Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Doctrine of the Church–(The Office of Pastor)

I appeal to our church documents once again and that beautiful purpose statement which says:

In article 2—Purpose of the constitution of this church it states: The purpose of this church is for public worship of Almighty God; to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the end that the unsaved might be saved; to promote spiritual growth and fellowship among its members, to educate in the Holy Bible, to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of one another and to humanity and to carry out Jesus Christ’s Commission to spread the Gospel to all the world, and to evangelize the lost and disciple the saved in our community, our county, our state, our nation, and the world till Christ returns.

Again, let us be reminded of our confession of faith.

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

Tonight, I will focus on the office of pastor.

Our by-laws state the duties of a pastor are this: The pastor shall proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; lead the church to engage in fellowship of worship, witness, education and ministry; administer the ordinances and exercised general guidance and watch care over the spiritual as well as the physical welfare of the church.

In the portion on calling a pastor, the committee is to call a pastor “that meets the qualifications of our Baptist faith and New Testament Doctrine as cited in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.”

Let me cite the passage:

(1 Tim. 3:1-7) “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,

 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

So, let me first point out that our by-laws refer to this passage for calling a pastor but the passage in question calls the office an overseer. What are we to make of this?

Let’s look at an older translation to see how it was translated.

(1 Tim. 3:1-2 KGV) “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be….

The King James Version translates overseer as bishop not pastor. That still doesn’t answer our question. I will say the newer translations translate bishop as overseer because that is what the word bishop means. —2. position or office as an overseer Ac 1:20; office of a supervisor 1 Ti 3:1.* [episcopate]

Again, our by-laws and confession do not address why we look to 1 Tim. 3 for instructions on the office of pastor when it talks about the office of overseer or bishop. Let’s push on.

Isn’t there another passage about the pastor’s qualifications in Titus? Yep. Let’s see what it says.

(Tit. 1:6-9) “6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.

 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,

 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Paul uses overseer or bishop again. And yes, the KJV uses bishop here as well. but this letter to Titus complicates this even more. Let me back up and quote verse (Tit. 1:4-5) ” 4 ¶ To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

 5 ¶ This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–”

Let me point out what Paul did here. He tell Titus to put what remained into order by appointing elders in every town. Then in verse 7 Paul gives the “as I directed” part. But, Paul tells Titus to appoint elders then calls then overseers.

Let me give you the definition of elder: [GING] πρεσβύτερος πρεσβύτερος, α, ον1. of age older, often subst. olde*r) person Lk 15:25; J 8:9; Ac 2:17; 1 Ti 5:1f. Of a period of time οἱ π. the men of old, our ancestors Mt 15:2; Mk 7:3, 5; Hb 11:2.—2. as a designation of an official elder, presbytera. among the Jews Mt 16:21; 27:41; Mk 14:43, 53; Lk 7:3; 9:22; Ac 4:23; 6:12.—b. among the Christians Ac 11:30; 14:23; 1 Ti 5:17, 19; Tit 1:5; Js 5:14; 1 Pt 5:1; 5:5; 2 J 1; 3 J 1; Rv 4:4; 7:11.

We now have two terms being used for what we call pastor. You should notice that the Greek word for bishop sounds a like Episcopalian and the Greek word for elder sounds like Presbyterian. Many denominations were divided based on how they understood church government. Episcopalians have a polity that looks much like the Catholic Church. They govern themselves with a bishop as head of all the Episcopal churches. The leading bishop (or archbishop) is Michael Bruce Curry. Their organization would then follow lower ranking bishops. The Presbyterian Church is ruled by a group of appointed elders (or the General Assembly), not just one man. They have authority over all the Presbyterian churches in a particular country or region.

Baptist are local and autonomous. There are numerous structures within this group. We will look at them maybe next time.

Let me get back to the text. We have yet to see the word pastor in anything we have looked at. The truth is there is only one place in the NT that uses the word Pastor, which is also translated shepherd. The text is in Ephesians.

(Eph. 4:11-12) “11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,”

Is this confusing yet? It was for me too. That’s why I am teaching you what I have been taught. But you needed to see the work of how we have decided to call bishops and elders, pastors. Let me now say that we understand all three terms to be synonymous. The three different terms describe the same office. Each word describes the function of the one office. A pastor/shepherd is an overseer and an elder. Elder in its technical use in the Titus passage means office of the overseer. He is to be like the elders of Israel who were older men full of wisdom and truth. We understand the pastor/elder to be mature in the faith. Mature in his character. And mature in teaching the bible.

Let me see if I can prove to you that pastor/bishop (overseer)/elder are all the same office. In 1 Peter 5, all three terms are used to speak of the one office. Though some are the verb form of the word, it is easy to pick up on the interchange.

(1 Pet. 5:1-4) “So I [Peter] exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd

the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight

, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

In other words, the elders of the church were to shepherd the flock by exercising oversight of the sheep. Peter tells them how to handle their authority in the church. The chief Shepherd is over the shepherds and the sheep. As I stated before, Jesus is the Head of his church. He has given the church gifts of pastors and teachers to equip the body for the work of the ministry. Jesus has charged the pastors/elders/overseers to have oversight. They are to lead the church in righteousness according to the word of God. The members are to submit to that righteous leadership unless it is unbiblical, as would a wife who was being led by her husband to violate God’s word. However, although the wife should resist her husband’s unrighteous ways, she is to have a disposition towards him to lead her according to God’s word and when he does to submit and follow his leadership. The same is true of the church.

I suspect there’s some pushback in your minds about this. Let me start with the Trinity. First, let me define Trinity. God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, yet he is one God.

God the Father is full God and God the Son is fully God. Equal in nature in every respect but the Son submits to the Father as a father. The same is true of the Spirit who is fully God. Yet, the Spirit submits to the Father and the Son.

The truth of submission has nothing to do with the lesser. A wife is not less than her husband like the Son is not less than the Father. Children are to obey their father and mother not because they are shorter and smaller—they are human too. Rather, they submit because God designed the world like this. He made us in his likeness. So, when we submit rightly in these relationships, we honor and image God in the world.

Some disobey God’s word because they do not even see that they are to submit to God. I do not understand why someone would call himself or herself a Christian yet would not obey the Lord. To love the Lord is to obey him gladly and eagerly. On the authority of Scripture, I can affirm to disobey the Lord gladly means you are not a Christian. I do not imply that we do that perfectly but we desire to by God’s grace. And we are ever increasing in our likeness to Christ who fully obeyed the Father.

Now, back to this notion that the church is to submit to the pastors’ leadership. It say in (Heb. 13:17) ” 17 ¶ Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Let me clarify. Leadership does not imply ultimate authority. We understand the Bible to teach that we are a local autonomous (self-governed) church with congregational rule. Our government works in a very similar way. The power lies in the voters to elect its leaders to whom they will submit to by law.

There’s much more to be said about the office of pastor in the coming weeks as well as the office of deacon. I think we can conclude that bishop, elder, and pastor all speak of the one office. this man who is an elder which is mature in character, mature in wisdom, mature in the faith, and mature in his understanding of doctrine is to shepherd to flock and exercise oversight according to God’s word.

If he doesn’t do that, then the bible has an answer for that. (1 Tim. 5:17-20) “17 ¶ Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”

As a church of Jesus Christ, we are not our own. Like a marriage where the husband’s body is not his own and the wife’s body is not her own so too we are not our own.

Notice. (Eph. 5:21-33) “21 ¶ submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

If the president of the United States joined our congregation, the most powerful person in this country would be expected to submit to the leaders and the congregation as a member because that is God’s design. He could certainly refuse but the office of president does not change what the Bible commands.

WE are seeking to know God and his ways. I believe the healthiest church is one that follows God’s design. May God’s word speak clearly and may we gladly follow for his glory.

The Hope of the Resurrection

1 Peter 1:3-5 ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

There is no hope apart from the resurrection. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ and the resurrection have hope. It is one of the fundamental beliefs that cannot be denied. In other words, you cannot be a Christian “if you do not believe in the physical death and physical, literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Without the resurrection, this life is hopeless!

We live is a hopeless world. Death is all around us. It’s always lurking in the shadows.

• 55.3 million people die each year

• 151,600 people die each day

• 6,316 people die each hour

• 105 people die each minute

• Nearly two people die each second

Why? Rom. 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”

We all have the same father—Adam. In him, we have inherited a sin nature that leads to death. But not just any death—eternal death. To remain in his family will result in condemnation forever.

But God did something stupendous. He did only what he could do. He loved the world in a particular way by sending his only Son that whosoever believes in him will have eternal life.

This letter from Peter begins with blessing and praise. In this Easter season, Peter is an excellent example for us to look at. After following Jesus for three years, he denied him three times. I’m sure he thought it was over. No doubt he thought his sin was too big and too much. His life seemed hopeless. He runs to the lake to go fishing. He goes back to the beginning. Back to where Jesus first called him.

If it were up to Peter, he would have died a Bass Pro contestant instead of a fisher of men. And so would we. You are not the hero of your story. Your failures do not define you. If you are in Jesus, your identity in him defines you. Jesus is the hero. That’s why we praise God because we have nothing to offer him but thanksgiving. He is enough. You need nothing else.

The obvious basis of blessing and praise to God is the reality that he did not give us what we deserve. His mercy is abundant.

Notice this in verse 3–Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy

So the reason for our praise is according to his great mercy!

What does this great mercy look like? What are the benefits of God’s mercy?

His mercy begins when, as it says, “he has caused us to be born again” 1 Pet. 1:3. It reminds me of the conversation Nicodemus had with Jesus in John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Though Nicodemus seemed to be confused about what Jesus meant, later we understand he became a follower of Christ. He even helped bury the body of Jesus. He must have been born again to risk his life like that.

Peter goes on to tell us that the rebirth resulted in three amazing realities. Take note of these four.

  1. a living hope
  2. an inheritance
  3. and a salvation

The problem is how can the just and holy God have mercy on us? Well, he can’t have mercy on anyone unless sufficient payment has been made for our sins. That’s what the scales of justice demands! God would not be a just God if he overlooked our sin.

Imagine with me for a moment. I am 44 years old. Picture that I have only sinned once a day in my life which would mean that I have at least 15,000 sins of debt that I owe. Much of the world thinks a good deed counters a bad deed. And at the end of life if my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds then God will accept me. If that is true, how will I know where I stand? Who could keep an accurate tally? What if I am injured and cannot do any good deeds? What if I am only two short what happens?

That’s doesn’t sound like hope to me. That sounds hope-less.

But like the great hymn says, “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweet frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

The only just way God can have mercy on us is squarely placed in the perfect and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Jesus paid it all and to him I owe. Sin hath left a crimson stain but he washed it white as snow.”

That ransom payment Jesus made to God for our sins was accepted as paid in full. How do we know? Because the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the signature that sealed the deal. No resurrection; no hope, no inheritance, and no salvation.

It’s not a hope so, maybe so, find out when I get there. It’s not a perishable hope. A defiled hope. Or a fading hope. It is a living hope. It is resurrection hope…because we have a living Savior!

“Without Jesus, we approach life with the expectation of death.”

“With Jesus, we approach death with the expectation of life.”

Life that has an inheritance that, like our hope, is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. If you are in Christ then you have been adopted into God’s family. And all of God’s family are heirs according to the promises made in the gospel, all because of the resurrection of Christ who was crucified for us.

How do we not lose this glorious inheritance? Well we have a living hope through the resurrection and that inheritance is being kept and reserved in heaven (where no one can steal it), who by God’s power are continually…steadfastly guarding through faith.

Faith is the believing and receiving the gift of forgiveness of sins and the counting us righteous in Jesus. We have a right legal standing with God and that rebirth into new creations for a new Kingdom with God forever will come to fruition when he delivers us to a salvation ready to be made known in the last day.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the claim that death has been defeated because sin has been atoned. Jesus conquered the grave so that we could have eternal life with him.

Making Discipleship THE Mission

The description of our topic

Discipleship is the means by which Jesus changed the world. And making disciples is the same means His church changes the world. So if making disciples IS the great commission of the church, then we need to reform our most urgent mission in light of our lost world. In this session, we will discover and discuss what a disciple is and is not.

Outline of this Session

  • Open discussion about your ideas of what a disciple is. Who makes disciples (of Christ)? How do you do it?
  • The WHY…our purpose leads to our mission. I will define what a disciple is and is not. The Great Commission with the wrong emphasis. What went wrong? How do we change it?
  • Open Discussion: Questions, Strategy, and Encouragement.

Open Discussion

  • What is a disciple?
    • My Argument—I want to prove that we should see discipleship on both sides of conversion. In making disciples, it is essential that they learn what the gospel is and its demands. Therefore, a disciple can be a learner about Jesus before he becomes a disciple of Jesus.
  • Who makes disciples?
  • How do you do it?

My Talk

  • The WHY…our purpose leads to our mission
    • Purpose: We must begin on the foundation of why God created man. What is our purpose in life? Or in the words of the old catechism, “What is the chief end of man?” the catechism answered it this way, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
      • Mark 12:30   30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
      • 1 Corinthians 10:31  31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    • Mission: Not everyone in the world is glorifying God and they should be. God deserves the praise of His creation. That means we have a mission to take Jesus to the world. They need to know the love of God in Christ Jesus. They need to know how to be forgiven of their sins and a right relationship with the Lord.   
  • The Purpose is connected to the mission. Loving God cannot be disconnected from loving your neighbor.
    • Mark 12:31   31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
    • John 13:34-35   34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
      • The greatest love you can show those who walk in darkness is the light of Jesus. There is no greater news than the gospel.
      • God is using His people to transfer people from the kingdoms of this world to His Kingdom. Discipleship is the mission to do that.
  • Define what a disciple is and is not

The problem is we usually define disciple too narrowly. The most basic definition of a disciple is learner. A disciple is a learner. That means everyone is a disciple. You are a learner. Everyone is. There were disciples of John the Baptist and disciples of the Pharisees. There are disciples of Buddha and Mohamad. And not just religious disciples. There are disciples/learners of secular society. They seek to learn to live like the world. Most people think that you must be a believer before you can be a disciple. I don’t think that way. And I think it is unhelpful to think that way.

Why do I think this way? The mission of the church is more than saying Admit, Believe, and Confess. And disciple-making with much like parenting.

  • Admit what? Why?
  • Believe in who?
  • Confess what?

This is better than some “gospel” presentations I have heard. But there’s so much to learn. The process is longer than you might think. I’ve been teaching the Bible to my son for eleven years. He has been a learner his entire life. But two weeks ago, he was born again. He knew tons about Jesus long before he knew Jesus. I waited for the Holy Spirit to open his ears to hear the gospel. The reality that he himself would receive God’s wrath if he did not repent and trust in Christ himself. My son has been a learner of Jesus for a long time. He is still a learner of Jesus. We never graduate from being a disciple on this sod.

I’ve heard people say something like this at an evangelistic event, “Who wants to go to heaven?” Well, that’s a no-brainer. Everybody wants to go to heaven. But that’s not the gospel. You’ve got to get the gospel right before you can have a disciple of Jesus.

You can’t teach your kids how to live for Jesus over a weekend or a summer camp or youth rallies or VBS. It takes a lifetime. Discipleship/learnership begins before they become believers and it continues throughout all of life. Some will become a disciple of Jesus. Some will walk away. But make sure you have taught them the gospel.

You might be wondering if I have any Biblical basis for my understanding that you can be a disciple/learner before becoming a disciple of Jesus.

  • Two examples. Let’s do the easy one first.
    • Here is an example of disciples who were learning about Jesus but there were things they learned about him that they didn’t like and therefore stopped learning about him and ceased following him.
      • John 6:63-69   63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)  65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”  66 ¶ After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus had disciples that turned back and some that remained. Only those who remain with his to the end are true disciples of Christ.

  • What about Judas? Where is his soul? Let me finish quoting the above text.
    • John 6:70-71  70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”  71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

There are many who may give mental ascent to the facts of the bible but do not love them. The devil and his demons believe the bible. You must talk about believing in a way that clearly distinguishes that concept rightly. Words mean different things to people. Like love. We love God and we love pizza. Believing is treasuring…loving Jesus above all things.

If you are thinking of a disciple as a learner then you are teaching the gospel. Who is God…what is sin…what does it mean to believe…who is Jesus…what is the cross…why did he have to die…how does that pay for my sins…it seems to bible demands perfection to stand before God how can I be righteous.

You see…there are tons of things to teach and explain.

The Great Commission with the wrong emphasis. Let me read it. Matthew 28:19-20   19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Bear with me on some grammar issues. We have place the emphasis on go instead of what is most important. The grounds for my statement comes from the grammar of this verse and it’s hard to see in the English.

Commands are usually the strong verbs that get our attention. The only command in this text is “make” disciples. “Go” is a supporting participle. We would normally translate a participle with an “ing” on the end. So the command is make disciples while there are three other verbs to describe how to make disciples.

Make disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching. The sense of “go” is “as you are going”. You can’t make disciples if you do not go. There’s a lot of going on mission for Jesus that has nothing to do with making disciples.

And you have not made a disciple of Jesus unless you have baptized them in the name (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (plural). And you have not made a disciple of Jesus if you have not been taught to observe ALL that Jesus commanded. Not recite. Not know. But observe. Do. Act.

Many people call my daughter “little Kimberly.” She talks like her, acts like her, and thinks like her. Do you know what the word Christian means? It means “little Christ.” Are you a Christian? Do you act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and think like Jesus? There will be a lot of UNLEARNING, depending on when a person begins learning who Jesus is.

What went wrong? You see people come and go. They make a profession of faith then they leave and never come back. How you think about that person will determine how you respond. You should always take the view about yourself and your fellow church members…We will see. The only true faith is faith that endures to the end.

A number of years ago, while I was in seminary this came home to me. It is still typical to have evangelism conferences in associations. Whoever baptized the most hosted the event. A small congregation west of Fort Worth hosted it that year. They had baptized around 75 the best I can remember. Someone looked at their attendance board and noticed there were only 30 or so people coming to church. Someone asked, “Where are they?”

If you think, asking people if they want to go to heaven is the way to make disciples and if they never darken the door again and you think they are good to go then you are badly mistaken.

I was in rural West Virginia on a mission trip some years ago and the DOM came to visit our group. He was telling us about an evangelistic event they had held the previous weekend. And then I heard him say something that I still cannot believe he said, “We offered free TV’s to everyone who made a profession of faith.”

That’s what went wrong. People have been led in a prayer but were not led to Jesus. They don’t know who he is. I bear the scars of that very thing. I was led to believe that the sinner’s prayer would fix me. It didn’t. It’s hard to undo that. By God’s grace, he saved me.

How do we change this? Preach the whole gospel. Teach the whole Bible. Make disciples not merely converts. If you are seeking people to balance or expand your budget then you will do about anything to get people there and keep them. When the whole gospel is proclaimed a lot less people will be professing faith.

And when they profess faith in Jesus, make sure they understand they must die. The Old Man…the old Jason must die. That’s what baptism represents. You died and a new creation was born. When they profess faith in Christ, make sure they know what they are getting themselves into. Jesus is Lord now not them. You have bowed the knee to King Jesus. Whatever he says goes. When they profess faith in Jesus, make sure you practice biblical church discipline so that when they begin to walk contrary to Jesus you can call them back. If they remain unrepentant, you treat them as a tax collector and sinner, remove them from membership, and then try to win them to Jesus with the gospel.

Questions, strategy and encouragement


Strategy—a church covenant is a great guide, catechisms, bible study to explore Christianity, being with Jesus is key. The place to do that is God’s Word. As you make disciples be sure to teach them to make disciples and multiple.

During seminary, an older, godly man met with me every Friday morning for two years. It was a place were I could ask questions that I was afraid to ask in class. I could even weep as I struggled to unlearn things and learn new things. Discipleship is messy. That’s why most people avoid it. growing is hard. Putting to death the deeds of the flesh is hard. We have many starts and stops and starts again. The road is hard but the glory of becoming like Jesus brings glory to God.

Seek out relationships that will help you grow. Seek out relationships that you can help others grow (you will grow as you help them grow). Invest in people for the long haul. Wait for the Spirit to do the work of changing the heart as you fill their minds with the gospel.

And make sure you teach disciples how to make disciples and you will multiple rather than add. Don’t let the word of God stop with you. May it reproduce…bear fruit from you.

Encouragement– Matthew 28:18-20  18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Why the purpose must be foundational? Because if you are not aware, just because you engage in making disciples does not mean they will become a disciple of Jesus. And if your joy is bond up in those who respond to the gospel then you will be continually disappointed. And if you do not love Jesus…worship Jesus…know Jesus…walk with Jesus, then you will not offer that which you do not love.