Making Disciples (Part 1)


Series: Acts

Passage: Acts 2:37-41

Speaker: BJ Chursinoff

After Jesus rose from the dead He gave His disciples the command to go and make disciples. Then Jesus ascended to Heaven. And then His disciples waited and prayed for 10 days in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them. That was the day the Church was born. And on the very first day the Church was born, we see the disciples of Jesus begin to do the very thing Jesus commanded them to do - make disciples.

Transcription (automatically-generated):

Here's a little fun fact about me. Fun or pathetic, you can be the judge. I've never personally changed the oil in any vehicle at any time in my entire life. It's not that I don't know that changing the oil in a car is important. I know it's very important.

I know this because I destroyed one of the very first cars I ever owned by not changing the oil in it. It's not like I know how to change the oil, but I just stubbornly refused to do it. The reason I've never changed the oil in a car before is that I don't know how to change the oil in a car. And the reason I don't know how to is because no one has ever shown me how to do it. You can know something is important to do and yet still have no idea on how to do it.

And I think that's one of the main problems that exists in the church today. When it comes to making disciples. Most of us know it's important to do because Jesus plainly told us to do it. After he rose from the dead, he came to his disciples and said to them matthew 20 818 to all authority has been given to me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples.

So we know making disciples is important because Jesus just tells us to do it. But if we're honest collectively as a whole, we don't really do it all that much. And I don't think the reason is because we don't want to do it. I am convinced that it's because we don't know how to. But what if there was a way that we could learn how to make disciples?

What if we had a documentary that explained the process of making disciples for us? What if there was a written account that described for us step by step the process that led 3000 people into becoming disciples in a single day? What if we were shown how to make disciples? If we had that kind of information available to us, then we could learn how to do it. And if the church learned how to make disciples, then I think the church could begin to do it way more than it currently is.

And here's the good news we do have this information available to us. It's in the Bible. In Matthew 28, Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples. Then only a few weeks later, in Acts chapter two on the very first day the church is born, after the disciples were praying, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, we see them begin to make disciples. If we look at how the first disciples made disciples 2000 years ago we will see timeless steps involved in the disciple making process.

Steps that can and should guide the way the church today should give herself to the pursuit of making disciples. This is the content of our study. In the Book of Acts this week and next we're going to study. The final verse is Acts Chapter Two. And in this study we're going to learn how to make disciples by seeing how the first disciples did it.

In our study last week, Jeff took us from Acts Chapter Two, verse 14, all the way to verse 41. In today's message, we're going to double back just a little bit and take an extra look at verses 37 to 41. But before we look at these verses in detail, I want to give you three primers on making disciples right up front. Primer Number One if we're going to make them, we need to be able to define what a disciple is. For clarity's sake, when we use the term disciple, we're using it as a synonym for a variety of common titles.

When we're talking about making a disciple, we're talking about making a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Jesus, a believer in Jesus, a Christian, someone who has been born again, a child of God. So when we use the term disciple, we are talking about any and all of these synonymous terms. A disciple is a Christian. Therefore, in the Great Commission, Jesus tells us to go out and make Christians. Primer Number Two there are two distinct phases involved in the disciple making process.

Phase Number One this is the initial phase. And this phase involves leading someone who isn't a disciple into becoming a disciple for the very first time. This is a one time event in a person's life that takes place in a single moment in time. This is the act of someone getting saved or being born again. Phase One is what we're going to be examining in this message.

And phase Two comes next. And it begins the moment after a person becomes a disciple. This phase involves leading someone who has become a disciple in the process of growing as a disciple. Phase Two is an ongoing process, a process that takes place over the rest of a disciples life because no disciple ever stops growing as a disciple. We'll tackle phase two of the disciple making process when we wrap up Acts Chapter Two, looking at verses 42 to 47 next week.

Primer Number Three there are both essential and non essential ingredients to making disciples. This concept is really easy to grasp before you think of banana bread. Now, I'm not a stretch, I'm not a chef by any stretch of the imagination. But even I know that there are some essential ingredients to making banana bread. Bananas, for one, are essential.

You cannot make banana bread without bananas. You can try, but it wouldn't be banana bread. It would just be bread. There are essential ingredients in banana bread, but there are also some nonessential ingredients in banana bread too. Some banana bread has chocolate chips and some has walnuts.

Some has both chocolate chips and walnuts and some has neither of them. And in every one of these cases, you still have banana bread. Why? Because chocolate chips and walnuts are not essential ingredients in the banana bread making process. This idea of essential and nonessential ingredients applies to the disciple making process.

There are steps involved in making disciples that are absolutely essential. Meaning if you don't have certain ingredients in the process, you don't end up with the disciple of Jesus, you end up with something else. And there are also steps that are nonessential. And sometimes these nonessential steps will be present in the process of disciple-making and sometimes they won't be. And that's okay either way because they're not essential.

We're going to see both essential and nonessential ingredients for making disciples in our text and I'm going to do my best to identify which ones are which. Okay, with those primers out of the way, let's learn how disciples are made. If you haven't turned there already, go ahead and open your Bibles up to Acts chapter two, verses 37 to 41. And I'm going to give you the very first ingredient you must have if you're going to make a disciple. This is the first essential ingredient in disciple-making and it's the first filling on your outline.

A person must be presented with the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus. They must be presented with the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus. Now you can substitute the word presented with the word proclaimed, preached, taught, explained, spoken, written, verbalized, or communicated with words. But you get the idea. If the Gospel is not presented in words to a person, then that person cannot and will not become a disciple of Jesus.

When attempting to make disciples, you can and should be nice to people, spend time with them, build relationships with them, and serve them. But as nice as these things are, they are not a presentation of the Gospel message. We see in our text how central the presentation of the Gospel message is when it comes to making disciples. Look at just the first four words in verse 37 with me it says when they heard this, and if you like marking your Bible, I draw a box around this four-word phrase when they heard this because everything that follows in this passage hinges entirely on what these first four words point to. The rest of this passage does not happen without the reality of these first four words.

The they hear in the beginning of verses 37 are the thousands of people who were gathered in Jerusalem that day and who witnessed the Holy Spirit being poured out on the 120 believers who were together praying in the upper room. But this in verse 37 is the message that Peter preached to them when they were bewildered at what they were experiencing. The sermon Peter preached to them is found in the verses immediately preceding our text and the message Peter preaches to them is the Gospel. Do you know what happened that day after Peter preached the Gospel to them? By the time we get to the end of our passage, we see that there are about 30 people who become disciples of Jesus on the very first day the church was born.

The church went from 120 disciples in the upper room to about 3120 disciples in a single day. And none of these people would have been added to the church that day if the crowd didn't have the Gospel message preached to them. That's how central Gospel proclamation is in the process of making disciples. It's one of the essential ingredients, it's not one of the optional ones. It's not walnuts proclaiming.

The Gospel is the first domino that has to fall before a disciple can be made. If this domino doesn't fall in the process, no disciples will ever be made. Now if you're here and you have no idea what the Gospel message is, let me take a few moments to share just a few aspects of the Gospel with you. These are going to be on your outline. But the first one is this the Gospel is a good message.

Like the word Gospel literally means good news. And when you begin to comprehend, when you just begin to comprehend what the Gospel is, you will realize that it is the single best message that anyone can ever hear. And that's not hyperbole, it is literally the best. That's how good it is. And the Gospel is a specific message.

You can include a variety of components when you present the Gospel to someone, but at the very least it must include the death of Jesus Christ for sins and his resurrection from the dead on the third day. These are specific aspects of the Gospel message. It's these truths that make a message a Gospel message. The apostle Paul lays this out plainly for us in one Corinthians chapter 15, starting in verse is he says this now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the Gospel I preach to you which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved if you hold to the message I preached to you unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to see if this then to the 12th.

Peter shared these specific aspects of the Gospel in his presentation to the crowd that day. Here's a portion from his sermon declaring the death and resurrection of Jesus. Peter told the crowd these words in Acts chapter two, verses 22 to 24 and verse 32 fellow Israelites, listen to these words this Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders and signs that God did among you through him. Just as you yourselves know, though he was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. God raised him up, ending the pains of death because it was not possible for him to be held by death.

And then in verses 32, he says, god has raised this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. So Peter shared the gospel with the crowd that day. And so if or when you shared the gospel with people today, know that you can talk about other parts of the Bible. You can talk about creation, you can talk about the flood, you can talk about the covenant God made with Abraham, you can talk about the love of God, you can talk about all these things and more.

But if it's the gospel that you're sharing, then you will include the specific parts of the gospel the death of Jesus for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead three days later. These components have to be in the message for it to be the gospel, because the gospel is a specific message and the gospel is a confrontational message. Keep in mind that confrontational doesn't mean rude or angry, but it does mean that uncomfortable things are addressed in people's lives when the gospel is shared with them. Let's walk this out in a hypothetical conversation. You're sharing the gospel with someone and you say Jesus died for sins.

And they reply, Wow, whose sins did Jesus died for? And then you tell them he died for your sins. And when you do this, you're confronting a person about the wrong things in their life. You are telling them that they have sins. When we present the gospel to people, we have to make sure that they understand that they have sins that Jesus died for.

If we don't tell people about their sin problem, they won't have any reason to believe that they need a sin solution. They will not believe they need a solution to a problem that they don't even think exists in their life. I don't know if I need to tell you this, that this approach isn't too popular in the church today. There's an entire movement in the church that was born in the 90s dedicated to doing the polar opposite of confronting people about their sin. It's called the Seeker Sensitive Movement, and this movement is still alive and well today.

Adherence to this movement suggests that if Christians talk to unbelievers about things like sin and judgment and hell, that they would only drive people away from God, not draw them closer to Him. So these people decided to only talk about positive things in the Bible love and faith and joy and hope to say it is safe to say that Peter was not a proponent of the Seeker Sensitive Movement. Listen to these examples from Peter sermon to the crowd that day. In Acts chapter two in verse 23, he says this to them the crowd of thousands, though he Jesus was delivered up and according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross. Peter told the crowd you guys had Jesus killed and he wasn't finished.

Peter finished his sermon off with a bang. Here's the last verse in that sermon. Acts chapter two, verse 36. Peter again speaking to the same crowd of thousands therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. Peter is standing before a crowd of thousands of people and he tells them all that not only did they hand Jesus over to be killed by the Romans, but he also told them that they were the ones who are actually responsible for Jesus's death.

Looking out into the crowd that day, Peter said, you guys are the ones who killed them. You're murderers. Not exactly seeker sensitive stuff. And that's because the gospel is a confrontational message. It confronts people about their sin.

The gospel is also a supernaturally powerful message. Paul says this in Romans One, verse 16 I'm not ashamed of the gospel because it's the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes the very words of the gospel when they leave your mouth and they land on people's ears. These very words of the gospel message have the power to lead a person into eternal life. The words of the gospel message have the power to save a person out of a destiny in hell and save them into a destiny in heaven. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is the same power that can revive spiritually dead people to life when they hear the gospel message.

This is encouraging news because the effectiveness of the gospel message doesn't rest on your or my public speaking ability. The power of the gospel rests in itself when it's spoken. However it's spoken, it has the power to change people's lives forever. The gospel message is a supernaturally powerful message. And lastly, the gospel is a necessary message.

People cannot believe the gospel message unless they first hear the gospel message. Hearing the gospel is a prerequisite to believing the gospel. That's why it's a necessary message. Paul said this in Romans chapter ten, verse 14. A bunch of rhetorical questions how then can they call on him they have not believed in?

And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear about a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent as it is written? How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. People need to hear the gospel message before they can believe it.

That's what makes it necessary. So that's just a primer on the gospel message. It's a good, specific, confrontational, supernaturally, powerful and necessary message. And presenting the gospel message to people is like banana and banana bread. It is an essential ingredient to making disciples.

You cannot make disciples without it. The next point I want to share with you isn't an ingredient in disciple making per se. It's an observation on the effect that hearing the gospel message can have on a person. It's an effect that we see the crowd experienced that day when Peter preached to them, go ahead and write this down and we're going to talk about it. The Gospel message makes people feel bad before it makes them feel good.

The Gospel message makes people feel bad before it makes them feel good. Let's just keep reading. In verses 37, when they heard this, which is the gospel, they were pierced to the heart. And whatever this pierced into the heart means, it doesn't sound like it's a pleasant experience. The author of Hebrews describes this piercing work of the Word of God in more detail.

Hebrews, chapter four, verses twelve to 13 says for the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any doubleedged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and narrow, it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account. So what's happening to a person when this heart piercing is taking place in their life? When you're pierced by the Word of God, the truth of God confronts you and you can see it's true. And the truth feels bad before it feels good.

The inside, invisible part of who you are is spiritually cut open by God so that the real you is exposed, not the social media version of you that you want everyone to see. The real version of you, the eyes of your heart are open so that you can see what's actually in you see. And what do you see when this happens? As an unbeliever? You see that you have sinned against God.

You see that you are an enemy of his, and you can see that his judgment rightfully rests upon you. And that guilt is heavy. That shame is heavy. That fear of condemnation standing under the weight of God's righteous judgment is heavy. And this is what happens when the Word of God pierces the heart of an unbeliever.

It opens them up so they can perceive how awesome God is and how much trouble they are in because of their sin against Him. God already knows these things about the person. He knows it perfectly. He's just letting the person know it for the first time when he allows the Gospel message to pierce their heart. This is what happened to those in the crowd that day when Peter preached the Gospel to them.

And this is what happens to many people today who hear the Gospel when they're pierced to the heart, whether they're pierced to the heart or not. How a person ends up responding to the Gospel message will determine whether or not they can or will become a disciple of Jesus. There are three kinds of responses to hearing the Gospel, but only one kind of response will allow you to receive the Gospel. Here are three broad categories of responses to hearing the Gospel message. The first is persecution.

People might persecute you when you share the Gospel with them. Jesus told us to expect this kind of response at times speaking to his disciples. In John chapter 15, verses 20, he said, Remember the word I spoke to you. A servant is not greater than his pastor. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And Christians have been persecuted for the past 20 years for sharing the Gospel. Persecution involves threats, verbal abuse, physical abuse, destruction of property, torture, and sometimes even murder. This is by far and away the harshest response to the Gospel message. And safe to say, if a person responds like this, they are not ready in that moment to become a disciple.

A second kind of response to the Gospel is indifference. And indifference is probably the most common response to the Gospel message. When a person responds like this, they can't be bothered by the Gospel one way or the other. They are neither open to it nor close to it. They neither love it nor hate it.

I think most people would prefer to encounter indifference rather than persecution when they're sharing the Gospel with people. But when it comes to making a disciple, you need to know that indifference produces the same thing in a person's life as persecution does in another's. It produces nothing. Jesus didn't die on a cross and rise from the dead so that people would merely tolerate Him or sit on the fence concerning him. Jesus is king of the universe, and he calls people to respond favorably towards him.

Indifference isn't a nondecision for Jesus. Indifference is a hard no to the Gospel message. Jesus said this in Luke 1123 anyone who's not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me. Scatters this brings us to the third category of response to the gospel humility. And this is the only response to hearing the Gospel message that will allow a person to receive the Gospel.

So go ahead and write this down. A person must respond in humility to the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus. God is emphatic when it comes to how he deals with different kinds of people. There are the proud and there are the humble, and only the humble will receive his favor. James Four Six says this plainly god resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The crowd that heard Peter's gospel message that day responded with humility when they were pierced to the heart because we can hear their humility in the words that they spoke. Again, in verses 37, it says, when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brothers, what should we do? There's not even a hint of pride in the crowd's response that day. Their response to Peter had no strings attached to it. This suggests a humility in their heart.

What should we do, Peter? We're not going to try and weasel our way out of this. We've been painted into a corner. Tell us what to do next. God is showing us our sin.

He's letting us feel the weight of it. We know this is serious. Tell us what to do. We'll do anything. This is a humble response because in it they're placing themselves under the authority of the word of God.

They are submitting to whatever they need to do in light of the heart piercing message they just received. You compare this to a proud response, because pride can be seen in a person who adds their own conditions to their responses to the gospel message before they even hear what's required of them. Pride sounds like this what should we do? We'll do whatever you need us to do, Jesus. Unless it's on Sundays, we can't do anything on Sunday because that's when the football game is on.

Or what should we do? We will do whatever you want, Lord, just as long as it doesn't cost us too much money or time or energy. But other than that, we're ready to do anything you ask us. What should we do? We'll do whatever you say, Lord, but we still have to be in charge of our sexuality.

We want you to keep Your hands off that part of our life, but the rest, jesus, you can do whatever you want with all of the rest. These kinds of responses reveal pride because they reveal that a person still wants to maintain control over their life. They still want to be the boss, not God. This is the epitome of pride, and we must not bend to the stipulations of the person who offers to follow Jesus on their own terms. We should never be like, this is great, you're ready to respond to the gospel, but there's no way you're going to change blank.

Nah, that's okay. We'll just work with whatever you're willing to give. No, in that moment, that person isn't ready to receive the gospel yet because Jesus hasn't offered those terms to anyone. He hasn't invited anyone to follow Him on their own terms. We can only follow Him on his terms.

None of those who were pierced to the heart by Peter's preaching that day did this. None of those who were cut to the heart by Peter's gospel proclamation responded with conditions. They humbled themselves. We hear their humility in their response. Brothers, what should we do?

And we must look for the same humility in those whom we share the Gospel with. When they are pierced to the heart by the Gospel message, are they then open to doing whatever God calls them to do next? Humility is an essential ingredient in making disciples. If a person won't humble themselves before Jesus, they are not ready to become a disciple of his. So what do you do next?

When someone has heard the Gospel and you can perceive that they have humbled themselves before God, you call them to believe. And this is the next essential ingredient in disciple making. Write this down a person must believe the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus. A person must believe the Gospel before they can become a disciple. Belief is an essential ingredient for making a disciple.

If there's no belief in the Gospel, then there is no disciple. One of the most famous verses in the Bible connects belief with the Gospel. John 3:16 says, "For God loved the world in this way that he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.: Now, if you look at our text in Acts chapter two, verses 37 to 41, you won't see the word believe. And that's because it's not there.

But belief is exactly what Peter is calling those in the crowd to do. He's calling them to believe in the Jesus that he has just finished preaching to them. You don't see the word believe, but you do see the words repent and be baptized. Look at verse 38. Peter replied, repent and be baptized, each of you in the name of Jesus Christ.

The phrase "repent and be baptized" is a different and more specific way of saying the word believe. Repentance and baptism are two parts that make up the belief that leads a person to becoming a disciple of Jesus. Let's look at each of these two parts separately and then see how they're connected to each other. Part one of belief is repentance. Repentance simply means to change your mind about something.

It has to do with the way you think about something. You've been thinking one way, but now you think the opposite way. That's repentance. It's the changing of the mind. When Peter calls the crowd to repent, he's calling them to change their mind about Jesus.

This is the kind of repentance that leads someone to becoming a disciple. Change your mind about Jesus by beginning to believe in him, and you believe in Jesus by believing the right things about him. The crowd that they had believed in Jesus up to that point, it's just that they believed the wrong things about him. They had believed he was a phony and a fraud. They had believed he was a blasphemer.

They had believed Jesus was guilty of death. The crowd had believed something about Jesus. It's just that they believed the wrong things about him. So Peter told them to change their mind about Him. He told them to repent, and this was necessary if they were to become disciples of Jesus that day.

Do you know that everybody today believes something about Jesus? It's just that most people don't believe the right things about Him. Changing your mind about Jesus means that you now begin to believe the correct things about Him. Think back to when you weren't a disciple. If you're a Christian here today, you used to believe Jesus was a joke.

But when you repented and changed your mind sorry. When you repented, you changed your mind because he isn't one. You used to believe that Jesus was just a man or just a teacher, just a historical figure. But when you repented, you changed your mind, because he isn't just those things. He's so much more.

You used to believe that Jesus was still dead and buried somewhere to this day. But when you repented, you changed your mind, because now you believe Jesus is alive. You used to believe that Jesus wasn't God, that he didn't die on the cross for your sins, that he didn't rise from the dead. But when you repented, you changed your mind. Now you believe these things about Him because these things are true about Him.

When you repented, you came to believe that Jesus is worthy of all of your love, your respect, honor, blessing, praise. He's worth all of your life being given over to Him. You didn't used to believe he's worth all of this, but you do now because you changed your mind about Jesus. When you change your mind about Jesus, this change of mind happens invisibly in you. No one can see this change of mind except for God.

The moment this change of mind takes place is the moment a person becomes a disciple of Jesus. It happens all in the twinkling of an eye. This is repentance, a change of mind to a right belief about Jesus. But this is only the first part of belief that leads someone to becoming a disciple of Jesus. The second part of belief is baptism.

See, repentance is changing your mind about Jesus. Baptism is changing your actions towards Jesus. You change your actions towards Jesus by identifying yourself with Him. And this is what you do when you get baptized in his name. Baptism follows repentance, and baptism is mandatory if true repentance has taken place in a person's life.

This excludes the rare occasion where baptism is physically impossible to do. If you remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus, he became a believer, but he died before he would. He baptized. There are extreme cases where a person can't be baptized after repenting. But if a new Christian can get baptized, they have to get baptized.

Repentance is invisible belief on the inside of you. Baptism is the act of that invisible belief being made visible on the outside of you. No one but God can see the invisible belief on the inside of you, but everyone can see the visible belief that your baptism displays. What a person believes about Jesus will determine how they act towards him. Before they were saved, the crowd in Peter's day didn't believe in who Jesus actually was, and so they had him crucified.

But when that same crowd repented and changed their mind about Jesus, they were willing to be publicly identified with him. And this was seen when they were baptized in his name. Before a person is saved today, they don't believe Jesus, and their unbelief is seen in their rejection of him and their continual disobedience to him. But when a person today repents and changes their mind about Jesus, that belief is seen in their willingness to obey him publicly by identifying with him publicly. Baptism is the first chance you get to identify yourself as a follower of Jesus.

Then once you've been baptized, it's your ongoing obedience to Jesus commands that identifies you as a disciple of his. Jesus said to his disciples in John chapter 14, verse 15, if you love me, you'll keep my commands. If anyone today says they believe Jesus, but they don't give themselves to obeying Jesus in their life, it means that they might not be believing the right things about Jesus, because if you believe him, you will obey him. Obedience will not be perfect, but it will be an overarching theme over a Christian's life that other people will be able to see. So you're going to be able to recognize those who have become a disciple of Jesus because these people will have repented.

They would have changed their mind to a right belief about Jesus, and they will have been publicly identified as a follower of Jesus by their baptism in his name. Repentance and baptism is what belief looks like, and this belief is an essential ingredient in making disciples. Okay, so what happens next? What happens when a person believes the gospel message for the first time? When they believe it, what comes next?

A whole lot of good stuff. Peter goes on to tell the crowd in the latter part of verse 38 what they get if they become disciples of Jesus. Let me read this for you in verse 38 in our text, peter replied, repentantly baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you become a Christian, you don't just get the promise of going to heaven when you die, as true and as awesome as that is, but you get radical life transformation that starts now, starting the moment you repent and believe the gospel. And you get this for the rest of this life before you get to heaven.

The moment a person believes the gospel message, some heavenly math is applied to their life. Now, you might be a person that doesn't like regular math all that much. But everybody loves heavenly math when they understand what it is and when they experience it in their life. Heavenly math includes some subtraction and some addition. Heavenly Subtraction god takes your sin away from your life.

When you believe on Jesus, the work he accomplished on the cross gets applied to your life. And this work includes the total and complete forgiveness. A lot of other people's sins of your sins gone on the cross. Jesus paid for the sins of the entire world, for all of humanity that has ever lived or ever will live. All sins for all time have already been paid for in full.

But not everyone has had this transaction of paid sins applied to their life yet. But the moment you believe the Gospel, the sins that Jesus has already paid for get removed from your life because God forgives you of them. God can forgive you of them because the Son of God has already paid for them. The subtraction of sin from a human life is an incredible experience. Guilt is gone from your life because the sins you are guilty of have been removed from your life.

Shame is gone from your life because the sins you're ashamed of have been removed from your life. Separation from God is gone from your life because the sin that kept you separated from Him has been removed from your life. All of these benefits belong to the disciple of Jesus because Jesus paid for our sins and he has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. This is heavenly subtraction. This is what God takes away from your life.

But he's not done at this point. He still has something or someone to add to your life. Heavenly addition. This is what happens when the Holy Spirit, who is God, comes to live inside you. God is added to your life because God's presence fills the life of the new disciple.

The Holy Spirit regenerates you, your dead spirit comes to life. You're born again, and the Spirit of God comes to live in you. You were physically born into this world spiritually still born, meaning you were physically alive, but you are spiritually dead. You had physical life, but you did not have spiritual life. None of us did.

This is why our lives are so empty and so jacked up without God. But when you repent and believe in the Gospel, you receive the Holy Spirit and you become spiritually alive and you have the life of God in you. Do you have any idea how awesome it is to have the Holy Spirit living in you? The Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual fruit in your life. The Holy Spirit in us produces a supernatural life in us.

Paul says this in Galatians, chapter five, verse 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. God's love and joy and peace are produced from within us. When the Holy Spirit is in us, an infinite source of patience and kindness and goodness is available to us. Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, a supernatural supply of faithfulness and gentleness and self control can be experienced in our life due to the fact that the Holy Spirit now resides in us.

Do you think people today would want these things added to their life? You bet they would. Infomercial time. And there's more. The Holy Spirit gives you power and grace to obey God in your life.

Now you have a power greater than yourself that enables you to actually do the good things you want to do before the Holy Spirit comes. We might want to do the right thing, but don't have the power to carry it out. But with the Holy Spirit, we now have the power we need to live the kind of life God is calling us to live. And there's more. The Holy Spirit is always with you.

You're never alone. When the Holy Spirit comes to live in a disciple, it is God who comes to live in a disciple. And when God comes to live in a person, he never moves out. He never goes on vacation. When God comes to live inside you, he is there to stay forever.

And from that moment on, you are never, ever alone. This is what Jesus promised us at the end of the Great Commission, where he says and remember, I am with you always to the end of the age. He's not just with us in thoughts and well wishes. He's not just with us beside us. He's with us because he's inside us.

These are just some of the byproducts of becoming a disciple of Jesus. And it's no wonder Christians want other people to become Christians too. We just want people to experience this heavenly math with us. Who gets this heavenly subtraction and heavenly addition applied to their lives, while only those who eat the banana bread get to enjoy the taste of it. So, write this down only those who believe the gospel message will receive forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter goes on to tell the crowd that day who this gospel message is for. And the good news just keeps on coming. Verse 39 for the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call. When Peter said for you, he was referring to those in the crowd that day. When he said for your kids, he meant the next generation that came after that crowd.

And when he said all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call, that means everyone else. The promise of forgiveness, of sins, and the gift of Holy Spirit is for anybody. So, while the ink is still wet on your pen, write this down on your outline as well too. Anybody and everybody who hears the gospel message can become a disciple of Jesus. Anybody and everybody from any race, any culture, any language, anyone who is rich or poor or anywhere in between, young or old, man or woman, slave or free, drug addict or normal, criminal or law-abiding citizen, anybody and everybody can become a disciple of Jesus.

There are no exceptions. There is enough spiritual banana bread for anyone and everyone who wants some. Now, apparently, Peter has not finished preaching at this point. Most people, myself included, would be ecstatic at what has taken place in our text up until now. Peter preached a Holy Spirit-empowered gospel message.

The crowd was pierced to the heart. They responded in humility to the gospel and then they were told what they needed to do next. At this point, I'd be giving them some room to think about some things. But not Peter. What does he do?

He doubles down on the crowd with even more words. Look at verse 40. With many other words. He testified and strongly urged them, saying, be saved from this corrupt generation. Making disciples.

Is this important that Peter doubled down in his effort to get those in the crowd that day to believe that he persuaded them even more to make a decision for Jesus? Write this down: Be prepared to persuade people to believe the gospel message if necessary. Be prepared to persuade them if you have to. This is one of those optional ingredients to making disciples. This isn't necessary each and every time the gospel is shared.

Persuasion isn't like a banana in the recipe for banana bread. It's like chocolate chips. Not essential, but it's good to know that you can use this ingredient if needed. And if led by the Holy Spirit. We have to remember we in our humanness, in our flesh.

We can't make people believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord. Only God can work that miracle of belief in the invisible parts of a person. But what we can do is that we can persuade people to believe. Peter does it. Here in Acts chapter two, Paul says he used persuasion in his ministry too.

Second Corinthians, chapter five, verse eleven, Paul says "Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people." And later in Acts 19, verse eight says, "Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God." Now I want to join, I want to join my brothers Peter and Paul as those who persuade others to make a decision for Jesus. And I'm going to do some persuading right now. If there is anyone here tonight who isn't a Christian yet, I want you to listen to me really closely because I'm going to try to persuade you to become one.

If God has pierced your heart with the gospel message tonight, but you're still indecisive. Do not put that decision off any longer. Do not assume that you have more time in your life to make this decision to believe in Jesus. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and that means it's not promised to you either. Decide tonight, right now that you will repent and believe in Jesus.

Do not also assume that your heart will stay this soft as time passes. History teaches us that people's hearts don't grow softer to God over time. The opposite happens. The more you harden your heart, the harder it is to believe. Today, listen to me.

Today is the day of salvation for you. Choose Jesus today. Don't leave tonight without doing that.

Persuasion done for now. When you're sharing the Gospel when you're sharing the Gospel, keep the tool of persuasion tucked away in your evangelism toolkit because you never know when it's going to come in handy. Here's the last verse in our text to verse 41. So those who accepted his message were baptized. And that day about 3000 people were added to them.

The truth is that many people, most people will not respond positively to the Gospel when you share it with them. Be prepared for that because it can get discouraging over time. But here's another glorious truth some people are going to believe it. Some are going to believe. And what do you do when this happens?

Write this down baptize those who repent when they hear the Gospel message. Baptize those who repent when they hear the Gospel. Verse 41 is simply describing the working out of the very thing Peter told them to do back in verse 38. They baptized those who believed. They baptized those who repented.

They visibly identified those who had invisible belief in their hearts. These were some of the same people who just weeks earlier did not believe Jesus and had him crucified. But they changed their minds about Him and now they wanted the whole world to know that they believed in Him. Now, the ones who believed that day didn't believe secretly. They were publicly identified that day in front of the whole crowd.

And I'd like to do the same thing here tonight. Even though we aren't set up to baptize anyone today, I want to give anyone here the opportunity to respond publicly to Jesus. I want to give you the chance to make your invisible belief about Jesus visible if you are believing in Him right now for the very first time, if you have been pierced to the heart by the Gospel message here tonight, if you have repented and changed your mind about Jesus while you're sitting in the very chair you're in right now, if you're believing now for the very first time that Jesus is Savior and Lord and God, and you believe that he died for your sins and he rose from the dead on the third day. If you are believing this for the first time, and you want people to know that you are now a Christian, here's what I'm going to ask you to do: In just a moment, I'm going to ask you to stand up right where you are, right in front of everyone here.

And if you choose to stand, no one's going to make you. But if you choose to stand, your standing will be telling everyone here that you are now a disciple of Jesus. If you stand, you are identifying yourself as a brand-new Christian. And you are not ashamed to have everybody here know it. Just so everyone here knows, I will not be embarrassed if no one stands up.

I want people to have this chance to respond publicly even if no one does. So, I'm going to make this really simple. I'm going to count to three and when I get to three, I just want you to stand up and identify yourself with Jesus if you're becoming a Christian for the very first time. Really simple. Okay?

One, two, three. Stand up if you want to become a Christian.

Praise God. You already are one brother. But anyone else that just says today, I want to do this. I want to be with Jesus forever in this life and in the life to come. I want my sins forgiven.

That's okay. I want to remind you guys that that's okay because one day someone will respond. And I want to encourage anyone who might be on the fence. You might be indifferent, you might be not sure. You might be scared.

Just keep coming back to church. Keep coming, keep hearing and experiencing the gospel. Keep coming. If God's drawing you, just do us that great privilege and just keep coming back and hanging out with us. I'm going to call the worship team to come up in this message, we have examined part one of Making Disciples.

To recap, there are three essential ingredients necessary for a person to become a disciple of Jesus for the very first time. These are the bananas in the banana bread. Number one, a person must have the Gospel message presented to them before they could become a disciple of Jesus. And the Gospel is a good, specific, confrontational, supernaturally, powerful, and necessary message. Two, a person must respond in humility to the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus.

And three, a person must believe the Gospel message before they can become a disciple of Jesus. And this belief is seen in a person's repentance and baptism in Jesus name. This is only the beginning of making disciples. Once a person becomes a disciple, the hard work of discipling them really just begins. That's part two of Disciple Making.

We're going to look at part two next week as we finish up Acts, chapter two together. But let me just pray for us. Church. Before we enter into the time of praising our risen King and Lord Jesus father, I want to pray for anyone here who is not a disciple yet and who's wrestling with the things that they've heard here tonight. I pray, Lord, that you would lead them to the end of themselves and to the beginning of you.

I pray, Lord, that their hearts would be pierced and that would lead them to humility. I pray that they would give up trying to be the boss of their own lives and they would begin to let you rule and reign as king and Lord and God over their life. I pray, Lord, that you let them have a taste of Your love. Just touch them in such a way that they say, if that's just a touch of your love, I want the whole thing. So do that for anyone here, Lord, who doesn't know you yet.

We pray, Lord, that you would save them. Do it, Jesus. We pray. But I also want to pray for my brothers and sisters here tonight. I want to pray for all of us when it comes to disciple making.

I pray, Father, that you would grow all of our knowledge about how to make disciple. Increase it, Father. Would you do this a miracle in our hearts and increase our desire to make disciples. Give us a burden to do it, Father. We pray.

I pray that you would fill us and give us passion in our hearts for the lost. I pray, Lord, that you would overwhelm us when we think about people spending forever apart from you. Give us the heart that you had, jesus, when you look at the crowd and you were filled with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd, do that in your church, Lord. We pray. And lastly, Father, I pray whatever you do with us as Gospel City Church, just keep filling us with Your Holy Spirit.

Keep filling us, not just that first time we believed, but daily. Give us Your spirit and Your presence and Your power, because, Lord, we can't not just make disciples without you. We can't do anything without you. So just fill us over and over and over again that one day we might go out and begin sharing the gospel of people who've never heard of before. Do that, Jesus, we pray.


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