Step 3: Improving Disciple-Making - Part 1

This means giving attention to what we should be doing more effectively - as well as helping others. It may involve better devotional times, better prayer life, better time use, improvement in setting daily priorities, more effective witnessing, and character development.

We can make a great beginning but not be a strong finisher. The Lord was a strong finisher. He exemplified (John 17:4). The apostle Paul also was one who said, "I have finished my course"(II Tim 4:7)

  1. We must teach the need to love the Lord with a whole heart (Matt 22:37-38).

  2. We must teach them to "eat the word" daily as necessary food (Jer. 15:16, Ps. 119:97, 103).

  3. We must teach them by mutual action and sharing how to make changes, in self or others, by prayer (Eph. 6:18, James 5:16).

  4. We must teach them to sow the seed of the word with others, water, pray, and seek personal contacts. When there is some response, lead them to press ahead and then multiply (John 4:35-36, I Cor. 3:6).

  5. We must teach them to grow in virtue (II Pet 1:5a) and bear much fruit (John 15:8).

  6. We must teach them to recognize spiritual opposition (Eph. 6:10-13). The three major foes of spiritual development are:

    1. The world system (kosmos) with its values which encourage mediocrity, complacency, conformity to it way of doing thinking (I John 2:15).

    2. The fleshly, sinful nature which is desires to yield to temptation and resists self sacrifice (Rom. 13:14).

    3. The Devil is our supreme enemy and the personification of evil who "goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). He deceives, usually subtly raises doubts and attacks within the limits of God's permissive will (Job 1:10-12, 2:6).

  7. Teach them to claim their spiritual resources for victory (II Peter 1:3). These are:

    1. The Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4), God's life in us, displaying the "Image of God" (Rom. 8:29)

    2. The power of the Indwelling Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 19, 3:20) that raised Jesus.

    3. Realizing that the power of Indwelling Sin is Broken (Rom. 6:6, 11). We are no longer slaves to sin, but now able to be slaves of the righteousness of Christ.

    4. The Prayers of the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 7:25). What is He praying for you?

    5. The Word of God (I John 2:14; Hebrews 4:12), which is the sword of the Spirit, a life-giving, energizing surplus.

    6. The prayer of Faith (Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 26:41) to maintain spiritual vitality (example: Peter on water) is the mightiest weapon we have, but needs to be used according to God's Direction.

    7. The life of Jesus manifested in you (2 Cor. 4:10-11, Rom. 12:1-2), which flows out of a yielded, open channel.

    8. Teach them the need to change if they wish to grow; consider the following:

      • God wants this change.

      • With God's help I believe I can change.

      • I commit myself to change (character, skills, functions or relationships).

      • I will designate a few areas in which I plan to change. (after a thorough review of every area of my life).

      • I will work out several steps (strategies).

      • I will set a time limit for achieving each step of my plan.

      • I will make myself accountable to someone to see that I do act upon my plan and strategies (monthly at least).

      • I will pray daily for God's help in achieving my goals and ask others to pray for me.

      • I will meditate on Scripture daily and systematically with personal applications that may achieve my goals.

      • I will achieve my goals, or modify them so I can achieve them or replace them or drop them and confess failure.

    9. Teach them the meaning of the words, "He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36). He is called Lord approximately 522 times in the New Testament. We are to walk under His Lordship daily (Col. 2:6). How do you do this in practice in everything (Col. 1:18)? Consider these areas:

      • Our priorities.

      • Our bodies.

      • Our possessions.

      • Our loving relationships.

      • Our work and home affairs.

      • Our speech and thoughts.

      • Our hopes and ambitions.

Our priorities must be clear (Matt. 6:33). With so many demands upon our time and energy, the wise followers of the Lord Jesus, like His master, must determine where to give preferential attention to the most important things, by God's standards. There normally is enough time each day to do what God wishes, but not enough time to respond to each demand on our time and attention. "Redeem (buy back) the Time." Use it by doing two important things at the same time (rehearse memory verses, pray or meditate while walking) (Eph. 5:16).

There is no question that the Lord has instituted some clear priorities for His disciples. The first of these is putting God first. We are to love Him above all else (Matt. 22:37-38). In all things He must have preeminence (Col. 1:18). "He who offers God second place, offers Him no place," said a wise man. This insults and robs God (Mal. 1:6-8).

There are other priorities, in principle, from God's perspective:

1. Priority of the eternal over the temporal (II Cor. 4:18; Col. 3:1).

2. Priority of the spiritual over the physical (Matt. 24:35; John 4:13-14).

There is no greater priority than the Lordship of Christ in daily living. He is the blessed and only potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (I Tim 6:15; Rev. 17:14, 19:16). Even Hell knows this (Mark 5:7, James 2:19). When people fell down to worship and called Jesus Lord, He commended them (John 13:13). The confession of Him as Lord is required for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). It should be acknowledged now, but everyone will do it ultimately (Phil. 2:10-11). For many it will be too late to save them because in life they refused to have Him reign over them (Luke 19:14). His Lordship demands yielding of everything to His control.

1. Our possessions. He is Lord of all He has given us (I Chron. 29:14). We are merely the managers or stewards (I Cor. 4:2). Material possessions, talents or enablements and the days of our life belong to Him and are lent to us at His discretion to be used for His purposes.

2. Our relationships. "He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6). He loved the people but He forbade "friendship with the world" (James 4:4). He was "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26), though He ate with them and received them (Luke 15:2). Both love and holiness must govern all our dealings with others. Following the divine order in home relationships is obedience to Him as Lord (Ephesians 5:22-25).

3. Our business, home, and school affairs. Whether employee or employer, we are called to be honorable and just (Ephesians 6:5,9; James 5:4). We are to do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23; I Cor. 10:31).

4. Our speech and thought life. The very words of Jesus sprang from God and not man (John 14:10). He is willing to speak through us, if we let Him (Matthew 10:20). We are to be swift to hear but slow to speak (James 1:19). We are not to speak ill of others (James 4:11). The thought life is a source of defilement unless He controls it (Matthew 15:18-20).

5. Our hopes and ambitions. What will stand the test of His eternal evaluation (I Corinthians 3:11-15)? We are to "seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). We are not to set our desires upon earthly things.

The following checklist may help focus on areas where we need to improve:

1. Does every day begin with a fresh commitment of my body to Him?
2. Does every other interest take second place to His interests?
3. Does every decision consider Him first?
4. Does every commitment line up with my commitment to Him?
5. Does every relationship have His approval?
6. Does every activity enable Him to be present?
7. Does every area of my life come under His rule?

Conclusion

To live under the Lordship of Christ is to live under the wisest being in the universe. He is the possessor of all knowledge and wisdom, including all that will ever happen in the future. How could we imagine that avoiding His rule would be beneficial or bring happiness? The Lord Jesus has loved us with an everlasting love and demonstrated that love by laying down His life for us on the cross (Revelation 1:5). Why should He be suspected of wanting less than the best for His own (Romans 8:32)? Why should we despise His love by refusing His leadership? Turning our backs on Jesus our Lord is ingratitude at the least and insanity at the worst.

We are no longer our own. We are bought with a price. We should therefore glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits by humble and loving submission to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).