3 "R"eminders from Jesus About Disciple Making
Is disciple making an important part of your youth ministry? How about your personal Christian walk? Join Greg Stier as he explains the “3 R’s of Disciple Making”— AKA the three reminders Jesus gives us about His command to make disciples.
I’m going to start with a true confession….I’m a big Bruce Lee fan.
In 1973 when Bruce Lee’s last movie, Enter the Dragon, was released in America I along with millions of others, was blown away.
Every teenaged boy in the 70’s and early 80’s wanted to be Bruce Lee. I wanted to be like him so much I took “Kung Fu.” I remember countless hours looking at the full-length mirrors in our dojo trying to muster up the Bruce Lee down deep inside of me. I’d practice the funny sounds that Bruce Lee used to make because, well, I wanted to be Bruce Lee.
So I practiced and sparred and threw endless punches and kicks. I wanted to fight like Bruce Lee.
But the ultimate demonstration of that Bruce Lee spirit was not found in the ultimate Bruce Lee weapon…the nun chuk!
So I got a pair and started to practice…and I got pretty good. I didn’t make it to that Bruce Lee level but I got decent enough to hold my own. As a matter of fact I just happen to have a set of nun chuks. Would you like to see?
Work the nun chuks!
Now years later when I met the girl who would eventually become my wife we went on a date. I think it was one of our first dates and, when I pulled up to her house to drop her off I took them out and said, “Oh, I guess I left my nun chuk underneath the car seat?
Tell nun chuk story!
Needless to say, I’m not Bruce Lee or a disciple of Bruce Lee…but deep down inside I’d like to be.
Bruce Lee was actually a famous childhood actor in Hong Kong. And, although he played a young gang leader he never had any formal training from a qualified Grand Master. So bullies would test him. Although he usually would win one day he got beat up as a 13 year old and had enough. He went to Ip Man to be trained. Ip Man, was a Chinese martial artist, and a master teacher of Wing Chun. He had several students who later became martial arts masters in their own right.
Bruce Lee wasn’t taken seriously by many of the students at first but he was Ip Man’s true disciple. He practiced non-stop and whipped his body into top physical condition. He was so good that his fellow students eventually forced him out. But it was that forcing out which led him to eventually coming to America and introducing the Western world to Martial Arts.
It all goes back to discipleship. Ip Man made a disciple of Bruce Lee and Bruce Lee made disciples!
Today in Matthew 28:18-20 we are going to discover how to make disciples, not Bruce Lee style, but Jesus style.
On the top of a mountain in Galilee, overlooking the Sea of Tiberius, Jesus told them
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
The driving command in this passage is to “make disciples.” This means that we must boldly and loving share the good news of Jesus with others and then challenge them to become followers of Christ.
This is the ultimate cause…a lot of good causes but this is the biggest for us as believers…That’s why we, at Dare 2 Share, nickname this passage, not “The Great Commission” But “The Cause”!
Jesus is inviting you in today to join him in his cause. In this passage…
Jesus gives us three reminders when it comes to making disciples:
- We have the right to make disciples
In verse 18 Jesus tells his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples.”
The first thing Jesus tells his disciples on this mountain was that they had the right to make disciples. He reminds them that God has made him the SUPREME RULER of the Universe. Jesus gives us, and our teenagers, the right to make disciples.
It’s like my all-access pass to Winter Jam…New Song and Premier Productions, the owners of Winter Jam, gave me and about 149 others one of these all access passes. It can get me anywhere on stage, back stage or off stage. It’s an all access pass. It carries the authority of Winter Jam.
If a security guard tried to stop me I’d just say, “Sorry, You’re gonna have to take it up with Winter Jam. I have an all access pass. I have been authorized by the owners of this gig to go anywhere in this arena, any time I want for any reason.”
We, and our teenagers, have an all access pass to share the Gospel from Jesus himself. We can approach anyone, anywhere, anytime with the Gospel. Yes, we should do it in love. Yes, we should do it with wisdom. But we have the right to make disciples.
We have to make the case with the next generation that they have the right to make disciples! We have to take them back to the words of Jesus.
And, be assured, this is getting increasingly tougher…not only outside the church but inside the church.
In an Article from Barna entitled Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism Is Wrong we learn that “many Millennials are unsure about the actual practice of evangelism. Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. This is compared to a little over one-quarter of Gen X (27%), and one in five Boomers (19%) and Elders (20%) Though Gen Z teens were not included in this study, their thoroughly post-Christian posture will likely amplify this stance toward evangelism.)”
Think about this for a moment! Almost half of the current generation of twenty something Christians think evangelism is wrong! That means before we teach them how to share their faith we must help them realize the why of evangelism.
We need to appeal to every theological truth we can to convince them of the importance of making disciples! We must appeal to the reality of heaven and hell, the urgency of the call of Jesus, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Love of God for the world, a broken heart of compassion for those who don’t know the Gospel and this truth in Matthew 28:18…that the King of the Universe has authorized us to share the Gospel!
Bruce Lee opened up a Martial Arts studio in Oakland California to westerners and it disrupted the Grand Masters in China Town in San Francisco because that was a breaking of the Chinese code that martial arts were only for those born in the east. Bruce Lee was even challenged by a Chinese fighter from the East called Wong Jack Man because Bruce Lee dared to open his studio to westerners. Bruce Lee won that fight. And, not only that, he won the right to continue to train the Western World in the Eastern art of fighting.
In the same way Jesus won the right for us to make disciples when he fought sin, death and the Devil on the cross and came out victorious!
We’ve all heard the statement, “You’ve got to earn the right to be heard” and I know what people mean when they say that. We want to live such a life that earns people’s respect so that when we share the Gospel with them they take it seriously. And that is a good and solid truth. In that sense we must earn the right to be heard.
But there’s another reality that we must embrace. Christ has already earned the right for us to be heard when he was crucified.
With every blow to his face by the Roman soldiers’ fists he earned the right for us to be heard.
With every lash to his back by the Roman soldiers whips he earned the right for us to be heard.
With the jamming of the crown of thorns into his skull, with the hits of the hammer on the spike nails driven into his wrists and feet, with the incessant mockery of the crowd as he hung naked and beaten and dying on a cross made of wood he earned the right for us and our teenagers to be heard.
With his glorious resurrection, his powerful ascension and his glorious coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords he earned the right for us to be heard!
Your teenagers have been given the right to make disciples by King Jesus himself who earned the right for them to be heard!
Let’s make sure we help them understand that they have that right! Because they live in a culture that will tell them it’s wrong to evangelize, it’s wrong to proselytize, it’s wrong to Gospelize.
It’s actually wrong not too. Because, not only have we been given the right to make disciples, but, and this leads us to the second R of disciple-making, we have been given the responsibility to make disciples.
- We have the responsibility to make disciples.
Matthew 28:19 reminds us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
For hundreds of years this passage has been nicknamed “The Great Commission” but I think it’s time for a change. “The Great Commission” just sounds like a bunch of money someone made in a real estate deal and it doesn’t resonate with the current and coming generation of teenagers.
As a matter of fact, at Dare 2 Share, we have nicknamed this passage The Cause. Why? Because teenagers are into causes and this is the ultimate cause given to us by the Lord Jesus himself…the cause to make and multiply disciples!
What if we rebranded “The Great Commission” as “The Cause” with our teenagers? What if we helped them to see every other good cause as a subset to the greatest cause?
- We could provide the thirsty both water and the Living Water.
- We could provide the hungry both bread and The Bread of Life.
- We could build the homeless a home on earth and one in heaven.
- We could stop human trafficking as well as Soul Trafficking.
Instead of either/or when it comes to causes we could adopt a both/and view. We could seize our teenagers most passionate causes and learn how to Gospelize them!
But The Cause of Christ here is much more than just leading others to Christ, it’s going the whole way to make disciples!
What does it mean to make disciples? Make them, Mark them, Mature them and Multiply them!
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” and the first step in making a disciple is getting them to say yes to the Gospel!
I remember taking Tai Kung Fu as a teen. It was one of those mall based martial arts clubs that recruited the people walking by. They had blackbelts dressed in Gi’s roaming the mall with clipboards trying to get people to sign up. Me, and a group of my friends, said yes, not just because we wanted to learn Kung Fu, but also because they had a small gym inside their dojo that all students were welcomed to use.
By the way have you said “Yes” to Jesus? Give Gospel
We took some classes and learned some skills but we were more students than disciples.
There’s a martial arts article entitled “Kung Fu Discipleship” which is written from the followers of the same fighting style that Bruce Lee learned from Ip Man, Wing Chun.
It defines a difference between student and disciples.
“There’s a different between student vs. disciple – Student is in the process of learning skills and focusing on the art, which later may become a disciple.
However, Disciple is beyond student – which means it’s ALL about representing and defending the honor of his master’s name, master’s school, master’s art, master’s family, and master’s reflection himself, and it’s not to be taken likely because everything about the master is in the reflection of his disciple. It’s no longer about herself or himself, it’s ALL about the whole as ONE. Whatever a disciple does has a reflection on the master.”
Our goal is not to just make students but disciples…not just to make converts but to make sold out followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We make them. Then we…
“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….”
In ancient Kung Fu when a student wanted to become a disciple we would go through what’s called the Bai-Si ceremony. He would simply bow to the Master, serve him tea and let him know why he wanted to become a disciple. If the Master accepted he would take the tea and drink it. Sadly, this induction ceremony has faded from much of martial arts today.
There is a ceremony in Christianity too that has, sadly, faded into significance… baptism.
Although water baptism doesn’t save us, it is a vastly underrated induction ceremony. It is our public proclamation of our inward transformation. It is our public declaration that we desire to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- All baptisms were immediate in the early church
- Why do we wait?
- The original altar call “Come to the water!”
- Justin at the Belagio on the Las Vegas Strip
- All baptisms were public in the early church!
- It was a new believer’s first evangelism opportunity!
- And that public proclamation sealed their decision in a very real way!
- I’ve seen this personally in a few powerful ways:
- My daughter’s baptism on a cruise ship (Mandy and Sierra)
- Lead THE Cause in Orange County last summer…the power of public baptisms
- Share the idea of a “Baptism Party.”
- It was a new believer’s first evangelism opportunity!
When it comes to disciples we make them, we mark them and then we…
Again, back to Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Often times this verse is misquoted as “teaching them everything I have commanded you” when it should be “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
This is not just downloading theology, it’s activating it. Part of the problem with Western Christianity is that we tend to be heavy on theology and light on practice. But we need to be heavy on both!
James 1:22 reminds us to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
This is super important when it comes to teaching teenagers. We need to help them put into practice what they learn right away.
- Why we train teenagers and then have them put it into practice right away!
What we want to produce are active disciples who reflect the character of Christ in word and deed.
In Kung Fu it’s literally called “The Master’s Reflection.” When someone met a true disciple of their Master they would increasingly see their Master’s reflection in them.
And that’s what we need to work for in our lives and the lives of our teenagers…that we all reflect Jesus in our lives. As 2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us, “ So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
We make them, mark them, mature them and then we…
You see when Jesus told his disciples to teach new disciples to “obey everything” he had taught them that “everything” included the call to make disciples.
This means, not just leading students to Christ, but making, marking and maturing disciples so that they can multiply even more disciples!
The power of multiplication is off the charts. Something we teach at Lead THE Cause is the power of multiplication.
How long would it take to win the world to Christ?
10 evangelists winning 1,000 people a day (Addition)
10 disciples replicating themselves each year (Multiplication)
1, 753 years
(if no one else was born)
Year 1 = 20 disciples
Year 5 = 320 disciples
Year 10 = 10,240 disciples
Year 15 = 327,680 disciples
Year 20 = 10,485,760 disciples
Year 25 = 335,544,320 disciples
Year 30 = 10,737,418,240 disciples
Just like Bruce Lee Bruce Lee brought martial arts to the West and, as a result of his efforts and movies, multiplied Kung Fu disciples like nobody has ever seen, we must bring the Gospel to the World and multiply young disciples like the early church.
We have the right to make disciples. We have the responsibility to make disciples. And, lastly….
We have the reason to make disciples!
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Jesus goes with us. Our teenagers wouldn’t be ashamed of him if they could see him as he walking by their side down their school hallways…and he is. Even though they can’t see him we must help them walk by faith not by sight.
Eric in the Mall
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