Messages

Making Disciples (Part 2)

Date:7/10/22

Series: Acts

Passage: Acts 2:42-47

Speaker: BJ Chursinoff

The work of making disciples is not finished after someone is born again. Jesus didn’t commission His Church to go and make converts; He commissioned us to go and make disciples. The real work of discipleship begins after a person becomes a Christian. In this message, we begin examining what discipleship looked like in the first months of the Early Church.


Transcription (automatically-generated):

There are two distinct phases involved in the process of making disciples. Phase one of disciple-making is the process that leads a person to becoming a disciple of Jesus for the very first time. This is a one-time event in a person's life. They woke up that morning not a disciple of Jesus, and they went to bed that same night as a disciple of Jesus. We looked at the essential ingredients that are involved in this phase of making disciples in last week's study through Acts chapter two, verses 37 to 41.

Phase two of disciple-making involves the process of growing, developing, maturing as a disciple. And unlike phase one, this isn't a one-time event in a person's life. Phase two is a process that begins the moment a person becomes a disciple and it continues over the course of the rest of their life. If I could compare the second phase of disciple-making with anything I'd say it'd be a lot like having a baby. Imagine that a new baby has just been born.

Now what? When a baby is born to the parents high-five themselves, celebrate for a few minutes, and then leave their new baby in the hospital while they catch an Uber to the airport, jump on a plane and leave for an exotic three-week vacation in the Bahamas. Is the work over when a brand new baby covet out of the womb? Not even close. From the moment they are born, you spend the next 18 years raising them and developing them into a mature, full-grown human being.

When a brand new baby is born, the new parents take their brand new little baby home and the real work of having a baby begins. When they are born, babies are just new little human beings who are outside of the womb for the first time, who have a lot of growing up to do. Newborn babies need food, water, sleep, care, and protection. Over time, newborn babies will need to be taught how to walk and talk and how to relate to the various people that will be in their life. Over time, newborn babies will need to be taught how to function in this world that they were just born into.

And all this learning takes a long time and it takes a lot of hard work. A newborn baby does not grow up into a fully functioning, mature adult by accident. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. This is what the second phase of making disciples is like. When a person becomes a disciple of Jesus, the Bible says that they are born again, meaning that they have just been spiritually alive or become spiritually alive for the very first time.

A new disciple is just a brand new spiritual baby who has no idea what's going on. They have no idea of what it means to be a child of God. They have no clue as to how to function as a member of God's kingdom who is living in this foreign world. A brand new babe in Christ needs to be fed spiritual food. They need to be given spiritual water, and they need to learn how to live as a disciple of Jesus.

They need people to take care of them spiritually and train them up spiritually so that they know how to relate to the various people in their life the way a Christian should. They need to be taught how to grow up and function in this world that they were just spiritually born into. And all this learning takes a long time and it takes a lot of work. It does not happen by accident like it does for a newborn baby. Developing a newborn disciple of Jesus takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

And this work begins the moment someone is saved and it continues for the rest of their life. This work of discipleship that we're going to be looking at is in this message. We're going to begin taking a look at the second phase of making disciples by looking at how the very first Christians were disciples. In Acts chapter two, verses 42 to 47, I say begin taking a look because I wanted to take us through this whole text in one message, but that proved to be too difficult of a task for me. So we'll start our study of this great text tonight and then we're going to wrap it up next week.

Now, I love this passage in Acts Two. It's one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and I know it's the favorite of many Christians today. Christians love this passage because when we meditate on these verses, we begin to daydream, we begin to dream about the kind of life the church experienced back then, and we dream of that kind of life is available for us today. When you read the passage in Acts Two, our passage in Acts two, you see that the church in those early days was marked by unity and joy and love. The church back then was a sweet witness to the watching world.

God was moving in the church. People were blessed by the church. People were getting saved and being added to the church. It was awesome. And these things were happening from the very first day the church was born.

And so many Christians today, myself included, daydream. If the kind of life we read about taking place in the early church is possible for Christians to experience today, some people will say that what happened in the early church isn't a model for us today. They say that was a unique time in the church's history. But times have changed, culture has changed, and the church has changed. And some people don't think that it's possible for us to experience what they did back then.

But what if those people were wrong? What if the life that the church experienced in Acts chapter two is available for us today. I'm convinced that it is. In this message, I want to show you that what we read about taking place in Acts 242 to 47 describes things that are for the church today. They are things for the church to experience today, but not just because we read about them in Acts Two.

What happens in Acts Two is descriptive in nature. Acts Two is not telling us what to do per se. It is simply telling us what happened in history. So I'm going to argue that we are supposed to do the things we read about in Acts Two, but not just because the first disciples did those things. No.

The reason that the church today is supposed to experience the things we read about in Acts Two is because the things we read in Acts Two are things that Jesus has commanded his disciples to do. If we can see that Jesus commanded believers to do the things we see done in verses 42 to 47, then we do them because Jesus said to do them. We don't do them just because the church did them back in the day. Acts 242 to 47 is not a golden era in the church that has come and gone. It is the way of life that should mark the life of Jesus'disciples today.

This passage describes for us what takes place when disciples of Jesus are made. And it paints a picture for us of what the second phase of making disciples looks like. The things we see in this text are things that are used to grow a new disciple of Jesus into maturity. Now, wherever you happen to be in your personal journey of faith in Jesus will shape the way you should hear this message if you're here and you're not a disciple of Jesus yet, welcome to Gospel City Church. We're so glad that you're here with us.

And we want you to know that nobody will expect you to do any of the things we learn here today and next week. That's because we're learning what disciples of Jesus do. But if or when you do become a disciple of Jesus, then these messages will serve as a kind of movie trailer for what your life will look like. The things you learn in these messages will give you a sneak peek of what your life should look like after you become a Christian and when you begin to live the Christian life. My hope is that what you hear will remove any surprises that might otherwise pop up in your new life as a Christian.

Surprises that might have come if you didn't know what to expect. Now, most of you here are believers, and if you are, you should listen to these messages through two perspectives. First, you need to experience the things you're going to hear in these messages for your own sake. If you are a disciple of Jesus, the things we're going to look at here tonight and next week are the things that will help you continue to grow and develop as a disciple. We're going to look at some of God's grace that he has made available in the disciples life.

And you need these graces to keep maturing in your faith. If you apply what you hear to your life, it will make your steady growth as a disciple possible. If you reject what you hear, then you will stagnate in your growth as a disciple, you will become spiritually malnourished. So first, hear how these things apply to you. But second, as a Christian you need to be a part of helping other Christians experience what they hear in these messages.

As you grow up, you are going to have younger spiritual brothers and sisters added to your faith, family added to your church. And it is your responsibility to help them learn the exact same things that older Christians help you learn in your life. We need to grasp this. It is not just my responsibility and Jeff's responsibility to make disciples here in Gospel City Church just because we are the elders. Jesus calls all of us to make disciples.

You cannot sidestep this call on your life. So the things you learn in this message will be for you, yes. But they will also be for you to pass on to others once you have learned them for yourself. Every disciple will have Christians in their life who are a little further down the road in their journey than they are. And every disciple will eventually have some more inexperienced Christians following in their footsteps.

Making disciples involves our continued personal development and it involves the continued development of our brothers and sisters in our church. That's what discipleship is. So with that said, let's jump into our text and right away we see the first thing we need to know about the second phase of making disciples. Write this down discipleship requires devotion. Discipleship requires devotion.

Verse 42 says they devoted themselves to the apostles'teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. The approximately 3120 disciples that made up the early church in Acts Two were a devoted group of people. Devotion is a word that means to attend constantly, persist, persevere in, continue steadfast, in, and to wait upon. It means consistently showing strength, which prevails in spite of difficulties, to endure, to remain firm, staying in a fixed direction. Devotion means to continue to do something with intense effort and possibly doing that thing despite difficulty.

Devotion is you've made up your mind to do something kind of word. It's a no giving up kind of word. It's a not take the easy way out kind of word. It's a word that has in it the idea of hard work, which makes sense when you realize that the word disciple is the root word of discipline. Devotion is a great quality, but devotion is hard.

Being devoted to something means that you will have to say yes to some things in your life and no to others, meaning that in order to do the things you are devoting yourself to, you will have to say no to other potential things in your life, sometimes even good things. Devotion says since I'm trying to get healthy, I have to say no to extra donuts. Devotion says since I have a new baby at home, I have to say no to sleeping 8 hours a night and being comfortable in my life. Devotion says since I'm married now, I have to say no to every other woman on the planet. And it also means that I will have to say no to those things that would keep me from loving my wife the way that I'm called to love her.

Devotion says since I am a disciple of Jesus, I have to grow as a disciple myself and I have to invest in making disciples of others. So that means I will have to choose to say no to some things in my life that would take me away from accomplishing this as a disciple of Jesus. I belong to Jesus and I am devoted to Him above every other thing in my life. That means I will have to say no to some things in my life, even good things, if those things would keep me from knowing Him and relating to Him. The way that I'm called to discipleship is a disciplined life that requires devotion.

Devotion to what? Well, we can see four things in verses 42 that a disciple of Jesus needs to be devoted to the apostles teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. These are the things that you need in your life as a Christian if you're going to grow as a disciple. And these are the things that your fellow Christians need in their lives if they're going to grow as disciples too. We're only looking at one of these four things tonight, and we'll look at the other three in next week's message.

So verse 42 says they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. When verse 42 says that the early disciples devoted themselves to the apostles'teaching. I don't want anyone to get the idea in their head that several thousand people were gathered around the apostles and the apostles just started making up some content on the fly. The apostles weren't sharing their own opinions or stories from pop culture. They weren't pulling ideas from out of thin air.

They weren't just sharing whatever was in their hearts. The apostles were teaching the disciples the word of God. They were teaching them the Bible. So go ahead and write this down and then we're going to unpack it. Discipleship requires devotion to the Bible.

Discipleship requires devotion to the Bible. We know that the apostles taught the disciples the Bible because of some of the things that are recorded for us in the Bible. In the great commission, jesus told the apostles, go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. The apostles had a curriculum that they were teaching the people in Acts, too.

They were teaching people the very words that they had personally received from Jesus after they had spent three years sitting under his teaching. They were teaching the disciples. They were passing on to them the very commands of Jesus. We cannot miss this. The apostles taught people Jesus's words.

And I want you to notice something else very important here. They didn't teach the people only the content of Jesus words. They didn't just pass on intellectual information that filled the heads of the new disciples but didn't affect their lives. That's because Jesus explicitly told his apostles to teach new disciples. And I quote Jesus in Matthew 28 20 teach them to observe everything I have commanded you.

And the word observe in this context means to obey. The apostles didn't just teach people what Jesus said. They taught them how to do the very things he commanded them to do. This serves as a warning and an encouragement to churches and disciples. Today, churches can be easily filled with people who know in their minds the things that Jesus said to do, but who don't actually do what he said.

We have to be on guard against this and instead devote ourselves to not only knowing what Jesus said to do, but to actually do what he said to do. May we give ourselves to obeying every single command of Jesus here at Gospel City Church. Because the apostles taught the church to obey the very words of Jesus. That means we know where we can find the content of the apostles teaching. The things the apostles taught are found in the first four books of the New Testament.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the books that contain the very teachings of Jesus, the teaching that made up the bulk of the apostles teaching. Now, I had you write down on your outline that making disciples requires devotion to the Bible, the whole Bible. But the Bible contains way more than just the first four books of the New Testament. So why did I say that we need to be devoted to the whole thing? It's because I think that the content of the apostles teaching was the whole Bible.

So let me explain. As far as I can tell, the early church in Acts Two was made up of Jews who believed that Jesus was their Messiah. That means that at the very beginning of the church, the whole church knew the Old Testament, which was the Bible of the Jews, and it remains the Bible of the Jewish people to this day. I believe the apostles teaching in Acts 242 involved teaching from the Old Testament, too, but just in a new way. That was different from any way that any Jew had it taught to them before this.

I say this because of a couple of things Jesus said to his disciples about the Old Testament recorded for us in the Book of Luke. Talking with a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus after he had risen from the dead. Jesus said this in Luke 24, verses 24 to 27 about the Old Testament. He said to them, how foolish you are and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Wasn't it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?

Then, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection, Zeus began to teach the disciples ways that the Old Testament pointed to Him and had its fulfillment in him. That was a new teaching about the Old Testament they didn't have before. Jesus said some similar things just a few verses down in Luke 24. In verses 44 to 45, Jesus said to the apostles, these are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

The Scriptures which at that time included only the Old Testament. None of the New Testament was written down and a part of the Scriptures at that point in time. But Jesus opened the minds of the apostles to understand the Old Testament in light of who he was as the Messiah. It's with this new spiritual enlightenment concerning the Old Testament that the apostles will be able to teach the Church the Old Testament as well. But in this new way, with Jesus being the center and the fulfillment of it.

You can hear an example of what some of this teaching sounds like if you go back and read through the sermon that Peter delivered to the crowd. In Acts chapter two, verses 14 to 46, peter uses multiple Old Testament references to teach the crowd that Jesus is the Messiah. So the apostles teaching in Acts 242 included the teaching of Jesus that they personally received from Him during his three year public ministry, teaching that would eventually make up the first four books of the New Testament. And the apostles teaching would have also included the Old Testament, but in a new way that would fixate on Jesus being the center and the fulfillment of it. But that wouldn't remain the sum total of the apostles teaching, because after the events of Acts two, the apostles teaching would eventually come to include the rest of the New Testament, to remember that before he was crucified, jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his apostles and that the Spirit would guide the apostles into all the truth.

There were things that Jesus didn't teach them then, but the Spirit would lead them into that truth at a later time. In John 14 verses 15 to 26, Jesus said to his disciples, I've spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I've told you. Jesus had taught the apostles while he was physically with them, but Jesus was going to leave them, and the Holy Spirit was going to come to them in his place. And when the Holy Spirit came, he was going to continue to teach them even after Jesus was no longer physically there.

In John 16 verses twelve to 13, Jesus goes on to say, I still have many things to tell you, but you can't bear them. Now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. The Holy Spirit would be the source of the rest of the New Testament writings, just like he's the source of the whole Bible.

The rest of the New Testament that comes after Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the words of the apostles speaking into specific circumstances, taking place in specific churches. The writing of the rest of the New Testament was all led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And this teaching came through the apostles, which made it their teaching, too, in a sense. So at the time, the events in Acts 242 are unfolding, the apostles teaching would have contained the Old Testament, and it would have contained the teaching of Jesus that found in the first four Gospels. As the years passed, however, the apostles teaching would come to include all of the rest of the New Testament, too.

The disciples in Act Two devoted themselves to the apostles'teaching, and the apostles would have eventually taught the disciples of Jesus everything that's in the Bible. That's why I can say discipleship requires devotion to the Bible, devotion to all of it. So from the day the Church is born, the apostles are teaching the Church. The disciples are devoting themselves to their teaching. I wonder if everyone just accepted their teaching at face value.

I wonder if there was anyone among them that doubted the authority of their teaching or their qualifications to teach the Church. What reason, if any, did God give people to believe the things the apostles taught? Why should have anyone back in their day believe the apostles words? And why should anyone believe their words today? Well, we can see part of the answer to this question if we jump ahead to the next verse in our text, halfway through verse 43, it says, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.

Listen. Anyone can say, Guys, listen to these words. I'm telling you, these words are God's words. Anyone can say that. But not anyone can do signs and wonders unless God enables them to be done.

God enabled the apostles to perform signs and wonders publicly and these miracles authenticated their teaching as having been approved by God. What kind of miracles did God enable the apostles to do? The same kinds that Jesus did. Diseases were cured, demonized people were set free, paralyzed people began to walk, blind people began to see and dead people were raised to life. If people backed them were like why should we believe the things you're teaching us?

The apostles do a bunch of miracles. Is that good enough for you? Later the apostle Paul wrote that performing signs and wonders was a mark of someone that was truly an apostle of Zeus. Second Corinthians, chapter twelve, verse twelve says the signs of an apostle were performed with unfailing endurance among you, including signs and wonders and miracles. Now miracles still happen today because in one Corinthians chapter twelve, verse ten, miracles is one of the spiritual gifts that God has given to his church.

But we don't see the same frequency of signs and wonders happen today like they did in the early church. That's because when the church was just getting off, the would he point of those miracles was to authenticate the words of the apostles so that people would listen to their teaching. And now we have the words of the apostles. We can read them in the Bible. Nobody needs new miracles performed today in order for them to believe the apostles words.

They've already done the signs. The apostles have already done the signs and wonders that validated their teaching. All that's left is to believe what the apostles have taught us. Now what did devotion to the apostles teaching look like back in the day? Because the first disciples didn't have the New Testament in written form at the time, they couldn't read what the apostles taught because their teaching hadn't been recorded yet.

In the beginning they had to hear the teachings straight from the apostles mouths. That means they had to devote their time to being where the apostles were so that they could hear what the apostles taught. And once they had received their teaching, they had to then devote themselves to doing the things that they were taught. Now here's something I think is cool. I think we can see in our passage an example of the disciples obeying the apostles teaching.

Drop down to verses 44 and 45. I think these verses describe the disciples doing something the apostles taught them to do. It says this starting in verse 44 now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all as any had need. Sometimes people's communism alarm goes off when they hear words like this holding all things in common or the idea of selling stuff and giving it to those who don't have as much.

But is this Christian communism? Or is this just the fulfillment of Jesus words to his disciples? This scene isn't describing a scenario where nobody in the Church owned anything of their own, due to everyone selling literally everything they had and then putting it all into a common pot that everyone received equally from. That's not what this is. These verses are not describing Christian socialism.

We know this because some Christians had their own homes that the Church met in. They didn't sell those. Verses 44 and 45 aren't describing communism. They are describing Christian love, a love that Jesus taught the apostles about while he was with them. Taught them a lot about love.

Jesus taught a lot about loving our fellow believers. And here's one example of such teaching. It's a long one. I put it on your outlines, but listen for the practical ways to love other disciples. Matthew 25 31 46.

This is Jesus speaking. When the Son of man comes in his glory and all the angels with them, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another. Just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.

Then the righteous will answer him, lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you, a stranger and take you in or without clothes and clothes you, when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Then you will also say to those on the left, depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.

I was a stranger and you didn't take me in. I was naked and you didn't clothe me. Sick and in prison, and you didn't take care of me. Then they too will answer, lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or without clothes or sick or in prison and not help you? Then you will answer them.

Truly, I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me, and they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Jesus taught these words directly to the apostles. This teaching was given to the apostles late in their time with Jesus, and this teaching would have been very fresh in their minds by the time the events in Acts chapter two rolled around. And it's quite possible that the apostles taught these same words to the disciples in verse 42. And if they did teach these words, I think it would explain what we read in verses 44 and 45.

Jesus says to love one another. Love one another as if the person you are loving is Jesus Christ himself. And love is not some fluffy, spiritual, mumbojumbo kind of word. It's a word that has substance. It's an action word.

And I think that if the disciples of Jesus in Acts two heard this teaching from the apostles and then they looked around at all those in the church and saw that there were believers among them who were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or without clothes, what do you think they would do? I think they would have used whatever was at their disposal to practically help their brothers and sisters who were in need. Whoever had a need in the community of believers had that need met by those who could afford to meet that need. This wasn't compulsion. This wasn't communism.

This was charity. This was the grace of God being worked out in the family of God, and it's a beautiful thing. Verse 45 says, as any had need for the record, these don't qualify as needs. I need the newest model of iPhone. I need designer clothes.

I need vacations. I need video games. I need a new boat. Not bad things, just not needs. I have a newfound appreciation for what real needs are by watching a TV series called Alone.

Alone is a reality show where ten contestants are dropped off in the middle of nowhere in extreme conditions with only a backpack filled with some basic supplies. Then they try to last as long as they can in the wild, totally alone, completely separated from all the other contestants. They even record their own footage for the show because they can't even have a camera crew with them. They are alone. And when it gets too tough on the show and you want to quit, you just make a call on the satellite phone that they give you and they come pick you up and then you're off the show.

The last person standing wins $500,000. Now, watching this show reminds me of what real needs are, because the contestants are challenged to meet their basic needs under extreme conditions. Needs are the things you must have in order to stay alive. A person needs water, food, shelter, heat, and clothes. If a person doesn't have enough of these items, they are not going to survive anywhere.

These are needs. If someone in the church is lacking these basic necessities for survival, we need to help them meet those needs. And we do this not just because we feel pity, we do it regardless of how we feel about it. Why? Because in his words to the apostles, jesus taught us how to treat our brothers and sisters.

And I think that's what's happening in verses 44 and 45. They are simply doing what Jesus said to do. How do we devote ourselves to the apostles teaching in the Church today? Well, same way they did back then. We need to devote ourselves to hearing the Bible taught and then we have to devote ourselves to obeying what we hear.

What if someone asks these hypothetical questions? If the apostles teaching is the Bible, don't we all have the apostles teaching because we all have our own Bibles? Now? Does this mean I can just devote my time to learning the Bible all by myself, isolated and apart from other Christians? Do we need to be devoted to learning the Bible from others like the early disciples learnt it from the apostles?

Or can we just do it on our own? You should spend time by yourself devoted to learning the Bible. We even have a name for that time. We spend each day by ourselves with our Bible. We call it our devotions or our devotional time.

But this isn't an either or situation. As much as that personal devotion time should be a staple in your daily life. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you need to spend time learning the Bible from other disciples too. Here's one reason why God gave teachers to the church today. Paul.

Writing to the Ephesians in chapter four of his letter. Says this starting to verse eleven and he Jesus gave himself. Gave some to the apostles. Some prophets. Some evangelists.

Some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry. To build up the body of Christ until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ's fullness. God gave the apostles to teach the Church when it started. But we don't have apostles today like the church had back then when they had the original apostles. Today God has given elders to the Church to continue teaching his disciples.

And one of the qualifications for an elder in God's church is that they must be able to teach right into his protege Timothy. Paul writes this in one timothy, chapter three, verse two an overseer or an elder therefore must be above reproach. The husband of one wife, self controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. God raises up elders in the Church so that his people can be properly taught the word of God. What a waste of time it would be giving the church elders who have teaching the Bible as one of their primary job descriptions.

If Christians don't bother coming to church to hear the word of God taught, if you can simply do it yourself at home, what's the point in having teachers in the church? The point is that we need qualified teachers to not just explain what the Bible says. We need qualified teachers to help us understand how to obey what it says. If we didn't need teachers to help us understand God's word, I don't think God would have given teachers to the church as a gift. And this is important for all of us.

It's important when you're a new believer, as a new disciple. You need elders and older, more mature disciples to help you learn how to study the Bible. Because how would you learn how to read and study the Bible unless you had someone help you? It would be like a newborn baby lying in the middle of the floor of a fully stalked kitchen. There's more than enough milk in the fridge to sustain that baby and to help that baby grow more than enough milk.

But unless there is someone there to help them, the baby will not be able to get the milk for themselves, and therefore their growth will be stunted. That's the picture of the new believer in Zeus. You have more than enough spiritual food in the Bible. You have more than you will ever be able to consume and digest. But unless you have more mature believers help you to access the food that's in there, chances are good that you will be stunted in your spiritual growth as a Christian.

But this isn't just important for new believers. Even the elders of the church need this grace. I need to sit under the teaching of Jeff, and Jeff needs to do the same with me. As elders, we need to continually devote ourselves to the word of God. And part of that devotion is experienced when we humble ourselves under the teaching of our brother.

You can see us do this not just because we are in the congregation when the other one is teaching, but because we are actively listening. We're taking notes. We're giving ourselves to learning. So regardless of how long you've been a disciple of Jesus, devote yourself to being taught the Bible by others. And when you do, it doesn't mean that you turn your mind off when you receive teaching in the church.

You don't just accept things the elders say just because they say them. Do what the brains did. Test what you learn from others against what you read in the word of God to see if it's true. Jeff and I tell you guys to do this all the time, and it's an encouraging exercise. If and when you see the teaching is true because you can see it plainly in the Bible, then your confidence in your teachers and in the Bible will grow.

So do not despise the grace God has given you and the teachers you have in your church. Devote yourself to learning from them. And as you grow in your knowledge and application of the Bible, god will eventually use you to help newer disciples learn the Bible too. This is part of your discipleship. So phase two of discipleship requires devotion and specifically devotion to the Bible.

In the Great Commission, Jesus told his apostles to teach disciples to obey everything he has commanded them. And that's what the first disciples devoted themselves to. In Acts, chapter two, verse 42, they devoted themselves to learning what Jesus said to do and they devoted themselves to obeying what Jesus said to do. And that is the first thing we see that's involved in discipline a person who has become a follower of Zeus. New Christians develop and mature as disciples primarily by hearing and doing the Word of God.

Devoting yourself to teaching, to the teaching of the Word of God will be challenging. It will be challenging to consistently put yourself in a position to hear the Word of God taught. And it will be challenging to grow in your ability to help others learn the Bible too. That's why we need to be devoted to it, because it's hard work. The life of a disciple of Jesus is difficult.

But is the difficulty of devotion worth it? Do parents have any regrets over the blood, sweat and tears they invest into their kids when their kids grow up to be fully functioning, healthy, mature adults? No. There are no regrets. Even though it's really hard work, a parent would make the same sacrifices a million times over if it meant ultimate good for their kids.

We need to have the same mindset when it comes to making disciples because the hard work of devotion will be worth it. Next week, we'll wrap up Acts Two by looking at three other things that require our devotion if disciples are going to be made among us. Let's pray.

Father, I thank you. I thank you so much that you sent your son. I thank you that we have in the pages of Scripture a demonstration, a model of what disciple making looks like as we look at Jesus call people to follow him and then invest in them and train them and love them. We see in Your word, Lord, how those disciples in turn went and made disciples. We see it.

We see it, Lord. So I pray, Lord, that you would continue to fill our minds with the proper knowledge that we need in order to make disciples as well. But I also pray, Father, that you would fill our hearts with the agape love that we need in order to do this. We need to love people in a sacrificial way. And more than LOVELORD, we also need the Holy Spirit to be continually poured in our lives so that we have the power to say no to the certain things that are going to keep us away from the life of a disciple of life that will say no to discipleship.

But I pray, Lord that you just keep lighting a fire within us to lay down our lives to see you formed in other people make gospel city church, Lord, a church that is known for making disciples. Do that, Lord, for your glory and do that for our joy and we pray all these things, Jesus, in your name. Amen.

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