12:3If the disciples of any teacher shall, in time of persecution, fall away, through the want of proper instruction, he will lose his reward; he himself, however, having in general acted sincerely, shall be saved; yet, with such difficulty, as one is saved who runs through a fire.”

What I do know is that the power of God is with me to fill me and make me capable of so much more than I could ever imagine.

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10  ESV

So my takeaway is this as I do what I do – one of the defining trait of a disciple is faith. Faith in God will give me the power to become a disciple, and to make more disciples by leading others to faith.

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