Guilt-Free Disciple Making
The Big Idea: Our work for God (making disciples) will always be a reflection of our walk with God.
Why do we feel so much pressure—and guilt— when we hear Christ’s command to “go and make disciples?” Actually, you’re probably already doing a lot more than you think! In today’s lesson we’ll explore what Jesus wants us to do, why it makes us feel so guilty, what you can do about that guilt, how you can have the same passion as the first disciples, and what making disciples can look like for you today. You don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t make disciples—only if you don’t try.
Hanging Out with Jesus
Guilt-free Disciple Making
Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18
Well good morning men. Please open your Bibles to Mathew chapter 28 verse 16. I’d like to introduce you to several area directors – field staff – who are in town for training. We have 5 of them, we also have Jeff Kisiah our national field director in the back, raise your hand Jeff. Jeff oversees our 100 we just hit 100 field staff, so we’re very excited about that. Wayne Morgret from Ohio, if you could stand over here, just hold your applause for a second. There’s Wayne and let’s see, Mike Flinn from Illinois, over here, Peoria and then Roy Stutzer from … Stay, please stay standing guys. Field staff; Mike stand, remain standing, yeah, yeah. Roy Stutzer from Seattle, sorry I wasn’t very clear on that, remain standing please, yeah. Then now I’ve kind of lost my way, Brian Downey from South Florida and Kevin Gregory from Sanford North Carolina.
Yes, would you join these new men as they go through their training this week to the Man in the Mirror team. Great, welcome guys. You can sit down now, we’re so honored to have you with us this morning. I also want to give a shout out today, we have a shout out going to the River of Life Assembly of God in Sunbury Pennsylvania. 10 men they’ve been meeting semimonthly for 6 months. Mike Outrich is their leader. We’re looking for a field rep in Sunbury so maybe one of you men would be interested in taking a look at that, go to the website, find out all about that. In any event would you join me in giving a rousing welcome to these men from Sunbury Pennsylvania. One, two, three, hoo-ha. Welcome guys, we’re really glad to have you with us.
We’re in this series, Hanging Out with Jesus. This is the next of the last message. We’ve been at this for 8 years. This morning we’re going to look at the seventh appearance of Jesus post resurrection. It’s the fourth time he’s appeared to the disciples; the title of the message is Guilt Free Disciple Making.
Just try to imagine for a moment were it possible, it’s not, but try to imagine a non-disciple making world. A world in which no one who ever became a Christian turned around and tried to help someone else become a Christian. What kind of world would that be? Well you see that in part though because many believers for whatever reason, we’ll get to this, are not actually making disciples themselves. They become a disciple but they don’t turn around and make other disciples. We all have our little lapses, I sort of had one recently, I did something I haven’t done in over 20 years I’m quite sure. Hopefully it’ll be another 20 years before I do something like this again.
I was at the gas station and I filled up and the way I pulled around, I have an SUV, it’s bigger than a little car, I pulled around to pull back out on the main road and I ended up at an angle. I was partially blocking the ingress from the main road as I was trying to egress onto the main road, get the picture? Part of me in my more manipulative phase of life was thinking no car is going to be able to turn in unless they let me get out, it was a very busy street, so it was kind of a sort of a back in here a little larceny going on.
Anyway, there I am, I’m at an angle so a car couldn’t get in but then 2 young men on motorcycles, be a lavish embellishment of what you would call these 2 pieces of equipment, but anyway they pulled in to the gas station and because I was partially blocking them they could still get in but it was awkward for them. One of them goes like this, he goes … Something inside me just snapped. They pulled up to a pump, I back my SUV up and I decided instead of going out onto the main road I’m going to go out onto the side road and I’m going to drive by these 2 schmucks on way out. I drove about 3 miles an hour and I rolled down the window on the passenger side and as I went by they were out the passenger window and I said you’re stupid.
Well would you believe I hadn’t even gotten … I didn’t even feel like I finished the breath on the last one and one of them said you’re stupid, don’t you effing call me stupid and went into a complete rage. I was thinking oh my gosh, it used to be at least you would work up to being that mad but it was like he was already in a rage, I didn’t trigger anything, he was already there. All I did was give him an opportunity to express the rage that he was experiencing. I wasn’t planning on stopping anyway but I figured the next thing I was going to do is get shot so I rolled on out of there. Yeah, that’s not exactly what we have in mind when we talk about guilt free disciple making.
I sort of feel bad about it but the honest truth is that I don’t feel that bad about it. Yeah, I didn’t think about going back and doing anything because I really thought I might be in trouble. We’re going to talk here about the great commission this morning and how to actually do it well. Here’s … First off here’s what Jesus wants but why does it make us feel so guilty? We’re going to talk about what Jesus wants but we’re also going to talk about why it feels so guilty.
Let me set this up just a little bit, just a little bit more. 62 words in the great commission, 62 words of Jesus in the great commission absolutely, unequivocally, no room for debate, the single most impactful speech that’s ever been given in the history of the world. More millions of people and more billions of dollars have been mobilized by this one speech than any other speech ever given. These are very important words so as we approach them let’s bring a sense of sacredness and a sense of reverence to them.
The text. The situation that calls this into existence, honestly I only have one message and this is it. It’s a little embarrassing that I keep saying the same thing week after week but I do take the texts that we have and I always filter them through a set of questions and one of the questions is what is the situation that called this text into existence? Why did the Holy Spirit decide to preserve this particular text? What is it … What is the problem that God is trying to solve with this text and some others, is there something that we learn from this text that we would otherwise never know? What does this text say, what is obviously going on here? Is there a question that best captures what we must talk about this morning and so forth and so on?
Jesus is getting ready to ascend into heaven, well he had one more message. These are his last or near last words and he’s giving us what he thinks is the parting message that he wants … The parting mission that he wants to give to us. That’s the situation that’s called this into existence. Reading at verse 16; then the 11 disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go and when they saw them they peppered him with questions. You think you’re going to get to heaven and you go I got all these questions and man when I get to heaven what I’m going to do is I want answers. No you don’t, no you don’t. When you come into the presence of the Almighty it is a moment of humility, it is a sacred moment and your impulse is not going to be to pepper God with questions. You impulse, your first instinct is going to be to do what these disciples did.
When they saw him they worshiped him, they worshiped him. The word worship, some of you have heard me say this before. The actual Greek word, the meaning, best … One of the best ways to describe the meaning of this word worship is to say that it means to kiss the way a dog licks its master’s hand. That’s what it means to worship. They worshiped Jesus.
All men everywhere are always looking for something or someone to worship. When something that is truly holy is presented to you, when you come into the presence of transcendence the impulse is to worship, that’s what they did. Reading on; but some doubted. I would like to suggest to you really just on the authority of this text right here that doubting in the face of believing is the normative Christian experience. “Oh Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
Doubts are just so normal, I spent quite a bit of time on the phone yesterday with one of our major donors who’s grandson was born and has had multiple heart surgeries and he was telling me about all the questions that he peppered God with and all the doubts that he had and he said God didn’t answer me in any way but I just … After I completely expelled all of my questions and frustrations and pain and blah, blah, blah. Just basically what I was left with do I trust God or not? I choose by faith to trust God and so he’s moving on even though he had these doubts.
Reading on; Then Jesus came and said to them all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Now this is the Greek word, “exousia”, which translates here to be authority as opposed to power which is the Greek word dunamis. Power in the Bible, in the New Testament it refers just to the raw ability, I have the power to do this thing but authority has to do with permission. In other words I am the one who has the permission to exercise this power. It’s like if you could picture Jesus has all authority, just picture you saying, being in the president’s cabinet and the president tells you to do something, what do you say? Yes Mr. President.
Why? Because he is the person that not only has the power but he has permission to exercise that authority. Or your boss tells you to do something you don’t tell him to go hang it, we’re in a place where … You say … Hopefully you have a boss who you can interact but at the end of the day when the boss makes his final decision what do you do? You do it because he has what? The authority to tell you what to do. Jesus, Jesus is saying not only do I have all authority here on earth but also in heaven so we’re working on an inch here but the next 10,000 miles he’s in charge of that too. It’s pretty important to pay attention. He’s giving us the reason why we should pay attention to what he’s about to say because next thing on the table here is the word therefore. You’ve heard it said, it’s a cliché when you see the word therefore you should ask, “What is it there for?”
“Therefore go and make disciples, go and make disciples of all nations, all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you and I will be with you even to the end of the age.” 62 words that capture the mission that Jesus has for us.
Is there something we learn from this text that we would otherwise never know? Yes. We have in this text the most clear description of the mission, the marching orders that God has for the church and when I say the church I’m talking about us, I’m not talking about the buildings and organizations; I’m talking about the body of Christ. This is our mission, this is your mission, making disciples. What’s obvious from this text is that making disciples is God’s designated way to release the power of his gospel on every problem in the world. Do you see that? He could have said anything he wanted to say but he chose this idea of making disciples. It’s the portal priority through which all the other priorities of the gospel get accomplished.
Now, when we read this why does this, why does the great commission make us feel so much pressure and guilt as well when we read these words? Well there are a lot of different reasons. We’re going to do a series called Men Reaching Men that will start at the conclusion of this session and whatever it is, well 2 weeks from today we’ll be starting this series Men Reaching Men. By the way while we’re on it why don’t each of you, I asked to have enough cards put on the table so you could each have 2 of these, would you at this moment take a second and get your 2 cards, all right?
What we’re going to do is we’re going to have a hot breakfast here on that morning and we’re going to call this a fall kickoff. We’re going to … We want to make this into an open house kind of a thing and want to ask you to consider inviting a guest or 2 to come on that day, get a hot meal and we’ll kick off this series and we’ll do something, it’ll be kind of fun, whatever we do it’ll be fun. Who knows maybe I’ll have another witnessing opportunity between now and then and I can tell them about …
There are plenty reasons that we feel pressure and guilt but I think that first and foremost is a lack of desire. We’ll talk a lot more about these things in that series but a lack of desire. You already know what you should be doing, you already know what Christ wants you to do, you already know this so what could I possibly say, what could I possibly say to inspire you to do what you already know you should do? If Jesus can’t inspire you what would make me think that I can inspire you if you lack the desire? I want to … That is a very real issue, a lack of desire. You know what you should be doing so you feel guilty, you’re not doing it, you feel the pressure of it.
Some of you are making disciples and have a robust disciple making ministry but others of you have maybe done it once upon a time but you fall away from doing that, you’re not doing that anymore. Some other reasons that you may not be doing just a lack of skills, you don’t actually know what we’re even talking about when we’re talking about making disciples. In the Men Reaching Men series we’re going to get into all that, we’re going to get into it a little bit today but we’re going to get into it in a big way in the Men Reaching Men series but you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s anxiety, there’s fear, I don’t even know what we’re talking about much less how to do it, that’s another reason that you might feel guilty.
Another reason you’re not just feeling like it’s up to you. You need to be producing results. Another reason is you don’t even know exactly how far you’re supposed to be going with different people. Another reason you might feel guilty is that you’re unaware of all the excellent disciple making things you’re already doing. Hey, this is a reality, every single man in this room is already doing a lot more disciple making than you can possibly imagine and we’ll get into that too by just doing things along the way.
For example I have my car in for a third repair on the same thing. Okay, by now you know you’re kind of getting annoyed with the whole thing but you’re trying to be the Christian. This is the makeup story for the other story. We get it in and they’re working on it and I come to pick it up and I’m in a good mood and so the service manager who I have been building a relationship with he says you’re consistently a positive person. He said I find that very attractive. I said well I haven’t always been that way. He said what do you mean? I said well there was a time in my life where I would have taken your head off by now for not having my car fixed.
He said that’s really … He said I find that hard to believe. I said don’t find that hard to believe it’s the Lord. You should have seen like 100,000 zigawatts just going through his body and he … There was some, I have no idea what was going on in his brain but there was some … The Lord, the Holy Spirit had used that statement to help him connect some dots. I don’t know where it’s going to go from there but the point is that every time you do a little something like that it’s the Lord or I hope you have a blessed day or what’s going on in your life, just any kind of interaction you’re doing and relationship building and things like that along the way, you’ve heard me say it before, evangelism is simply taking someone as far as they want to go to toward Jesus on that particular occasion. It’s not up to you to produce the result, the Holy Spirit is doing what it’s doing.
This natural way of interacting with people that … If I had … Imagine now if the young guy that had gone [gesture]… Imagine if I had rolled down the window and I would have said hey I really messed up, I’m sorry, please forgive me. Do you think that might have had a different impact? Yeah, he might have … He might not have used the effing word with me instead. The bottom line on this is that you are already doing just by your countenance, by your persona, by the example of your life, even if you never say anything. Look at the Pope, look at the Pope, he rides around in the Pope mobile and people are transformed. You see what I’m saying? It’s who he is, it’s who you are, it’s your identity in Jesus. Just be who you are and you are already making a lot more disciples than you will ever even be aware of.
All right, now this is a problem, this feeling guilty and all that. How does God provide to solve this problem? What is the one idea if fully understood and truly believed could change everything for your life? What is the one idea if fully understood and truly believed could change everything for you in your ministry, in your life? This is it, this is … By the way this is principle number 1, this is the first … When we do our book camp training for field staff this is what I always tell them is principle number 1, everything flows from this and this is it. Our work for God will always be a reflection of our walk with God. In this case our work for God, we’re talking about making disciples, we could be talking about the holiness of vocation today and the calling to tend the culture, we’re talking about building the kingdom of the day.
Our work for God will always be a reflection of our walk with God. I want to unpack with you, I want to unpack that with you and show you how this thing works a little bit. Here we go. I want to ask the question, how can we be as faithful as those first disciples? How can you can I be as faithful as those first disciples? What kind … What would it take for us to be as consumed by the last words of Jesus as they were?
We’re back to 2 things in the text. Now there are many other things we could talk about this morning but 2 things that are specifically addressed by the text are number 1 worship, worship. What I would like you to see in this is that these men were more inspired by their relationship with Jesus than knowing what to do. It was not knowledge of how to do the work of making disciples that was so deeply inspiring to them it was the relationship with Jesus. He came and then he gave them their marching orders but it was on the basis of the relationship that they were …
You just think about this, you think … You’re in a meeting at the office, you’re on task, you’re the task, you’re trying to get the job done, doing the right thing. The phone rings, it’s your 12 year old. What do you? You take the call from the 12 year old! You tell all these big muckety-mucks that you’re … Look I need to take a short break, this is my 12 year old daughter and you go take the call because relationships are like that, they’re very powerful, they’re very powerful. The deeper the relationship the greater the response to the relationship, the closer you are to someone the more you respond to them. If it’s a vendor that called you you’d send it to voicemail, right? Because it’s a different kind of relationship.
The work that we do for God will always be a reflection of our walk with God and so the message here is: Stop feeling guilty about not making disciples and not performing and doing more work. If you’re not doing what you would like to be doing then don’t focus on doing the work, that doesn’t solve the problem. Focus on your walk with Jesus, you see. Work on your relationship with Jesus, deepen your relationship with Jesus and as your walk with God grows then your work for God will also grow but out of the overflow of your relationship with Jesus. Does this make sense?
Too much, too many, too many conferences trying to get men jacked up and umpped up and ramped up to go out and do the work. The problem is that most of these appeals are to your human effort, your strength, your personal will. The problem with that is that it will work, you can suck it up, you can step up for a couple of days after that … Then the other things just begin to come back in. If you really want to see your life transforming the lives of other men and people focus on your walk with God because your work for God will always be a reflection of … Just think again about the Pope, unbelievable. He must have the most incredible walk with Jesus. I mean I just can’t even, I can’t even begin to fathom what kind of a walk the Pope must have with Jesus to be able to have the magnetism that he has. It’s been phenomenal. Haven’t you all been blest by that? The whole country has been blessed.
I wouldn’t be surprised, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of spirit, Holy Spirit movement across our nation released just by getting people to think in this different way, it’s an amazing thing. I haven’t thought deeply about it but anyway that’s just off the top of my head and it’s not related to the talk but there it is.
How do you do this worship? I’m going to run out of time I can already. I’m already out of time, almost out of time. This worship, this worship, everybody has a different worship language, one or more. We’ll talk about that in the series Men Reaching Men but you might feel closest to God on an adventure trip doing daring things with other guys or you might find that you worship God best in a group where you’re singing and clapping hands and praising the Lord or you might find that you worship the Lord best just in the privacy of being with yourself, your own thoughts, contemplative thoughts studying the word of God. Whatever it is that allows you to have a deeper walk with God focus on that, focus on that.
Then bring yourself under the authority of Jesus, that’s the second thing we see; worshiping and authority. We see the second way that we can be faithful like these first disciples is we can bring ourselves under the authority of Jesus. Now are you going to bring yourself under the authority of somebody you don’t know very well? Probably not.
This whole idea, focusing on your walk with God is part of bringing yourself under the authority. When we understand the excellences, when we can say Jesus all these things that have happened to me, all these things that are happening to the people around me Jesus I know you, I love you, I have faith in you, I surrender my life to you, you oh God, you alone are worthy of my worship, my praise. All majesty, power, dominion, authority, wisdom, wealth, reverence, awe, love, affection, adoration, obedience, service, sacrifice, blessing, thanksgiving and so on and so forth and so on, you are worthy. I know that because I have this relationship with you and I know that I can trust you, I know that I can trust you.
Because of all that in spite of all these around here, in spite of the fact that looks like you don’t have any power even though you have authority and yeah doesn’t it look like sometimes he has power but not authority, has authority but not power because if he had the power wouldn’t things be different? Don’t ever make the mistake of misjudging his restraint as impotence. And help the other people, once you understand it part of making disciples is helping other people understand that too.
This is a terrible talk, I didn’t get, I just didn’t get anywhere near where I wanted to go on this thing. This is the big idea. Our work for God, making disciples will always be a reflection of our walk with God. If you want to not feel guilty make disciples. If you want to make disciples don’t go out and try to make disciples instead focus on your walk with God and then as God invades your life more and more then you’re going to fill up in your relationship with him to overflow, you’re going to have enough Jesus for yourself one day and you’re also going to have some left over. You say okay what do I do with this extra Jesus and you’re going to use it to make disciples.
What can the work of making disciples look like for you? Well good luck with that, I don’t have time to tell you. It can … Basically I’ll give you 3 words, we’ll pump into these, we’ll drop down into this, we’ll drill down … that’s what I was trying to say, drill down into these ideas. Know, Grow and Go, Know, Grow and Go. Making disciples if you want to be faithful in making disciples, what does the work of faithfully making disciples look like for you? It means helping other men and women know Jesus, know him. How do they know him? I don’t know why Jesus did it but he decided to make his appeal through us. We are now therefore Christ ambassadors as though he were making his appeal through us, at the gym, on the job, in the neighborhood, at the church too by the way.
Then to grow, this is the whole equipping. So calling, equipping, sending, knowing, growing, going. This is the equipping part, this is getting yourself first and then others into relationships with other people. The main thing that is always happening in the world is that God is sovereignly orchestrating all human events to bring us in the right relationship with him and right relationship with each other. We come into right relationship with him and each other in relationships with each other. Whether it’s one on one or small groups, to be in relationships where you can do life with one or more other brothers. And start at home too in terms of these relationships.
By the way just remember this, the smaller the deeper, the smaller the deeper, in the group. One on one, one on one is going to be much deeper than three on three or whatever it is. That’s just a little thing. Then to go. It’s interesting because one of table leaders and our MC just resigned or should I say retired but how do you retire at the age of 30? Lucas over here has been coming here for, I don’t know, almost a decade, he’s been growing, God has been working in his life and he sensed a new calling. With our blessing we’re sending him but he is going to be focusing on jail ministry and working with the ministry that … They do things at the abortion clinic, they council young women and so forth, going into the abortion clinic here in town, you know we have one, right?
He’s going, he’s going forth. Now he still has other ways that he’s growing and so forth but he’s out there making disciples. Doing any good deed, pounding nails into a widows rotting lintel over a door that’s making disciples too, it’s all making disciples, okay? Yeah, kind of blew the end of this, I didn’t have a great story at the end but anyway this is the Big Idea: Our work for God will always be a reflection of our walk with God. The thing that we can do is that we can know Jesus ourselves better and better, we can grow in our knowledge of him better and better and then we can go and serve him better and better. Let’s pray.
Our dearest Father thank you so much for this day. Thank you so much for the 8 years that we’ve spent in this series Hanging Out with Jesus. As we are now trying to land the plane, Father, I pray that since this is the thing that you have been building up to for us that loving you is not just about us and when we received you Jesus you had a reason for not just beaming us up and now today you have finally revealed the big idea. We pray that we would be men who would be inspired to do that through worship and by submitting to the authority of Jesus and we know we can’t do that, we can’t have a work for God that is anything less than a reflection of our walk with God so we pray that you deepen that walk. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.