The Church Disciple Making


This message is an invitation. Any sermon should be an invitation. But I do not want you to think of what might come to mind when you hear the words invitation. (An evangelical invitational altar call is not wrong or bad necessarily.)

Instead, what I want you to think of is this kind of invitation. An invitation to purpose and meaning. A call to responsibility. A call to sacrifice, and to take up a burden but a call to adventure, nonetheless. Listen to the way that Jesus called His disciples to follow Him!

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  (Matt 4:19)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”  (John 1:50)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt 16:24–26)

Jesus calls us to adventure.

My goal in this sermon is to show you from Scripture that every believer has an essential call. No matter who you are, no matter how long you have been following Jesus. No matter your skill or talent level. No matter your personality or strengths or weaknesses. Every single one of those who would follow Jesus have the same mission.

And for those who do not know Christ, those who have yet to repent and believe the Gospel, I want to pull back the curtain and show you the depth of True Life lived for Jesus Christ.

What then is this mission?

God calls the church to make disciples.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt 28:18–20)

Jesus has given this mission, to go make disciples of all nations, to absolutely everyone who will follow Him. Now, that word disciple just means follower. I think that is the simplest and most helpful definition for us today. A disciple is someone who endeavors to follow Jesus in His teachings and exemplary life.

This message was originally given to the apostles.  And we see the story in Acts of the Apostles themselves as the pioneers during the early church. They then took that message and elaborated upon it as they penned the rest of the New Testament in the First Century, explaining how communities of Jesus’ followers accomplish that mission together.

The focus I would like for us to have today is on one such part of the New Testament where Paul discusses how the church, the community of Christ-followers, disciples one another.

You may say, “The apostles and those heroes in those pictures, they all were destined for greatness. They had latent power and nobility that propelled them into the limelight. They had exactly what was needed when the time was right and courageously halted the forces of darkness.”

Believe it or not, you are catching on more than you know.  There is no way that humans can come close to truly obeying the call to make disciples. Some might be able to fake it, but none can do this on their own. It is only through the power of Jesus Christ afforded to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can overcome our deficiencies to fulfill our mission. God knew your weakness when He called you to do this, and if He can resurrect someone from the dead, He can use you to help others to follow Jesus.

Now does that mean that we will never have to work at it? No, there is a learning process but God has already provided the grace for you to do that. It is ours only to obey.

Let’s look at Ephesians 4 to see what that looks like in the church, and we will walk through this passage to see some more callings that God has for all believers.

God calls the church to live out unity through humility, gentleness, patience, and love. (Eph 4:1-6)

One could preach an entire sermon on the discipling that happens when a church lives out the kind of unity we find in these verses. There is much more that could be said about verse 1-6 but I want us to focus on these characteristics that Paul describes.

In Ephesians 4:1, Paul invites the church at Ephesus to walk worthy of their calling, and he explains what that would mean.

Paul describes this work as endeavoring.... This takes a lot of work. And this is what I want us all to grasp when we think about this life together. When we are bearing together with one another in love, we will be discipling one another. Your love for these over here will impact those over there. His deference to her will cause her to genuinely seek an opportunity to defer back to him. Mutual submission.

God gives the individual members of the church unique gifts.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Eph 4:7)

We come now to a part of the text that explicitly makes the point I would like to make this morning. EACH ONE. If my grandpa asked how Christmas morning went for me and my siblings, and I said that each of us got a Nintendo GameBoy, then how many GameBoy’s did we get? (I have 2 brothers.) One for each of us! Three!

If Paul said that each believer has received a gift (grace), then how many people have been gifted in a church of 90? 90!

Each one of us has been gifted for service in our church.

You might say, “But I can’t speak in front of people, and I can’t sing. I’m not gifted with organizing teams of people. I can’t even teach children.” Can you greet someone with a genuine smile? Can you tell someone that Jesus died for them on the cross and He rose again? Can you text someone a verse of Scripture? Can you pray for someone? Can you bake a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough and give it to someone?

Maybe you need to get a little creative but God has gifted you. It probably is  easier than you think it is.

God gifts the church with gifted leaders so that they will equip believers for the work of ministry.

These are such important verses for churches to understand. They are so important for pastors to understand as well.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, (Eph 4:11–12)

We have a list of gifts that God has given to the church by gifting certain individuals. Some are in effect today and some are not, but we find here the reason God has given certain people gifts of pastoring and teaching: for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. That the body of Christ would be built up.

The purpose of pastors is not so that they would do all of the work of ministry at church. Their purpose is to equip the saints, the other believers, for the work of the ministry. It is our job as pastors to enable the members of Brookdale Baptist Church to employ their gifts in serving the church.

If you are struggling to figure out how you can serve at Brookdale, then please reach out to the pastors. We are committed to enabling every member to serve meaningfully at our church. We are here to serve you and want to see you fulfilling God's calling on your life, and for every believer, that includes the work of ministry.

God calls believers to build the body of Christ toward spiritual maturity. (Eph 4:13-16)

This building up that Paul describes is given more body and clarity in this section. This is language of growth. It gives this picture of growing up into the “stature” of Christ. Like a mold that we are stretching to fill. We are working to grow more like Christ so we can fill his shoes so to speak. All of us. Each one of us. No exceptions.

Marks of spiritual maturity

Unity in the Christian faith and knowledge of Jesus (Eph 4:13)

We share the same faith. We all believe the same things. But let’s think about what that word believe truly means. It means that we base our lives on the same Truths. We live not by sight, but by faith in the same Person to believe the same promises and doctrines. And what does this belief result in? That we all live the same distinctly Christian lives. We make sacrifices together. We face exclusion because of the same things. We face rejection. We have unity in the faith.

We also know the same Jesus. This knowledge is not mere factual data. This kind of knowledge refers to intimate personal knowledge. The kind of knowing that happens when you experience who a person really is for yourself. Don't you feel an instant connection when you meet someone who just happens to have a mutual acquaintance? What about when you discover that a person is actually pretty close with one of your closest friends? You have a bond with this new person by default.

Believers are unified in that they have the same Friend. The Jesus that I get to know as I read the Gospel of John is no different than the Jesus that you grew closer with as you read Mark. When we know the real Jesus, we all know the same Person and can bond over that.

The Fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13)

The fullness of Christ here means that we would experience all that which Jesus seeks to give us. How much of Jesus do you want? If we really believe the testimony of Scripture as to Jesus' true nature, then there is nothing deeper, richer, or more profound for us to experience then to know Him. Stop for a moment and think of His power, His mercy, His love, and His glory. And we are united to Him that we might experience these things firsthand.

Doctrinal Stability (Eph 4:14)

As we grow in our faith, we come together to agree on doctrine. We help each other in this. It is not that the doctrine of Christianity is a community project based on what is best for us and what is the consensus. No, it is based on the revealed Truth of the Bible. We help each other to align our beliefs and our consciences with the standard of Truth, the Bible.

Speaking Truth in Love (Eph 4:15)

In this short phrase, we find the most explicit instance of disciple-making in this passage. If a church is moving in the right direction, if a church is growing together to become more like Christ, then they will be speaking the Truth in love to one another.

Meaningful Contribution from all (Eph 4:16)

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Paul makes himself quite clear in the final verse of this section. Every joint. Every part. The only way the body can grow in the way that God has designed it to grow is for every member to have a part in the growth.


Were you one of the people that always got picked last? Have you ever been sat on the bench while others were called upon to get in the game?

God has called you to get off the bench. Everyone can play. Everyone has a role to play. The best teams don’t just have the superstar players scoring all the points. They have the role players. They have players with speed, ones who solely bring good technique, the tough ones who do the dirty work. The same is true of churches. Everyone can’t be an eye or a hand, but the hands can’t be feet. We need feet, we need eyes, we need elbows, we need hands.
God's plan for each individual is to be deeply connected to the whole, or more concretely, to each other. You cannot accomplish God's mission for you alone. Not only, do you need the help, you need partners. It intrinsically cannot be done alone.

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