New Hope Notes
Making Kingdom Disciples
Dr. Tony Evans
You and I are part of a kingdom. We have a commissioner, a king, who sits behind the executive chair, and He has representatives on the field of play. He has men and women who are His representatives in time who are supposed to get their instructions from eternity and who will make their decisions in all of life based on a book that they have received that gives them the governing guidelines by which all decisions are to be made.
God has a name for His officiating crew. It's called, “disciples”. These are the men and women whose job it is to represent heaven on earth, to represent eternity in time, and to act on behalf of our king and His kingdom in this world order whether we are booed or cheered, supported or rejected, because our ultimate obligation is to another king and another kingdom.
The problem today, however, is that many of God's officiating crew want to create their own rules on the field of play, and instead of representing that kingdom up there; they have joined in kingdom down here limiting the influence of the kingdom of which we are a part. And so I want to talk to you today about being a Kingdom Disciple, about being God's representative on the field of play in which your world has been located.
Jesus called a meeting. It is the only meeting that He called between the time when He rose from the dead and He ascended up into heaven. There was a 40?day window between His resurrection and His ascension. He only scheduled one meeting.
You may have questions about your faith. You may have questions about our God and His Christ, about even the veracity and authenticity of scripture. You may have questions, but if you do have questions, let them drive you further, not keep you home.
Jesus, after the worship service, after the songs that they sung and the prayers that they prayed and the praises that they gave, steps to the podium, and He says, “All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth.” Don't read that too fast because it is pregnant with truth. All authority up there and down here, heaven and earth, belongs to Him. Translation: He’s in charge now.
Jesus Christ asserts His authority up there and down here because Jesus Christ has been duly authorized by the Father to act on behalf of heaven in the midst of history. He says all authority is “given unto me”, all of it. “I'm in charge. I'm sitting behind the executive chair, and I make all final decisions. I'm in charge now.”
There are a number of Greek words for authority in the Bible. The most well?known word is the word dunamis which is where we get our word dynamite from, and we use it for explosive power. But that's not the word used here, not dunamis. It's a word pronounced exousia. Exousia means authorized use of power. Exousia is not just force. It's authorized use of power.
On a football field, the players are younger, stronger, and faster than the referees and the officials. They're younger, stronger, and faster. The referees are older, fatter, and slower. The players can knock you down. However, the refs can put you out because while the players have dunamis, the refs have exousia. They have authority. When they blow that whistle or pull out that yellow flag, they stop the show, even though the players on the field may be more powerful.
And so what Jesus does is He authorizes His disciples to make disciples. This church is heavy into that through this replication process.
Biblical discipleship is that process whereby men and women are conformed to the image of Christ in such a way that they learn to make their decisions in concert with His Lordship. A disciple is a man or woman who is increasingly functioning under the rule of Christ in his or her life. A disciple is more than a church member. A disciple is more than a religious person or someone who says grace before their meals. A disciple is a man or woman who feels obligated to make their decisions consistently in keeping with the rule of Christ over their lives to the degree that Christ sets the agenda in heaven for your choices on earth is to the degree you're a disciple. To the degree that heaven does not inform your choices in history, to that degree you're not a disciple. You may be a Christian, but you can be a Christian without being a functional disciple. He says, “I want you not merely to make Christians. I want you to make disciples, people who make the decision consistently to operate under my divine rule in every area of their lives.”
911 has forever affected our lives. It affects our lives because a few men from halfway around the world in the name of their God infiltrated our country, boarded our airplanes and wreaked havoc with the destruction of thousands of lives as they flew them into the World Trade Center buildings, as they flew them into the Pentagon. They wreaked havoc that will forever affect how we live in America. A few men in the name of their God came to this nation and have greatly changed how we do what we do. You know why? Because they were disciples of their theology. In other words, they were committed, and their commitment to their faith leading to evil function affected a whole nation.
Now, if men in the name of the wrong God can be so committed to their faith that they invade a nation like the United States of America and forever changes how it operates, how much more should not you and I in the name of the true God be able to represent Him in the nation so that the nation is affected by our presence in it? If evil can change it for bad, righteous should be able to change it for good. He says, “I want you to make disciples. Yes, they've got to accept Me as their savior. That makes them a Christian. But I want them to be more than that. I want them to be visible, verbal followers of me. Make disciples. All authority belongs to me.” He shares that authority with disciples, people who have come under His rule.
When officials in a football game come out with their own rules, they do not get the help of the commissioner because the commissioner wants them to rule on his behalf based on the book they have received.
Today we live in a world where people want to make up their own rules and ask God to bless them. That's not discipleship. He says that He wants you to make disciples so that He can share His authority with you.
Jesus says that all authority has been given under Him in heaven and on earth. And He wants you to make disciples because He wants to share His authority that He has received with those who have tethered themselves to Him.
There are two Christian extremes. One is to be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good. You're up high in the sky, but you don't really work in the nasty here and now. The other extreme is to be so earthly minded you're no heavenly good. You become so secularized in your thinking that God can't use you.
Jesus says that He’s operating up here and down here simultaneously because all authority has been given him up there in heaven and down here on earth. I'm grabbing there and touching here, and that is the call of discipleship, to be a visible verbal follower of Jesus Christ where He makes the final call in every area of life. That's what a kingdom disciple is. That's what a kingdom man is or kingdom woman is. It is a man or a woman who, having accepted Christ, who's now come under the rule of Christ so they share the authority of Christ.
Now, He surrounds this command with three participles, go, baptize, and teach - three participles. Whenever you have that construction in the Greek language where you have an imperative, a command, with three participles or any participles, the participles give you the methodology for carrying out the command. The command is to make disciples. The mechanisms are go, baptize, and teach.
This service is a private meeting here. It's not the general public. It's a meeting of the saints. Soon you'll be breaking huddle. The question is: What changes now that the huddle is over and there's an enemy outside this wall daring you to go public with your private conversation.
So when Jesus says baptize them, he's saying identify them, reclassify them, or as spiritual baptism is spoken of in Romans 6, “baptize him unto his death that we might walk in the newness of light.”
He says teach them. Notice he says teach them last. That's the last participle. He says go, baptize, and then teach. Now, what do you teach them, pneumatology, ecclesiology, eschatology, angelology, anthropology? You know, just make 'em brilliant scholars? No. He says teach them to observe whatsoever He has commanded you. Teach them to observe. In other words, teach them how to live. Teach them how to live out the principles of His kingship and His kingdom.
Referees on the football field make their decisions based on the book, and it affects their decision making. The proof that you are becoming a disciple will be manifested in the decisions, in the calls you make. Do you make calls consistent with the King consistently, or do you make calls that are inconsistent with the King consistently? And that lets you know whether you're a disciple or not.
Teach them the purpose of the church is not information alone. There must be information, but information without application leads to no transformation and God's goal is transforming us. He closes with these words, “And, lo, I am with you always even until the end of the age.”
Now, I know we all know that Jesus promised to be with us and, you know, all the time and all of that, but that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about making disciples. That's His conversation. And what He is saying is this, “The second member of the trinity, even I, has a special relationship to disciples and disciple makers.”
You know, in John chapter 2, the chapter ends with saying, “And many believed in him. Many got saved. But he would not commit himself to them because he knew what was in them.” So on the one hand it says they got saved, but then it comes right back and says but he wouldn't make a commitment to them. Why would it say they got saved, believed in Him, but He wouldn't make a commitment? It says because He knew they were not ready yet for that kind of relationship.
That's why Jesus says, “If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my father. If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father. If you're not willing to be identified with me, then that limits how I can represent you to my father.”
So to experience more of Christ in history, you must not only be a saint, you must not only be a Christian, you must be a visible verbal follower of Christ is what I call in those books a kingdom man and a kingdom woman who is visibly operating under His rule. And you are to replicate that in your home and in this society.
Superman was a bumbling fool as Clark Kent but once he put that S on his chest he transformed into Superman! So as you leave church today, make sure you visit your telephone booth and change clothes and come out with an S on your chest. Now, that doesn't have to mean you're Superman, but it ought to mean you're saved. Now, that doesn't mean you're Superman, but it ought to mean you're a saint of the most high God. So when folks see the disciples who break out from New Hope, they say it's a bird. No. It's a plane. No. It's them super saints from that New Hope church.
May God bless you as you become Kingdom Disciples.
1. What is a Kingdom Disciple?
2. What is the difference between a Christian and a Kingdom Disciple?
3. What happens when you make your own rules?
4. Why does God want you to become a Disciple?
5. Where does your disciple’s authority come from?