March 24-25, 2018
Pastor Joe Wittwer
#3—Multiply Disciple-Makers, Part 2
Come with me!
They had a deal.
The Lord and Israel had a covenant, and part of the deal was that Israel would not keep the spoils of Jericho, but would devote it to the Lord. Achan broke the covenant, kept some spoils, and the Lord withdrew from them. Consequently, when the Israelites attacked Ai (without the Lord’s presence or blessing), they were soundly defeated, and 36 of them died. The whole nation was put at risk, since the defeat might encourage their enemies to band together, attack and wipe them out. Achan’s sin had deadly consequences for many, and potentially for all.
The penalty for his disobedience and treachery was death.
I am Achan.
I am a covenant breaker. I have disobeyed God many times, and the penalty for that disobedience and treachery is death. (Romans 6:23)
But I’m under a new covenant now—one established by Jesus. He died in my place, so that I can be forgiven. When Achan confessed, he died. When I confess, I’m forgiven because Jesus died.
Achan’s story reminds me of my own treachery, of what I deserve—and of God’s amazing grace to step in Himself and take my punishment. We live under a new covenant made with the blood of Jesus. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.”
We have a deal.
Story: Lori Bradley
Our mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. That’s the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 on your outline. We are to make disciples who make disciples of everyone everywhere. Multiply disciple makers!
Last week we talked about a simple doable way to help people we love find Jesus. We call it Find-Tell-Bring.
Find someone you love.
Tell them what you know.
Bring them with you.
Learn to be a bringer and includer. “Come with me.” Those are the magic words to help people find Jesus. And those are also magic words to help people follow Jesus. “Come with me.” Come with me as I follow Jesus. Follow me as I follow Christ. Today, I want to talk with you about a simple and doable way for each of us to help others follow Jesus. Let’s start with a story.
ILL: Shortly after I graduated from college with a theology degree, the church where I was a youth pastor fired me. They also fired the pastor—both of us had the audacity to believe that God was still speaking and filling people with the Holy Spirit. They canned us both on the same day. The good news was that the youth ministry was happening at Noel’s house on Tuesday nights, and on high school campuses all week long, and it didn’t miss a beat. So even though I lost my job, I was still neck deep in youth ministry. The bad news was that I had been making $60 a month, and now I was making nothing. I needed a job, but I needed one that left me free in the mornings, at noon, and the evenings to do youth ministry. I could work about 4 hours in the afternoons.
I prayed. And one day as I was praying, I thought of a college friend, John, who had worked at Campus Shoe Shop on the UO campus. I took it as a nudge from God, jumped on my bike and pedaled down to the shoe shop. I walked in and introduced myself to Vic and Pearl, the owners, told them I was a recent NCC graduate and friend of John, and asked if they needed any help. They looked at each other with surprise and said, “Our help just quit yesterday, and we said to one another, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could hire a boy from the Bible College again.’”
“Are you good with your hands,” Vic asked?
“Sure,” I lied.
Vic hung an apron on me and put me to work on the spot! I’m a youth pastor with a theology degree shining shoes—but I figured I was still working with soles. And a few heels. For the next 15 months, I worked at Campus Shoe Shop—I was Vic’s apprentice. Everything I know about shoe repair, I learned from Vic. Each day, Vic would teach me something new, let me practice while he coached me, until he’d say, “You got it,” and he’d turn me loose.
How many of you have been apprenticed to someone? It’s one of the best ways to learn, which is why everyone from doctors to teachers to builders to craftsmen undergo some form of apprenticeship.
Every Christian does too. We are apprentices of Jesus. It’s one of the meanings of the word “disciple”—disciples are students, learners, apprentices. We are Jesus’ apprentices! We are learning from Jesus, watching how He does it and trying to do it like Him.
I read a couple authors this week who think we should stop using the word “disciple” for awhile and use “apprentice” instead. Why? When Jesus used the word “disciple” he was calling people to follow Him on a mission. When we use it today, it usually has nothing to do with our mission. It is more about learning cognitive content, mastering the subject matter. It’s about knowing something. But Jesus said that it is more about doing something; specifically, doing what He said. Look again at the Great Commandment:
Matthew 28:18–20 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, baptizing 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.”
We make disciples by teaching them…what? Teaching them information that they can know and repeat. Nope. Teaching them to obey. Teaching obedience is different than teaching information! We make disciples by teaching them to do what Jesus said, to do what Jesus did. That’s what an apprentice does—an apprentice does what the master teaches him to do. We are Jesus’ apprentices!
The first Christians multiplied like crazy. How did they do it? Jesus apprenticed 12 disciples, who apprenticed others, who apprenticed others… It’s still how we multiply disciples: Be one first, and then apprentice others. (Read this together.)
Be a person others can imitate! The best way to make a disciple who multiplies is to be one. The best way to help someone follow Jesus is to follow Him yourself and invite them along. “Come with me.”
All the other verses on your outline are about being a person that others can follow or imitate. Let’s look at just a couple.
1 Corinthians 4:14–17 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Paul says, “Imitate me!” The Greek word is mimetes; we get the words mimic or mime from it. Want to know how to follow Jesus? Paul says, Watch me and do what I do. Mimic me; imitate me. But Paul wasn’t present. So he sent Timothy to represent. Timothy was apprenticed by Paul. He knew what Paul taught and how Paul lived—and that they matched. Paul not only talked the talk; he walked the walk. And he showed Timothy how to do it as well, and now Timothy would show the Corinthians. Notice the multiplication: Paul shows Timothy who shows the Corinthians how to follow Jesus like Paul does. And they would no doubt show others.
Later in this same letter, Paul writes:
1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
It’s the same word—mimetes—imitate me as I imitate Christ. Follow me as I follow Jesus. This is how they multiplied Jesus-followers. Come with me! Follow me as I follow Christ. I’m doing what Jesus said to do; watch me and do it with me.
Philippians 3:17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Paul says the same thing to the church in Philippi—it’s that word mimetes again—imitate me. Follow my example. You have us as a model. Keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Notice the multiplication again: Paul was a model, and there were those who followed him and lived as he did; and the Philippians were to keep their eyes on those people. Follow me as I follow Christ. One more:
1 Thessalonians 1:5–7 You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
You know how we lived among you—there is the example—be someone others can follow or imitate. They watched Paul and became imitators of him and of the Lord. Follow me as I follow Christ. Then what happened? Look at verse 7: And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia! You followed our example, now you’re an example to others. Do you see the multiplication?
This is how we multiply followers of Jesus. We follow Jesus and invite others to follow with us. For this to work, there are two essentials.
First, you must be real: genuineness. You don’t have to be perfect—none of us are. Many of you have already disqualified yourself. “I can’t do this. I’m not perfect. I’m a mess.” Welcome to the club! Me too! I’m a mess, but I’m a mess who is genuinely following Jesus. You don’t have to be perfect, but you must have a genuine relationship with Jesus.
Second, you must be near: proximity. You have to near enough that others can see you up close, in every day life. You can’t be a model from a distance. You must allow others to come near, to get close, to have a genuine relationship with you.
It’s all about relationships: with Jesus and with others. Imitate me as I imitate Christ.
ILL: I was thinking about my models, the people who apprenticed me. There will always be more than one in each of our lives. There may be one that is most impactful, but there will always be more than one.
My first models were 8th grade students: Don Lang who invited me to the youth rally where I met Jesus (and taught me to do find tell bring), and Nat Stock who modeled how to follow Jesus. 8th graders!
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
You can set an example no matter how old you are—junior high and high school students were my first mentors.
My youth pastors in high school— Lynn modeled a passionate concern for lost people (he wanted to hang out with kids who were far from God, not just church kids), and Ted who got in my face and challenged me to set an example for others. My pastor in high school, C. Paul Moore, pushed me hard to know God’s word.
As soon as I got to college, I met Noel—and of course, Noel became my #1 model. I was Noel’s apprentice for 45 years—and still am. I often ask myself, “What would Noel do? How would he handle this?”
My pastor at Faith Center, Roy Hicks Jr. apprenticed me in pastoral ministry and leading a church—especially in multiplying new Christians and new churches. In one 10 year period, Faith Center sent out 75 pastors to plant or take over churches.
My mom has had a huge influence on me—especially showing me how to bear hardship with grace and joy and optimism.
My best friend, Pastor Rick—my right hand man here at Life Center for the last 36 years—has apprenticed me in countless ways, especially modeling strength where I’ve been weak.
And of course, my amazing wife Laina has been my model of selflessness, living Jesus first then others then you, and a persistent peace-maker and reconciler—she never lets relational ills go untended.
All of these and many others have shown me how to follow Jesus. Notice it was all ages, all stages; friends and family and pastors. What did they all have in common? They had a relationship with Jesus and with me. They were real and they were near. No one gave them a class in how to do this—it was natural. It just happens when you follow Jesus and love people.
When you help a friend find Jesus, then come alongside them and say, “Come with me. Follow me as I follow Jesus.” That’s how we learn to follow.
I’ll finish by giving some specific examples. For years, we have said there are five things every Christian does. If you want to grow as a Jesus-apprentice, do these five things: (we use the word “messages” as an acrostic, but without the vowels.)
- Meet together
- Seek Jesus daily (PBJ)
- Serve God and others
- Give to God and the needy
- Share Jesus (FTB)
As you do these five things, simply invite people, “Come with me. Let’s do this together.”
- Come with me to 1-2-3. (Meet)
The first and most important thing we do is meet together: in church, in Rooted, in groups. We say that the first three steps here at Life Center to follow Jesus are:
What do all three of these have in common? They are Christians meeting together because of Jesus. Why is this first and most important? What is the most important thing a new baby needs? Milk? Diaper change? A family! Everything else is taken care of by a family. It all starts with relationships!
ILL: I said yes to Jesus on a Saturday night. I woke up the next morning, and thought, “Now what?” What was the one thing I knew that Christians did? Go to church. So I walked to that little church where I’d heard the gospel the night before and went to the junior high Sunday school class, where we sang, “Michael row the boat ashore,” and “If I had a hammer.” The class was underwhelming, but guess what happened. I made friends. And they said, “Come with us to church after this. Come with us to youth group tonight. Come with us to Bible study on Wednesday.” And I did—every week—and my life changed. I learned how to follow Jesus by being with all these other people who were following Jesus!
Come with me to church. Come with me to Rooted. Come with me to group. Follow me as I follow Jesus.
- Come with me to PBJ. (Seek)
What’s PBJ? Prayer, Bible, Journal. It’s our shorthand for spending daily time with Jesus. We read the Bible and ask God to speak to us—He will. Then we write down one thing He said, and pray. But the main thing is that we’re spending time being with Jesus and listening to Him.
ILL: Within a few weeks of meeting Jesus, my 8th grade buddy Nat asked me if I was reading the Bible. I told him I tried, but all I had was my King James Version that my grandma had given me for Christmas. I started at the beginning, and by Genesis 5, I read that someone begat someone who begat someone. I didn’t even know what a begat was! I gave up. Nat gave me a softcover New Testament called “Good News for Modern Man” and told me to read the first four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He told me they were the story of the Jesus and that’s where I should start. Nat got me started on reading my Bible every day, and eventually taught me how to pray by praying with me.
Here’s a really simple thing any of you can do: invite someone to do PBJ with you. Read a chapter of the Bible, write down what God says to you, share it with each other and pray together. It’s awesome. And it’s how most people learn how to read the Bible and pray and journal! Show them how! I learned how to do this by the example of others.
Come with me to PBJ. Follow me as I follow Jesus.
- Come with me to serve others. (Serve)
The Jesus life is an others-centered life, not a self-centered life. As Jesus-followers, we do what Jesus did and what Jesus said. Jesus served. Jesus washed His followers feet—the most menial task of His day—and then said,
John 13:14–15 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
How do we learn to serve? By seeing others and following their example.
ILL: I’ve told the story before of my first week of college, being at a wild kangaroo court for the freshmen. Water balloons, shaving cream, and various food items were all airborne at different times during the event. The room was a mess, and when the event was over, most everyone left. But I noticed Dr. Alger Fitch, one of the most respected and beloved professors on campus, go to the janitorial closet, roll out the mop bucket and begin cleaning up. He worked alongside a few students until the room was clean, and turned out the lights as he left.
That image—of my revered professor swinging a mop cleaning up after some clueless freshmen—is an image that I’ve never forgotten, an image that shaped my understanding of what it means to serve like Jesus. And…how do I know the story? Because as I was leaving with my classmates, I saw Dr. Fitch rolling out the mop bucket—and I stayed and helped. He didn’t say the words, “Come with me,” but his actions did. I stayed and I learned.
We learn by example, so the next time you’re serving—here at church, in our community, anywhere—invite someone along. “Come with me to serve.” Follow me as I follow Jesus.
- Come with me to live generously. (Give)
Just like serving is a core part of the Jesus-life, so is giving. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” Love expresses itself in giving. God loved us by giving His Son. We love others by giving—not just our money, but our time, energy, talents, our very lives. Jesus said that if we try to keep our lives, we lose them, but if we give our lives away, we find them. Live generously!
ILL: I first learned this a few weeks after meeting Jesus when my friend Nat asked me if I tithed. “What is that?” “You give 10% of your income to God.” “I’m in the 8th grade; I don’t have income!” But I started keeping track of all the money I got—odd jobs, lunch money—and every night I threw my spare change in an envelope and at the end of the month gave it to God. It was always more than 10%, but I’m sure the ushers wondered who was giving $1.37.
I learned to give from my 8th grade friend who showed me how. Perhaps no one modeled living generously for me more than Noel. He was so generous with everything: his time, his love, his money—everything.
ILL: For example, in 1991, Noel moved here from Hilo, Hawaii. Instead of selling his car in Hawaii, he decided to give it away to a single mom. How many of you think that’s generous? Me too. But before he gave it to her, he took it into his mechanic and asked him to go through it and made sure everything was in good shape. He paid for $600 worth of repairs ($1100 today) to make sure he was giving her a blessing and not a problem. That’s Noel. That’s my model.
Live generously! Model it and invite people along: “Come with me.” Follow me as I follow Christ.
- Come with me to find, tell, bring. (Share)
Every Jesus-follower is on mission. Jesus is on mission—He came to seek and save the lost, to bring us back to God. Jesus called people: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men—you will catch people for God.” So if you are following Jesus, you are on mission with Him.
So when I’m helping someone follow Jesus, that must include showing them how to help others find and follow Jesus. You are not fully a disciple until you’ve made a disciple.
ILL: A few months after I came to Jesus, our church held a 3 day revival meeting—kind of like the Collide Conference, only for all ages, and not near as cool. My friend, Nat, asked me who we were going to bring. I filled up a whole row with my junior high buddies. I just did what Don Lang did for me: “Come with me.”
A few months later, when we got to high school, Nat asked me how we were going to reach our school for Jesus. I remember the two of us sitting in study hall dreaming—and sometimes arguing—about the best ways to do that. From the beginning, I understood that I was part of Jesus’ mission to help everyone everywhere find and follow Him.
I learned it from the people around me, who were my models. You can do that for others. Dream together who you want to reach, and then go do it together. “Come with me. Let’s find someone we love, tell them what we know, and bring them with us.” Follow me as I follow Christ.
You can do this! Follow Jesus and invite others along. Come with me!