Multiply: Week 3

Part I: Living as a Disciple Maker

3: The Heart of a Disciple Maker

Tonight we’re going to discuss chapter 3 of Francis Chan & Mark Beuving’s book Multiply. This is a short and very direct chapter, so there won’t be much quoting from the text this week.

Basically, Francis Chan discusses the issue of our hearts, or our motives, for becoming a disciple maker. Why are we preparing to be disciple makers? To please someone? To look good or gain someone’s praise or approval? Out of obedience?

Francis Chan reminds us that the Pharisees were quite good at keeping up appearances, but their motivation was hardly that which God accepted as pure and pleasing to Him. Neither does God want us to minister to others out of obedience, or obligation, to Him, but out of joy. Francis Chan states it this way: “God wants us to enjoy the privilege and pleasure of ministering to others. He wants us to be cheerful when we give (2 Corinthians 9:7)” (p. 41).

Francis also reminds those of us who feel led and passionate about sharing God’s message, that we should be cautious as leaders, because teaching others is a very serious thing. Remember what the book of James says about teaching and the power of the tongue:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:1-6)

Leaders, teachers, and ministers have the power to set someone on the wrong course, if they’re not careful!

Most important, according to Francis Chan is that “making disciples isn’t about gathering pupils to listen to your teaching. The real focus is not on teaching people at all–the focus is on loving them.” This is where God wants our hearts!

Jesus’s call to make disciples includes teaching people to be obedient followers of Jesus, but the teaching isn’t the end goal. Ultimately, it’s all about being faithful to God’s call to love the people around you. It’s about loving those people enough to help them see their need to love and obey God. It’s about bringing them to the Savior and allowing Him to set them free from the power of sin and death and transform them into loving followers of Jesus Christ. It’s about glorifying God by obediently making disciples who will teach others to love and obey God. (Chan & Beuving, 2012, p. 44)

This is what I’ve been trying to encourage my readers to do in previous posts (Speaking in Truth, Burning One, & All-Embracing Love); to teach and share the message of Christ out of love for the lost!

And finally, Francis Chan encourages us to teach by example. Oddly enough, the passage of scripture I read today was Romans 2:17-19, which asks us how can we call ourselves wise teachers of the lost and yet do everything that we teach others not to do?! In other words, it calls us hypocrites! Romans 2:24 states “As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.'” This was written to the Jews, but I feel like this can most certainly be stated today. Many non-believers see all the things people who claim to be Christians do and say, and figure they’re no different from non-Christians; but this is not what God intended! Remember, we’re supposed to be holy and set apart. We’re supposed to be different. We’re supposed to be following in Christ’s footsteps. We cannot make disciples if we’re not living the life of a disciple.

Francis points to Hebrews 13:7, which states “remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” New believers need godly examples to follow; and if we’re going to make disciples, we need to be putting our faith into practice so that others can imitate our faith. As Francis Chan states, “this doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect before you start. Perfection is a lifelong process that won’t end until eternity (see Philippians 1:6 and 3:12-14). But it does mean that you need to ‘count the cost’ (see Luke 14:25-33) and allow God’s truth to change your life” (p. 47).

If we want to see transformation in the lives of others, we must allow transformation to occur in our own lives.

Well, that concludes our discussion of Multiply this week. Stay tuned for next week! Take care and God bless.

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How Do I Know Jesus Even Existed?

Good evening,

I was reading my Apologetics Study Bible and came across this article that I wanted to share…

Was Jesus an actual person  or just a legendary character? Philosopher Bertrand Russell spoke for radical skeptics everywhere when he said, “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed all, and if he did we do not know anything about him” (Why I Am Not a Christian). Is Russell correct? Is it doubtful that Jesus lived?

In reality we have very good proof that Jesus existed. First, we have writings from early non-Christians. Flavius Josephus, the prolific Jewish historian of the first century, reported about major historical events of the era, including the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Josephus was not a follower of Christ. Nevertheless, he said the following about Jesus.

“At this time there as a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. Many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” ~ Josephus quoted by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek in  I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

In an essay about evidence for Jesus outside the New Testament, Dr. Edwin Yamauchi concludes that even if we did not have any Christian writings like those of the apostles, we would have the following facts from Roman sources such as Pliny the Younger, a philosopher, and Tacitus, a historian, as well as Jewish sources like Josephus and the Talmud:

  • Jesus as a Jewish teacher.
  • Many observers believed that He performed healings and exorcisms.
  • He was rejected by the Jewish leaders.
  • He was crucified under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.
  • His followers believed that He came back to life, and spread the news beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of Christians in Rome by A.D. 64.
  • All kinds of people (rich and poor, urban and rural) worshiped Jesus as God by the time the second century began (see “Jesus Outside the New Testament: What is the Evidence?” in Jesus Under Fire by M.J. Wilkins).

Second, we have reliable evidence about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection from eyewitnesses. Some of the New Testament authors followed Jesus personally. Others, like Luke, wrote within a generation of Jesus’ life and were familiar with eyewitness accounts (Luke 1:1-4). These authors were well aware of popular myths and false teachings about Jesus. They wanted to set the record straight in their own writings. The apostle Paul said over 500 people saw the resurrected Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:6). The apostle Peter said, “We did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). In conclusion, we have excellent, reliable, and abundant accounts that help us know who the real Jesus is.

Sterrett, D. (2009).  How Do I Know Jesus Even Existed?. The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. Holman Bible Publishers: Nashville, TN.