Morning! I hope you are enjoying your day and that you have been blessed by our study so far. Today we delve into the heart of a disciple maker. What does that heart look like? Once again, you can follow along: (https://www.multiplymovement.com/material) we are in Part 1: Living as a Disciple Maker: Session 3: The Heart of a Disciple Maker.
Now that you know what a disciple is and realize the reality of the necessity to make disciples, you have a question to ask yourself: Why do you want to make disciples? What is your motive? You will find that the motives of the heart are often called into question in things spiritual and this is no different. If you are attempting to make disciples for the wrong motives, you may be wasting your time and worst still, you may be doing more harm than good. “If God cared only about outward appearances and religious activities, then any effort toward ministry would please Him. But God tells us repeatedly that He cares more about the heart than the externals“(39).
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Sam. 16:7 NASB).
Think about the Pharisees. They were all about outer religious activities. They made it their life to practice godliness, to make sure people around them were practicing godliness, and they were diligently teaching the law of God. However, Jesus makes it clear that they didn’t quite “get it”:
“‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men‘” (Matt. 15:8-9 NASB).
Discussion Question #1: Take a moment to examine your heart. In all honesty, why do you want to make disciples? Do you struggle with wanting your actions to be noticed by others?
Teaching Is Dangerous
“The Bible takes the role of a teacher very seriously, and so should we”(41). We have to be careful about why we want to teach. We don’t want to teach for our own desires or glory. Our words can do good for others or cause harm. “As a disciple maker, you could make a huge impact for the kingdom of God. Or you could lead people horribly astray”(42). James gave a strong warning about the power of the tongue.
Discussion Question #2: Read James 3:1-12 and meditate on James’s warning. How do these powerful words affect you? How might you need to adjust your approach to making disciples?
Love Comes First
Paul further adds to the ideal goal of our motives. Paul says that if all our efforts for the Kingdom are practiced without love, they are completely worthless:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NASB).
“The result of loveless ministry is serious: ‘I am a noisy gong… I am nothing… I gain nothing…'”(43). Think again about your motives for teaching people. Are you teaching them out of love for them and love for God, or is something else driving you? If you are completely honest with yourself now, it will save heartache and disappointment later on, not only for you, but for those you seek to disciple. “A sure sign of a loveless heart is seeing people as a means to your own ends…Teaching others with this type of mentality is bound to be sterile and unfruitful”(43). Teaching people for Jesus is more than just having the right words. You can boundless knowledge to teach, but if you don’t have love, none of it matters. If you need more convincing let John say it for you:
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14 NASB, emphasis added).
So you see, it isn’t just about imparting knowledge to people, it’s about love. It’s about the outflowing of God’s love and glory. It’s about demonstrating your love of God through a love of others who you will teach to love and obey God. Throughout your journey, constantly check your motives and ask God to purify them. This will become a worthwhile habit.
Discussion Question #3: Up to this point, would you say that your desire to make disciples has been motivated by love? Why or why not?
Discussion Question #4: Describe your love of the people God has placed in your life. What evidence can you point to that shows that you love the people around you?
Discussion Question #5: In addition to praying fervently, what practical steps can you take to increase your love for people?
Teaching by Example
“One of the worst things you are do is teach truths that you are not applying” (46). This is called hypocrisy. It is often the most common criticism of Christians. Jesus gave some grave warnings about people like this:
“…Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments” (Matt. 23:3-5 NASB).
James also gives a warning:
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25 NASB).
We must put into practice what we are calling others to do. Another thing to consider, we are to teach by example. How can we teach by example if we are not “practicing what we preach”? Hebrews says:
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7 NSAB).
We need to have a faith that we can put into action so that others may imitate our faith. “Because of this, being a disciple maker demands your entire life. If you’re not ready to lay down your life for Christ’s sake, then you are not ready to make disciples. It’s that simple” (47).
This doesn’t mean that you must be perfect to being with. You do have to realize that making disciples is costly. Being a disciple and making disciples is about transformation. You must be willing to be transformed yourself if you wish to see others transformed.
Discussion Question #6: Would you say that your life is being transformed by the power of God’s Word? Why or why not?
Discussion Question #7: What changes do you need to make in order to live the truth that you will be teaching other people?
Discussion Question #8: The things you’ve been thinking through in this session are not easy to address–there are no “quick fixes” here. End your time with this session by praying that God will give you the proper motivation to make disciples, increase your love for Him and the people around you, and empower you to live out the truths that He has called you to teach to others.
Once again, I hope you are blessed by this week’s study and you will be able to examine your motives with an open and honest heart. God bless you in the week to come.