Yesterday we looked at the example of Jesus, that he and the Bible challenge us to walk in this life the way Jesus walked, to follow in his steps, and to be imitators of Jesus Christ. Even Luke emphasized the fact that his purpose was to write about all that Jesus DID and SAID, the things he began to DO and to TEACH.
Our Process: Following Jesus’ Example
- 1 John 2:6 – To walk as HE walked…
- 1 Peter 2:21 – To follow in His steps…
- 1 Corinthians 11:1 – Be imitators of me/Christ
- Acts 1:1 – What Jesus began to do and teach
- Acts 14:21 – and had MADE many disciples…
We discussed the topic of what exactly is the gospel, which came out of the Acts 14:21 passage, Paul preached the gospel and made disciples. The focal passage for the gospel is actually found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, (below is a chart that explains it fairly well). The point is that the gospel cannot be divorced from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can do things in the name of Christ, but we have not shared the gospel unless we talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus. THAT is the essence of the gospel, and Paul is saying that these facts are of first importance. Jesus died according to the Scriptures, and was raised according to the Scriptures. This was an early creed in the first century church. The main points are: proof of his death was the burial, proof of the resurrection were the appearances.
St. Francis said something like this: “preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” It all sound good at first, but really makes no sense when we truly understand the gospel. It is not just about living a life that honors God, but putting in a good word for Jesus when the opportunity presents itself. Sharing the gospel without using words is like saying, “feed hungry people, and if necessary, use food.”
OK, now we are getting past the introductory material and into the Commands of Christ! The following Chart is a great visual on how Jesus turned his rag-tag group of men into the disciples that would turn the world upside down. In the next steps in our study, we will look specifically at each command of Jesus at each stage of disciple making. To understand the graphic, notice that the horizontal grid is relative to TIME and the vertical grid refers to COMMITMENT. As people start out with Jesus, they are in the bottom left part of this chart. As they grow in commitment over time, you can progress from seeker, believer, worker, and reproducer.
[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber, Jr. c. 2000]