A Healthy Church Member Is A Growing Disciple-Maker (Part2)
January 25, 2015 | Speaker: Bro Jurem Ramos
We continue today to look at the 8thmark of a healthy church member, which is a growing disciple-maker.In our last study I showed you that growing spiritually is clearly a concept that is derived from Scripture. We’ve seen this in the words of Jesus and in the writings of the apostles Peter and Paul. Notrue disciple of Christ is content to remain a spiritual baby. Every true disciple desires to grow spiritually. The apostle Paul,whom we could consider to be our model, writes in Philippians 3:12-14:
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Another thing I showed you in our last study was that the Bible teaches that Christ calls His people to be disciple-makers.We looked at Matthew 28:18-20 as the basis for this truth. Verse 19 contains the main verb of the passage, and this is the central command of the Lord Jesus: “make disciples.”The words “go,” “baptizing,” and “teaching” only modify the main command to make disciples. They describe aspects of the process of making disciples. It should be obvious that the command to make disciples is not just for the Eleven apostles. If that were so, then after the last apostle died, Christ’s Great Commission was also terminated. There would have been no Christian living today. The command to make disciples is also not just for missionaries. Yes, there will always be Christians who will be called by God to serve specifically as missionaries going to nations outside of their own. But the command of our Lord here does not just apply to them. It applies to all of His disciples in all generations. Now please observe that in the command of Jesus, He does not specify any particular group of people that should be discipled. He said, “make disciples of all nations.” Did you notice the word “all”?That includes every nation in the world. Now let me clarify the word “nations” in Matthew 28:19.In the original that word does not mean “country” like the Philippines or China or Russia. The Greek word for “nation” is “ethnos,” where we get the English word “ethnic.” And so the word “nations” here refers to anethnic community or a group of people sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, custom, and tradition. And so it is possible to have many “nations” or ethic communities in a particular country or city. For example in Davao City you have ethnic communities who share the same customs and traditions like the Badjaos, Ilocanos, Batangeños, Lumads, Kalagans. This is what you mean in this passage as “nations.” And so when you go to as near as the Badjaos living in Matina Aplaya and begin to disciple those who become Christians in that area, you are already obeying Christ’s command. You do not have to go to Saudi Arabia to obey the Great Commission. But it is also true that when you disciple your own people, those belonging to your own neighborhood or community, or church, you are also obeying Christ’s command because Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” He did not say, “Go and make disciples of othernations.
Now another point I want to make is this. And please listen very carefully because I really believe that this is very important.As I reflected on the command of the Lord Jesus Christ, I realized that His command is not just to make disciples. If it were so, thenjust imagine what would happen if the last disciple-maker dies and all of the disciples he or she produced do not know how to reproduce themselves? This is what will happen.It won’t take long for Christianity to die. When all of thenon-reproducing disciples die, Christianity dies with them. I now believe that if we are going to make disciples, the disciples we produce must be baptized (which implies that they should repent of their sins, believe in Christ, submit to His lordship), be united and committed to a local church where they learn to live with, love and serve one another. To be a disciple means not only growing personally as a disciple but it also means growing as a disciple-maker. The Lord Jesus wants His disciples to multiply themselves. His great commission is that His disciples go and make disciples who produce other disciples.
Today, in our study, I want us to look at another central passage that will show us that God’s grand vision for His church is this: Every member becoming a disciple-maker.Please turn your bibles to Ephesians 4:11-16.
The Context of Ephesians:Paul wrote to Christians living in Ephesus, an important port city in the province of Asia Minor. (Asia Minor today is in modern Turkey).There was no controversy or specific problem that led to the writing of the letter. Because of the absence of the phrase “in Ephesus” in several ancient manuscripts, a number of scholars believethat this letter was really a circular letter sent by Paul to the churches of Asia and it is designed for general use. The letter contains general instruction in the truths of the great redemptive work of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the unity of the church; and the proper conduct in the church, the home, and the world. Paul wrote this letter to make Christians more aware of their spiritual wealth and position in Christ and to motivate them to walk in a manner worthy of that glorious calling with which they have been called. This letter can be divided in two equal parts: chapters 1-3 are doctrinal while 4-6 are practical. There are no imperatives in chapters 1—3, which focus only on the believers’ spiritual blessings. But chapters 4—6 include 35 directives that speak of the believer’s responsibility to conduct himself according to his spiritual wealth. The two divisions are: the position of the Christian (chs. 1-3) and the practice of the Christian (chs. 4-6). The first division shows who we are in Christ andthe second shows what we are to do as Christians. One of the things that you will observe in the practical section of this letter is this: The very first thing that Paul talks about is not how to raise your children correctly, how to relate to your husband or wife in a godly way, how to be a good worker in the office, or how to influence society for Christ. The very first practical thing Paul talks about is unity and spiritual maturity (4:1-16) in the church. That gives you an idea how important the church is in the mind of God.
Here is a bird’s eye view of Ephesians 4:1-16:
- The Exhortation (4:1-3) - 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- The Basis of our spiritual Unity: The Triune God and His One Work of Salvation (4:4-6) - 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- The Means to Unity and Spiritual maturity in the church (4:7-12) - 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 ( In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
- The Goal (4:13-16) - 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Let’s look at v. 11 – This shows us the different gifted people that Christ gave to the church after his resurrection and ascension.
- First we have the They have seen the Lord and they are appointed directly by Jesus. They performed miracles to authenticate the fact that they are called. Jesus established the church through them and their teaching. Now the Apostles are not permanent and their role in the church is to be the foundation with Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone. We read this in Ephesians 2:20.
- Next we have the Along with the apostles, they are part of the foundation. Their role in the church is also temporary.
- Next we have the Their primary function is to preach and defend the gospel. They are uniquely gifted to evangelize unbelievers, which is their special passion. They are given to stir up the church to evangelize.
- Next we have the shepherds and teachers.In the footnote of the ESV, we read shepherd-teachers). What this could mean is that this is referring to just one group of gifted people. This is referring to shepherds, elders, overseers or pastors whose main job description is to teach..
- Eph 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
- Jn 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
- Heb 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
- Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- Ro 15:14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.
- 2Ti 3:16-4:2 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
- Col 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
- Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
- Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.