A convert is one who enjoys newness of life in a relationship with Jesus. A disciple goes a step further and shares his faith with others, teaching them to do the same. A man of great charisma who can evangelize 100 people every year is far less productive than the person who will make one disciple per year. Christ modelled this by concentrating on a few. The key is that he commissioned them to do the same. 2000 years later, Christianity has become the largest religion in the world.
Do the math
100 converts per year seems like a lot but after a slow start, by year 10 the disciples blasted by the converts at 1,000 to 1,024. By year 15 the score is 1,500 to 32,768 Without the evangelist, the convert church will expire in one generation. Without regenerating, their church will die off. The discipleship church will fill the earth with productive Christians by everyone doing their part and making just one disciple per year.
So why is it that we are so intent on growing big churches when Jesus so clearly taught and demonstrated the economy of making one disciple at a time?
Notice that Jesus didn’t ask for volunteers for His discipleship program. He picked His candidates and didn’t really give them an option.
Year one, Joe makes one disciple.
Year two, Joe and the first years disciple make a new disciple each totalling four.
Of course these figures are assuming a lot but you get the idea. If you are not making disciples, just what are you doing? As my friend Glenn said “if you’re not fish’n, you’re not follow’n.”
It’s about what the word of God says and its authority over our lives. A bible study is not about what we feel God is saying to us individually. The tendency is to apply the scriptures in a subjective manner. ”What does this passage mean to you?”
We should be asking what did the writer originally intend it to mean and how can we order our lives to come in line with the scriptures.
Should we be taking scriptures metaphorically or are they inspired of God and to be taken seriously?
Surely there are passages that were for the culture they were written to and don’t apply to us today.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 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.
An old friend recently posted about an epiphany that transformed his theological understanding of God. Richard Rohr’s writings had caught him off guard and claimed yet another victim of universalism. His teaching alters the biblical God to one of his own design. A god that loves everyone and everything without conditions. This god differs greatly from the true God described in the scriptures in that it is not holy as He is. Because God is holy and righteous in all of His ways, unrighteousness cannot coexist in His presence. A god that is not holy requires no accounting for people’s sins, therefore no need for them to change, and no need for a saviour. John the baptist and his cousin Jesus got it all wrong. People don’t ever need to repent because this new god loves them all to bits just the way they are. When a Christian strays from God and neglects daily repentance and seeking to conform to God’s image, he is left wide open to errant philosophies. Repentance is an unpleasant process that requires dying to ones self. Without repentance from sin, one is disqualified from calling themselves a Christian. This new god is not really a God at all, just an imaginary force, a feel good vibe that disappoints in the end. Once God is reduced from a personage to a mere force, His holy nature loses relevancy. Morality becomes a sliding scale of relativity rather than an absolute code. The authority of the scriptures is softened almost to the point of redundancy.
In attempt to be accommodating and pastoral in nature, ambiguous words and phrases are often used when dealing with gender issues. Some would say they are watering down the truth, while others call it being sensitive. In the recent debate, Eugene Peters attempted to please everybody by being ambiguous. In the end, nobody was pleased, or impressed. The Bible uses “in your face” language and never beats around the bush, spelling out the truth as it is. The scriptures never attempt to hide the truth or embellish it. Emergent church proponents feel a need to cloak their heresies in a story as in “The Shack.” When the author finally came clean with what he really believed in a subsequent book, the reviewers largely ignored it. It seems they had more fun guessing what he believed than actually hearing it from him. Or perhaps they were more preoccupied with controversy than the truth of the matter. Jesus never minced words as he blasted Pharisees and hypocrites alike. He never used butter talk and never went out of His way to be diplomatic with anyone.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Nashville Statement has been its direct language. That’s probably what I like about it the most. They called out the LGBT agenda for what it is. It’s diabolical to the core. No right thinking Christian with even a basic knowledge of the scriptures should ever go along with their feeble attempt to justify their behavior. The scriptures make it clear that all homosexuality and gender confusion is an abomination to a holy God. Why would any intelligent Christian attempt to soften the scriptures straight talk about their sin by using ambiguous words?
The NS clarifies for once and for all what bible believers stand for. It forces a clear distinction between those Christians who take God at his word and those who would twist scripture to fit their ideologies. All churches and Christian leaders will eventually be forced to make a decision on the gay issue and there will be no neutral ground to hide behind. There are of course consequences to aligning with those who believe the bible speaks the truth. The left can be quite vicious and unforgiving of anyone who disagrees with them. Finally after dithering for so long, the religious right has come clean and identified a clear biblical standpoint. Meanwhile hundreds of left leaning churches have caved into social pressure to affirm gays. Doesn’t God know gays are sensitive and that He might hurt their feelings? One would almost think He does it on purpose.
I for one am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and support the NS 100%.
I’m convinced that when we give people the straight goods about Christianity, God is willing and able to speak to their hearts Himself. We are far too timid about preaching the plain gospel of Jesus Christ. We attempt to make it easier to come to God when Jesus was always trying to make it more difficult. Why is it that we bend over backwards to make Christianity more palatable. Last I checked, we were supposed to die to our fleshly desires, not compromise for them.
It seems that the way a person first comes to Jesus largely determines how difficult a time they will have later when the Lord requires change of them. Those who gave their all to the Lord in the beginning are already “dead men.” Those who have serious ongoing struggles with their sin haven’t really died to them yet. “Dead men” have no rights. To be alive to Christ means we first have to die to our sin.
A nice young couple came to our fellowship and took part, even though they didn’t know the lord they were truly seeking for the truth. After about a year she announced that she couldn’t continue to come because she had to be true to herself and follow the goddess within. Her husband continued to come seeking to know and understand who God is, but his philosophy remained contrary. Love is all you need, typical new age philosophy.A year later she returned and announced to our fellowship that “this Jesus had followed her and wouldn’t give her any rest.” She decided to “give Him a year of her life.” I thought “she should be so lucky, if she only knew that this was the Lord of Lords she was consenting to.” He decided that Jesus’s claims were correct and that perhaps love wasn’t the answer to all that ails us.
We had dinner with them the following Sunday and she said “I moved one step towards Jesus and He moved a hundred towards me.” That’s sounds just like my Jesus! She threw away her crystals and books and they were baptized in the ocean, it was glorious. They got well and truly saved, hook line and sinker. No sliding into the kingdom here! In spite of attending a post modern new age fellowship where the gospel is never preached, God honored a heart that was seeking the truth and revealed Himself to them.
A few years back, I was helping out in my son’s retail store. A customer was buying a generator because the electricity had been cut off in his apartment for non payment of his bill. He described how he had considered cutting into the apartment wall and tapping into the neighbors wires to use their electricity. I reminded him that it was stealing. He responded that he didn’t know them so it was ok.
This is situational ethics at its worst. If you don’t know someone it’s ok to steal from them. Being as I’d never met him before, I thought it would prudent to keep an eye on everything he did in the store. Then I saw his partner. He was gaunt, sickly looking and effeminate. After talking with them for a while, I realized how very twisted and bent they were. They made me feel dirty just being around them. They spent over $1000, paid with cash not cards, and loaded their purchases into a waiting cab. I couldn’t help but wonder where the money came from. I don’t know why but those slimy characters stuck in my mind.
After spending many years volunteering once a week serving drug addicts on the street with the Salvation Army, it never ceases to amaze me how low a man can get. How utterly depraved and vile a person can stoop to being. In many cases you would call them mentally handicapped or outright insane. I’m absolutely convinced that all sin erodes our sanity, and that man’s only hope for a sound mind is to be found in Christ.