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There's one thing our God can't do and that's contradict himself. In Matthew 28 at verse 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." Oh, it's not that they haven't many people and many thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of people. It's not that they haven't been baptized. It's just that they have not been disciples. Have you ever pondered the idea of why the whole world isn't Christian.
When I travel, and I do that extensively across the United States, the Bahamas and even into Europe, I look at great ministries and I say I wonder why this whole area hasn't turned Christian. Well it's because of the Discipling factor or the lack of disciples. You see either we are a missionary or we need one. Likewise, we are either a disciple or we need to be discipled. So today I would like to talk to you about disciples. This is going to be a hands on time when we really do take charge of the Commission that Jesus has given us. I want you to join me in the 8th Chapter of the Book of Acts at verse twenty-six. And let's look at what the scripture has to say about discipling, lifting those words off the page of scripture into our lives. Now let me set the scene for you. Philip, an evangelist, has been up in the northern part of Israel, Palestine in that day, at Caesarea Phillipi, in that area. And he has been ordered to go to the road down on the Gaza strip. So at verse twenty six it says "now an angel of the Lord said to Philip go south to the road, the desert road, that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasure of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.
To begin to disciple we must first become sensitive to God's word and the needs of people. And you say I'm not very interested in becoming a discipler at our church. But let me challenge you, are you interested in discipling your own child or grandchild? How about drawing someone in business into a better corporate way of doing things. Or maybe discipling in your marriage, husband to wife and wife to husband.
Back to step one and seeing Philip in this whole thing. We must become sensitive, sensitive to God's will and sensitive to the person's needs.
Now in verse twenty-nine it says "The Spirit told Philip go to the chariot and stand near it." You see the Ethiopian was on the road and Philip had to go and stand near the chariot. In other words you must become available. You have to be where people are. You can't stand off and command them to come to you or command them to do this, that or the other thing. You need to be with them. So not only is there a sensitivity but there needs to be an availability.
Now as we look on in the text at verse thirty, "Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet." This next step in discipling is taking the initiative. Are we willing to take the initiative with a child, a grandchild, a neighbor, a friend? To take the initiative for God's sake, and I say that in the most holy way. Yes, thinking back quickly in reviewing, sensitivity, availability, initiative.
Now you remember in our story Philip heard the Ethiopian reading the book of Isaiah. It says in verse thirty-two, "The eunuch was reading the passage of scripture, He was led like a sheep to slaughter and as a lamb before the shearer is silent. So he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth."
Verse 34. the eunuch asked Philip, tell me please who is the prophet talking about himself or someone else?
The next step in disciplining my friend is being tactful. Philip didn't run up to the eunuch and finally the eunuch pulled his chariot over and invited Philip to ride along with him. He didn't say well it is obviously that you don't know anything about Isaiah. The Bible talks about putting children's teeth on edge. You don't put people on edge if you are going to disciple them. You invite them into an opportunity of your kindness of your charity and out of your humility. And not a false humility. I remember somewhere I read a little sign actually, I'm the humblest man here and I'm proud of it. It's not that kind of humility. The kind of humility that is tactful.
Moving right along to verse thirty six, as they travel along the road they came to some water and the eunuch said look here's water why shouldn't I be baptized? And he ordered the chariot to stop. Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
The next step taking action or being decisive. There is a time in every relationship where in fact we must take charge of the moment. Seize the moment. In fact in discipling I can boil it down even more for you. Care, share and dare. Care to the degree that no one can doubt you care. Share what you want the person to receive. And then dare them to do it. Oh, yes discipleship is a progression, sensitivity, availability, taking the initiative, being tactful and being decisive.
There is a little formula also in drawing someone in. I have a grandchild, in fact I have five grandchildren. These children are geniuses according to their parents. Each one has told me how gifted their child is. But I have one that comes and visits me at my house and I have a little stable there where I ride and train Tennessee walking horses. His name is David Osgood and we call him DJ because he is a junior. And DJ at three and a half years old can operate a tractor with a front end loader. That's because he has sat in front of me and I have worked with him. And here's the point, DJ watch me, DJ help me, let's do it together. I'll help you do it and then you do it. Now just so you won't report me to the government of turning a three year old child loose with a tractor, I'm always on the tractor and I sit right behind him, I say DJ put your hand on the knob. Watch me, help me move the knob, I've got my hand on his. Let's do it together. I'll help you. And some day when he's responsible I'll tell him you do it.
See, that's discipling. That's drawing that child in. By the way as he sits on the front edge of the seat there I lay my hand on him and bless him. And as we are driving up and down the driveway I must have made a thousand trips. I say DJ do you know the Lord Jesus? You see I'm meeting DJ where he is even at three and a half years old.
When I was a corporate executive that's the way I trained the executives. In the ministry today I invite my Vice Presidents into the office and we go through this whole procedure, watch me, help me, let's do it together, I'll help you, you do it.
It works in the Christian faith also. It works very well. You see in this era our belief and our behavior must match. So many churches, and painful to me some clergy, love crowds and hate individuals. They love the crowds but we are not willing to give ourselves on an individual basis. When in fact the Christian gospel and the Christian world is spread one on one. Lou Holtz had a little formula when he coached at Notre Dame. It spells the word, win. What's important now? W, what's; I, important; N, now. What's important now? To be faithful to our God. To get about our ministries which is called discipling. Amen.
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