Introduction to the Disciple Making Church

January 7, 2006 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1.  We’re beginning a new series today: The Disciple Making Church
- explain how this fits into our 2006 Theme: Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness [being in a stronger position to win and disciple those God brings to us through our outreach efforts in our regular ministries and the new ministry of the Community Center in 2007]
- explain the importance of this year being a year of “GROWING” not “COMFORT” – [Gearing UP – NOT Gearing DOWN!]
>  i.e. Gearing UP in: (1) in faithfulness in attendance, (2) serving, (3) reaching out to others [being friendly – building relationships, etc.]
2.  We’re not going to be perfect – nobody ever ‘arrives’ – in fact, maybe you’ve heard this before:
"If you find a perfect church, please don't join it.  If you do, it won't be perfect any more." – there is a lot of truth in that statement!
- since churches are made up of human beings, sinners who are saved by the grace of God, no church is perfect
- but as you study the different epistles in the N.T. which were written to churches, certain ones of them were stronger than others
3.  It may help you to see *a pattern in the NT and how the early churches modeled discipleship in various ways – we can divide it up historically this way:
A. The First Church – Acts 2-7: Jerusalem  [Read 2:42-47]
* The principles of Christ’s discipleship model were established – He discipled 12 ordinary men – now that He was gone (but the Spirit was sent in His place), we need to lay the same foundation
B.  The Mission Church – Acts 6 - 15: Antioch
- it was in this church that the 1st major thrust in Christianity occurred
“The mission church affords us with the example of how churches grow and multiply; it reveals the stages of maturation churches move through and what they need as they develop.  In fact, churches must progress through each stage the apostles experience under Christ’s leadership.  Any church that stalls will die out. Myriads of American churches have proved the truth of this as life has begun to drain away from them.” – The Disciple Making Church, p. 28
[Recommend that folks sign up in the MRC to purchase one of these – or have them sign up in the ABF Today, and one will be ordered for them]
C.  The Discipling Church – 1 Thessalonians: Thessalonica [READ 1 Thes. 1:1-10]
4.  The church at Thessalonica was in the category of a strong church – a church that was pleasing God and brought a lot of joy to those who had started the church and had ministered there.
- the 2 letters written to this church were written to real people with real problems in a world that was not friendly to their Christian faith
- we can easily identify with these people because we live in a similar world and face many of the same problems
5.  *  A few facts to remember about this church:
 Paul started this church on his 1st missionary journey – cf. Acts 17:1-6 [READ]
- he was only there for 3 weeks // but in that length of time, God did a work through him from which we can benefit today as we study about this book
 Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians for 3 reasons:
(1)  To express GRATITUDE to God for a healthy, spiritual church (1: 2-10)
(2)  To ANSWER the false accusations make about him and his fellow workers
(2:1-3:13)
(3)  To suggest specific ways in which they could continue to GROW (4: 1-5: 24) – ways in which they could BE better disciples and ways they could MAKE better disciples
6.  Before we begin our study of 1 Thessalonians, let’s go back to what is probably * The KEY passage on discipleship:  Matt. 28:19-20 – READ
 Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
[explain the context – Jesus had completed the plan of redemption, He was now returning to heaven to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God – as they (and we) awaited His return, He ‘commissions’ the disciples (and us) with this mission]
* Let’s ask the following questions about this passage: [taken from Hull’s book]
- let’s view these as INPUT questions and interact as a class:
1.  Who should be disciples? [INPUT]
Answer: Whoever knows Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior!
“The idea that only mature people are disciples and all other Christians are immature converts appears nowhere in the New Testament.  God expects every believer to be a mature, reproducing disciple.  Therefore any leader can confidently stand before the church and call every believer to discipleship.  In fact, nothing less will please God.” – The Disciple Making Church, p. 20
- apply this to our ABF – we’ve said before, in order to make disciples, you have to BE a disciple
- if you know Jesus Christ you ARE a disciple, and you ARE a discipler – the greater question is this:  How good at discipling are you, and are you going to get better?
2. Who should make disciples? [INPUT]
Answer: Every disciple should makes disciples – some think: “That’s just the pastor’s job”
- that’s true to a degree (cf. Eph. 4:11-16 – equipping the saints to DO the work of the ministry)
- but every person has a biblical responsibility to MAKE disciples – to have an influence over others that they grow in their walk with Christ
- there is a degree of stewardship involved in this process [stewardship of what you received]
Q: Who discipled you? – what if that person had not been a good steward of his/her discipleship?
* We could summarize the process this way:
 Deliver them – we are not the Redeemer, but we are tools in the hands of the Redeemer
- we need more people focused on living for Christ in such a way that the message of the Gospel ‘gets out’ – like it did with this church in Thessalonica
- Christianity is a religion of ACTION – not TALK – we have a message of eternal life to proclaim
> What helps us proclaim that message? A godly life – being SALT and LIGHT!
 Develop them – we seek to know Christ as Paul wrote in Phil. 3 (last weeks message)
- the is why we have Home Fellowships, encourage relationship building – it’s part of our spiritual development
 Deploy them – God wants US to enter the ‘fields that are white unto harvest’ and reach others!
- that’s part of what this year is all about - -GEARING UP – that involves DEPLOYMENT!
3.  How long should the process last?
- look at v. 20 – Answer : “even till the end of the age”
“Christ knew the mission would outlive those men, and we have not yet reached the end of the age.  Therefore Jesus’ instructions remain in force today as much as they did the day He issued them.  Making disciples will continue until Christ comes again.  The church of Jesus Christ is under orders to keep on making disciples as long as we have breath.  This is the driving force and foundation of all the church is and does.” – p. 21
- we need to stay at it till He comes again or we breathe our last breath!
- what is this is our last year? Last month? Last week? Last Sunday?
4.  What is included in discipleship?
Answer: Baptizing and teaching!
- baptizing (literally means to immerse) – this is a 1-time act, a public profession of one’s faith in Christ – it is not something done for salvation, but rather is evidence OF salvation
- teaching is a process . . . especially the ‘ALL that I have commanded you’ part!!!!
 It’s NOT:  part of what I taught you – or most of what I taught you – or the part that you like or you agree with – or what is easy regarding what I taught you . . . but ALL of what I taught you!!
“Many have the false idea that discipling involves a narrow teaching of ministry skills and accumulation of Bible knowledge, but discipling is actually as broad in scope as Jesus’ teaching.  By including all He taught, we broaden our understanding of discipling.” – p. 22


Conclusion:
Q:  How is our ABF going to grow this year?

Q: What initiatives from 2006 Church Initiatives are we going to take ‘ownership’ of and see to it that those initiatives get done!

Q: What are 2-3 initiatives our ABF should focus on this year?

 


ABF Series
The Disciple Making Church – 1 Thessalonians

Introduction:
* A pattern in the NT and how the early churches modeled discipleship in various ways:
A. The First Church – Acts 2-7: _______________

B.  The Mission Church – Acts 6 - 15: _____________
“The mission church affords us with the example of how churches grow and multiply; it reveals the stages of maturation churches move through and what they need as they develop.  In fact, churches must progress through each stage the apostles experience under Christ’s leadership.  Any church that stalls will die out. Myriads of American churches have proved the truth of this as life has begun to drain away from them.” – The Disciple Making Church, p. 28

C.  The Discipling Church – 1 Thessalonians: Thessalonica
*  A few facts to remember about this church:
 Paul started this church on his 1st missionary journey – cf. Acts 17:1-6
 Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians for 3 reasons:
(1)  To express _____________ to God for a healthy, spiritual church (1: 2-10)
(2)  To _______________ the false accusations make about him and his fellow workers
(2:1-3:13)
(3)  To suggest specific ways in which they could continue to __________ (4: 1-5: 24)
* The KEY passage on discipleship:
 Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
* Let’s ask the following questions about this passage:
1.  Who should be disciples?
Answer:

“The idea that only mature people are disciples and all other Christians are immature converts appears nowhere in the New Testament.  God expects every believer to be a mature, reproducing disciple.  Therefore any leader can confidently stand before the church and call every believer to discipleship.  In fact, nothing less will please God.” – The Disciple Making Church, p. 20

2. Who should make disciples?
Answer:
* We could summarize the process this way:
 _______________ them

 ________________ them

 _______________ them

3.  How long should the process last?
Answer :

“Christ knew the mission would outlive those men, and we have not yet reached the end of the age.  Therefore Jesus’ instructions remain in force today as much as they did the day He issued them.  Making disciples will continue until Christ comes again.  The church of Jesus Christ is under orders to keep on making disciples as long as we have breath.  This is the driving force and foundation of all the church is and does.” – p. 21

4.  What is included in discipleship?
Answer:

“Many have the false idea that discipling involves a narrow teaching of ministry skills and accumulation of Bible knowledge, but discipling is actually as broad in scope as Jesus’ teaching.  By including all He taught, we broaden our understanding of discipling.” – p. 22

Conclusion:
Q:  How is our ABF going to grow this year?

Q: What initiatives from 2006 Church Initiatives are we going to take ‘ownership’ of and see to it that those initiatives get done!

Q: What are 2-3 initiatives our ABF should focus on this year?

ABF Series
The Disciple Making Church – 1 Thessalonians
Introduction
Introduction:
* A pattern in the NT and how the early churches modeled discipleship in various ways:
A. The First Church – Acts 2-7: Jerusalem
B.  The Mission Church – Acts 6 - 15: Antioch
Quote – p. 28
C.  The Discipling Church – 1 Thessalonians: Thessalonica
*  A few facts to remember about this church:
 Paul started this church on his 1st missionary journey – cf. Acts 17:1-6
 Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians for 3 reasons:
(1)  To express GRATITUDE to God for a healthy, spiritual church (1: 2-10)
(2)  To ANSWER the false accusations make about him and his fellow workers
(2:1-3:13)
(3)  To suggest specific ways in which they could continue to GROW (4: 1-5: 24)
* The KEY passage on discipleship:
 Matthew 28:19-20
* Let’s ask the following questions about this passage:
1.  Who should be disciples?
Answer: Whoever knows Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior!
Quote – p. 20
2. Who should make disciples?
Answer: Every disciple should makes disciples
* We could summarize the process this way:
 Deliver them
 Develop them
 Deploy them

3.  How long should the process last?
Answer : “even till the end of the age”
Quote – p. 21
4.  What is included in discipleship?
Answer: Baptizing and teaching!
Quote – p. 22
Conclusion:
Q:  How is our ABF going to grow this year?
Q: What initiatives from 2006 Church Initiatives are we going to take ‘ownership’ of and see to it that those initiatives get done!
Q: What are 2-3 initiatives our ABF should focus on this year?