Barry preached that “America has been lost to the enemy one family, one heart, one soul at a time, and it can be rescued only in the same way, one family one heart, one soul at a time.”
Fill our hearts with the excitement of knowing you … so that we will continue to spread the Gospel of the good news Jesus Christ changing one family, one heart one soul at a time. All across the land, going to every city and village … every city and village in the whole nation. Forgive us that we haven’t done this yet. Barry prayed that God would show us what we all are to do. And give us the courage to do it.
I preached about evangelism: going forth and making disciples of all nations. Going forth. Matthew 28 doesn’t say to we have to save anybody, it doesn’t even say to bring them in to the church. It just says to go and make disciples.
So I have two simple questions this week – 1) How many people stepped out of their comfort zone in the past two weeks and rescued someone? 2) What exactly is a disciple anyway?
A disciple is (a) one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: as one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ’s followers according to the Gospel accounts; (b) a convinced adherent of a school or individual.
I agree with this, though I’m not exactly sure why they included the second part of the definition except that they are referred to so many times in scripture as the 12 disciples. However, there are hundreds of references to Jesus’ “disciples” that could include the hundreds that where following him:.
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.Luke 10
Anyway, so how do we make a disciple? What do we need to do in order to become a disciple of Christ and to bring others with us? Relationship. To make a disciple, to be a disciple, you must have a relationship with a person. Whether you are a disciple, or you are making a disciple, it all the same.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.Matthew 22:36-40
Love thy neighbor as thyself … tough concept. Who is our neighbor?
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”Luke 10:28-37
How many times have we said hello to someone that has come in to our church? How many times have we greeted them and spoken to them? How many times has someone come to our church once and never come back? Oh we talk a great game, we speak nicely to them, we have a great conversation with them, and then what? How many visitors to our church has had a visit from one of us to their home? A phone call? Anything? How much time do we invest in others to make them feel loved or wanted?
I remember when I first came to Christ, I was so hungry for God, and I think everybody here can relate to this, I was so hungry for God that I was constantly seeking. Gene Horne called me every single day, sometimes just to say hello, sometimes to ask me about a scripture passage, sometimes to correct me, sometimes to pray for or with me. The thing is, if he hadn’t done that, would I have continued to come to church? The investment he made in my life changed my perception of him and of Christ. Why would some guy I barely know keep calling me and asking me how I was doing? How was I feeling? Did I need prayer? He showed that he loved me through his actions, just as Christ showed me His unbelievable love for me by allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross.
It comes down to this: most people want to know “what have you done for me lately?”
So, what have we done for others lately?
I have family members that I would love to see come to Christ. I have neighbors that I would love to see come to Christ. I have been convicted of the slackness in my commitment to make disciples.
Last night I went to JJ and Heathers wedding. While I was there I talked to a young lady named Cassie. She is the daughter of a friend of mine named Spuds. She said she never sees me anymore and asked why I never come over since I live so close. And she’s right, they live about 2 minutes away from us and I never go to their house. But Spuds is a great guy, and he is so close to becoming a believer. He’s been going to church sometimes, he was beginning to understand, and I have been so slack that I haven’t even asked him how his walk with God is going, even though I see him on a regular basis. Fail.
We fall into a kind of pattern, talking about God to those whom we know are believers and avoiding offending those who we are not so sure about.
Jesus said that where our treasure is, there also will our heart be. He was talking about treasure in heaven, but how do we build that treasure except by investing in the kingdom of God. A literal translation is that what we spend our time with, what we invest our time in, that’s where our heart is going to be. If we spend time with God, our heart will be turned toward God. If we spend time with the world, our hearts will be turned to the world. If we spend time with our spouse and our kids and our friends…there also will be our heart.
If we spend time with people who we are “discipling” there also will be our hearts. So the key to making disciples is becoming invested in someone, showing interest in their lives, showing them that you love them. Sometimes it’s hard, what with all the other “things” on our busy schedules. But really, what is a 10 minute phone call once a day if it can mean the difference between salvation and condemnation? Our church had a practice activation for the “calling once a day” that God specifically placed on us to ready us for when He would call us to begin to grow our church. I believe that the time is now. We have been waiting for an evangelist to be brought here, or for someone to be given an evangelical anointing, when all the time God wanted for each and every one of us to become evangelists. Call, walk, spend time, go forth, take the gospel, make disciples. We don’t have to go on a missions trip to find people in need, there are as many dying here in this nation as any country on earth, there are as many in need of spiritual rescue in our neighborhoods as anywhere.
Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:33-35
So how have we showed our love for others this past week? What can we do this coming week to show our love to someone else?
Remember that Satan’s evangelists never stop, never get tired, never back down. They lie, they backstab, they pervert God’s word. And they are everywhere. We must be more vigilant, more persuasive, more determined than they.