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Message Monday: Making Disciples Matters to Morningside

26 Sep

Intro:Image result for making disciples

  • For the past few weeks we have been examining things that matter to Morningside.
  • The first week we thought about how we emphasize what we believe as we welcome people into this church based upon whether or not their profession of faith matches our own.
    • While we do not require members to profess the entire Baptist Faith and Message, we certainly are looking for them to profess their personal relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord.
    • Those who profess Jesus as Savior and Lord will want to naturally grow in their understanding and application of what we as Baptist believe.
  • The second two weeks we thought about how we emphasize how believers should treat one another as we seek to shepherd one another towards Christ.
    • One point that I wanted to emphasize but did not because of time is that we have a great guide as to how to shepherd people in Dr. Neely’s benediction.
    • That benediction is like a covenant to shepherd one another as a family of faith, living in hope, serving in joy, and bonded in love.
    • That benediction promises that we will follow the intention of our Savior not to let one person be lost.
  • Today as we complete our look at what matters to Morningside, we will be looking at our mission.
    • Mark Twain’s famously said, “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
    • Zig Ziglar similarly says if we aim at nothing we will hit it every time.
    • Both these men recognize that it is not difficult to be mediocre.
    • The question we must ask our self is whether or not it matters to Christ for us to be mediocre.
    • Paul Trip, a biblical counselor and pastor calls out his fellow pastors decrying their mediocrity in preaching.
      • He says that we pastors have lost our awe of God and thus become comfortable with representing God as less than excellent.
      • He then says, “we’ve been called to shine the light of the glory of God into the hearts that have been made dark by looking for live in all the wrong places. We’ve been called to offer the filling glories of grace to those who are empty and malnourished. We’ve been called to represent a glorious king who alone is able to rescue, heal, redeem, transform, forgive, deliver, and satisfy.

Image result for making disciples

Transition:

  • While I hope as a pastor, that I never settle for preaching about our magnificent Savior as anything less than he deserves; I want to ask you, are you satisfied with a mediocre witness and walk for Jesus?
  • I dare say that most of us realize how mediocre our witness and walk actually are, and I hope that none of us are okay with that mediocrity.
  • So how do we change from having a mediocre witness and walk?
    • Notice that in Tripp’s quote he mentions three times, what we were called to do.
    • Things we are called by our Savior and Lord are our mission.
    • A ministry without a mission will be mediocre.
    • Today, I want to suggest to you that our Morningside mission statement matters to us if we will avoid a mediocre witness and walk.
    • To do that let’s examine 2 Timothy 2:1-7.

 

Message Points:

  • Before we begin into this passage in earnest, let’s agree that any church or Christian’s mission cannot be separated from the Great Commission.
    • The Great Commission does call us to go, baptize and teach others to obey Jesus.
    • The main command in the Great Commission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
    • So our goal, our mission is to make disciples.
    • The rest of the New Testament is an exploration of how to make disciples.
  • 2 Timothy may be the last of Paul’s letters and was written to his son in the faith, Timothy.
    • In this letter Paul is encouraging Timothy one final time, not to allow himself to slip into mediocrity.
    • He calls him throughout the letter to live up to the calling issued to him by Jesus and through the laying on of hands (2Tim. 1:6).
    • In chapter 2 Paul has turned his attention into a very practical statement of Timothy’s mission.
    • Timothy’s disciple making mission reflects our mission here at Morningside.
    • While our statement follows the logical order of seeking a relationship with Jesus, then serving in relationship with others, and finally then sharing Jesus with others; in 2Timothy Paul follows a more practical goal-oriented order.
  • So let’s consider Paul’s 1ST encouragement to Timothy and to us: It matters that we share what we know with those who will teach others (2:1-2).
    • Notice with me that Paul does not ignore Timothy’s relationship with Christ, even though he focuses on having him share his faith.
      • Paul tells him to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
        • This kind of strength appears when we readily confess our weaknesses and confess our need for a Savior.
        • This kind of strength also is evident when we consistently depend upon the Scriptures to guide us rather than our personal opinion or pragmatic approaches.
        • This kind of strength also shows up when we trust Christ enough to give our time, talents, treasure, and testimony freely and openly without reservation.
        • Do you have that kind of strength in the grace of Jesus?
        • Long-time Christian here today, take just a moment and reflect on your life.
          • No matter how old or young you are, are you okay with praying for the things you want most rather than seeking out what God desires?
          • Is it acceptable to excuse your lack of Bible reading due to your busy schedule?
          • When you measure stewardship of your time, talent, treasure, and testimony against the sacrificial stewardship example of Christ are you pleased?
          • Are you okay with going an week or more without sharing your faith?
        • If you would cease being mediocre for Jesus, then you need first to confess your need to strengthen your witness and walk.
      • So if you are being mediocre for Jesus just pause with me for a moment and pray right now with me.
        • Lord, I am like Timothy.
        • I am weak and mediocre. I need strength in the grace of Jesus Christ.
        • Strengthen me Lord, that I might witness and walk might glorify you.
    • Now look to what verse two tells us about making disciples.
      • First look at the four generations of disciples mentioned in this verse.
        • There is Paul’s generation who is preaching.
        • There is Timothy’s generation who is listening.
        • There are the disciples Timothy will make.
        • There are also the disciples of Timothy’s disciples since Timothy is to pick those who will teach others.
      • Paul has made a very important discipleship principle for us in this passage that seems counter-intuitive.
        • Those of us who are mature Christians have an intense desire to focus the majority of our attention on the newest baby or at risk Christians.
        • According to Paul, while we should not ignore baby Christians, mature Christians should focus the majority of our time on sharing every detail of our faith with those who will be the next teachers.
      • A 2007 Lifeway study said that 70 percent of young people stopped attending church for at least a year between 18-22
        • Of the thirty percent that stayed, notice a common theme of discipleship in their lives
          • The two most frequent reasons young people stay in church relate to the relevance of church: “Church was a vital part of my relationship with God” (65 percent) and “I wanted the church to help guide my decisions in everyday life” (58 percent).
          • Half of those who stayed in church recognize benefits and say, “I felt that church was helping me become a better person” (50 percent). From <http://www.lifeway.com/Article/LifeWay-Research-finds-reasons-18-to-22-year-olds-drop-out-of-church>
        • This is a nine year old study at this point, and I can’t image the statistics have improved.
        • That said, do you see the impact made upon those young people who felt like they had churches that intentionally continued to share Christ in ways that helped guide their decisions in everyday life?
      • Friends Paul’s principle is that we find people who are teachable, people who want Jesus to guide their everyday decision making and share everything we can with them.
        • This is one of the reasons that I love discipleship and biblical counseling. I am sharing with people who want Jesus to guide their lives.
        • Think for just a moment about those who have recently asked you for advice of any kind.
          • Maybe this is a nudge of the Holy Spirit for you to share with those people about Jesus Christ.
          • Invite them to lunch and talk it over.
          • Perhaps offer to read and discuss a book of the Bible like Mark or John with this person.
          • Find a way to share more with those who look to you for counsel.
        • But there is a danger in these Christians becoming reservoirs rather than fountains.
      • Notice then that Paul wants us to find people who are not only teachable, but who have opportunity to teach others.
        • Mature Christians, this means that you may want to invest yourself in encouraging and sharing with the parents you know.
          • They must teach their own little flock every day.
          • They also will come into contact with their children’s friends.
          • For that matter parents and teachers in the children and youth departments, do not neglect talking with your children about how Christ can help their everyday problems.
          • Mature Christians, maybe you would also be willing to be an “on-call” children’s worker for our children’s ministry.
            • We have a need for people who would be ready to help when areas in our children’s ministry overflow.
            • This allows more personal attention for each child.
        • You may also want to think of the person you know who has the most influence over other people.
          • Perhaps it is a school teacher, or perhaps it is a business owner.
          • You may be thinking of another retired person who seems to be friends with everyone.
          • If you share Christ fully with this one person you can be sure that they will share with others.
        • The point is to be constantly identifying         and sharing Christ with those who are looking for Christian advice and those who have the opportunity to teach.
      • As we finish this first encouragement, maybe you are thinking of someone who you know who is teachable or has the opportunity to teach.
        • Will you resolve with me to begin intentionally, and personally sharing your life in Christ with that person?
        • If you do, perhaps you want to commit your efforts to the Lord at the invitation.
  • Perhaps your problem is that you cannot think of anyone in your circles that is teachable.
  • Friends Paul has a 2ND encouragement for you then: It matters that we serve others in order to share with them. (2:3-6)
    • It makes sense that if we do not have anyone to make into a disciple that we would expand our influence or reach.
    • Even as we seek to do that, notice the examples that Paul gives in these verses that help us to qualify how we should expand our service towards others.
    • Qualification 1: We serve as soldiers.
      • Soldiers must endure hardships and avoid entanglements in order to please their commanding office.
      • In other words Paul is telling us that we cannot forget that we serve others to please Christ.
      • We do not serve others to please ourselves or to please them, or to campaign for a status in society.
      • We serve others to please our commanding officer Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • Qualification 2 is similar: We serve as athletes.
      • Athletes have a certain set of rules according to which they must compete.
      • Remember just a few months ago when Maria Sharapova was banned from tennis competition because she tested positive for a banned substance.
        • They ban came despite her insistence that she did not intend on taking a banned substance, but took a medication that contained it.
        • For whatever reason she took the medication, its presence led to her disqualification.
      • Christian Paul is saying that the same is true for you and I as we serve others for Christ.
        • For us the banned substances are selfishness and prideful sin.
        • If those banned substances are present as we seek to serve others for Christ, our service is disqualified.
    • Qualification 3 then addresses the reason we serve others: We serve as farmers.
      • Farmers in the ancient would farm to sell a some of the crops, but also to receive a share of the crops.
      • Paul’s third qualification then insists that we see fruit from our labors.
      • Think for a moment about the activities of your week.
      • Which ones of those activities have yielded opportunities to share your faith?
      • Which ones have not yielded such opportunities?
      • Paul is saying that we need to think like farmers and serve in the fields that are producing, while cultivating the fields that are not producing.
    • So if you can’t think of someone with whom you can share Christ, expand your service so long as you remember you are serving Christ first, you must avoid the banned substances of selfishness and sin, and you want to serve where you have opportunities to share.
  • This leads to our 3RD encouragement: It matters that we seek the Lord personally if we would serve or share in the right Spirit (2:7).
    • Paul comes back to this encouragement as the foundation from which we serve and share.
    • A personal relationship with Christ is what allows us to be strengthened in God’s grace as verse one says.
    • A personal relationship with Christ is also where we receive insight as we reflect or meditate upon God’s Word.
    • Do you notice something about both of those encouragements require us to confess about ourselves?
      • Those encouragement require us to confess that we are not strong enough or insightful enough on our own.
    • Think as well about what this encouragement confesses about Christ.
      • Christ is strong enough and insightful enough to give us by his grace everything each and every one of us need.
      • Friend, this is why we seek Christ. He alone is the one we can turn to in our time of need.
    • Perhaps you are here this morning and you recognize that you are worse off than being a mediocre Christian.
      • Perhaps you have recognized that you are an excellent sinner.
      • If that is you today, then in just a few moments I want to encourage you to do the same thing that we Christians do regularly.
      • I want to encourage you to turn away from your selfishness and sin and surrender to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

 

Conclusion:

  • For all of us here this morning listen again to Paul Tripp’s contrasting our mission with our mediocrity.
    • “We’ve been called to shine the light of the glory of God into the hearts that have been made dark by looking for live in all the wrong places. We’ve been called to offer the filling glories of grace to those who are empty and malnourished. We’ve been called to represent a glorious king who alone is able to rescue, heal, redeem, transform, forgive, deliver, and satisfy.
    • Are you tired of living a mediocre life for Christ?
    • Today right now you have the opportunity to accept the mission of Christ for your life.
    • Will you repent of your selfish sin and turn to glorify Christ by making disciples for Him?
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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