12th November 2023

Paul’s method of discipleship

Passage: Acts 14:21-23, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

Thank you for leading us. The music was stirring, the words were good, and it's great to be amongst God's people when they're worshipping God. And it is one of the things that we're called to do is to find ourselves in the place of worship and to make ourselves accountable to God and to his leadings. One of the ways the Lord has led us, of course, is through his word. And the way that we can know not only individual leadings, can be times when you're reading the scriptures and God speaks to you. And somehow or other he has the capacity to turn a passage that you thought was just an everyday passage, and yet it has a particular application in your heart as you read. And that's a bit subjective in a sense. That you can guess it wrong, but it also happens. And one of the things of being a Christian is to make yourself open to do as the Lord leads you and to see if you can follow his leadings. And it's an experimental way of life, but it's something that it is to be a Christian. But not only from the scriptures do we have the possibility that God will lead us moment by moment or every now and then, stepping in to give us a bit of a shock and say something. And that's what the Lord has done to us. But also he gives us precedence. And he gives us examples which are always the same every time you look them up. But they're there for us to have, if you like, a bit of a set out as to what is Christianity and how we are to do it. And no better way to find out how Christianity has been set up by God than to go back to the beginning of the first apostles, Jesus and the apostles. And to go back to the beginning of the first apostles, Jesus and the apostles. And the things that he told them to do. And so as a part of tonight we will be looking at the Great Commission. But I want us to start in the book of Acts in chapter 14. You'll see the verses on the screen, verses 21 through to 23. The reason why I've chosen this passage is because it is about the method of making disciples that the first apostles had as exemplified by the apostle Paul. And there's other passages with other apostles. the things we'd learn but this one is good because he was an itinerant going around places and he had a bit of a methodology about him that he kept on doing and here it is in chapter 14 when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples there's something for the start if you're in the business of making disciples you need to know what tools are to be used and the tools of the first apostles was the simple message of the gospel it's actually a bit of a lesson if you go through the book of acts and read the sermons that are there by peter and others who are preaching the sermons are not necessarily tremendously planned out in terms of their ability to affect people the psychology of them they're pretty straightforward announcements of what has happened and it's quite a shock to you when you do go through the sermons of the book of acts to see the preceding sermons are not necessarily planned out in terms of their ability the precedent that set for us was just to get the message out had to be the right message mind you and had to be understood as to what exactly was the purpose and here we have the apostle paul preaching the gospel and made many disciples so it's got both the thing that he did but the result that he had now i know this verse has been interpreted differently by some i've listened to preachers who would stand and say paul had two ways two things that he did in his method of discipleship one is here preached the gospel but he also had to make many disciples and that he did by having evening meetings and one preacher who was saying this was saying that therefore we should have the evangelism in the marketplaces and during the day but we ought to have evening meetings as well now as a matter of fact what he's describing isn't a bad idea but it's not what the passage is saying that's the trouble and if you go and analyze it carefully you'll find out that where it says and made many disciples it's telling you the result of preaching the gospel and something we learn here about our christian message is that the christian message isn't only just to lay down a pattern for us to follow it's not just an intellectual set out it's like having a book that tells you exactly how to do things and you follow the letter and it will work it is that that's true enough but it's also about the fact that the gospel is one of those things that produces its own result you in other words what turns someone into a disciple is indeed the message that we take the message is an effective message it's actually quite a surprise i know this from teaching in college and students would come along and when they first heard this said would get a shock that the gospel is not just a message to tell you what has happened by jesus on the cross and rose again but the gospel is an effective message that turns the kingdom of god into a gospel of the kingdom of god as it were or turns allows the the kingdom of god to spread there's passages through the book of acts where it talks about the fact that the the message spread and the kingdom of god advanced sometimes it talks about the kingdom of god as running it wasn't that i had little legs on and got up and go but the kingdom of god goes with the message the message is one of those messages that is effective at producing its own result if you've ever asked yourself the question how is the gospel going to work and how is the gospel going to work and how is the gospel is it that i've never been present when someone became a christian i would answer that simply go to more gospel proclamations and you'll see more because it's an effective message that produces the result or you personally learn how to get a handle on the gospel so that you can fit it into everyday conversations with people the more you gospelize them the more along the road some of those will be the seed that's good seed and produces the fruit of the gospel and there'll be people converted because the message of the gospel is an effective message that produces its own result in spreading the kingdom of god and causing people to come to christ well um here there's what we're told about paul so his first method was to gospelize folk and it's not email i might have had evening meetings but that's not what the text is saying uh and i'm not against having evening meetings we actually have some very good home groups in our church uh for which you would find great benefit if you're not in one and get along and they're a part of what our church does is one of the formal ways we do our business as a matter of fact the home groups is the center of our pastoral work in the sense that everybody or the people who in the home group have a group of people who are aware of how they're getting on it's the first way the first step it's the of seeing that everybody has help from other christians anyway so i'm not against having a group but what the passage is saying here was not to hear at this spot talk about paul having an extra set of follow-up classes no his follow-up was the message that he delivered we're going to read a bit more though about what he did as we go along now before we go any farther we're going to come back to that passage but before we go any further let's just understand as much as i have said that we've really got a grip on that about the role the gospel has so i want you to turn to now matthew 28 it's known as the great commission many of you have done this before some of you might have even heard this message before but it is something that is the central platform of where the bible is telling us how we can go about the business jesus has entrusted to us and this is a passage that's talking about the 11 disciples and after the resurrection of jesus he had directed them 11 because of course judas had committed suicide and this was before the apostle paul was called the apostle to the gentiles but there's 11 of them there to obey jesus request that they should meet him up in galilee and so the 11 disciples went to galilee to the mountain to which jesus had directed them and when they saw him they worshipped him now by the way i don't think they did that because they were instructed or because they learned the secret that i could bring out now that if you want to have power in your christian life learn to worship because worship is where you get empowered when you're in his presence worship is something you do to attribute to god the honor due to his name it is to put you accountable to his leadership but also worship is like i said about the gospel the worship actually is one of those things that produces its own results the sense of the presence of god and if you're wanting to have a christian life that needs somehow to get back on track and you've felt yourself becoming a christian become a bit stale one of the best things to do is to find somewhere to go whether it's into a forest like finney went when he was feeling and things weren't coming together for him as a christian and he prayed until something happened and other people have always found that there's a place to go aside jesus himself set the pattern of going aside and spending time in prayer with the father and so there is a real principle of how you can empower yourself by learning how to worship but this was a special arrangement jesus arranged with the 12 now 11 disciples that they would meet him up at galilee and it's after his resurrection where the the newness of his coming out of the grave is yet to really land on them so and when they saw him they worshipped him but some doubted i don't think we're to blame them for doubting this is the first finding out for some of them some of them have heard of the visits of the people to the tomb that the body you know was missing and all that and others had given reports of seeing jesus as some of the women had so they had a variation as to what information they had and a variation of how much time just to absorb it and they'd heard of jesus requesting them to go up to this galilean place and they go there with all sorts of question marks in their minds so they come they worshipped him but some doubted and jesus came and said to them all authority in heaven on earth has been given to me go therefore don't forget the little word therefore is because he's just said about the authorities given to him he's a risen personality and he and make disciples of all nations now this is the major verb the doing word in the giving of the great commission it is the word to turn someone into a disciple go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father the son the holy spirit that's actually making sure that they've picked up what sort of conversion you're getting people to come to it's a conversion to the christianity that has a trinity of father son and holy spirit although the word trinity is not a biblical word the fact that's where to do our gospelization in the name of the father in the name of the son in the name of the holy spirit is actually evidence of there being an equality of deity of between father son and holy spirit so it's a triune name that you baptize people into uh make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit teaching them to observe all that i have commanded you don't give people the mickey mouse version of christianity because that's all that will suit your methodology always aim to let them get the full dose teaching them to observe all things that i have commanded you and behold i'm with you always now the structure of this passage is where there's only really one main verb in it the verb that's a part of speech that tells you the action and that is to make disciples and but then there are some participles part verbs half verbs uh describing parts of the path verbs surrounding the making disciples there's one at the start which our english bibles puts it as a regular normal command but it's actually in the participial form it says go in the name of the father in the name of the son and holy spirit teaching them to observe all that i have commanded you going in the greek going therefore and what the going therefore is due to is because all authority has been given to him therefore going make disciples of all nations and by the way the going the going is into all the world whereas the jewish tradition was to let the world come to jerusalem so the christian disciples this is the beginning of christianity getting up is that we go to the world not get them to go to the world and that's the beginning of christianity getting up going therefore make disciples that's what you're to do in the going and then it says another part of civil baptizing our english actually puts it in about a participial form the yin part usually tells you that baptizing them in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit by the way that's telling you that it's you're going with the gospel that does the action which i'll show you in a moment's time but a part of what you do is that you baptize those responding in the triune name and then it says It says, teaching, that's also a participle, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age. Now, what's interesting about this passage is that the actual little word to make disciples is one that hasn't got an instance too many of them in the Bible. And when the old King James was first written, the people who were translators, to put it into English, didn't really know what the Greek word meant. They had some help because there'd be other Latin versions of the Bible and they could go by whatever the Latin translators thought it meant. But there was a bit of a lack of knowledge about the word make disciples. And because the word disciple, the word disciple in Greek means a learner, and the mathēteres, the word for a learner, is right there in the middle of the word make disciples, perform something on them to become disciples, whatever a disciple is. It was a bit unknown to the translators of the old version, the King James Version, as to what to actually put here. And so the King James Version Bibles will have in there, go therefore to all nations, and it'll then say that we're to teach all nations. Go therefore and teach all nations. And it uses the verb, the idea of teaching. And for generations, people who read the King James took the Great Testament, they commissioned to be about an educational thing. They weren't wrong because it includes an educational thing. And the content mentioned there is everything Jesus commanded, so that made sense. But they never really got to what the word make disciples meant. Later than then, as Bible translators have had a lot more manuscripts discovered and there's been a lot more writings done, not only Bible writings, but writings of the ancient Greek, there's been more. There's been more examples illustrating what the word make disciples means. And the conclusion of looking at a whole lot of them was it wasn't just saying about the teaching part, it was saying about converting people. And what make disciples means is to turn them into converts. Make disciples, a disciple of someone who's been turned. If you were to ask yourself the question, am I really a disciple? The question might come, the question might come down to you is to say, have I been turned away from all the other options and have become a disciple of Jesus? If I were to ask you to give your testimony as how you began in the Christian life, what that testimony would be about is what brought me here, not the building, but what brought me to this spot where I am a Christian? And you'll discover most Christians have got a story to be told. It varies a lot. But whatever turned them to be a Christian, is when they were made a disciple. That's what the word means. Now, one of the reasons why you can check on that, whenever an idea, especially when the language people, the people who study Greek, and there's a lot of them, experts around the world, and they tell you the latest discoveries of all the new illustrations of what words mean. By illustration, it means an instance where you find the word used in the language and the context allows you to get a window in as to what it really means. And so the scholars are constantly refining the accuracy of our knowledge of the meaning of the Greek words. But if they tell you something, you should look for some way to see it confirmed within the Bible itself. I'm a strong believer in what they call the using scriptures to interpret scriptures. So if there's a spot where you're not quite sure how it is to be understood, see if there's another passage which will give an extra window in and to help you decide what it means in your first place you're looking at. Now, we have in the case of the Great Commission, another spot, which if you listen carefully to the Bible readings, you'd already know that it was Mark 16. So we'll go to Mark 16. And we're just having a look here at what information comes that we can add into how to understand Matthew 28. Matthew 28 is the most famous spot to find the Great Commission, but it's also repeated in Mark. And here we have it. Afterward, he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. This is a different spot. It's not up on the mountain. It's a different spot. He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole of creation. Some translations, whatever, proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe. Now, there are some differences between Matthew 28, one is about the signs. That's something new. But there are some things which are very much marked out as Jesus repeating his message in a different context. I think he's in the upper room here, appearing to the eleven disciples. And you can put together what you learn from one to help you understand the other. Going into all the world is the same as what Matthew 28 says. Proclaim the gospel is what Mark says, whereas Matthew said make disciples. And immediately you have, if you're used to doing mathematics, a simultaneous equation. Sorry to say to you who don't bother with mathematics, but a simultaneous equation is where you've got some variables, X and Y, but you can't work out what they actually stand for. But if someone brings another equation, which is talking about the same X's and the same Y's, then you put the two together, having two pieces of information, you can resolve what X is and what Y is. That's called solving simultaneous equations. In this case, they're simultaneous statements about discipleship. One's talking about make disciples, and the other's talking about preach the gospel. And just as Matthew only had really one main verb, which was make disciples, so Mark here has only one verb, and it is to preach the gospel. And the others are participial. They're half verbs going into all the world. Preach the gospel. Whoever believes it is baptised. I don't know what form the verbs are in, but it's got the same idea of baptism mentioned as well. So because of using the two passages, you can see very clearly that the way that you make disciples is that you proclaim the gospel. And here is where I get the fact that the actual proclamation of the gospel does its own job. The way the kingdom of God spreads is through the gospelising. The more you gospelise and send missionaries out to the world, the more you make disciples. To go to places or, in our own case, send students out to walk the grass there in the universities where the other students are having lunch and strike up conversations. Some people of our number, I don't know how many now that we've got one man with a wounded ankle. Is he here tonight? He's probably home resting. Yes, I think he is. But some of our young people are going down to the Gold Coast and will be those helping out those who are speaking to the people. And what's fantastic to go to such a mission is when you know you're taking along a message that isn't just telling them what they are to do, but it's a message that has the power to make people become Christians. Not everybody you proclaim it to will decide to respond, but nonetheless, you get people turning to Christ. You get people receiving the gospel. You get people becoming. Christians are being turned into disciples, whatever language you use, by using the gospel. The biggest fault of a lot of churches is where there's not been enough training of the pastors or the people. And they think the way you get people to do things is how you organise the programs. Well, the programs actually help a lot. But it's the message that you give them when you've organised the programs that actually is the effective thing. And what I've been trying to say to us tonight as a reminder again, that the gospel is an effective message that produces its own results. The gospel is good news of the kingdom and it produces the kingdom turning up in the spot where you give it to listeners. There's always the work of the Holy Spirit. There's a need for people to respond. But when we were looking at what Paul did, he preached the gospel to that city. How long? Until he'd made many disciples. Because the effective message of the gospel is what makes disciples. And here we have, we're backed up by the fact of this simultaneous equations of the two Great Commission passages. Now we'd better go back to Acts chapter 14 where we began our passage of Acts 14 which is where Paul is displaying his methodology of discipleship. You could call it Paul's methodology of being a missionary. Because missionary work is best done by making disciples. And in verse 21, when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples. So the next thing that we learn about Paul's method of discipleship was that when the messages worked on people and they've made a response, recognise they're like spiritual babies, very weak, and need to have mama milk, whatever that represents spiritually. They need to have the sustenance, to grow they need to have the care strengthening the souls of the disciples is the next step so he goes back does paul and his method of discipleship not only of being on tour and gospelizing everybody he comes into contact with but he goes back to where he's been previously to find how they're getting on and he goes back to help them and he's got a number of things that he does but he strengthens the souls of the disciples now it's interesting about the word strengthening because it's a word that's often used in other settings where the meaning might be quite different because of the setting and one such setting is in military operations and where you'd have a group of soldiers who are trying to take over a piece of land or try and take over a district in would go the soldiers to fight and win you to set up their leadership and you know and they get people or they kill people they get in there and make and make it their territory but the generals in charge of the decide the the ones who went in the military people know that there's an enemy somewhere and the enemy somewhere is not going to leave them having lost certain ground without some response and usually in warfare when one group goes and invades the other group the invaded one of the europeans the ones who've lost territory will send back some response in order to try and recover the lost territory right now in israel example that was that the one group did a big act on israel and israel has now trying to respond in order to get rid of hamas won't comment any more about that but to say that it's normal and military procedures that you don't accept that the territory you gained is yours easily kept if you do nothing you have to actually go and strengthen your soldiers so if a group of soldiers went and captured a little hilltop then the general who had sent them would send some more reinforcements and there is a need for people who've come to christ for people who've made a response to become christians who've become disciples not just to sit there and assume that they'll stay disciples without any sweat the rest of their lives it doesn't work that way you need to be strengthened and made strength by there to be some sort of addition to your armory or addition to the numbers with you you'd strengthen those who've taken the hilltop by sending more soldiers to be a greater number there for when the enemy seeing they've lost territory send in their response they discover their soldiers to retain the territory and a part of what we do in christian churches the purpose of the local church as is ours is the purpose of the local church as is ours is the purpose of the local church as is ours we want to give to all our people who have become a disciple a way to be encouraged and to be trained actually we're doing it tonight and my just described teaching you from the scriptures or in the morning services is what the chief purpose of the local church is is to strengthen the disciples it's not to entertain them it's not to organize their socialization generally speaking if you let that happen naturally it's better for the church but if you try and regiment everything they've got to do it always has a bad effect i've seen churches where they give so many instructions as to how you are to be discipled that eventually it causes a bad result that you can't force people to learn but you do have to provide resources strengthening the souls of the disciples encouraging them to continue in the faith and if you've had a time when you came to christ and um you knew that you knew that something had happened and you you are a christian but you've had a lot of ups and downs don't be surprised at that because you landed into a battle there is an enemy the forces of darkness would like to talk you out of being a christian or make it difficult for you to face all that is involved in your relationships when now that people find out you've made this funny step of going to church and or there'll be things that come against you and we've been talking recently in our morning service about the church and i've been talking about the church and i've been talking about services about the fact that it's one of the signs that you are a real disciple that you get persecuted rejoice said jesus and be glad because so they persecuted the prophets before you and other people so they persecuted him and jesus talked much about the fact that what happened to him is what you can expect to happen to you when you take on board his leadership and so they need to be encouraged to continue in the faith and the part of that is what we do and we have home groups and i want to say a word of encouragement if you've got a youth thing to be well that is your homework as it were but if you don't have or if you've grown out of the age where they're the age that you are then find a home group and go along and learn if the style is not your style there are different ones and they all have good points and we actually have in our church some very effective home groups so they do some different things but they're all very effective and they're all very effective and they're all very they're worth investigating and on tuesday nights wednesday nights and friday nights when they largely meet but we're going to always be generating new opportunities and home groups because it's a part of how you help the disciples to go grow past the time of being a baby disciple and the danger of the enemy coming and snatching you back encouraging them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must end the world and end the world and end the world and that isn't necessarily the truth but we need to settle on this point and make it official we must making our roadiry ready for our будущes to make our way that we'll be living a wonderful world that year way into these days and we'll see what happens other things are important and also important when you talk about bringing that spirit that you've laid in that house and taking on doctors and getting something recently that's pretty important to the kind of spiritual development you want to see the 12th verse for the work of the providence the theme is holy infallibility with dominion within us is this your goal to get your life to that started God and God be said i was a Christ in one of Brandon's hands of God is also talked about in the scriptures as being the final time when Christ returns to the earth, eventually when people are going to be taken to heaven. So we're all heading towards a future kingdom while we're presently in a kingdom now. And that idea that the presence here amongst us, the kingdom is, and also that one day we'll get into it, is how the scriptures often talk. That caused the theologians and the church leaders to often have differing opinions and not sure how to deal with the fact of the kingdom of God being something we're in now, the moment you come to Jesus, or the kingdom is going to be when you get to heaven. Both are true. And that was resolved by one theologian who came up with the idea about the kingdom now, but not yet. And his formula of talking about it being now means what happens when you first become converted, when you become a Christian, you're in it now. But the not yet is where you're heading to at the end of the age. And Jesus returns when he comes back the second time, is going to be eventually to gather us into the kingdom as in heaven. But that's not yet. But it is actually the same kingdom. But the spirit of that kingdom we get in now, the actual final unwrapping of it all, is when we'll be in glory with Jesus. And so you have to, every time you see it in the scriptures somewhere, work out which time he means. I would take this to mean, when it says, we're looking at the words, it's saying that through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God. There will be an application of the difficulty of becoming a Christian and the hiccup it produces amongst you and your family and your friends. I think you can't deny that application. But I also think that Jesus has in mind that the end result of people being turned into disciples is when they get to glory. And that's not going to happen except that in the time that's left here on earth, you as a Christian are offside from the worldly systems that will be annoyed at your presence. And so becoming a Christian lands you as the enemy of the local rulership. Now I don't mean the rulership of our politics, although sometimes you might think that. I mean the spiritual forces that the Bible talks about, that is trying to pull the strings of society, that what's causing the fighting in Israel, what's causing there to be problems that happen in society, what causes the evil that's everywhere. You don't have to listen to the Bible. You just look back into history, very far to see just how terrible is the human existence in this world that always has been, because we're in the time where the evil one is about, and he has his kingdom and you've landed yourself by getting converted in the Lord's kingdom. And of course it's going to be contested. That's why you get tribulations, but you won't get into the final kingdom of God where everything's wonderful in heaven and everything is at peace. Except. will be tribulations in between that's what it's saying through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of god now one of the most important things in following up people who've become christians is to give them a bit of a warning you'd be amazed how many of folk who've decided to become a christian have got some set idea in their head this will solve everything i'm going to have a wonderful life now i've become a christian god will be with me everything will be peaceful and then something happens a good friend leaves them and says you're boring or they find that there's in the families their families upsets that occur the devil walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and if there's a christian family he'll be pacing around to see if he can give him some problems don't be surprised if problems come it doesn't mean that you're a bad bunch it's because you're a bad bunch you're a bad bunch in a spiritual warfare and through many tribulations do we get to the conclusion of the whole story which is when we go to be with jesus in in heaven so you have to tell people and warn them about the nature of spiritual battles and if you have a church that works on very nice programs and makes possible for people to become christians and gets them to have a nice christian life and they all think that thing's going to be wonderful from now on eventually those poor people find these tribulations are getting to them find difficulties the devil gets in and makes fights between good friends don't be surprised at what happens amongst good people because we are in a battle and i'm glad that in paul's method of discipleship he didn't leave them naive but he told them that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of god and one of the best things you can do for someone who's newly come to christ is not to let them think they're going to be a great success it's all going to be easy and they go soft soaring because then when they get it doesn't work out so well they sometimes crash too hard but to tell them that it is a fight and you've got to gradually learn to to toughen up you've got to gradually learn to do as ephesians 4 talks about knowing the full armor of god you're in a battle there's a spiritual armor of course we're talking about and uh only by warning people that they need to be doing some learning how to use the equipment it talks about the sword of the spirit being your chief defense weapon the sword of the spirit is also how you can be on the attack with the gospel but learning how to quote the bible learning how to use the scriptures to help you recover when you've had a bad time is a part of what we should do with those who have been made disciples and if you don't warn them then you're probably going to probably have a an attrition rate of people dropping out now they're still converted but they've been wounded and they're lying wounded somewhere in the society and when he had appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them to the lord and whom they had believed so there's people who've become christians and the final thing paul does because he's about to take off and go to the next town is to appoint local people who can take care of them and they're going to be a great success and they're going to be a great example of the newly come disciples now i'm not going into what exactly is an elder but the fact that he didn't leave them without folk to help them and you'll have some churches where it's one name given to the people who are the helpers and another church they'll call them something different but it's not the name i'm emphasizing here as much as it is the paul's method of discipleship was not to leave the disciples without some resources in terms of more experienced people who are able to help them and who are able to help them and who are able to help them and who are able to get alongside them one of the wonderful things wonderful things about our church you see on sunday mornings now when there's all sorts of people here and the service finishes and then people don't leave i get tired in the morning services and i want to go home but you know what i can't because there's too much opportunity here i do stay for some time but i want to tell you that it's important what our church does is it's important to do what our church does one person talking to another i saw that this morning where the purpose of what we had after the service was to do with muku and thanking the church and also the baptism the dedication of her third child whose name is nados right which was very nice the meaning of nados was a little one that will provides great joy and also needs to be nourished i can't remember how she said it but what a wonderful thing for all of us to share and but in that time there were some and i walked around watching what was going on and there were people who were having this happen to them this morning and that's a fantastic thing so when they'd appointed elders for them they saw that there's a follow-up available in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them to the lord that's them i take to be the converts but there's nothing to say that they wouldn't be committing the elders to the Lord either in whom they had trusted to do the job. You can take the word believed to mean trusted. So Paul's method of discipleship was not only to do it with the power of the gospel but also to commend the process of the follow-up to the local assemblies to do. And it's wonderful that we have in the scriptures not only the commands to do things but we also got the blueprint as to how it can be done and here with the Apostle Paul we have that right in front of us. Let's have a word of prayer. Heavenly Father thank you for the night and for the chance to look at Paul's method of discipleship. Thank you for the powerful message that those apostles had. The message that was an effective message that not only told what to do but that it produced the result as well. The kingdom of God was spread by the proclamation of the gospel. Lord, we pray that in all the organisations of Christianity whether it be churches, baptist unions, denominational things, mission organisations that you would give them all a very good renewal lesson. That the way they do making disciples is through an effective message that does it for you, the proclamation. And we pray that you would tell some of those organisations because the devil gets in and talks them into other agenda if he can and talk them again to see that the way they'll achieve their result is by using this effective message that produces its own result. Help us to find a place to participate in the spread of the gospel. Bless those who do go down to the Gold Coast or to the Sunnish Coast. We are involved in talking to people like school leavers. We pray that you'll empower them. I think of a few that and I pray for Alana who's involved in that in Power to Change and Lord there's others through things that Scripture Union puts on. Lord, you put your hand on these efforts to take this wonderful message that has its own power and to deliver it with a whole lot of different ways. Be with those Heavenly Father who are working on our behalf overseas. I think of Bethany, Lord who is there in a foreign land and we pray for you to strengthen her. I don't think she's back yet but when she does would you be with her. Bless those who Lord do work amongst our students and for those who work in the schools for the O'Halloran girl, I'm not sure her first name, in our local school. Strengthen her in chaplaincy and for all those who seek to be a presence in the world. Father, we pray for those who are teachers. And Lord who are working overseas whether it be in a Christian country or to be in one where actually it's not necessarily first Christian. We pray for Heavenly Father for those who are in Taiwan and we think about some those who've gone from here and we pray Lord for Jess and for her husband whose name I've forgotten. Anyway we pray that you'll be with them in Taiwan. And Lord for others who likewise are serving you. I think Lord about up there in Chinchilla where we have two of our young people now married but they're serving you and seeking to bless that town. We think Lord about the town of Warwick. Lord where we have people there too and we ask Lord that your Holy Spirit will strengthen them. Even though they're away from us we pray that you'll put your hand upon them and help them understand that the message of the gospel isn't just a set of facts to use but it is a message that is powerful in its own effect and can be the one that causes people to become disciples. Thank you for tonight in Jesus name. Amen.

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