What Is The Biblical Framework For Discipleship?

The Biblical framework for discipleship starts with the foundation of understanding that God wants the world evangelized and disciples made from every nation. This responsibility was given to the local church whose main task is to make disciples of all nations, who in turn, will make disciples—until the end of the age. Jesus modeled the framework of what discipleship looks like and how we are to invest our lives into training other disciples.

The Foundation Of Discipleship Is World Evangelism

  • World evangelism is the bedrock of discipleship. From the beginning, God promised to save “whosoever will” through sending Jesus as the Saviour of the World and in the end He will accomplish His mission by saving people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation. Thus, this is the single pulse of world evangelism: to actively pursue the lost world so that they are brought into a reconciled relationship with their Creator; and hereafter live to mature “in Christ” so that they can glorify God and enjoy Him forever through the gospel of Jesus. This has two main focuses:
    2 Corinthians 5:11-21; Psalm 16:11; 145:1-3; Acts 2:28
    • Reaching unbelievers with the message of Jesus—reaching is the idea of holding out, establishing communication and successfully influencing unbelievers with the gospel message of Jesus; it is the idea of stretching past boundaries and going forth with the gospel message of Jesus; it is the idea of successfully contextualizing and convincing (through the work of the Holy Spirit) unbelievers with message of Jesus (a person hears the gospel and believes).
      Matthew 28:19
    • Teaching believers with the word of God—teaching is the idea of instructing new believers in the Word of God so that they will obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to be a faithful disciple of Jesus; it is the idea of educating and training disciples for the ministry so that they fulfill the biblical requirements and are proficient to carry out their own ministerial roles; it is the idea of church planting; it is the idea of continual instruction.
      Matthew 28:20
  • The responsibility of “world evangelism” (and thus discipleship) has effectively and solely been inherited by the local church. Thus, the core purpose or focus of each local church is to evangelize the world. Members of each local church should collectively be using their time, talents and treasures to accomplish this task.
    Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53

Jesus Modeled The Framework Of What He Commanded Us To Do

  • Discipleship: From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry we see Him training disciples and at the end of His ministry He commands His disciples to “teach all nations,” which literally means to “make disciples of all nations.” Basically, He was looking at them and telling them to do the same thing that He had just done with them. This was to be a repeated process—meaning disciples train other disciples who train other disciples and so on. Thus, this is the single plan of world evangelism: to train up maturing disciples of Jesus who train up other maturing disciples of Jesus.
    Matthew 4:19; 28:16-20
  • Jesus modeled exactly how this was to work within the local church because the local church started with Jesus and His disciples (and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit). Jesus’ relationship with His disciples becomes the pattern for ministry and the plan for fulfilling the great commission.
    John 20:20-23; Ephesians 2:19-22; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 42-47

Key Components Of The Discipleship Framework

  • Discipleship is training. Disciples are people who willingly take on the roles of “students, trainees, or followers” so that they can believe and follow the teachings of their “teacher, trainer, or leader”. Discipleship is investing your life into other disciples. The Bible is the tool we use to disciple because it is truth that is profitable for teaching doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training or instruction in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be perfect or complete, throughly furnished or equipped for every good work. Example: Jesus was the trainer and the twelve men were the trainees and He faithfully committed to them the Words of the Father.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 7:16; 8:31-32; 12:49-50; 15:3; 17:17-19
  • Discipleship is relational. It is a training, instructional and teaching relationship, but it is also an intimate relationship—like that of close friends but with the purpose of helping others become more like Jesus. Thus, this training includes learning from spending time with the trainer and learning directly from their lives. This is called life-on-life training. The trainer and the trainee live life together and use every opportunity as a training moment. Example: Jesus called the disciples to “be with Him” and He called them “friends” and not “servants or slaves”—showing the closeness of such a relationship.
    Mark 3:13-15; John 15:15; (It is a “way of life”—similar to the responsibilities of parents in Deuteronomy 6:5-9.)
  • Discipleship is multiplication. After Jesus trained His disciples, they received the Holy Spirit, they started working out the great commission, and the church experienced explosive growth. What were they doing? They were doing what they were trained to do: training disciples through reaching unbelievers with the message of Jesus and teaching believers with the word of God. These “new disciples” would reach and teach others and the number of disciples multiplied. This was accomplish by training disciples who trained other disciples and so on—through the power of the Holy Spirit. Example: Jesus investing His life into His disciples had much greater results than if He would have only witnessed to one person every day for the three years of His ministry. Here is an example scenario to help us understand how this works: If there was a new convert everyday for 12 years there would be 4,380 total converts. But if Jesus’ eleven disciples each trained eleven disciples every three years and then their disciples each trained eleven disciples every three years, etc, in a period of 12 years there would be 161,051 disciples.
    Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 13:49; 16:5; 19:20
  • Discipleship is reproduction. The secret of discipleship is the “spiritual continuum factor”—meaning that each disciple is to always reach and teach others who in return will be able to reach and teach others also. Thus, we are to train our disciples, but there is a time that we are to release them to go out and reproduce themselves—like a child who eventually becomes a parent, a training disciple becomes a trainer of disciples. Example: Timothy was to take what he learned from Paul and commit it to faithful men, who would be able to teach others also.
    2 Timothy 2:2

Review Questions

  • What is the foundation of discipleship?
  • Who has the responsibility of world evangelism?
  • What is the single plan of world evangelism?
  • How did Jesus model the framework of discipleship?
  • What are some components of discipleship?

Missions: Our Story, Our Mission

Our story and our mission are intertwined. The eternal God from whom the human race was created to have a loving relationship with Him, set out on a mission to redeem us back to Himself after we turned away from Him in sinful rebellion. He made a promise and He fulfilled that promise through the person of Jesus. As believers, our story is one of being redeem to God by God and our mission is to tell the whole world that they too can be redeemed to God by God.

God Is The Eternal Starting Point

  • “In the beginning,” referring to the time before the world and mankind were created, God already existed. Who created God? No one created God. He has life in Himself. He is eternal. These truths are hard to grasp because they surpass our human understanding. Nothing cannot create something, so in the beginning, something or someone had to exist, and that something or someone has to be eternal. The Bible teaches that someone to be God. Everything that God has created, including you and me, is evidence to the existence of God. Even though we cannot fully understand Him, He created us for a purpose and invites us to have a relationship with Him.
    Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; John 1:1, 5:26; Romans 1:20-25
  • God did not create us because He needed someone to glorify Him or because He was lonely, but because He wanted to share the joy of His glory with us. Because God is 100% good, we can have a joyful and loving relationship with Him.
    Psalm 16:11

Man Sinned, God Made A Promise

  • After God created man, He told him not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he would die. Adam disobeyed God’s single command. The price for that was death. That day, mankind started to die physically and was spiritually separated from God (he died spiritually). Because we have sinned and are separated from God, we cannot glorify Him as before. Our relationship with God needs to be restored before we can experience true joy.
    Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-24; 5:5; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18
  • But God promises to save mankind. Thus from the beginning, God was on mission to save “whosoever will” from their sin and its penalty of death or eternal separation from Him. This mission was initiated by God and will be accomplished by God. He is promising to defeat Satan and his followers (unbelievers) through the offspring of the woman (Jesus). One day the “Promised Man” would come to defeat Satan and even though Satan will strike His heel (suffering), the Promised Man will crush Satan’s head (eternal damnation).
    Genesis 3:15; 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 16:20

God’s Witness To The Whole World

  • In Genesis 12:1-3 God makes a unilateral, unconditional, literal, and eternal covenant with Abraham. The main missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to bless all the families of the earth through him. The scriptures preached the gospel unto Abraham. The “Promised Man” of Genesis 3:15 would be of the seed of Abraham. This “singular seed” is Jesus. God was willing to justify “whosoever will” through faith. Just like Abraham, those in this time were to have faith in God’s promise, unto the fulfillment of the promise came in Jesus, and it could be accounted to them for righteousness. The second missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to: (1) make a great nation from him, (2) bless him and (3) make his name great so that he would “be a blessing”. They would receive inward blessing for an outward cause: God would use them to be a light for the nations, so that His salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
    Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-21; 26:2-5; 28:10-17; Isaiah 9:6, 7; 19:24; 42:6; 49:6; Galatians 3:6, 8-9 16
  • The Psalms reflect God’s will to use the Jews to reach out to all nations with the truth. The peoples of the nations are called to worship God because He is the great King over all the earth. The Jews were to sing, praise, speak, not be ashamed, to make known His deeds and declare the Lord’s glory / wonder / doings among the nations.
    Psalm 2:1-12; 9:1-20; 18:49; 22:27-31; 33:1-22; 47:1-9; 57:9; 66:1-20; 67:1-7; 72:1-28; 86:9-10; 96:1-13; 98:1-9; 100:1-5; 105:1; 108:3-5; 117:1-2; 119:46; 126:2-3; 145:1-21

The Promised Man Has Come

  • The Prophecy of the promised Man was predicted in the Old Testament. It was said that He would be a son born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the government would be upon His shoulder and His name would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Governor and Immanuel—which means God with us. Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He entered our world as the God-Man—100% God and 100% Man, yet without sin. He was to be called “the Son of the Highest” who would establish an eternal kingdom.
    Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-38
  • Jesus came into the world to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. He is the light of the world. He came to fulfill the promise. He was the “promised Man”. Through a virgin birth God became man in Jesus. He lived a sinless life. Mankind rejected and crucified Him. He was buried, but three days later He rose from the dead. He defeated sin, death and evil. He is the way, the truth, and the life and “whosoever will” can come unto the Father by faith in Jesus alone. All the Gospels are evidence of these truths (Matthew-John).
    John 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 6:33; 8:12; 9:5; 12:32, 46; 14:6
  • Jesus started the local church with His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit. The mandate of the church was to make disciples of all nations through going and preaching the gospel, baptizing new believers and teaching them all that Jesus taught. As a result, new local churches would be established all around the world. The rest of the New Testament (Acts-Jude) records the living out of this mandate with Revelation explaining how it will all end victoriously.
    Acts 1:7-8; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53; John 20:20-23; Romans 1:1-2; 10:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9

Review Questions

  • Where does our story start?
  • In the beginning of our story, what did we do, what did God do?
  • Who should have been God’s witness to the world?
  • Who was the Promised Man?
  • What did Jesus start and what is its mandate?

Missions: A Biblically Bold Witness

Open your clenched fist holding tightly your plans for your life and allow God to boldly use you to be a witness to the nations. Jesus took up His cross to be the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the people of the whole world. He calls His follows to take up their crosses and witness to the people of the whole world—they need to urgently hear the gospel message.
Philippians 2:6-8; 1 John 2:2

The Purpose Of A Biblically Bold Witness

  • From the beginning God promised to save “whosoever will” through sending Jesus as the Saviour of the World and in the end He will accomplish His mission by saving people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation.
    Genesis 1:27; 3:6; 3:15; 9:26-27
  • Jesus came to build His church in this world through the salvation of sinners by His death and resurrection. The church’s foundation is Jesus and those who confess Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. He works through His followers to accomplish His purpose in the world—extending the membership of His church to “whosoever will” through the witness of its members—whom He purchased with His own blood through His death on the cross.
    Matthew 16:18a; John 10:14-18; Acts 20:28
  • The church exists to be a continual witness to the people of the world. Each local church should be involved in preaching the gospel to their local area and sending missionaries to preach the gospel in all parts of the world. As the church goes forth, it will be greatly persecuted and assaulted for its witness, but “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”—meaning Hell is the place that holds the human soul prisoner at death, thus the “power of death” will not overpower the church. Death is strong, its gates hold the dead within and people do not come back from it. But Jesus overcame death by His resurrection from the dead—thus paving the way for all members of the church to do the same—thus nothing can stop our witness if we are willing to follow Jesus.
    Matthew 16:18b; Luke 24:46-48
  • Therefore, the purpose of our witness is for the salvation of sinners and Jesus to victoriously build His church in this world for the glory of God.
    Acts 1:6-8; Romans 15:8-12; 1 John 4:10

The Price To Be A Biblically Bold Witness

  • Our witness has potential conflict—Jesus warns us about the dangers of persecution that will arise for those who wholeheartedly follow Him. Persecution is imminent. It will come from authorities, family and the people we are witnessing to. But we are not to fear, but boldly go forward trusting in the sovereignty of God.
    Matthew 10:16-37
  • The path of a bold witness is not easy. Jesus describes a very hard path of persecution and conflict. He also clearly tells us that He expects His followers to take up their crosses—symbolizing a person who carries a cross to the place of crucifixion—and follow after Him. Jesus is telling them to renounce themselves and follow Him even to the point of death. It means giving up their plans, dreams and lives to follow Jesus. This is full surrender—you give up your whole way of life to follow Jesus.
    Matthew 10:38; Luke 9:22-26
  • The only true form of persecution that can ultimately silence a witness is martyrdom. Our bodies being killed is the greatest price we can pay for witnessing of Jesus, but mankind still shouldn’t be feared. Jesus tells His disciples not to fear “them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul”—meaning they aren’t the highest of authorities and our soul is beyond their reach. When our physical life ends our eternal life begins.
    Matthew 10:28

The Proclamation Of A Biblically Bold Witness

  • We are to continually proclaim Jesus’ death and resurrection—reaching unbelievers with the message of Jesus that they might be redeemed to God and glorify Him for His mercy and teaching believers the word of God that results in the church actively making disciples of all nations. Our ambition is for the evangelization of the unreached and for the edification of the saints. We are to passionately advance forward as one mission.
    Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 5:41-42

The Power Of A Biblically Bold Witness

  • The authority of missions is rooted in the God of the Bible—thus in the Bible itself. We go forth knowing “thus saith the Lord”. God sent Jesus, Jesus sent the apostles and thus the church. The church in Jesus’ authority continues the mission in the world until He returns.
    John 20:20-21
  • Boldness in the book of Acts is almost always connected with speaking, and even more so, speaking the Word of God. Boldness applied means to openly, clearly, and freely be a witness in spite of prohibiting or unfavorable circumstances (persecution, human law, etc). This boldness comes from the filling of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus as He convicts unbelievers of sin, righteousness, and judgment. His ministry is to help us witness of Jesus and direct worship to Him.
    John 16:7-15; Acts 4:13, 29, 31; 9:27; 29, 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8

The Place A Biblically Bold Witness Goes

  • Our witness should start in our home, extend to our neighbors, stretch to the other side of the world and everywhere in between. God’s love for mankind is universal. He sent Jesus to be the Saviour of the people of the world, and we are sent to preach the gospel to all.
    Mark 16:15; 2 Peter 3:9

The People Who Should Be A Biblically Bold Witness

  • The Bible is clear they won’t believe without a witness, thus it is the privileged obligation of every believer to be a witness for Jesus. We have been entrusted with the ministry and word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ. We use our momentary lives to answer God’s call to salvation, discipleship, and to be a witness that proclaims the gospel of Jesus. We have a burden for the salvation of mankind. We purpose our lives to be witnesses—propagators of the propitiation.
    Romans 10:13-15

Review Questions

  • What is the purpose of a biblically bold witness?
  • What is the price to be a biblically bold witness?
  • What is the proclamation of a biblically bold witness?
  • What is the power of a biblically bold witness?
  • What is the place and who should be the people of a biblically bold witness?

The Lord Wrought A Great Victory

The sword we were given at our blessing service representing the Word of God as we fight the Lord’s battle on the frontlines and extend His kingdom to the regions beyond, all for the glory of God.

Q: “Has your sword tasted blood?” – Austin Gardner

A: “Yes! Praise the name of the LORD most high. May the Lamb that was slain continue to receive the reward of His suffering.”

Jeremiah 48:10 “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”

2 Samuel 23:10 “He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.”

Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:”

To know Jesus and to make Him known!

Missions: Bow The Knee 

We know God has ordained the church and the church alone to take the Gospel to the world. But we will never obey His command unless the following is true: He is LORD of our lives and we are willing to obey His mandates with the proper motivation—it is not about us, but it is all about Him.

Bow The Knee To His Lordship
Philippians 2:9-11

  • The Humiliation of Jesus: To be exalted, Jesus had to be humbled and humiliated, so the “wherefore” in verse 9 takes us back to verses 6-8. We learn that Jesus was and is God (2:6). He was in glory with God. He is the Creator of the world. He decided He would leave glory and come “into the world to save sinners.” He came through a virgin birth. He is God in the flesh (2:7). He lived a sinless life. He chose to lay it down for us. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. He died on the Cross, shed His righteous blood (2:8) and was the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. Finally, they placed Him in a tomb.
    John 1:1-3; 1:14; 10:18; 1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 1:21; 27:60, 66; 19:4; Isaiah 53:5; 1 John 2:9
  • The Exaltation of Jesus: “Wherefore God hath…”—God saw the travail of His soul and His wrath was satisfied. God raised Jesus from the dead. All authority was given to Him. He ascended unto the right hand of God. He intercedes for us. He was given a name above all names: “LORD” (2:9-11). It means He is: GOD; the One in control; the King; the Sovereign Ruler; our Authority and Master. It is the name that represents the finished work of Jesus Christ. He died and rose again to be Lord.
    Isaiah 53:10-11; 1 Peter 1:21; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-23; Acts 2:32-36; Hebrews 7:25-27; Romans 14:9
  • As an unbeliever, it is the name you confess your belief upon for salvation. The Bible says that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you shalt be saved. One day every tongue should confess in heaven, in earth, things under the earth—confess Him before it is to late.
    Romans 10:9-10, 13
  • As a believer, is the name we daily bow to humbling ourselves saying, “Not my will but thine be done.” If He is Lord then we can’t live our lives according to the way we want. Have you taken Him off the throne in your Christian walk? Whoever is Lord is in control. Why do we call Him Lord but don’t do the things which He says? Are you bowing the knee to Him as Lord? Are you still trying to run your own life? Isn’t He worthy of being Lord of your Life? (Illustration: The citizens of Rome would use the word “Lord” to show the “divinity” of Caesar. Christians would refuse to say the phrase “Caesar is Lord” and died claiming “Jesus is Lord.”)
    Luke 6:46

Bow The Knee To His Mandates

  • If we are bowing the knee to His Lordship, we must also be willing to bow the knee to His mandates: go, pray, give.
  • Go: Are we willing to go? The resurrected all-powerful Lord Jesus Christ commands us to go. We are to go to “all” nations, we are not to keep the gospel to ourselves, He died for all. “Going” consists of three things: (1) Teaching—sharing the gospel or soul wining; (2) Baptizing—a testimony to their conversion; (3) Teaching—discipleship and teaching “all things”—the Bible.
    Matthew 28:18-20
  • Pray: Are we willing to pray? Jesus was moved with compassion because of the multitude. Compassion results in action. A reaction just results in guilt. The situation: “The harvest truly is plenteous”—meaning there are plenty of lost people to be saved. The problem: “laborers are few”—meaning there aren’t enough people sharing the gospel message. The solution: “pray”—meaning we need to ask God for more laborers. Are we asking God for laborers? This is the prayer request of God. He will not command you to pray what He won’t answer. Ask God to make you a laborer. When you pray for laborers, pray: “God does that mean me? Do you want me to go?” Think about it: Do we pray more to keep people of out heaven (praying for sick believers) than we do to keep people out of hell (praying for God to send forth labourers into His harvest). Remember: Jesus is interceding for us—we don’t have to do this on our own.
    Matthew 9:36-38; Hebrews 7:25-27
  • Give: Are we willing to Give? Do you have a “willing mind” to give? God owns the world and all therein. Think about it: Where does your money come from? It comes from your job. What does your job take? It takes your time. What is your time?—It is your life. You are giving your life. By giving the money you earned you are giving God that much of your time or life—one of the most precious things we have. God loves a cheerful giver. He doesn’t want us to give grudgingly—“giving with resentment”; nor just of necessity —“the church or God needs it”. We need to purpose in our hearts what to give. We need to seek God to find out what to give. We also need to plan to give that so you can give cheerfully. (Illustration: You intend to give $20 a week to missions, but you didn’t plan for it. When you get to the church you have a $5 and $50, which do you give? If you give the $5, later you feel guilty that you gave $15 less than you intended. If you give the $50, later there will be resentment that you gave so much and are short on money. Our intention needs to me paired with active planning and action so we can give cheerfully.) The blessing of giving: The more you give the more you receive.
    Deuteronomy 10:14; 2 Corinthians 8:11-12; 9:6-9; Luke 6:38

Bow The Knee To His Glory
Philippians 2:11

  • If we are bowing the knee to His Lordship and mandates, what is our motivation for serving Him? Why do we do what we do? Why go to the heathen people of the world? They hate God and love their sins and they deserve to go to hell. Answer: Before we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God, we were in the exact same condition. Just like Jesus endured the agonies of the cross for us, He also died for them. Doesn’t He deserve those for whom He died? (Illustration: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.”—The Call of the Moravian Mission) Why?—Because Jesus is worth it. This is our ultimate motivation. It is the reason we were created. Bowing the knee to His glory means you have to give up your glory. It’s not about you—it is about Him. It is all about His glory.
    Romans 1-3; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 4:11
  • The world is dying without Christ. Will we obey Him as LORD of our lives and be willing to obey His mandates with the proper motivation, that it is not about us, but it is all about Him. Are you willing to bow the knee? Are you willing to bow the knee to His Lordship, mandates, and glory? Make a decisions today to trust in Jesus and follow and serve Him.

Review Questions

  • What is the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus?
  • What does the name “Lord” mean to an unbeliever and believer?
  • What are the three mandates?
  • What is should be our motivation?
  • Are you bowing the knee to His Lordship, mandates, and glory?

Missions: How Do We Live For Missions?

We live for missions by: living to be a servant for the kingdom of God—using our momentary lives to answer God’s call to salvation, discipleship, and to be a witness; living to be a catalyst for the nations—going to stand between the dead and the living and with a burden for the world interceding for them by prayer; living to be a missionary for the salvation of mankind—we purpose our lives to be “on mission” and are desirous to go.

Live To Be A Servant For The Kingdom Of God

  • The Uncertainty of Life: one life—once chance; life is short—very short. Our lives are like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Therefore, we only have this life to faithfully use and invest our time, treasure, and talent into the kingdom of God. We need the Lord to make us know our end, to know the measure of our days, to know how frail and fleeting our lives are. The length of our days is out of our control—we can only choose what we are going to do today.
    James 4:14; Psalms 39:4-5
  • We only have one momentary life to believe in Jesus. Thus, awake—all who are sleeping, all who are dead in their trespasses and sins, all who are living according to the lusts of their flesh and fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Wake up and understand the incredible opportunity that God is offering to you—to raise you from the dead. God is rich in mercy, He loves us with His great love and He is offering to make us alive together with Jesus by grace. Jesus is the light to show us the way to God. God is willing to forgive all our trespasses. He will blot out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. He nailed all our sin to the cross and triumphs through His resurrection. Repent and but your faith in Jesus alone for salvation.
    Ephesians 2:1-10; 5:13-14; Colossians 2:13-15
  • We only have one momentary life to live for Jesus. Thus, we are to pay attention to the away that we live. We have been redeemed and we live for God now. We are disciples of Jesus and our behavior should be in line with that. Let us cast off our foolish and unwise ways and live as those who know and understand what the will of Jesus is. Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him and commands them to make disciples of all nations. Therefore, let us redeem the time—meaning let us make the best use of the time that we have to live for God. Jesus gave Himself to be a ransom for all. God our Saviour desires all people to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    Ephesians 5:15-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Matthew 4:19-22; 6:33-34; 28:16-20; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  • We only have one momentary life to be a witness of Jesus. When Jesus was on earth he had one life (while it is day) to serve God and be the light of the world. When His work was completed He called His disciples to be the light of the world—meaning that all followers of Jesus are to be His witness in the world. Every believer should be involved trying to reach every person. We need all believers to reach all nations.
    John 9:5; 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; Matthew 5:14-16

Live To Be A Catalyst For The Nations

  • Go stand between the dead and the living—will we live for ourselves or will be like Aaron who took a censer with fire from the altar, ran into the midst of the congregation, put on incense, and made an atonement for the people so that the plague was stayed. He stood between the dead and the living—those who already died from the plague and those who were about to be affected by it. In a similar manner, we have been called to do the same thing. We are to take the gospel of Jesus, run into the midst of the people of the world, declare that Jesus has already died to make atonement for the people and He has resurrected from the dead—by faith in Him the plague of sin can be held back, you don’t have to perish into eternal damnation like so many before you who have already died in their sins. You have the opportunity to choose life. We stand between life and death with the gospel. All around the world they are dying and being eternally separated from God by the plague of sin and they need someone to run in their midst with the gospel to stop the plague from claiming more lives.
    Numbers 16:46-48
  • Go to a creative access country. They might not welcome missionaries but we have an Old Testament example of God telling His prophet to go into a land with a hostile government. He gave him a specific duty to do (sacrifice) for his protection against the government (undercover) in order to carry out his ultimate mission (anointing).
    1 Samuel 16:2-3
  • Go where they forbid the gospel to be preached. Human government shouldn’t make laws that precede God’s commands. They will create such laws and enforce them but the believer’s first and foremost authority is God and obedience to His commands. This should precede all human laws which would mean these laws are invalid. So the choice is left to the believer whether to obey God and suffer persecution because of it.
    Acts 5:27-29
  • Go even if they will persecute you or reject the gospel. The gospel was first preached to the Jews, but many rejected and the focus was turned to the gentiles—(any person from any people group that wasn’t Jewish). Jesus just told the disciples that they are going to be in a hostile environment (sheep among wolves). Thus, persecution and rejection was to be expected. They were to follow the principle of being “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”—meaning they are aware and judging the situation, wisely knowing when it is time to flee or move on to the next city; they enter hostile environments without being hostile; but they always unceasingly preach the gospel.
    Matthew 10:16-23; Acts 13:46-52; 14:19-22; 18:6-11; 20:26; Romans 1:13-16
  • Pray to God for the people of the world to be saved—Paul had such a great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart that he wished that he was accursed from Christ so that the Jews could be saved. His heart’s desire and prayer to God was that they might be saved. There are people groups around the world that are just like the Jews that Paul was praying for—they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. They are ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness. Let’s have a burden for the people of the world who don’t know God and make it a matter of prayer.
    Romans 9:1-3; 10:1-3; Matthew 9:36-38

Live To Be A Missionary For The Salvation Of All Mankind

  • A missionary is one who lives “on mission” and our mission is that all mankind may be saved. Paul exemplified this by not seeking his own profit, but the profit of many—he made himself all things to all men, that he might by all means save some. His desire was to limit his freedom and not offend people with the things that are indifferent to scripture in order to convert people of any group to faith in Jesus. We are to join with Paul in doing this all for the gospel’s sake, that we may share with them in its blessings.
    1 Corinthians 4:14-17; 7:29-31; 9:19-23; 10:31-11:1
  • The majority of the world’s population lives outside of your country, thus we need men to surrender to be foreign missionaries. We need men who like Isaiah, when he heard the voice of the Lord calling to send someone forth that he through a humble heart volunteered to go. He was sent to go and tell a certain people a message on the behalf of God. Who will go and tell the people of the world the message of God’s love on the behalf of Jesus. In one aspect it is God who calls and qualifies a man for service and on the other hand it is us volunteering our lives to take part in His mission. Who will go?
    Isaiah 6:8-9

Review Questions

  • We only have one momentary life to do what?
  • What does it mean to go stand between the dead and the living?
  • Should closed countries, human laws, persecution, or rejection keep us from going?
  • What should one of our prayer request be that can be used as a catalyst?
  • Will you live to be a missionary for the salvation of all mankind?

Missions: What Is The Ambition Of Missions?

The ambition of missions is a tension between our zeal for the evangelization of the unreached and our devotion for the edification of the saints. We cannot abandon one for the other, but we are to passionately advance forward in both aspects as one mission.

A Zeal For The Evangelization Of The Unreached

  • Paul’s Aspiration: Paul had a predominant aspiration, desire, ambition, or passion to preach the gospel where Jesus was “not named”—places where the majority of the people had never been told or heard about Jesus. Paul was not asking where is the gospel essential—for it is essential everywhere, but he is asking where is the gospel pressing because they don’t have access to it. We can draw several applications from Paul’s aspiration:
    Romans 15:18-25; Acts 26:13-21
  • Paul’s desire was rooted in the Bible—both the Old and New Testament. Paul’s calling to salvation, discipleship, and ministry are all recorded in the New Testament, but he quotes the Old Testament for his passion to reach the unreached. We know that from the beginning God promised to save “whosoever will” through sending Jesus as the Saviour of the World and in the end He will accomplish His mission by saving people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation. The Bible should be the source of our aspirations—especially to be on mission to save sinful mankind for God’s glory.
    Romans 15:21; Acts 26:22-23; Isaiah 52:15
  • Paul comprehends the problem and the solution. We are to reach the people of the world who had never heard of Jesus before because they are condemned already and without excuse. The only hope for any person to be reconciled to God is through believing in Jesus and confessing His name. God’s love for the people of the world and their “inescapable condemnation through their own means” should compel us to unashamedly preach the gospel of Christ. Paul was convinced that the gospel of Jesus is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. Do you comprehend man’s hopeless condition, impending judgment, and eternal damnation?  Are you convinced the gospel is man’s only hope?
    Romans 1:16-23; John 3:18
  • Paul sacrificed his relationships. Paul wanted to be at Rome, but instead he was spending his time away from them so that the people from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum could receive the gospel of Jesus. He longed to go see them for many years, but he never did because of his aspiration to see the unreached evangelized. Are we willing to sacrifice time that we want to spend with people that we hold dear to us for the sake of the gospel?—No doubt this is a sacrifice that must be made for everyone who “goes to the nations”.
    Romans 15:22
  • Paul’s ministered by word and deed. Paul knew that he had to declare the good news of Jesus. He knew he had to clearly articulate the gospel so that they could understand. He also knew those words had to be matched with his actions. His lifestyle had to match the message he proclaimed. For Paul, this also included mighty signs and wonders—(note: this was never to be a part of normal life in the lives of God’s people, but God used them at special times, such as this). Paul could only live this kind of life by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Today, we need men and women who live Holy Spirit-filled lives to reach the lost through their words and deeds.
    Romans 15:18-19
  • Paul works hard but God gives the increase. We are labourers together with God. Paul was pioneering the gospel in new regions that didn’t know Jesus’ name and he accomplished that mission, thus his pioneering work was no longer needed there. He evangelized the heathen in those areas and planted churches that would carry forth the responsibility to do the work of evangelism in their local areas. Thus, he didn’t reach every person himself, but he left a church to witness in every area that he was. This exemplifies that not everyone will have the same roles in fulfilling the great commission. We need people who like Paul will pioneer the gospel in places where they don’t know Jesus’ name. We need churches started in those areas and pastors trained to continue the work of evangelism in their local area and beyond. We have to work together, some planting, some watering, and God giving all the increase.
    Romans 15:18-19; 23-24; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Corinthians 3:2-9
  • Paul’s Invitation: Paul encouraged others to follow his example as he followed Jesus. Jesus came as the Saviour of the people of the world. Do we have a passion to see the unreached evangelized? Do you have a passion that those who have never been told or heard will see and understand? The church was to follow Paul, thus all believers should have a principal passion to make Jesus known where He is not known.
    Philippians 3:17-21; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 John 4:14
  • Our Shame: Some people still do not have the knowledge of God and this is our shame. God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance. Will we obey the great commission and make disciples of all nations? How many people have heard the gospel at least once where you live? Who will go? Who will send? It is our responsibility.
    1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Peter 3:9

A Devotion For The Edification Of The Saints

  • Paul was driven by his desire to reach the unreached but he also laboured to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. This would be accomplished through establishing local churches—groups of believers who consistently meet together obeying what the Bible has taught about the purpose and work of a church. Paul strived for these churches to be healthy (teach the Bible correctly and obey it; to have proper leadership; practices church discipline when necessary; to be unified; to do things decently and in order; to understand and exercises spiritual gifts properly) so that they could produce active and healthy members that become more like Jesus with each passing day. Thus, our zeal for reaching the unreached cannot be separated from our devotion for the edification of the saints—for the very nature of making disciples and teaching them all that Christ taught implies and requires the formation and continuation of active, healthy local churches.
    Colossians 1:28-29; Ephesians 3:9; 4:12-16
  • Paul was concerned with continual instruction—meaning that even after a church had been establish and the disciples are trained he still provided avenues to edify the believers. This is exemplified by him when he would: (1) return to some of the churches he started to help them; (2) send his disciples to give them assistance; (3) write much needed letters to them when necessary.
    Acts 18:18-23; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18; Examples of letters: Romans 1:1-7; 1 Timothy 1:1-2; Titus 1:1-4

Review Questions

  • What was Paul’s aspiration?
  • Paul’s aspiration was rooted in what?
  • What is our shame?
  • What is the tension between evangelization and edification?
  • Why was Paul concerned with continual instruction?

July 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends:

We have been working towards this month for a long time, as we are busy turning over all of our responsibilities to the workers here. We are excited about this next step in our ministry and thankful for all the Lord has done.

FURLOUGH 2018-2019

Furlough: We have been serving as church planting missionaries to the country of China since 2009. We have learned the Chinese language, seen souls saved, baptized and discipled. We have planted a church and trained two young men for the ministry. Now we are turning it over to national leadership. Thus, we are planning, Lord willing, to take our first year-long furlough at the end of this month. This will put us at almost eight years on the field. The Lord has done so much in our lives and ministry and we are excited about sharing all of it with local churches in America.

Ministry: The Lord has provided us with two Chinese young men that have been training in our ministry. One of the young men, Charles, will be pastoring the church in my place. He is a godly young man who has been a great example to the church and has proven to be a servant leader. The other young man, Lebron, will be the assistant pastor. God also has really been working in His life and he continues to grow in the faith. Please be in prayer with us as these men lead Dalian Grace Baptist Church.

Meetings: We are looking to book meetings and mission conferences for this furlough (August 2018 – July 2019) so that we can report about what God has done in China, seek to raise more support for the growing ministry in China, and raise up new laborers for this great harvest field. We know that many churches plan in advance, therefore we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to plan with you if you are interested in having us in to present our ministry in your church. If you are interested, please contact me via email: mark@chinaministry.org.

Future: Lord willing, after our furlough we will be returning to China on this amazing journey. Rest is needed—but we are begging God to allow us to return energized and ready to do greater things because there is still so much more to be done. There is are still more Chinese souls to be reached with the gospel, there are more people to be discipled, and men to be trained for ministry—all because Jesus is worthy to receive the reward of His suffering. Pray that we will be able to return full of passion for the glory of God with an army of supporters (prayer and finances) behind us and other families by our side that are willing to serve on the frontlines, no matter the cost.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known! 

In His Joyful Service,

Mark

Missions: What Is Going And Sending In Missions?

Going and sending represent the partnership between a church and a missionary. Every believer has a part to fulfill in missions, whether it is a missionary who leaves his local church to carry the gospel to a foreign land or a member of a local church who actively participates in sending forth missionaries. We are to be faithful to our calling.

Distinguishing Senders And Goers

  • The church effectively and solely inherited the responsibility of the great commission. This is the task of the church to be continuously making disciples of all nations until Jesus’ return. This is to be carried out by going to the nations of the world preaching the gospel, baptizing new converts in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching the Word of God to edify the believers. Thus, every believer should be concerned about all the people of the world hearing the gospel and be involved in this world-wide venture so that all the earth may hear, believe, and call upon the name of Jesus to be saved.
    Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8
  • The Bible is clear that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How will they call on Him if they have not believed? How will they believe if they have never heard of Jesus? How can they hear if there is no preacher, and how can they preach unless they are sent? Therefore, there are two main types of callings when referring to missions: goers and senders. In general, all believers have the responsibility to go preach the gospel and send around the world those willing to witness of Jesus, but specifically we have different roles and lifestyles. Goers and senders represent two different lifestyles but the one and the same mission. They are interconnected and dependent on each other.
    Romans 10:13-15
  • Goers (itinerant): A “goer” is a missionary who leaves his local church and goes forth to be a witness among the heathen of the world. This means that certain believers will be called to forsake their traditional occupation, neighborhood, and family to take the gospel to another land. This often requires the financial backing of the church.
  • Senders (settled): A “sender” is a member of a local church who actively participates in sending forth missionaries to be witnesses among the heathen of the world. They aren’t called to forsake their traditional occupation, neighborhood, and family to take the gospel to another land, but instead to work hard and honestly to provide for their families and use their money, possessions, time and talents to further the mission. Every believer should be involved in sending missionaries to other lands that they themselves cannot go to and choose to strategically live their lives so that you are not only shining a light at home but around the world.

Missionary Partnerships: Fellowship In The Gospel

  • Paul thanked God in prayer because of the church at Philippi’s ongoing “fellowship in the gospel”. This church purposefully partnered with Paul. Paul had more than one partnership like this. He was in partnership with local churches. The partnership had several factors that serve as a good example for us today: (1) Relational—they had a deep concern for and relationship with Paul. This is genuine care, interest and involvement in each others lives. (2) Refreshing—the partnership was a joy, one that greatly encouraged Paul and he enjoyed when He could be with them. (3) Financial—they even took it upon themselves to financially support and help Paul. Paul even looked forward to their help as it enable him to serve others. (4) Prayerful—they knew what was going on with each other and often prayed for each other. (5) Service—they would serve each other and partake of the same things, including: evangelism, encouragement during times of imprisonment, or sending co-labourers to help serve.
    Philippians 1:3-8, 14; 2:25; 4:14-20; Romans 15:24; 30-33; Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 11:8

The Financial Support Of The Mission

  • Believers are stewards and pilgrims. As stewards, we recognize that God is the sovereign owner of everything, including all of our earthy money and possessions—and we are to faithfully manage that which He has put into our care. As pilgrims, we recognize that our citizenship is in heaven—God’s kingdom is where our loyalties lie. Therefore, this world is not our home but we are just passing through. But while we are journeying through this world desiring a better country, we are on mission to reach the people of the world with the gospel of Jesus—that “whosoever will” might be saved.
    Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Samuel 2:7; John 18:36; Hebrews 11:13-16; Philippians 3:17-21
  • Believers are to work and give. The biblical method to obtain money is work. God has designed mankind to work in order to provide a living for themselves and their families. But also we obtain money and gain treasure on earth to invest in heaven. As believers, we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth because they have no lasting value (moth and rust doth corrupt; thieves break in and steal). Instead, we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven because they have lasting value (neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; thieves do not break in nor steal). Therefore, true wealth is found not in our treasure (money and possessions) here on earth but in treasure in heaven (rewards from God). God has an unlimited number of treasure to give to those who invest in heaven through using their wealth (money and possessions) to serve God and others.
    Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:33; Mark 10:21; 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
  • Believers are to give to missions. Full-time ministers of the gospel should earn their living (or have the right to be financially supported) by this “gospel-work” alone. This can be accomplished through local churches supporting missionaries. This is also one of the ways all believers can be involved in missions. The New Testament paradigm for giving, generous grace giving, applies for this type of giving. Its principles are as follows: complementary—a balance between the spiritual and material workings within the church; proportional—the amount given is “within” and sacrificially “beyond” our financial ability; regular—a pattern to follow so that we can excel in our giving; cheerful—a joy because it is a privilege and not an obligation; honest—the process of dealing with money that is given through the church and/or to missionaries needs to be done in a way that is accountable so there would be no reason for criticism.
    2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 8-24; 9:1-15; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 16:2-4
  • Believers are blessed by giving to missions. There are two main blessings we can partake in from giving to missions: (1) for with the measure we give, in the same way it will be measured back to us again or we will reap what we sow—meaning that God will supply all our needs as we are obedient to Him; (2) fruit will abound to our accounts—meaning as we use our money and possessions to support God’s work in this world we are laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven. For example, if you support a missionary and someone gets saved through his ministry, then you partake in that fruit too.
    Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Philippians 4:17-19; Matthew 6:19-21
  • Believers make missions giving a priority because the mission is a priority. We see the need of the world to receive the gospel. We willingly desire to take part. We wisely make giving a financial priority. We strategically plan with our local church so we can do more together. We work hard and give as God prospers us—first taking a portion of our money and giving it or laying it aside so that it can be given when needed. We continue to faithfully give and support the work of missionaries who go on our behalf.
    1 Corinthians 9:7; 16:2; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Timothy 2:1-7

Review Questions

  • Whose responsibility is the great commission?
  • What is a goer?
  • What is a sender?
  • What does a missionary partnership look like?
  • How do we financially support the mission?