Making Disciples

Passage: Acts 14:21-28

Making Disciples
By Apostle Aje Pelser
Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town

Act 14:19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
Act 14:20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Act 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
Act 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
Act 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
Act 14:24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Act 14:25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
Act 14:26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
Act 14:27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Act 14:28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

Apostolic ways to make disciples:
1. Firstly you have to be sent. This past of the mission is part of a sequence of events leading up to the desired outcome of discipleship. Saul and Barnabas were sent out and this is the conclusion and full circle of their journey. The orbit of disciple making is worth consideration
2. Preach the Gospel. Preaching the Gospel is declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ. The work that HE has done on the cross for us and that He lives to make intercession for us so that He can come and fetch His pure and spotless bride to be with Him forever.
When speaking to people preach the Gospel according to something they can relate to like their favourite sport for instance.
Two men in white apparel guard the grave entrance at the tomb – the umpires! Peter stood up with the eleven – cricket has eleven players in a team. The twelfth man acts as a substitute – Matthias replaces Judas.
Cricket is a timeless game – through faith and patience you will inherit the promises!
The accuser of the brethren is like the fielding team trying to break down the confidence of the batsmen.
But two are better than one, and partnerships build big innings for the team. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend – you put your team’s interest first and if a batsman is in and batting well and there is a run out you can sacrifice your wicket for the good of the team.
The bowler tries to intimidate you when you bat and bounce the ball at your head – you learn to drive out the enemy in all directions like AB De Villers when he hits the ball 360 degrees around the field!
There are so many good cricketing parallels to kingdom thinking that I can explain the entire Gospel story to someone who is interested.
But also take elements of the Old Testament and tell a Jew the Gospel according to Passover:
God told Moses to slaughter a lamb and use its blood to paint on the lintels of the Israelite home so that the angel of death might Passover it.
Exo_12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.

They used hyssop as a brush – David says: “p[urge me with Hyssop”.
Psa_51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Jesus on the cross also received a sponge with sour wine on hyssop in his mouth.
Joh_19:29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

The fact that Jesus was the Passover Lamb as well and was killed when the sky turned black even fulfils that historic fact of the Lamb of Passover being killed at twilight.
In order to make effective disciples and preach the Gospel according to everything else means you need to know Jesus and His Word well. That is why we have a Bible College within our Church! You need to be able to reach each individual in a unique way and take such a sincere interest in ordinary people that they see Jesus in you and you introduce Him to them.

3. Strengthen the Souls.
If you soul is your mind, will and emotions, it means that you need the wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit to strengthen someone’s soul. It should not be a sharing of opinion, but speaking as the oracles of God for that specific person at the right time. It is easy to spot what needs strengthening if you show some emotional intelligence through deep compassion for the lost.
But the Holy Spirit can also give you discerning of spirits to see beyond the defences of the soul.
The word for strengthen denotes:
Strengthen G1991
Thayer Definition:
1) to establish besides, strengthen more
2) to render more firm, confirm

4. Exhort and instruct the dicsples. G3870 parakaleō
Thayer Definition:
1) to call to one’s side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
2a) to admonish, exhort
2b) to beg, entreat, beseech
2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty
2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted
2d) to encourage, strengthen
2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
2f) to instruct, teach

5. Appoint Elders.

2Ti 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

6. Pray with Fasting
When appointments to offices take place in the New Testament there is prayer or fasting or both.
When Jesus appointed his apostles.
Luk 6:12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Luk 6:13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:

When the deacons were appointed
Act 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
Act 6:4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
Act 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,
Act 6:6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
Act 6:7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

When Barnabas and Saul were sent off on their mission.
Act 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Act 13:3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

7. Commend to the Lord
Those who believe your message as you are sent from God, commend them to the Lord. Let others see their progress and be prompted to follow Jesus too!

8. Return and Report
The report is about the works of God that he completed on your missions, during the week, in your circles of influence, in the church, in the network, in the field of the Lord of the Harvest!
I have found great joy in reporting and have found that it is a wonderful way to focus on the harvest versus all the problems, rats, snakes and foxes that seek to ruin the harvest.

9. Explain the new open doors and spiritual portals.
God has given apostles keys to open the kingdom to others. Show them how to get peace that passes understanding, how to have joy in believing, how to be right with God by faith in Jesus. But there are other portals too.
Show them how to reach people if you are a leader making disciples. God gave me a key for Cape Town’s people. Make them comfortable in God’s presence and with you.
A key for Australia was music.
My parents did concert campaigns for 2 and a half years and saw thousands saved and many cities and towns were reached with the Gospel. They helped to plant 4 churches and of their disciple went on to bear much fruit.
God said we have a citywide church – that was a key to growth in different areas in Cape Town.
Orbital thinking was a key to our operating systems as a move of God. Seeking the centre of Christ and fulfilling his commission outwards in all the nations of the world.

10. Stay with disciples a long time.
Apostles know how to discern timing – there is a time that a disciple needs to grow through the different initial phases of Christian life. We call these phases the foundation stones of the Christian faith based on Hebrews 6. We have a foundation course that is helpful to integrate new disciples into a church. Contact us for a free copy.

Let’s continue to fulfil Jesus great commission to make disciples because you can’t take anything to heaven but your spiritual friends!

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