For the week commencing 20th October 2019
Notes for next Sunday’s sermon – “Who makes disciples?”
We are week 3 into our series “We exist to glorify God by making disciples…”
Here’s the outline:
13 Oct …but what is a disciple?
20 Oct …why make disciples?
27 Oct …who makes disciples?
Noosa tri weekend – will be a one-off sermon, not in this series. Sunshine service, 5pm, Sat, 2nd Nov
10 Nov …the cost (of discipleship)
17 Nov …why disciples stagnate
24 Nov …how disciples grow
Day 1: Read Mark 4:1-20: Sowing the Seed
Sowing the seed is about speaking the message of salvation in Christ Jesus. This parable is known as the parable of the sower, but it is also known as the parable of the soils. The seed is the word of God, the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God. In the parable, like a farmer scattering seed by hand in the ancient world, this word is scattered widely. Inevitably some of the seed falls on ground that for one reason or another is inhospitable. The parallels with the way people hear the word are obvious. People will respond to the gospel in different ways, with widely divergent yields. Not all of those who show initial signs of belief actually take root and bear fruit. The word of God is spoken. It may be read, it may be recorded, broadcast and written. It might be spoken one to one or spoken to many. There will be a response. “Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’” (Mark 4:9).
Disciples are made as the seed is scatted – that is – as the Word of God is proclaimed. This happens in formal settings as in church, or informal settings, sitting one to one at a coffee shop. The Lord uses every one of his disciples, to bring the word of God into another person’s life. And so, the word will do its work. How will you be involved in that work today?
DAY 2: Read John 16:5-11: The Work of the Spirit in making of disciples
The Spirit of Christ works in the life of the individual. The Spirit convicts the hearer of sin and calls them to repentance. This happens through the witness of Christ’s followers and through the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit also convicts the world of righteousness, that is the righteousness of Christ and of judgement. The judgement results from a spiritual blindness that does not recognise Christ as Lord. The hearer of the word desperately needs to know that they face judgement without Christ. The seed germinates as the hearer repents and believes and puts their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17). There is a radical reorientation of the believer’s life that comes through regeneration. God, through the Spirit of Christ, totally restructures the believer’s life – their thinking, feeling, willing and acting. (Ref 2 Cor 5:17-21).
In Acts 16:13-15 Paul writes about the conversion of Lydia. “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (v 14). It is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, not persuasive arguments that bring about a response of faith. Lydia was a worshiper of God before she was converted. When she heard the message from Paul, the Lord opened her heart. What does that mean? The Spirit of God spoke to her and caused her to turn to God and accept Jesus as Lord of her life. She and the members of her household were baptised, and she showed hospitality to Paul and his co-workers. There are other expressions of conversion such as the believer confessing that Jesus is Lord or saying, “I surrender” or “I turn to Christ”, meaning that the believer allows Christ to rule as Lord in their life.
In John 3:3 Jesus says, “No-one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Being born again is explained a little more in Titus. “But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 3:4-7).
Are you confident that this is your story? If ‘yes’, praise God again today for his kindness. If ‘not sure’, then speak to a Christian you know who will help you come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be saved and of how you can be sure.
DAY 3: Read 2 Timothy 3
Good soil – what is this like for the new Christian? The new Christian will be nourished and fed by dwelling on God’s word and by having fellowship with God’s people. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16). The Holy Spirit spoke in the writings of Old Testament leaders and prophets and writers like David and Moses. This also applies to New Testament writings. God has chosen to reveal himself not only in nature but also by spoken and written human language. Even creation came about as God himself spoke! Hebrews 11:3. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
Meeting together is a very important part of Christian growth. It is where we can together praise God in word and song and thank him for all he has done in Christ. As we meet, we will learn how to live as Christ’s followers. We pray together and intercede for each other, and we read God’s word and encourage each other. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:25).
Note from our passage that the word of God plays two important parts in all of this. The Word makes us wise for salvation which comes through trusting Jesus; and the Word then trains, rebukes, and encourages us for every good work. The preacher’s task is to open the Word of God for that very same purpose (see 2 Tim 4:1ff) – teach, correct and train! God will use the Word of God and the preached Word of God to transform us into the disciples he wants us to be. Are you making use of God’s word to do just that?
DAY 4: Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
The transforming effect of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with love, compassion and a desire to reach out to others. We are compelled by love. Through the love of Christ, we see his Spirit at work in the world through his followers. Praise God at the diversity of gifts and blessings Christ has given his followers to do his work. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Cor 5:14). The individual who now believes, speaks the word to others and demonstrates the love of Christ to others. Jesus said, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” And then… “Others hear the word, accept it and produce a crop-thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mt 5:13-16).
Do you feel compelled by the love of Christ, to share to persuade others that Christ died for all? Have you grasped that you are an ambassador for Christ, judged with telling the best news for a world in need?
By Rosemary Thompson