Being Jesus Disciple Today

Daily Spirit & Word: 727: The Sending.

Jesus sends out the Twelve with Authority.

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. It’s a wonderful journey into the Lord Jesus’ ministry and life, his teachings and miracles, but today marks a turning point, because the focus is not upon what Jesus is doing so much as what He’s asking others to do for Him.

He’d already chosen the 12, designating them Apostles (Mark 3:13-19) that they might be with Him, learn and then be sent out to proclaim the message and perform miracles as well. However, one thing I think we (the Christian Church) has missed, not seen or overlooked is that those disciples were not with Jesus for very long at all, before he sent them out on their first mission.

We imagine that people require so much Discipleship / Training before they can be useful in Kingdom Service, well my friends, thankfully, Jesus didn’t think or operate like that. No! As soon as someone had received a TOUCH of God in their lives, they were then encouraged in some way to spread the good news about God’s Kingdom.

Mark 6:7-13 (NIV) The Sending of The Twelve.
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
8  These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belt. 9  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10  Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
12  They went out and preached that people should repent. 13  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Notes: Mark recalls Jesus’ instruction and calling of the Twelve in just SEVEN verses, where Matthew gives us the whole of chapter 10 and goes into much greater detail about what He (Jesus) said to them. It would be very beneficial to have a look now at Matthew 10. NOTE also check out LUKE 10 (72 sent out, they return rejoicing).

What is the overall thrust of Matthew 10? Answer: That when you (the Disciples) went out in the Name of Jesus, you (The Disciples) will have to FACE OPPOSITION / Rejection. (Their message would cause an overwhelming NEGATIVE reaction: In society and in families. The Disciples would face persecution, rejection and false accusation).

This is indicated in Mark’s account too, but his primary objective or focus is that the Disciples are being sent out UNDER Jesus’ AUTHORITY. It would seem to me that God knew Matthew had taken care to witness the negative reactions to the Gospel, but He had a different focus for Mark, who was to focus in his Gospel upon Jesus’ Authority. They’ve received head knowledge by what Jesus taught and did, now it’s time to put what they’ve seen and heard and learned about the Kingdom into action and experience for themselves.

NOTE: We NEED More than mere Head Knowledge to Develop in our Discipleship / Walk with Jesus.

Jesus way of Discipleship was EXPERIENTIAL, i.e. A Disciple is called, observes, sees and hears Jesus working miracles and teaching about God’s Kingdom, they also get a chance to ask their own questions when alone with Jesus, they are learning by observation, but then they are EXPECTED by Jesus and commanded by Jesus to go and do the same things he’s been doing and teach the same message he’d been teaching. My friends, if Jesus Disciples were expected to do that, then surely if follows logically we are as well.

IF our FAITH and what we’re LEARNING as followers of Jesus Christ is not TRANSFERRED / COMMUNICATED / SHARED by the EXPERIENCE of teaching and instructing others, it will be WASTED and LOST… We forget what we’ve learned by mere head knowledge very quickly.

Why? Because, it’s not long after you’ve been taught something for it to be forgotten, unless it is embedded in the fabric of your being. Until it becomes a part of who you are. There are so many things I’ve learned along the way in my own Christian walk, that I’ve forgotten, but the things I remember best are the ones I’ve been given by the Lord to share with others.

Jesus Disciples: Were now about to be TRAINED in a very different way, than just listening and observing. Jesus was going to thrust them all into EXPERIENCE.

NORMAL DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING:

(In Modern Evangelical / Bible Believing Churches).

A person get’s converted, is encouraged to attend Discipleship Class (Fellowship Groups / Discipleship Explored). In FELLOWSHIP: Bible Study, Home Groups, Fellowship Groups: They are INSTRUCTED (i.e. they gain HEAD knowledge) about Jesus and living the Christian life.

The sad thing about MOST PEOPLE: is that they just keep going on and on and on getting more and more HEAD KNOWLEDGE and very little of it is TRANSLATED into EXPERIENCE OR EXPERIMENTAL PRACTICE… They don’t observe what they are learning being modeled for them. Therefore it gets forgotten quite quickly along the way. So they begin to think, I must just get more training, more head knowledge, then I’ll be ready. Never quite getting to the point of being ready, because nobody involves them in the PRACTICE of Jesus ministry.

EDUCATORS: Those involved in the retention of information know: That when you tell a person to do something, they’ll remember it only for a very short time. So they’ll show them how to do it and then get them involved in the LEARNING process. They’ll remember it for much longer if they are doing the learning themselves. Then what modern Educators have discovered is that when they get their STUDENTS to TEACH what they’ve been learning to others: (EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING), THEY NEVER FORGET IT.

My friends, that’s what Jesus was doing with His own Disciples: That’s what Biblical Discipleship has always been: Conversion, Instruction, Experience of Sharing with others what you’ve just learned.

This PRINCIPLE / PRECEPT: is communicated hundreds of times throughout the Bible.

King David: As a boy learned to TRUST in the LORD: many times… Now, when just a mere youth, he faced a GIANT: Goliath. He’d learned many times that if a Bear or a Lion was threatening the flock, he, the good shepherd, would do something about it. Now he reasons something the seasoned soldiers had overlooked, “Why does this man mock Israel, the flock of the Lord, I’m going to do something about it”… Goliath to King David was nothing more or less than a big bear. King David later wrote Psalm 23 “The Lord’s My Shepherd”…

King David’s LEARNING was Transferred into EXPERIENCE.

When King David sinned and was brought back to repentance, he (Psalm 51) would then TEACH others (transgressors) the way back into holiness of life.

His LEARNING was Transferred into EXPERIENCE.

NOT HEARERS ONLY: The Apostle James teaches this principle.

James 1:22-25 (NIV) NOT JUST ABOUT HEAD KNOWLEDGE.
22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

NOTE: The Blessings from our LEARNING comes when we DO IT.

GOD wants to transform you into the LIKENESS of Jesus Christ.

  • Your Discipleship Class has NOT even begun to be completed until you move from LEARNING to EXPERIENCE.
  • From learning all about; Jesus, the Bible, the Apostles, church life, etc…. to DOING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED.

NOTE: The Disciples DIDN’T KNOW IT ALL: 

Many people think that they need to know SO MUCH before they’ll even BEGIN to Share what they’ve learned.

There is a real danger in that kind of thinking. We’ll become “KNOW IT ALLs” I can tell you from many years of experience of sharing the Good News (The Gospel) that the one thing that puts people off more than anything else is A KNOW IT ALL witness.

WHY? Because a KNOW IT ALL is very scary to people. Most people are put-off from saying anything in front of a KNOW IT ALL for fear of looking a fool. So the Disciples didn’t know it all, they only learned a few basics and were then sent out to do it.

YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW IT ALL.

The Disciples didn’t know it all, they only learned a few of the basics and were then sent out by Jesus with specific instructions.

The Disciples were sent out with AUTHORITY: That authority was confirmed by what they said and did.

The Disciples DIDN’T HAVE The Indwelling Holy Spirit. (Pentecost had not happened yet)… But because they went out in OBEDIENCE in FAITH and UNDER CHRIST’S AUTHORITY: they healed the sick and cast out demons. (As James would later teach, “they heard and did what Jesus instructed and were blessed because of it”.

So my friends, you don’t NEED to KNOW IT ALL: If you did know it all, you would become self-reliant rather than waiting, watching, listening and seeking God’s will as you go. (Prov 3:5-6)

It’s not what you know: But WHO you know that counts.

NOTE: Discipleship Learning: Is very important. Every Christian should be getting a deep knowledge of the Bible and Christian Theology: Knowing all about Jesus, the Bible, Christian living, service in Church etc… It’s all very important indeed, but let’s not do all of that thinking we’ve arrived or that we are mature Christians just by the accumulation of knowledge or theory, because we can do all of that and still not really have BEGUN our Basic Discipleship Training.

The SAD THING: The sad thing is that thousands of good Evangelical churches are like a Sardine Tim: All the fishes caught by Jesus are tightly packed together. Churches crammed full of people who are sitting in the pews week by week, acting like SPONGES sucking up the TEACHING: Then those poor Christians are drained during the week and need to keep coming back to be soaked in the Word again next Sunday. However, very FEW of those good churches are TRAINING their Disciples in the EXPERIENCE OF GOING OUT with what they’ve been learning in church or fellowship group and transferring it into the world in which they live during the rest of the week. WHY? Because it’s not being modeled for them as Jesus modeled it for the Disciples He was training. Jesus, the Master, showed them how to do it, explained it and then sent them out to do it, to gain experience for themselves.

UNIVERSITIES:

Our Churches have become like UNIVERSITIES:

Three year Degree Course / Masters / Doctorate… Head knowledge for many years…. then once they’ve gained their ‘Degrees’ they’ll go out and give others MERE HEAD KNOWLEDGE: Because they’ve NEVER moved into EXPERIENCE or putting into practice what they’ve actually learned. It’s ALL just theory and head-knowledge.

Once a wonderful, sincere Christian lady I knew had just completed a six week intensive training course in Biblical counselling, afterwards I met with her and asked her, “What are you going to do now?” I thought she’d say, “I’m going to begin some counselling sessions with people in need” Instead she said, “Oh there’s another course I want to attend, it’s called, “Bereavement Counselling””… She finished that course after SIX MONTHS. I met with her again and asked her, “What are you going to do now?” She said, “Oh, I’ve booked myself into an Evangelism course”… Yes my friends, you’re getting the gist now, she finished the evangelism course and booked herself into another course… She NEVER got to the point, as far as I know, of translating her learning into the experience of practice. Sadly she was a perfect example of HEARING but NOT DOING.

APPRENTICESHIPS:

Learning on the job. Apprentices Don’t know it all, but they are learning as they go. An Apprentice is under the instruction, care, devotion, love and skill of a SEASONED CRAFTSMAN: Someone who’s served his apprenticeship as well, knows how to do the work and how to instruct others.

The SAD THING: Too many of our contemporary churches are excelling in head knowledge rather than apprenticeships.

  • WE NEED: To get back to BIBLICAL BASICS: Do what Jesus did: Convert, train and send.
  • WE NEED: To abandon WORLDLY METHODS: University types of churches: Adopt & Adapt to Apprenticeships: Experiential Colleges: That’s what Biblical Discipleship has always been about.

Let’s Do What Jesus Did: He; Called, Converted, Trained and Sent.

Let’s Do What Jesus Commanded: Call, Convert, Discipleship Experience Training, then Send.

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) The GREAT CO-MISSION (i.e. Jesus is with them).
16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17  When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

What’s that CO-MISSION?

  • Go: The Disciples of Jesus are being sent. How? Under Authority: The Authority of Jesus. We are HIS MESSENGERS.
  • What to do?: Make Disciples (Not converts, not fill up their gatherings with people who committ their lives to Jesus, but Disciples).
  • BAPTISE: Baptism is much more than a mark of belonging: It’s DEATH to SELF: LIVE for GOD… Under the water in your old way of life, die and then rise up out of the water to live a new kind of life.
  • TEACH: Teaching them what? Obedience to EVERYTHING Jesus had commanded (instructed) them.
  • Co-Mission: Another GREAT REASON we don’t NEED to be KNOW IT ALLs is: “And surely I AM with you always”… Jesus is with us when we go out in His Name. He is the ONE who DOES KNOW IT ALL. He accompanies us as we begin to train and equip those who get converted and baptised. As we teach them and train them to do what Jesus was doing whilst He was on the earth: He is with us all the way.

 

The ONE who does KNOW IT ALL is with us: Jesus.

The person you are sharing the Gospel with: Jesus knows all about them.

The person you are leading to faith: Jesus knows how to reach them.

The person / people you are trying to win: Jesus knows just what will touch their hearts.

However: You’ll NEVER SEE IT: Until you become like Jesus Twelve Disciples: Like the 72 Disciples (Luke 10): Go out under His Authority. Not knowing it all, not feeling especially gifted or skilled, but being obedient to His instruction to GO… Be filled and go… We’ve now got the Holy Spirit Power IN us for the journey as well.

Just like the Disciples in Luke 10: You will return: Full of JOY.

When you see and experience Jesus at work through what you are doing for Him with other, then your heart will be blessed and you too will rejoice.

CONCLUSION: SO WHAT?

To START: You don’t NEED to KNOW IT ALL. (You need very little: Mark 6:8 “TAKE NOTHING WITH YOU” i.e. Don’t Depend Upon Yourself: Depend instead upon God’s Provision).

Let us become Disciples (Apprentices) of the LORD Jesus. Learning as we go from the MASTER who has promised to come with us and show us what to do (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Let’s become experts at taking ordinary people and giving them on-the-job EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE of Kingdom Service.

Let’s move our focus away from: Mere HEAD KNOWLEDGE to BOTH: knowledge and EXPERIENCE.

  • KNOWLEDGE LEAKS: It’s like water from a sponge. (Hold Up The Sponge).
  • EXPERIENCE: Solidifies: Like Cement: It creates a solid FOUNDATION upon which to build God’s Kingdom.

IT’S NOT “WHAT YOU KNOW” BUT “WHO YOU KNOW”…

You ARE:

  • Jesus called,
  • Jesus trained,
  • Jesus equipped,
  • Jesus sent,
  • Jesus provision,
  • Jesus accompanied.

Why? WHY has Jesus called you? It’s For HIS Mission we are Co-Missioned. We go with Him together.

What could possibly STOP us?

TIME: Most people are over-committed, over-stretched and over-burdened already. So why would we ever want to take on more. Answer: We wouldn’t.

TIME: Priorities: TV, Family, Reading, Work, Hobbies, Church (fellowship, worship, bible-study, discipleship, evangelism, outreach, service, ministry). How can we possibly fit Apprenticeship / Discipleship into all that?

Be honest what’s the highest priority in your life at this moment in time?

So HOW can we fulfill God’s GREAT Co-Mission?

The vast majority of Christians are not called to full-time Ministry like the Apostles, Disciples of Jesus: Leaving everything and travelling the world to share Jesus Good News.

The majority are like the man that Jesus delivered from Demons (Mark 5) “Go back home to your family and friends who know you well”…

He calls us to come and follow Him, but He sends us (most of us) back to our family, friends and neighbours. We’ve been; changed, transformed, filled and equipped to TELL of the Great things God has done for us and how He has had mercy upon us.

We’re called initially to TELL of the Great Things: Forgiveness of sins (God’s mercy). New Life: that we get when we come to Jesus; new hope, new life, new beginning, new start, etc….

Everyone has at least 8-15 people, who know you well, that you are a Christian who worships Jesus Christ. These are the ones we should FOCUS like a laser upon to bring to Jesus. OIKOS:

That’s HOW we can move from what we’re learning week by week in fellowship and worship into our daily lives, by sharing with others what we’re learning as we go. We don’t need to know it all, but we do need to begin to share what we do know and have learned. As we do, we’re going to see such awesome blessings, because we’ll become DOERS of the WORD, rather than hearers only.

Imagine the scenario: An old lady across the street has a garden she can’t maintain by herself, you know that she can’t afford a gardener, so you, because you are a Christian, go and offer her your services. You don’t know a lot about gardening, but you can help keep her weeds down. As she asks you, “Why are you helping me?” Then you have a golden opportunity to share something about the Lord Jesus with her: “It’s because God has been so good to me, that why I want to help as many people whilst I can”. LOVE is the motivation. I can guarantee that it won’t be long before you’re having deeper Spiritual conversations with that old lady.

Now it needn’t be gardening; what about baby-sitting, taking someone shopping, offering a harassed mother a cup of coffee or tea to give her a break, letting someone go in front of you in queue, it’s being and demonstrating the fruits of the HOLY SPIRIT in your life as you go: exhibiting that fruit for all to see: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. As you DO THE WORD: You are letting your light shine in the darkness. You are being the SALT of the Earth. That’s Apprenticeship Discipleship: The Master is with you as you go.

However, don’t neglect this ONE THING: Be prepared always to give a reason for the HOPE that is in you. They will not know WHY you are being so nice unless you SHARE something of Jesus with them. They might then reject you or the message, but at least you’ve tried. That’s the most important thing. Oh and don’t TRY just once, because do you remember how many times it took you to give your life to Jesus after hearing the Good News? I’ll put my best pair of socks on it, that it took more than just once. If you are that stubborn, then don’t be surprised when people initially reject Jesus. Be PATIENT, God is calling them.

Share The A,B,C-R of the Gospel:

A: Accept you are a sinner. (Show HOW everyone has sinned by breaking God’s Commandments).

B: Believe and Trust in Jesus: His death, resurrection, ascension. Died on the Cross for your sins.

C: Confess your sins to Jesus and Repent: Turn away and let go of sin.

R: Receive Him as your Lord and Saviour: Repentance and Faith in Jesus. (Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved).

We may, in time, be called to FULL TIME service in the Kingdom.

However, until we are, let’s BE Jesus Apprentices / Disciples: Learning as we Learn: Sharing as we Learn: Being and Fulfilling His GREAT Co-Mission together: Because my friends, if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are being SENT OUT into the World to Make Disciples of All Nation.

It’s my hope and prayer that you keep being filled afresh every day with God’s Holy Spirit, drink deeply of God’s Word and share with others what Jesus is teaching you.

It’s also my hope and prayer that your gathering with other saints is full of great worship, praise and instruction, but then translated into glorious KINGDOM practice as well.

Don.