Discipleship: Following Jesus
in the 21st Century

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Session One
Go into all the world
and make disciples

Reading: Matthew 28:19


1. What kind of world is the 21st century ?

FUTURE (adapted from Dr Patrick Dixon)
Matthew 16.2 "When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. (Jesus)

Proverbs 27.12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

Fast - speed of change in communications, norms, politics, commerce.
Dan. 9.2
"At the end time many will go here and there to increase knowledge."
Urban - worldwide migration to city life thus creating massive inner-city issues.
Jonah 4.11 Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left.
Should I not be concerned about that great city?
Tribal - not WW, or cold war - now it's ethnic rivalries, eg. Ulster, Kosovo.
Matthew 24:7 Ethnos will rise against ethnos, and kingdom against kingdom.
Universal - Alliances of trading blocs, m/nationals, airlines . . a march towards
the one world government of Revelation 13 .
Radical - Single issues dominate the media - environment, animal rights, homosexuality,
capitalism - provoking protest, violence and terrorism, eg. EU/G8 summits.
Ethical Conflicts - GM food, cloning, 60 year old mothers, body parts - all spiritual issues.
How will the 21st Century Church change and adapt . . . .?

2. In this kind of world - the command of Christ is still:

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always even to the end of the age.

If you are a churchgoer . . . good - you will benefit from the Word, Spirit and fellowship
If you are a believer . . . very good, even better - however . . .
Jesus is looking for disciples . . .
The marks of a disciple (Luke 14, 25-33)
Three-fold entry point: Turn from sin to God + be baptised + receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38)
Then the Lord has someone He can turn into a disciple.

3. The Marks of a Disciple

a. A disciple loves Jesus more than any other. .

Luke 14, 25-27: Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.

b. He will carry his own cross and follow Jesus

Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

A man was at the end of his rope, seeing no way out, dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My child, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross on the counter. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish." The person was filled with relief said, "Thank you, Lord," and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," The Lord replied, "My child, that is the cross you just brought in."

c. He or she is willing to give everything up for Jesus.

31 Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

The three terms of peace with Jesus and with your own self are to surrender all
to the coming King, submit to His rule and serve His interests.

d. The reward of discipleship is friendship with Jesus.

John 15.14 You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

To live in His presence + peace + provision + protection - is truly priceless.

4. How we can make disciples in the 21st Century ?

WWJD ? (What would Jesus do) ? WWJD if He were me, here right now and in this situation.

We must 'Be disciples' before we can make disciples
as only disciples can give birth to disciples. Be:
By doing what He commands,
By loving Jesus above all else,
By carrying that Cross,
By following Him where ever He is going - as often as not to the last, the least and the lost.

5. Prayer and Ministry Time
And surely I am with you always even to the end of the age. The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16.20:




Session Two
Releasing Revival
Reading: Genesis 26, 1-33


Discipleship in the 21st Century will be accepting the challenge to move from advancing dryness to overflowing abundance.

Prayer: Hebrews 4, 12-16

After years of Bible reading we truly need the Holy Spirit to bring the Word to life. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

1. Introduction

The context of famine in the land and what that means in practice, Genesis 26.1 Burkina Faso testimony of famine today. In some nations including the UK there is a spiritual famine of the word of the Lord and power of God. In a famine that demanded action:

Isaac heard the word of the Lord, 26.2-5.
Isaac chose to obey the Lord above common sense, 26.6
Principle of prosperity - hear, obey and expect the Lord to act.
Isaac received the reward of his faith and trust, 26.12-15.
Isaac overcame personal failures, 26.7-11
1 John 1.9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.
But not everyone was happy about Isaac's freedom and prosperity
which came from serving the Lord. (See Genesis 26. 14-16)

2. Isaac reopened the wells of Abraham.

The blessing of the past generation had been lost.
Under our feet in the UK hidden by space and time is a tremendous heritage of:
Monks - who evangelised Ireland, the British Isles and much of Europe.
Martyrs - Alban in C4, Cranmer, Tyndale, Latimer & Ridley 1555,
Men of God - Wycliffe, Mueller, Wesley, Whitfield, Smith Wigglesworth
Missionaries - Carey, Taylor, Studd and Livingston.
Moves of God - Wales, Hebrides, Sunderland, Booth and Salvation Army
Under our feet hidden by space and time are reservoirs of faith and prayers yet to be released.
eg. the link between Llanelli Revival in 1900 which contained the world's biggest prayer meeting for world mission and the birth of World Horizons in remote Llanelli nearly a 100 years later.
It is time for the disciples of 2001 to reopen the wells of Abraham.
Wells of Pioneering, (Genesis 12, 1-4)
Wells of Believing God, (Genesis 15, 5-6)
Wells of Intercession out of compassion, (Genesis 18, 20-33)
Wells of Sacrifice for the Lord, (Genesis 22, 1-19)
Are we willing to offer to Jesus the 'Isaac' that we have waited a lifetime for,
and maybe love the most? Education, job, career, home, retirement ?

3. Isaac also dug new wells for his generation.

  1. First named Esek - means argument or dispute - was a failure , 26.20
  2. Second named Sitnah - means opposition - also a failure, 26.21
  3. Third attempt was Rehoboth - means "Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land."

The Lord appeared to confirm Isaac's prophetic naming of Reheboth, 26, 23-25 but one more key thing had to happen - the key to the release of the blessing of God.

4. Isaac was kind to his enemies, (Genesis 26, 26-31)

That same day by no coincidence they found water, enough for a whole town (26.32-33)

5. Prayer and Ministry to release the blessing of God upon churches and people

Have churches, church leaders or Christians ever been -
insensitive, uncaring or unsupportive, especially when you stepped out to flow with the Spirit before they understood what they embrace today.
If you are - Black, Asian, homosexual, or have fallen into drugs, drink or have chosen partnership instead of marriage - some parts of the Church may not have been very kind to you.
I apologise for those insensitive words.
Will you forgive us ?
Have families, friends and people ever -
let you down or failed, disappointed, betrayed, robbed, deceived or hurt you?
Will we forgive all those who have hurt us - in Jesus' name
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?
Up to 7 times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not 7 times, but 77 times. (Matthew 18.21)
1. Ask forgiveness for holding feelings against others.
2. Receive forgiveness for your self.
3. Give forgiveness to others in Jesus' name.
4. Now claim the promise of 2 Chronicles 7.14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.




Session Three
Pathway To Destiny
Reading: Matthew 21, 1-11


Context: Jesus was approaching his earthly destiny in Jerusalem

Where Gethsemene, Pontius Pilate, injustice, pain, suffering, the Cross, death, resurrection and eternal destiny waited.

Isaiah 53 10: Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied.

The Head of the Church has gained His earthly destiny, now the 'Body of Christ 'must' catch up.

Individuals have an earthly destiny to attain in Christ.
Jeremiah 29.11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalms 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Churches also have a destiny to attain in Christ. (Rev. 2 and 3)
The Church has a destiny to attain in Christ:
Matthew 16. 15 "on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
See also The Kingdom Parables that tell us that:
It is the Kingdom that is advancing, it is the gates of Hades that are defending.
It is Jesus who is advancing, it is Satan who is defending his territory.
How will be reach our destiny ?

1. We will have to untie whatever the Body of Christ needs. (Matthew 21.2)

We do that by prayer, by obedience, by following the path the Lord gives and by using the authority of the name of the Lord.

We will have to untie the men and women to serve the cause of Christ. Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
We will have to untie the money and materials to make their work possible: Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
We will also have to untie the spiritual resources, even more difficult.
We will have to loose new creativity and embrace change.
We will have to loose a new and deeper surrender to the will of God
We will have to untie a willingness to pay the price of following Jesus.
We will have to untie the courage to persevere to the end.
We will have to untie a new unity and a new life in the fruit of the Spirit.

2. We will only move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 21.7,8)

They placed their cloaks on the means of carrying Jesus to his destiny, Matthew.21.8.

The word' cloak' is Bible imagery for the power or anointing of God.
Understanding is: The anointing of God must be on the means of carrying Jesus
and also on the way we go.

(2 Kings 1.13,14) Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied. "You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours otherwise not." As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart. He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. "Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha."

Understanding is: The anointing of God must be on the means of carrying Jesus and also on the way we go. Acts 16.6-9 shows the difference between good ideas and God ideas.

Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from (their plans for ) preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

One evangelist said, " I am a donkey for Jesus - "I have the legs, I seek the anointing on my back and I carry Jesus into the city. He does the rest."

3. We must keep Jesus in the centre of every movement forward. (21.9)

Some went before, some went behind, they kept Jesus in the place of highest honour in the centre of the procession. All that matters is what He wants to say and do, where He wants to go.

4. We must unite our prayer with the prayer of the crowds - worldwide.

Hosanna - means "Save now " - the language of intercession.
Blessed - the language of praise

5. By faith just as Noah prepared for a coming event he could not understand,
we also must be prepared to answer the question in the city

Who is this ?
Are we prepared ?
If we are not ready it will the crowds themselves via the media experts that answer the question for themselves with an answer that will satisfy the mind but will give only a part of the truth. It will an answer that can never save nor even awaken the soul.
The crowds said, "It is Jesus - the prophet"
It must be the Church that answers the question on the day that the city is stirred:
Prophet - yes, but more than a prophet Jesus is the Son of God, Saviour, Lord and Coming King.
Can such a day come when God moves?
From Marion Male, Northern Training School, Fiji <marionfiji@is.com.fj>
The Lord continues to amaze us in what He is doing. Something extraordinary happened to our President a few weeks ago - he woke up one morning and wanted to speak to a national church leader first thing that morning. When they met, the President said that the key to solving the crisis in Fiji is with the church and he would like something done about it. Church leaders think that he either had a dream or vision. According to one pastor, all who were at the meeting were a bit dumbstruck as they almost could not believe what they were hearing. The pastors have agreed to mobilise their churches to rally together. They are encouraging the prayer groups and opening major church buildings for them to use. Every minister and pastor is being informed and the government is helping by providing boats, cars and administration.
From Graham Crosbie, Surrey, England <Graham@doulos-web.co.uk>
This may interest you about Ghana, from John Kpikpi who leads the NFI church in Accra. "When I wrote I said that I was expecting 100 visitors on Sunday morning and I wasn't sure how many the Lord wanted to save.  We had a week of dawn prayer for the Biggest Ever Guest Service. At the first dawn meeting we had a word that we should expect a 1000 people at the meeting. We had three similar prophetic messages that we ought to set up extensions and hire more chairs. So we hired 240 more chairs, just as well we did because on the day our hall was packed with people from all over Accra, 750 at the church with 210 of these being children.  It was big and awesome. The Holy Spirit made preaching very easy and 52 were saved on the spot.
From Pastor César Oviedo, Sáenz Peña, Argentina <adonai@cvsp.com.ar>
In our city we are in the middle of a tremendous time, the fire of the Holy Spirit is moving with power. We had a two day campaign with Carlos Annacondia and 20.000 people came seeking the Lord Jesus.

Prayer and Ministry Time: Acts 2

37 ¶ When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."





Session Four
Doing what Jesus Did !
Reading John 14. 12


I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

What had Jesus been doing that we can also do in greater measure ?

1. What did Jesus do ? Jesus brought change

OT law gave way to faith in God's Messiah.
Static synagogue worship gave way to church.
Church threw off the exclusive past and embraced a world of people
in our 21st Century FUTURE a mobile society clashes with a static church.
We must go and meet the people - where they are - at whatever hour.

2. What did Jesus do ? Jesus made a priority of making disciples.

How did Jesus make disciples?
He attracted men and women by his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control + miracles. (Matthew 9)
He created a hunger for God in the people, the theology and legend of God's power
in the past became reality before their eyes.
He called men and women to be with him 24x7. (Matthew 10.1)
He gave them spiritual gifts and authority. (Matthew 10.1)
He knew his disciples by name. (Matthew 10.2)
He sent them with instructions. (Mathew 10.5-42)
He took a keen interest in how they got on. (Luke 10.17)
He later released them, left them and related to them through prayer and the Holy Spirit.
Pastor César Castellanos, Bogota ( 8 - 120,000 members in 10 years) says:
"I began to see Jesus' ministry with clarity. The multitudes followed, but He didn't train the multitudes. He only trained 12, and everything he did with the multitudes was to teach the 12. Then the Lord asked me another question: "If Jesus trained 12, should you win more than 12 or less than 12?" Jesus chose 12 to reach the multitudes. He stayed with these 12 permanently, until they were trained and He released them, gave them authority and empowered them to disciple the nations. The call is to find 12, to consolidate their faith and commitment, to reproduce Christ's character in them by discipleship and then to release them to win 12 more each whilst staying in fellowship with their own 12 friends."

3. What did Jesus do ? Jesus sent disciples - to change the world.

Jesus has no Plan B in case of failure!

In John 20, 19-22
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
By his arrival Jesus showed them the power of His resurrection
By his hands and side he showed them the price of their salvation.
By his command he showed them the purpose of God from now on.
In Romans 10, 9-15:
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?
In the context of the gospel, the scripture divides the whole world, everyone, into three:
1. They - who need to call on the Lord - the unreached, the untaught and the unloved,
the lost, least and the last.
2. Those - the disciples, who need to go to them.
3. Those - the other disciples, who need to send those who are called to go.
We send by giving encouragement, by practical help, by giving, by prayer, by communication
and by making homecoming as easy as possible.
Sending is not a second class role. One front line pilot -needs 400 men behind him.
Isaiah 6, 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Voice of young Isaiah is nowadays the voice of young Africa, young Asia and South America.
Oswald Smith said: "If you can't go yourself then for God's sake send someone else."
Voice of young Isaiah is nowadays also the voice of a host of people in the pews of our churches -
"I want more than sitting here every week in the midst of a perishing world - Send me."
Ideal candidates for the church of the 21st century.

4. What would Jesus say to do today ?

(Hebrews 10, 19-25, The Message)
So friends, we can now without hesitation walk right up to God, into the Holy Place. Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The curtain into God's presence is his body. So let's do it - full of belief, confident that we are presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on especially as we see the big day approaching.
1. We have entrance to God himself through Jesus - let us use it.
2. We have unfailing promises from God himself - let us rely on them.
3. We have a call to "Let us see how inventive we can be."
These men and many others too picked up just a little of the inventiveness or creativity
of the Creator who lives in every believer:
Pastor Cesar Castellanos in Bogota - from 8 to 120,000 people in 10 years by G12
Kensington Temple's Spanish congregation has grown from 200 -2000 since 1999
Unknown Curate Nicky Gumble - caught the creativity for Alpha groups, swept through Britain.
Agape - caught the creativity for the Jesus Film, the world's most watched film.
Message Tribe in Manchester caught the creativity for young street people.
Bob Gass and UCB - caught the creativity for the hugely popular Word for Today booklet.
Les Norman in Nottingham caught the creativity for globally training small groups via the Internet with the 2 Tim 2.2. principle - G12 in other words - and 1000's are learning God's ways.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33.3
© Les Norman, June, 20001 (http://www.dci.org.uk)

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