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Intersection of Life and Faith

Discipleship Is More Important Than Ever! So How Do We Do It?

Chip Dean

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

It's very interesting today how we have larger churches than ever today, larger conferences than ever today, larger worship services, and concerts, and all this in just this Christian community and culture today, but yet people will tell you that we've never seen weaker Christians. I believe that this is why we see the Spirit of God work in people's life when it comes, in pastor's life, in leaders lives, when it comes to disciple making. In fact, I think that Luke chapter 24 actually gives us an expansion of the great commission, what Jesus was talking about in Luke 28, when he says to, "Go into the world and make disciples of all nations as you go." A lot of people debate and argue, what did Jesus mean, because then he simply went on to say how, "Teach them to obey everything that I've commanded and I want you to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and I'm just going to be with you all the way to the end of the age."

But I think Luke 24, Luke actually records the model, the strategy of disciple making that Jesus wanted us to know. It's so interesting. In Luke chapter 24, verse 44 it says, "When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Number one, I like to say, Bible. What is disciple making? How do you make disciples? Well, Jesus did of course with his group of 12, but he especially poured his life into Peter, James, and John. How did he do it? He walked them through the scriptures based on the word of God and he showed them how everything is about him. Why, because discipleship is following Jesus and bringing others with you, following Jesus and bringing others with you. How do we follow Jesus? We follow Jesus through the word so that we can follow Jesus through the world. We're following Jesus and we're bringing others with us, so Bible.

Number two, gospel. Verse 45, he said, "Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures." He took them deep. A lot of people think that depth may be systematic theology. I love systematic theology, but that's not the definition of depth. Other people say that going deep may be having a real look at the Holy Land, "Man, if you could only go to Israel. Man, that's deep," or if you could only understand the original languages, Greek and Hebrew. All of these are very important, but that's not how Jesus defines depth when it comes to making deep, devoted disciples of the gospel. Here's what he says in verse 46, "Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer, and die, and rise from the dead on the third day." Or in other words, depth is seeing all of the scriptures, the whole Bible in a gospel centered way.

I think what Jesus would do in the model that he's giving us is to take his three, like he took his three, Peter, James, and John and walk them through the scriptures, and wash them with the water of the word, and show them how to follow Jesus through all of the Bible. Then he would open their minds to understand the scriptures in a gospel centered way. I believe we need to pray that Jesus would do that, but also that we would learn this strategy, this hermeneutic, this model that Jesus gave us into seeing the Bible. That we don't just skip over Jesus and get to ourselves practically, but we would see that Jesus is the center of the word and that it is the gospel that teaches us how to follow Jesus through repentance, through obedience, through faith, through mission, and ongoing.

As he says then in verse 46 and 47, that of course again the gospel was written long ago, his suffering, his death, his resurrection from the dead in verse 47, "It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem that there is forgiveness of sins for all who repent, and you are witnesses of these things." We see three things personally, repentance, forgiveness, and witness. Bible, gospel, personal I think is the model, the strategy that Jesus is giving us to make disciples who are able to make disciples, walking them through the word and following Jesus, our minds opened so that we can see the gospel in all of the word pointing us to the gospel, so that personally we can live in the power of repentance. We can live in the power of forgiveness, turning from sin, being forgiven by God and forgiving others, so that then therefore we can be a witness, because we always want people to experience what we've experienced.

When I go to a restaurant that I love, I want to take people there so they can try the same food. When I see a movie that I love, I want to show people the same movie so they can have the same experience that I've had. When I have experienced repentance and forgiveness, I want, I desire to be a witness, so that people can experience the same thing that I have. When Jesus made disciples who make disciples, he did it, I believe, through Bible, gospel, personal, which led to a missional lifestyle.

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