Category Archives: Converge – Discipleship
For our eight week summer study on Wednesday Night we are drilling down on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. After all, He commanded that we make disciples. And who was He talking to at that moment? The disciples. So disciples should make disciples. What does that mean? How do we do it? How do we apply discipleship to every category of the lives we live everyday? These are the questions we are looking at together. In week 2 we asked what is the connection between the gospel and discipleship and what are the dangers of divorcing the two? These are summary statements for an outline, but if you missed the discussion and what more description and instruction, you can get all the content on our podcast at www.eagleheights.com.
Last Week: What is a disciple?
The Importance of trying to define what a disciple is: “We can always say we are successful if we can’t define what success is.”
- “A committed follower of Jesus learning to grow in Christ-likeness so they can evangelize and train others to evangelize and train others.” John Kelsey OUBSU
- A person wanting (attitude) and learning to follow Christ (action) with all of their life for the rest of their life (extent/scope).”
Biblically, what’s right and helpful about these definitions?
What is wrong with (missing from) these helpful definitions?
1. Seem Individualistic.
2. No passing on of the Christ life. No multiplication.
3. It looks like and could be legalistic. Works/Performance based.
A synthesized and fuller definition:
“A person who is truly saved by faith in Christ (condition), wanting (attitude) and learning to follow Christ (action) with all of their life for the rest of their life (extent/scope) and passing the life of Christ on to others (legacy).”
What is the gospel?
Simply, the gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ lived perfectly, died for our sins and was raised victoriously conquering sin and death (1 Cor. 15:1-8).
Describing the good news:
- Historical fact (1 John 1:1-4).
- Perfect and Present “Once for all” “It is finished”. There’s nothing I can add to earn, but it can change who I am in Christ and therefore how I live for Christ.
- Impossible for me to do. Why? Because of the previous. I can live in response to the gospel, but I can’t live the gospel. Only Jesus can die, resurrect and mediate. All I can do is respond with glad obedience.
The gospel is good news, not good advice. But it is news that:
- Needs a response. We must respond. No response is a no response
What are the consequences for discipleship of neglecting the gospel?
1. Personal – How will a gospel-less discipleship impact my trying to be a disciple?
- Beat myself up when I don’t act like a disciple. Earn approval.
- I develop a God’s going to get me mindset and lifestyle = fear.
2. Other People – How will a gospel-less discipleship impact the way I treat others?
- I beat others up. Pride creeps in. I become a Pharisee.
- I expect people to be like me and not Jesus. I compare and judge.
So we must first be saved by responding to the gospel.
We need to be disciples.
We need to continue to learn how to apply the gospel as a disciple, to our discipleship.
Key Question: How do the gospel and discipleship fit together? ILL: A Tree
- 2 Cor. 5:14-15. The gospel should cause us to want to be disciples of Christ rather than having to to be a disciple of Christ.
- 2 Peter 1:1-11. Discipleship is empowered (VV. 3-4) by the gospel, but the disciple must make every effort (VV.5-8). “Nothing in the life of the disciple takes care of itself (Romans 8:13; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 4:7-10; 1 Timothy 6:12; Luke 13:24). We must trust and obey. It’s both.
“Jesus has satisfied my debt, which is exactly why I can’t be satisfied with anything less than living for Christ.”
One Thing – What is one thing that you need to change your mind about so that you can obey Christ for God’s glory, the good of others and your joy? James 1:22
What does golf have to do with discipleship? Maybe nothing and maybe a lot. Nothing if golf isn’t for Jesus, since all things are created by Him and for Him. A lot if it is for Jesus by helping me see something that is true about following Jesus.
This past Saturday I went with my six-year-old, Luke, and his “papa” to play on a nine hole, par-three course here in Stillwater. When Luke learned we were going he immediately begged us to let him go along. Since we only planned on playing for about an hour or so, I thought surely it wouldn’t hurt to let him be the caddy. So we got in the car and headed over to the course and then we went to the clubhouse and paid the green fee, and then we went and retrieved our golf cart, etc. Luke was right by my side the whole time learning what you have to do to actually play golf.
We finally got on the tee box of the first hole and I placed my ball for the first stroke of the day, and right as I was in the beginning of my back swing, Luke said to me rather loudly, “Daddy, make sure you hit it over the pond.” So instead of going Tiger Woods on him, I stepped back and gently told him that while daddy and papa were swinging, it was polite and good golf course etiquette to remain quiet to allow superior concentration so that the ball would in fact go over the water. Luke is a fast learner so I only had to remind him of this on every other hole.
A few holes later we were on the green and when we were on the green we let Luke putt with us. I explained to him that when we were all on the green, then we could pull the flag out of the hole. I also explained to him that we putt in a certain order and that the person furthest from the hole always gets to go before the others who are closer to the hole. However, one mistake he did make was stepping in the putting line of his papa. I had to show him why it was wrong to step in the line of the ball where someone was about to putt. I made that mistake one time as a college student and was chewed out for violating such a well known expectation of play. But how was I to know? How was Luke to know unless someone told him. Hopefully my showing and telling him about the proper way to act around the green will help him to avoid the unpleasant reaction of people who had spent a lot of time playing and understanding the intricacies of golf.
One other memorable moment from our little outing was when Luke became the course professional for his papa. We
were hitting over a good stretch of water and Luke’s grandfather had deposited two balls right in the middle of the pond. Luke’s solution was simple, “Papa, you might do better if you hit it a little higher.” Easier said than done. Of course it seems simple to him, he has never played and tried to a hit a golf ball over the water that you can’t quit thinking about because the ball always seems to go in the water. Luke will one day learn that hitting a golf ball where you want it to go is much harder than it looks, but he won’t learn until someone gets on the course and shows him how hard it is and how he can avoid the hazard himself.
I had a very brief moment of frustration with my son on the first hole at the beginning of my backswing. After all, didn’t he know not to talk while people are hitting a very small ball to a very small cup? No he didn’t. Why would he know? I didn’t either until someone took the time to play golf with me and correct me when I was wrong and explain to me why there is a code of behavior on the course. It’s one thing to tell someone about something and tell them what they ought to do when they are put into a specific situation, and it is something completely different to tell them what to do and then to also walk with them and show them while you are telling them.
Teaching my son golf by doing it with him is the same way we ought to be teaching others to follow Jesus. Speaking instructions on how to do something is important, but what is equally, and maybe more important, is modeling what is told. This is what Jesus did for three years with his disciples. Jesus talked and walked the moral standard of God. We are quick to pick up on the verbal teaching aspect of Jesus that we have replicated with controlled and sterile classroom environments, but there is so much more to teaching than talking; there is also living. We are often surprised that so many people don’t now how to live the life of Christ. Has someone told them and modeled for them the life of a disciple of Christ?
Fathers and mothers, the best time to tell and show your children is now. Make every moment an opportunity to be a lesson to teach something about following Christ in the present moment. Golf is an opportunity for making disciples of Christ. When we are intentional, something as simple as crossing the road can be an opportunity to teach our children to follow Christ.
Follower of Christ, do you need to walk with someone who will tell you and show you the gospel. Find someone you trust and ask them to tell and show you how to live for Jesus. If you have been told and shown, who are you telling and showing? A disciple of Christ will desire and attempt to make disciples of Christ. A disciple makes disciples because that’s what makes them a disciple. Who are you meeting with on a regular basis over coffee or at the golf course, so that you can tell and live the gospel of Jesus?
All of life should be for Jesus – even golf. But someone has to pass the simple truths of Jesus and golf to others by talking about them and living it with them. It takes both to make disciples.