I’m so thankful that the Lord has opened my eyes to what is most important to Him, discipleship.
Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, yet they’re some of His most ignored words, and they’re ignored by children of God.
Why are they ignored? Because discipleship takes relationship, and nothing is more difficult than relationship.
Why is relationship difficult? Because relationship takes time and patience.
And there’s nothing Christians are more stingy with then their time.
On top of time, relationship is messy, risky, disappointing, hurtful, dangerous, inconvenient, uncomfortable, and a whole list of other things that people are willing to deal with for friends or family or personal gain and happiness, but not for God.
God models relationship all through the Bible and refers to Himself as our Father and us His children, and wants us to seek the relationships He’s calling us to, relationships with people not like us, relationships with people who don’t use email, who can’t afford the things we can, who don’t like the same things we like.
And when He does, we cringe and look for ways to throw money, words, prayer, works, volunteering, donating, ministries, anything but lots of time and relationship at the problem.
There’s no better way to transfer hope than through relationship.
There’s no better way to be transformed than through the relationships God’s calling us to.
So as you read John MacArthurs words below ask yourself the following. How does your conduct compare with that of the worlds?
Tv viewership between Christians and Nonchristians is nearly identical, so is the amount of alcohol we ingest, so is the amount of music we buy, we read the same books, watch the same shows, are addicted to the same caffeine, support the same politicians, talk about the same meaningless sports, and spend our time in much the same way the worlds lost do.
Unfortunately, the average Christian is nearly one with the world. There is no doubt the culture/world influences Christians more then the converse.
And the reason for that is we’re born again but we’re not disciples and if we’re not disciples then we’re not discipling.
“In John 15 Jesus perhaps puts to us the most searching question of discipleship in all the Bible. Listen to this. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Now listen to this, “If you are of the world, the world would love its own.” The world loves its own. But, “Because you’re not of the world, I’ve chosen you out of the world, therefore the world…what?…hates you.” Searching question…are you ready? This is your test for this morning, one question…what does the world think of you? What do they think of you? They hate you? Or are you sort of snugly and wrapped and feel very warm and comfortable in the world? Are you on the world’s course? Do you do what the world does? You enjoy the world’s life? Or are you the constant antagonist of the world so that the world hates you? The world should hate the Christian. And the Christian should hate the world. Not the people in the world but the evil system of the world.
Why do you think Paul said this? “Come out from among and be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing.” Because he knew that that was the character of discipleship and Hebrews gives us the greatest example of that, Jesus Christ, of whom it says, “He was holy, harmless, undefiled…are you ready for this one?…separate from sinners.” Well He touched them in His daily walk and He loved them, but in terms of conduct, they were a billion miles apart. You have no place in the world. So said Jesus, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” You’re in trouble. “
This is an excerpt from John MacArthur’s sermon on John 7, in regards to what Jesus and the disciples were doing during the seven months between John 6 and John 7. You can read the full sermon here.
I currently have zero disciples, but now that my eyes have been opened, I’m going to be asking the Lord to help me everyday to carry out what’s most important to Him.
“”That’s a tremendous truth, folks, that is a tremendous truth. When those seven months were over, He was ready to go back to Jerusalem, but not until. Now mark this, would you please, it’s a great principle, mark it, listen. Remember this, in chapter 6 Jesus spent two days, you get that?, two days with a multitude of 15 to 20 thousand people. That’s all, two days. He spent seven months with twelve disciples.
You say, “So what’s the lesson?” The lesson is this. Discipleship is the priority. Did you get that lesson? Discipleship is the priority. Jesus Christ came to make disciples. Jesus Christ before He left said, “God into the world and have mass meetings.” No. He said, “Go into the world and…what?…make disciples, teaching them.” That’s what it’s all about. This is what God wants. God is not merely so concerned with mass meetings as He is with reproduction among disciples. That’s the whole point.
You know, a lot of people get a lot of excitement out of the size of a certain thing. And it’s important that there be size in some things. I mean, the more people you can have, the more people you’ll reach with the gospel. We understand that, obviously. And as I’ve told you before, I have never yet in my life in this ministry, nor will I ever, prayed for God to send one more person to this church. I would never be so bold as to pray that. I don’t feel I have the right to ask God for one more till I have begun to make disciples out of the ones He’s already given me. The success of any church, folks, is not how many bodies are jammed into the building. The success of any church is what is the depth of their discipleship. That’s the key. That’s what it’s all about. Anybody can get a crowd. That’s the easy part. All we have to do is have free peanuts and balloons and striped giraffes running around on the grass and we could have crowds. No problem. Easy, it only takes money and a little bit of ingenuity.
But you know what is very difficult? To make disciples cause it takes a life poured into another life. That’s how you make a disciple. The Bible never says get a crowd. The Bible just says make disciples. Of course, sometimes a mass meeting is important to initiate the gospel. Of course it is. But Paul told Timothy the essence of what it’s all about when he said, “Find some faithful men, Timothy, and teach those faithful men that they in turn may teach others also. And you know what will happen? You’ll set off a chain reaction of reproductive disciples who will just keep reproducing themselves.” That’s what it’s all about.
There is a ministry to the mass, my friend, but the ministry to the mass is never and can never be a substitute for your personal ministry in reproducing yourself in the life of somebody else. Listen to me. If you’re a Christian, if you’re a Christian…watch it…you by the very virtue of your Christianity are responsible to be reproducing yourself in somebody else’s life. Incidently, before you start reproducing yourself, back up and find out what you are before you want to reproduce yourself. Start where you are. When you are what you should be in the sight of God, then begin to reproduce yourself. That’s why you’re here. If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are responsible to make disciples. You’re not responsible to go to church. You’re not responsible to go to Sunday School. You’re not responsible to give your money each week. You’re not responsible for that, the Bible says not one thing about that. But you are responsible to make disciples.
Now, of course, you’ll want the fellowship of believers and you’ll want to share what God has given you. That’s a basic principle. But nowhere is there a list of commandments…go to church, put your money in the offering, go to Sunday School…that’s not there. That’s understood because you want the fellowship and you’re committed. But what is there is make disciples, make disciples, make disciples.
Ask yourself this? How long have you been a Christian? In the years that you’ve been a Christian, who are your disciples? Where are the ones that you reproduced in the faith? Oh not somebody that you led to Christ and then wandered away. I mean a disciple that you can look at and say, “Look at that life.” You say, “Well that’s…that’s really kind of taking the credit, isn’t it?” You know what Paul said to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 he said this. “Do you know why you’re such a wonderful church?” This is what Paul said. He said, “Because you were followers of me.”
You say, “Paul! What kind of an egotist are you?”
Paul says, “You have followed me as I have followed Jesus Christ, that’s why you are what you are.” Nothing wrong with following somebody as long as they’re following Jesus Christ. That’s the divine pattern. Also to Timothy, “Be thou an example to…what?…to the believers.” A pattern, a copy, tracing paper, reproduce yourself, reproduce yourself. Tragically and sadly this is the great hindrance in the work of God today is we do not reproduce ourselves. We expect mass things to do it for us. Listen, as Christians in this world today we are suffering because we do not have any depth. I thank God for those that have that depth and I know that many of you are moving into the area of learning how to become a disciple and then to produce a disciple, and this is exciting. But for the vast majority of the organized church, quote/unquote, there’s no such thing as reproduction. We’re suffering from that very fast and God has to use a mass evangelism often to compensate for the failure of a person to do an individual work.
Listen, we need Christians who count, you know. We need Christians who matter. We need Christians who confront the world, those who really know the Word of God and can reproduce themselves. But what we have are mostly Christians who know nothing, do nothing and cannot reproduce. And that’s the tragedy of the church.
And so, Jesus knew that the whole world needed His message, right? He knew that. He knew the whole world needs this message and He could have gone around the world fast by divine power and whoosh….just like that and told everybody. But He didn’t. He spent seven months with twelve people. One of them was a waste. He spent seven months with them.
You say, “Well why didn’t He spend seven months going around the world preaching the gospel?” I’ll tell you why. If Christ had done it all and left, that would have been the end of it, right? If you ran an organization in which you had all kinds of people under you and you did all the work, what would happen if you left? It would be the end of your organization. They always say that the great…the great character of a successful administrator is his ability to walk away and know that everything will function when he goes. Listen, if Jesus Christ had done everything, He would have come and gone and that would have been it. So Jesus Christ had to reproduce His life in the lives of twelve people. When He went away He could say to them, “It’s your job, men, and I know you’re going to do it.” And they turned around and reproduced themselves and you and I are living reproductions from those original twelve. But for the most part, they are the authors of the Word of God, the New Testament.
Christianity is the heritage of eleven people, and added later a twelfth, Matthias, because Jesus poured His life into twelve who would be around to pour their lives into twelve more, and twenty-four…whatever. That’s what the church is all about, folks, the church is a discipleship station where we are to reproduce ourselves. That’s why we emphasize teaching, knowledge of the Word of God.
Some people have the idea that all the church is supposed to do is evangelize. No, no, no, no. In fact, really primarily the pulpit is not a place of evangelism. We were talking about it the other day the fact that shepherds don’t beget sheep. Sheep beget sheep, right? We’re not to spend all our time evangelizing the world. We’re to make disciples who will reproduce themselves. And I’ll tell you, somebody was saying to me, you know, a lot of people change churches. People have come into our church maybe from another church and somebody thought that maybe that wasn’t a good thing. And I said, “Well, I would never seek people from other churches, never. Never will do that. But I’ll tell you one thing, if a person is in a church where they are not learning the Word of God, where they are not being nurtured in the Word of God, where they’re not studying the Word of God, where they are languishing in ignorance of the Word of God, consequently are non-reproductive, then I praise God for putting them in a place where they can become productive.” I think this is happening. I read an article where I saw the 75 largest churches in America and out of 75 of them I think 74 of them were evangelical. Today people are gravitating to places where they can learn the Word of God. And I think it’s exciting because if ever we do need people who are productive, we need them today. We need rule of discipleship. “”
A sermon I gave on 4/30/14 at PGM (Pacific Garden Mission), one of the largest homeless shelters in the country. Please pray that hearts would be softened!
I know you pretty much have to be here, but I still want to thank you for whatever attention you decide to pay me.
Before we get started, let me tell you a bit about myself.
My name is Justin Obriecht and my wife Tara and I started a homeless ministry a couple years ago called Wash and Worship.
My brother, who I dearly love, has been in prison for 12 years and gets out this fall.
My parents are divorced and so am I.
I’ve been broke and I’m currently wealthy.
I personally know pain and joy.
I personally know divorce, atheism, fornication, cheating, lying, stealing, womanizing and adultery.
I’ve been addicted to weed, porn and masturbation.
I know about half sisters that I’ve never met and wasn’t even aware of.
I don’t know hopelessness, but I’ve been around it enough to empathize with you.
But the most important thing to know about me, is that I’ve been saved from all that by Jesus Christ!
I was born again on March 27th 2012 after 20 years of antitheism.
Antitheism means not only did I not believe in God,
But I thought the idea of God was a tool used to manipulate the weak and vulnerable.
And I made it my mission to get people out of that deception.
But now I’m a child of God,
I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me,
I have a personal relationship with God through JC,
My sins have been forgiven, and I’m guaranteed to go to heaven and live forever.
Now that you know a little about me, will you please join me in prayer?
Lost in the world’s answers
Things we are made to believe
This kept me from His truth
With only empty answers to receive
Filling, filling, filling
But never being made full
Relationships, travel, drugs, sex, vanity, TV
Leaning into every tug and pull
Hurt came in
I lost my Dad and more
Hoping their actually was a God
I opened my skeptical heart to restore
Taken into a pushy church
Freshly broken I sat and twitched
No one really tried to connect
I was just something that needed to be fixed
Say the prayer
And become saved?
I left confused
In a daze
Became such a joke
Positive there was no God now
Just mirrors and smoke
Once again I thought of
A million ways to fill this empty space
Never expecting that God existed
Now I’m so thankful for His grace
Confidence near nothing
So many things I wanted to change
He had another plan
Instead of my body, my mind he rearranged
You can only control things up to a point
He taught me to let go
He took over so gently
Bit by bit, nice and slow
The truth visible, my eyes opened
Realizing God wanted a relationship with me
Questions I had He answered through His Word
Confirming this world isn’t all we have, He set me free
Everything here became so small
Worries started to melt away
This world is an illusion
I have to remind myself everyday
I don’t have religion
I have a relationship, a true love
I’m an alien here
A citizen of Heaven above
You get to decide but this life won’t be repeated
You can get caught up in this world and be defeated
Don’t be so blinded by its own design
Get to know out Savior Jesus
The Son God sent us Divine
It’s not perfect, there are struggles
Battles and fears deep within
The important thing is
I have trust and walk with Him.