In our current sermon series, we are breaking down our definition of a disciple to consider what it really means to be a follower of Jesus.
A disciple is someone who is created by the gospel to learn Christ and lead others to do the same, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Use these sermon summaries and follow-up questions to reflect further and consider how to live in response to the messages during these four weeks.
Disciples “lead others”
This past Sunday we considered the third aspect of our definition of a disciple – “leading others.” God’s mission from Genesis to Revelation has been to fill the earth with transformed disciples who reflect his glory. The “great commission” begins in Genesis 1:28:
…be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
As we take God at his word and reflect his character in our lives, we “image” his likeness to the world around us. But when we turn from God and worship other things we image the brokenness and emptiness of our idols – this is the essence of sin; failing to give glory to God. But God’s mission would not fail. After giving this commission to Adam and Eve and repeating it to Noah (after the flood), God did something new with Abraham. He didn’t simply call Abraham to multiply and fill the earth…he said
I will make you fruitful and a multitude of nations (Gen 17:5-6).
God took ultimate responsibility for the great commission upon himself. And that’s what he achieved in Jesus – the “image of the invisible God” – who died and rose in the place of those who didn’t love him (or their neighbors) and commissioned them to make disciples so that God’s glory could fill the earth, in fulfillment of that original mandate.
So making disciples who “learn Christ and lead others to do the same” is not ancillary to life, or an elective for super-Christians, but is basic to fulfilling our purpose as the people of God. God means to fill the earth with people who reflect his glory. Revelation says that one day that multitude will be beyond numbering – from every nation, tongue and tribe.
Questions for reflection and application
- How does the knowledge of God’s grace and the fact that God took on the responsibility of the great commission himself give you courage to turn towards Jesus and consider helping others to learn Christ?
- How does the certainty of the return of Christ and the ultimate accomplishment of the Kingdom give you courage to invest your life in making disciples?
- What might be holding you back from leading others to follow Jesus as you follow Jesus?
- Are you intentionally seeking to disciple anyone right now? Maybe it’s by formal or informal means. It could be in a small group, over coffee, playing pool, or taking walks, but it will involve: 1) a specific someone, 2) allowing the truth about Jesus to intersect with their everyday life, and 3) teaching them from the beginning the importance of passing on the faith someone else.
- Pray that God would allow you to make one disciple this year – one person you could see “created by the Gospel to learn Christ and lead others to do the same, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”