tells us to “. . . go and make disciples . . .” and other than baptizing and teaching them, we're not told how to do this. We are simply told to go and do, with Jesus being our example.
Bill Hull, in his book, “Jesus Christ: Disciplemaker” states that, “. . . making disciples is still the primary and exclusive work of the church . . .[and] the fact that the church is weaker than ever and shrinking is the evidence that we still haven’t got it. Shortcuts and the quick fix still skim off our best energy and most of the church’s [resources]” (p.9). He goes on to say that, “. . . the problem at its root is that we have accepted a non-discipleship Christianity that leads to plenty of motion, activity, and conferences but no lasting transformation” (p.10).
In fact, statistics reveal that to win a single person to Jesus, it takes “. . . one hundred church attendees, a pastor, and $100,000 a year . . .” (p.12).
In the following 4 weeks, we’re going to talk about how Jesus went about making disciples. More than likely, it will be quite different than you or I may practice today. tells us that Jesus Himself was about 30 years old—the Jewish age when one would assume spiritual leadership—when He began His ministry.
When I ask people if they have been discipled, they usually say “yes.” Yet, when I ask them how they were discipled, they say something similar to, I listen to sermons, go to Bible study, or attend Sunday school classes. When I ask them if anyone has personally discipled them, the answer is nearly always, “no.” In fact, I have only met 2 people in over 30 years, who have ever been personally discipled by anyone.
The truth is that unless someone is personally investing in your life now or has personally invested in your life in the past, you are not being discipled nor have you been discipled, at least in the way Jesus intended for you to be discipled.
Just as standing in the kitchen doesn't make you a chef, so coming to church doesn't make you a disciple either.
John’s gospel begins with John the Baptist telling others that one day the Messiah is coming. He shared this truth, he baptized people, including Jesus Himself (), and then John pointed his disciples to Jesus.
"35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day."
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Jesus was very clearly interested in letting people come to Him without forcing Himself on anyone. He hadn’t come to force people to accept Him. It wasn’t His goal. He came to offer Himself as a ransom for those who were willing to put their faith in Him.
Just as no one wants or likes to be forced to do anything against their will, so Jesus knowing this, gave humanity a choice. In essence, Jesus presented Himself as our needed Savior, while He never seemed to be in a hurry to get people to accept Him as Savior. In fact, He told people to count the cost before making a commitment ().
Today, we spend all kinds of money, use all kinds of electronic means and apps, sell trinkets with Jesus sayings on them, we advertise by putting bumper stickers on our cars, and use gimmicks to try to get people to come to church. But, in the words of Charles Sheldon, who wrote the book, “In His Steps,” we are invited to consider: What Would Jesus Do? In fact today, we can ask, what did Jesus do to lead people to Him?
A. (1:36) He was simply passing by when He was pointed out to John’s disciples.
B. John the Baptist, of course, was sent ahead of Jesus to “make straight the way of the Lord” (), using the words of
C. When John saw Jesus for the second time, he pointed Him out to his disciples by saying, (1:29) “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
D. John instructed them in hopes of helping them understand, so that they would turn from their sin and discover true life
E. We don’t need gimmicks to get people interested in Jesus, we just need to be real with people.
F. It’s not coercive measures that win people over, but real life interaction that lets people know you care.
A. “38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following. . .”
B. As soon as Jesus heard their footsteps behind Him, He turned around.
C. All too often, we are too busy about our own business to notice people at all, let alone to turn around and speak to anyone
D. In fact, have you ever wondered how many people you have passed in your travels?
E. People who may have only needed a word of encouragement from you, a smile, or a friendly handshake?
F. They don’t want your money
G. They are hoping for a little kindness is all.
H. Too often, we begin our day from the time the alarm clock goes off, having set it the night before, we ensure that the kids are awake, we get ready for work, before heading off for work. On our way out the door, we pass our kids, the dog, while skipping breakfast and waving to the neighbor as we get into our car. We jump in the car with just enough time to stop for coffee and maybe a donut, and still make it to work on time. We clock in, plan our work load for the day, and so our day begins. At lunch, we rush here and there to get things done, passing people all along the way with little or no time to stop and talk. We get back to work tired, but glad we got those “few things done.” When work is over, we race home. We pull into the driveway, grab our stuff out of the car and head into the house. We grab the paper, say hello to our wife or husband and kids, and sit down to either read the paper or to watch TV until either dinner is ready (men) or we fall asleep. The next day is a repeat.
I. And we wonder why our spouse and kids feel neglected. Huh.
J. All the while, we preach a message with our lives that says that our tasks are far more important than people.
K. Question: Do you think people get the point?
L. Question: Do you think they know what’s most important to you?
N. I wish that I could say that I go about each day noticing people, but the truth is, that there are times when the everyday tasks of life get in the way of focusing on people.
O. I have moments when I am very people-focused and moments when I am more task-focused.
P. None of us are exempt from losing our focus on who, not what, matters most
Q. Jesus was far more interested in people than in any tasks!
R. Even when Jesus was tired, He made time for people.
S. Question: Remember when He told His disciples to get in the boat and He was planning on taking them away for some rest?
T. Question: What happened when He got to the other side? You remember?
U. Answer: He was met by the crowds and the bible indicates that He had compassion on them and ministered to their needs.
V. He always had time for people—in fact, we were the very reason that He came ().
W. Question: You remember the woman at the well? According to local customs, He was not even to say a word to her, let alone hold a conversation with her, but He did, because people and their needs came first.
Jesus noticed people. He notices you too!
A. V.38 Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
B. (NAS) asks “What do you seek?”
C. In essence, Jesus was asking, what purpose do you have in following me?
D. Is there something I can do for you?
E. , referring to Jesus, says this, “Who, being in the very nature God, . . . made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of [a god . . . NO,] a servant . . .”
F. Jesus did not think He was above anyone, but willingly served the needs of people that He came into contact with.
G. You see, if we’re going to fulfill the great commission of making disciples, then we’ll need to rearrange our lives in such a way so as to be available to connect with people who don’t know Jesus
H. Yeah, . . . he said, rearrange.
And, we’ll need to do so with an attitude of a servant and not one of superiority
A. They wanted to know where Jesus was staying or where He was “abiding”
B. Interesting to note: the word, “abide” comes from the same root word found in (11X). Check it out some time.
C. Today, we might think someone a bit forward to invite themselves to our home (although, secretly, I think we want people to feel welcome to come over)
D. But, what they were really saying was, Jesus, can we talk at your house?
E. You know, we have some things to talk with you about that may take some time to work out. And we would like to talk without being interrupted.
F. They must have felt comfortable around Jesus to be so bold as to ask Him this when they had just met Him.
G. Nevertheless, Jesus responded by saying, “Come . . . and you will see.”
H. He invited them along as he traveled.
I. Interesting to note: that Jesus not only invited them to come over, but with the use of the future tense for the term “you will see,” He encouraged them with a definite promise—as if to whet their appetite for what was to come . . . later.
J. Jesus showed hospitality when He invited them along.
K. When I was a boy, I would ride along with my Dad wherever he needed to go. I didn’t care if we were going to be gone long or where we were going, I just wanted to be with my Dad.
L. If I had questions, and my Dad would tell you, I always had questions, I could ask them and since he wasn’t one who listened to the radio much, I had his undivided attention.
M. John’s disciples wanted Jesus' undivided attention; they wanted to be free from interruption; free from the eventual crowds that would vie for His time.
N. Question: Do you make more time for people or in checking your cell phone?
O. And, amazingly, Jesus always made time for people
P. Consider the woman caught in the act of adultery; Mary and Mary Magdalene; as well as many others.
Q. Question: Where are you at today?
R. Question: Do people feel comfortable around you?
S. Question: Do they see that you truly care for their well-being?
T. Question: Do you invite people into your life? Just to hang out?
U. Jesus saw these as opportunities to get to know people and perhaps meet a need they may have had for years.
The Come and See phase invited one into Jesus' life. It included more than just a Sunday morning involvement or an afternoon talk. A person was invited, if they wanted it, into a lifelong partnership with Him—a partnership that would include gaining more wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and a God-given purpose for life.
Jesus' invitation to Come and See, opened the door for a person to be redeemed/saved/born again—an internal working () to enter into this new life. It would include a desire to be taught the things of God; it involved being baptized—an outward sign to others that you have partnered with Jesus (); as well as, a heart-felt desire to tell others about Jesus ().
Some of us today may be redeemed/saved/born-again, and may have been for years, but for one reason or another, we’ve not taken the next step to be baptized. Some of us are born-again and baptized, but somehow our desire to tell others about Jesus has been curbed.
In a moment, I’m going to invite you to take the next step, whatever that next step is for you. If you don’t know Jesus or have not been baptized, or are struggling to tell others about Jesus, I invite you, while this last song is playing, to come forward and let us know what next step the Lord is encouraging you to take.