OBEDIENCE AND LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

These interviews and testimonies will help you to acknowledge the necessary actions we need to take to disciple and make a difference in other peoples lives. There is 6 minutes of introductory music so you can do something else while you listen to the delightful music but the testimonies that follow are worth the wait. The TLR movement is being used by God mightily to bring many into God’s Kingdom. The healings and the miracles demonstrate that the power is back in the church as disciples move out into the marketplace totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do ministry. For me in Australia it was wonderful to learn what God is doing in Eastern Europe. It is wonderful to see how God was moving in wonderful ways so it was obvious God was doing the work. His children were just doing His will. The testimony of the couple Abraham and Annemarie Levy is powerful. You must listen to them on “love”, Abraham makes three important observations of being a disciple that stand out: “You cannot follow Jesus without sacrifice”, “You must deliberately bury your own life”, “The flesh will always war against the spirit”, tough but exciting when you learn what God has done and is doing with their lives. If you live in Poland make sure you connect with this couple.

DISCIPLESHIP – AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST

Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?” It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13

Disciples today would do well to remember that they run the risk of uselessness in the Lord’s mission if they relegate themselves to the shelf and not, in appropriate ways, apply themselves in the very contexts in need of their salty presence (that is, salty as defined here in Matthew’s gospel).

The disciple’s presence is required throughout the earth, especially in those areas running the risk of spoiling or in the bland corners in need of life-giving flavor. In fact, it is precisely in the unsavory and/or rotting contexts where salt is most necessary.

Following this salty comment, Jesus introduces another word picture:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Notice that both here and in the instruction given about salt earlier that the entire world is in view. Jesus tells his disciples they are the “salt of the earth” and here he says that they “are the light of the world” With this big picture in mind Jesus continues by suggesting that the light given off by a city set on a hill is fairly conspicuous to the surrounding areas that are more in the dark. Light from such a city is an especially powerful presence amid darkness, providing illumination, perspective, and, perhaps, guidance to those in the darkness. Disciples have not been given the light of Christ (John 1:4; 8:12) to keep for themselves or to only turn on in the safety of their carefully insulated spheres of influence. Instead, Jesus demands:

Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Those who need to see this will not happen upon life and truth-giving light by accident. Light must shine where it can be seen (in the shadows) so that those in the dark might be directed to the Father in heaven and potentially bring him glory. Unfortunately, many are choosing to shine their light only in well-lit and more comfortable areas, neglecting, as Jesus encourages here, to shine what they have been given where it is most needed—in the darkness.

Peter provides a good summary for us: we are ambassadors that need to proclaim His excellencies, His Gospel. Our conduct must be above reproach and we do good deeds so that God is glorified.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:9-12

CHURCH IS ABOUT MAKING DISCIPLES

The mark of a fully-devoted disciple is a disciple who is making other disciples, a disciple who is bringing others to the faith either through personal evangelism or bringing others with them to church to introduce them to Jesus. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.

Home Groups – a great way to do church

If we in our churches are not creating disciples who regularly create other disciples, we are not succeeding in the Great Commission. Christ called us all to share the good news of eternal life that He made possible through His death and resurrection. If we are not making disciples then what are we doing at church, hopefully not making Couch Potato Christians who sit and soak rather than serve and send. If you want to see who the fully-devoted disciples of Jesus Christ are, don’t necessarily go to the biggest churches or find the Christians with the most seminary degrees or the ones who are the most confident (i.e. arrogant) about their doctrine. Find disciples who are making other disciples. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.

ARE OUR CHURCHES MAKING DISCIPLES?

Great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us.

His only obsession was to please the Father. We should be likewise obsessed.

Matthew reported that Jesus preached the gospel and healed the sick all over Galilee. (4:23) Because of his preaching and healing “His fame spread” which resulted in even more preaching and healing. (4:24) The predictable result of all this preaching and healing was that “great crowds followed him.” (4:25)

So, Jesus now has fame and crowds. The only thing missing (for modern success) is the fortune. But great fame, a massive following and financial fortune did not matter to Jesus. And it should not matter to us. But it often does. Even in ministry.

What did Jesus do with His newfound fame and huge following? How did He “leverage his platforms” in order to increase his following? How did He alter His content to increase His followers? How did He monetise His influence? That’s what we would do, right?

Notice carefully what Jesus did. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain. And when he sat down, His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1).

Two important words: “crowds” and “disciples.”

1. “Seeing the crowds, he went up on a mountain.” Today when we see crowds in our Sunday service, in our campus ministry or on social media, we think we have succeeded. We must be doing something right and God is must be blessing our efforts. In order to be good stewards of our success, we do everything imaginable to maintain and grow our audience. Our first move is to leverage our platform for growth and influence. Jesus did the opposite. His first move was to walk away from the crowd.

2He traded a massive crowd of adorning followers for a small group of committed disciples. A careful reading of the Gospels will reveal that the more crowds followed Jesus, the more he retreated to be alone with the Father and with his disciples.

Every leader of a growing ministry will be faced with an important decision: attract crowds or make disciples. Will we leave the crowds in order to make disciples, or will we allow the demands of the crowd to pull us away from small group discipleship?

Too many pastors and ministry leaders choose the crowds. Pastor Francis Chan, author of best seller, Crazy Love chose correctly, as shown in my recent post Church as God Intended.

This article originally appeared at stevemurrell.com. Steve serves as the president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a ministry that does church planting and campus ministry in over 70 nations.