One Year Discipleship Course

One Year Discipleship

– Introduction to Discipleship Course–

Passing it on to the Next Generation

I. Our Commission, the Great Commission

I want us to look at our Lord’s final charge to His Apostles that is found in Matt 28:18-20

A. Authority of Christ

B. Command of Christ

  1. Therefore Go
  2. Teaching (Matheteuw/Manthano) all nations/ethnics, make disciples (Discipleship)
  3. Baptizing (believers) in the name of …
  4. Teaching (didasko) them to Observe (Terew) keep, reserve, observe, watch, preserve, hold fast  –  whatsoever, every single thing, that Jesus commanded

C. Promise of Jesus – He is with us always- even unto the end of the world/aiwn.


First we need to take note that all power has been given unto the Lord Jesus Christ in both heaven and earth. This speaks of His supreme authority over all things. Every knee one day will bow to Him, whether this side of death or the other.

Also, we see what He commands his Apostles, and then consequently us, to do in light of His supreme authority. He tells us “go ye therefore” and that going in His authority we are to “teach all nations.” This teaching is from the Greek work Matheteuw and is translated our New Testament “teach(2), instruct(1) be disciple(1).” This is the verb that the noun disciple comes from. In other words, Jesus is telling His Apostles and on to us to “go make disciples.” This begins with the preaching of the Gospel as per Mark 16:15. And we are to take this Gospel to “all nations.” We are to take it to every ethnic group in this world for God “will have all men to be saved” not just the Jews, not just the caucasians – but ALL races. And once someone repents and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, then they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

II. Discipling Others to Follow Christ is the 2nd Part of the Great Commission

shutterstock_235110439But we must read on, for the Great Commission does not end with the baptizing of believers. Jesus further commanded “teaching to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …” This word teaching is from a different Greek word, Didaskw. It is a teaching by discourse, give instruction or to expound on a matter. This speaks of the teachings that comprise the doctrines of the Christian faith. In other words, new converts are to be grounded in the doctrines set forth in the New Testament. Notice it is “all things, whatsoever” Jesus commanded. It was not the New Evangelical’s “just the fundamentals” that Jesus commanded that we are to teach, but “all things” that came from the mouth of the Lord. Where do we find these “all things” that Jesus commanded? The entirety of our New Testament Scriptures. See  John 14:26; John 15:26-27; 2 Tim 3:16.

The New Evangelical mantra of “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity” runs contrary to that which Jesus commanded His Apostles and thus us in Matt 28:19. He said “observe all things whatsoever” He had commanded. We do not have the liberty to pick and choose which teachings are essential and which are non-essential. They are all essential truths. Some truth is more important than other truths, but they are all important. As Jesus told the great deceiver Satan, “man shall … live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

We need also to look at the command of what we are to teach new converts. We are to teach them to observe all things that Jesus has commanded. The word observe is from the Greek word Terew. It is translated in our Bible “keep(57), reserve(8), observe(4), watch(2), preserve(2), keeper(1), hold fast(1).” It is not merely a disinterested looking upon some idle words of Jesus, for none of His words were idle. We are to keep a serious look upon His Bible with the purpose of guarding it from threats. We are to know it so that we can proclaim it to others. We are to pass it on so that the lost can be saved and so that the saved can grow in God’s grace and the knowledge of Him and Christ Jesus. Jesus’ commandments were not given to us so that we can pick and choose which we want to keep and which we don’t.

Brother Gabe’s afternoon message a few months ago was convicting to me. He pointed out the disparity in age of those present. Most members there were over 50. The minority were younger. It was also obvious with an attendance of maybe twenty or so that we have a lot of members that are not interested in the things of God as it relates to our church family, except when it is most convenient to them. We need to be praying about this and we need to be encouraging all our members, if healthy and able, to be attending all the services of our church—not just the Sunday 11am service.

Also, he pointed out that we need to do a better job of sharing the Gospel and getting folks saved. AND JUST AS IMPORTANTLY we need to make disciples of converts if this church is going to grow and prosper.

Church Growth

We will one day be moving into the new building. We normally have 70 something people plus or minus in attendance on an average Sunday morning. The new building will seat somewhere around 300. We have a need for our membership to grow. Wouldn’t it be great for this sanctuary to be full and running over each Sunday before we move into the new building?

There are two methods by which we can accomplish this. 1) We can attempt it by he world’s way and turn our church into a Sunday morning “spiritual” entertainment experience as many of the emerging-churches have done. Or 2) we can spread the Gospel and disciple converts. In other words, do it God’s way. I think we can all agree that the Matthew 28:18-20 way is the only right way to attempt it.

But membership growth in and of itself should not be our purpose in evangelizing. Our purpose should be that we love sinners and want to see them saved. We need to pray for them. We need to share the truth of the Gospel of Christ with them. We need to be ready whenever given the opportunity to tell them the reason of the hope that is in us and give them our testimony of what Christ has done for us and what He will do for them if they will obey the Gospel’s invitation. I would encourage you to read the following verses and let them drive your heart to become more active in the task of saving souls:

  • Matthew 28:18-20. We are commanded!
  • Luke 16:19-31. The lost are headed for an eternal, tormenting fiery existence in hell.
  • Luke 19:10. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We should have that same desire.
  • James 5:8. If we truly love our lost neighbors, we will tell them the Gospel.
  • Romans 5:8; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9. God loves lost sinners and wants to see them saved.
  • Romans 9:1-3. Paul was willing to suffer in hell eternally if only he could save lost Jews.

That is an amazing thing when we think about. Not only did God and Jesus love us so much that Jesus was willing to die for us, but even the Apostle Paul, if he could have, would have given himself up for all eternity to be accursed away from Christ for the sake of his countrymen.That is why Christ came and Paul labored tirelessly, for the lost to be saved. I pray that the Lord will give us such a desire for lost souls bound to an eternity, doomed to hell.

The Need for Discipleship

This matter of discipleship has been a burden on my heart for a while now. The older I get, the closer I get to going home to be with my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ! What am I doing to help this next generation of members of Northeast Baptist Church to be equipped to carry on the mission of our church and of our Lord?

I have been remiss in doing my part as a Sunday School teacher in our church to equip our younger members to be properly equipped to carry on this task that we have been commissioned to carry out.

But that ends today! By God’s grace, that ends today!

I ran across an excellent Discipleship book written by David Cloud from ministries some time ago. It is what I believe we need to implement that can equip us to evangelize and make disciples for and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Discipleship course is useful for men, women and teens. Some as young as 11 years of age have studied it.

To help train and equip our younger men, they will be doing much of the teaching of these Discipleship course lessons in the course in our Adult Sunday School class for this quarter and beyond. It is comprised of 52 lessons. It is simple, straightforward, but yet practical and impactful. It has a few key memorization verses for each lesson and it has good review questions at the end of each lesson for each of us to answer.

Besides teaching this Discipleship course in our Sunday School, we will also be passing out copies of the book’s lesson with the review questions at the end of each class. Hopefully, you will go home and fill them in. Also, keep them and whenever you meet someone and share the Gospel with them and they repent and trust the Lord Jesus Christ, you will have an organized set of lessons you can use to teach them the commandments that the Lord has given us in the Bible. In fact, the first three Discipleship course lessons can be used to share the Gospel and lead someone to Christ!

III. Reminders and Encouragement

2Pet 1:12-13 is a verse we need to keep in mind as we begin this course of study. Peter wrote his second epistle as he saw the end of his life and ministry approaching. He wanted his readers then (and now) to remember and be reminded of the basics of the commandments of this Christian life! We need reminding because we can often be forgetful and be in need of being reminded so that it will help us refocus and be stirred up to proper Christian action.

For many of us the lessons in the Discipleship course will contain things we’ve known and applied for a long time in our Christian life. For others it will contain things never really contemplated before that should be embraced. For others it may be mostly new material that will help you grow into fruitful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But regardless of your spiritual level of growth in God’s grace and the knowledge of the Savior, I hope that you will through the course of these lessons-

  1. think on what you hear and be Bereans, Acts 17:11,
  2. be praying for the men teaching
  3. give them your undivided attention during the lessons
  4. thank the young men for their lesson and the work put into them and encourage them in their work.

As I mentioned, my desire is to exhort us to be active in:

  • personal evangelism
  • helping our younger men, and all of us, to teach and disciple their and the next generation
  • equipping every member with an organized method to teach and make disciples of others
  • encourage each member to let the Word of God “burn within our heart” as it did Cleopas and the other disciple when our Lord spoke to them on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:32

IV. The Church, the Truth and its Continuance

1 Tim 3:15 – Pillar and Ground of the Truth. Preserve it, Proclaim it, Practice it and Pass it on.

We see in 1 Timothy 3:15 the truth, that Northeast Baptist Church (as well as every other faithful New Testament Bible-believing, Bible-embracing and Bible-preaching church) is the pillar and ground of the Truth, another word for the Bible, John 17:17; Psalm 119:142.

Look and see in the following passages how the Truth, the Bible and its faith, is to be passed on to the next generation in these Psalms.

Psa 71:18. We are to let them know of God’s power and strength,  see 1 Cor 1:23-24; Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 12:9-10

Psa 78:4-8.  We must give a warning to them of prior generations that were evil and/or unfaithful. We can see this through the history of the churches and the various corruptions of Bible truths/doctrines concerning the Gospel, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the end-times, living for Christ, etc., etc. In England there are many old church buildings that were once thriving churches that are now muslim mosques. In American you can find many old church buildings abandoned for one reason or another. Most came through the neglect of the preaching and teaching the Bible and exhorting its members to live for Christ.

Psa 145:4. We must give a testimony of the Lord and what He has done for us to the next generation, letting them know that He is a mighty God and Savior worth giving Him the trust of our souls for eternity and the service of our lives in this world.

Psa 12:7  We need to remind ourselves and them that God keeps His Word (Truth) through all generations. And today He accomplishes this  through His faithful churches throughout each generation. But this Word must be taught and observed by each faithful generation.

If the truths of the Bible are not observed by just one generation or at the most two of any church, including ours, the next following generation will probably be lost and go to hell along with many members of its previous generation. And that church will be as ineffective, negligent and unregenerate as was the church of Laodicea. It will be a church that the Lord desires to spew out of His mouth. I pray that Northeast Baptist Church never becomes rich, self-sufficient, self-confident, self-reliant and self-righteous. We must pass on the faith, the gospel of Christ and the doctrines of the Bible.

One day this church will need to call a new Pastor. Hopefully not anywhere in the near future. But when and if that time comes what will we do as members? What will be the criteria for calling a new pastor? Are you spiritually able to discern a good candidate from a bad candidate? I pray this course will help us all in making a wise, Godly decision when and if that time comes.

When Pastor Summy does retire I pray that the new pastor will have a zeal for the things of God and the Book of God and God’s people, for the preserving and proclaiming of the Truth, and of defending this flock from the ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing from outside and from perverse teachings of those within that would lead members away from the truth of the Bible. (Read Acts 20:18-32 and you can see Paul’s tireless,  love and care for the souls of that church’s members and how he taught them the whole counsel of God and exhorted them to protect that flock of local believers bought by God’s shed blood.)

This Discipleship Course should help us in this regard.

V. Our Perspective Will Drive Us One Way or Another.

A Worldly Perspective

I saw on the news earlier this week (April 5th or 6th, 2016) a 105 yr old woman at the Texas Rangers baseball game that threw out the 1st pitch. That was amazing. They wheeled her out to about 10 or 15 feet or so from home plate. She stood up, rared back and threw it right to the catcher. She is a rarity.

In Psa 90:10, 12 we find that the number of years God grants us on this earth is 70-80 years. Beyond 70 Moses wrote that their strength is labor and sorrow for they are soon cut off and we fly away. Our time in this life on this earth compared to eternity is like a chip of paint in relation to the circumference of this earth(about 25,000 miles at the equator). If my calculations are correct, 1/4inch compared to the earth’s circumference would equate to about 6,336,000,000 lifetimes  –  and we would still have more earths to go. In fact it would be like a speck of dust in relation to the size of this universe. It is incomprehensible, the length of eternity compared to this brief span of a lifetime that we live on this earth! That is why Moses prays that the Lord would teach us to number our days here on this earth. What we do here counts for all eternity, whether it is “good or bad”, 2 Cor 5:10.

But we tend to  cling to this world and all it has to offer, with little regard for storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven that will last forever! God has placed the world in our hearts as Ecc 3:11 says- and that, because of our sinful nature, can sometimes turn out to be a very bad thing. Mark 4:19 tells us of the things that choke out the Word of God in people’s lives: “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things.” They creep into our hearts because we do not keep our hearts with all diligence as Solomon told his son to do in Proverbs 4:23. We must guard closely what comes into our hearts because we can so easily let the love of this world and its “things” distract us and choke out our view of eternity, our focus upon our Savior and our longing for our eternal home and destiny!

That is what happened to Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes. He was a man that started out well, but then he chased after 1) knowledge for knowledge’s sake, 2) things to seek satisfaction from and finally 3) the indulgence of this world’s pleasures. In every one of these pursuits all he found was vanity and vexation of spirit. He chased the wind and couldn’t capture it. Even if he had, all he would have had was something as light as air. Did you know that the Hebrew word for glory is KaBoD which literally speaks of something that is heavy, weighty? That is what glory is, it is that which is more weighty, substantive and of greater worth than anything else. This world’s glories are vexation of spirit, they are vain, a simple fleeting breathe that soon passes away. There is nothing of substance to gain from this world and what it has to offer that will give us any true satisfaction of a substantial nature in this life and especially not throughout eternity.

We find in Scripture that God spoke to Solomon three times. The first was when Solomon requested wisdom at the beginning of his reign and the Lord blessed him with it, 2Chron 1:7-12.  John Phillips said that Solomon would have been better off asking for God to make him good rather than wise. We find that in the end his wisdom was wasted, for he eventually led his kingdom into idolatry. And the last time that God spoke to him, the LORD was furious with him, 1Kings 11:4-9. Solomon was told that God was going to rip apart his kingdom. Not in his days, for the sake of his father David, but in his son’s days. And that is exactly what God did.

We need to remember this lesson. Though we are saved by God’s grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ alone, it is entirely possible for us to live a christian life that dishonors our God to the point that He will be furious with us. There is a sin unto death! See 1John 5:14.

It is possible for us also to come to the end of our days, as Solomon did and wish that we had lived differently during our Christian life; that we would have followed our Lord in obedience to His word in all aspects of our lives. Oh, Lord, let us not drift slowly away from Thy Word as Solomon did. Let us remember always that all our works, words and thoughts are going to be reviewed by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior when we stand before Him! Let us remember that Thou wilt judge us according to Truth, according to the Bible! 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:4; John 17:17. And help us to remember Thy great holiness, righteousness and faithfulness as well as Thy great love for us, Thine abundant mercy and Thy wonderful grace.

An Eternal Christian Perspective

Heb 12:1-3

I encourage you and hope that you will fix your eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, that you will set aside the weights of this world’s foibles (Mark 4:19)  and the sins that so easily beset you. Then run with patient and determined endurance the marathon that is set before you—keeping your eyes upon our Savior, the Blessed and Glorified Lord Jesus Christ! He endured the shame of that old cruel cross because He had His eyes on the joy that was set before Him, the risen glory, return to His Father, and the redemption of untold numbers of lost sinners, making them saints for ever. He had His eyes fixed firmly, and He went through that crucifixion where He bore our curse and sins. Surely we can fix our eyes on Him, our risen, glorified Savior and soon coming Lord. We will fail otherwise.

I leave us with this question: Who will I live for? Myself or my Savior?

I leave us with this charge: Pray for our younger men and the work that they will be bringing to us in the coming weeks.