Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Discipleship #1: How a Church Grows

Crowds or Disciples?

Though the crowds following Jesus are huge as they are impressed with His miracles,  Jesus chooses to focus His attention on His disciples, rather than the crowds.  He is constantly teaching His disciples and some of the crowd overhears His teachings.  You’ll find throughout the Gospels that the crowds usually fell away whenever Jesus taught.  They did not like what He had to say.  Jesus never sought for crowds.  Rather the crowds sought after Him for the miracles of healing and being fed.

Why did Jesus focus all His attention on His disciples?

The reason Jesus focused His attention on His disciples, rather than the crowds is because Jesus is in the process of building His church and He knows the best way to do it.   He understands that duplication is better than simply additions.  That’s the lesson of this story in Luke 12.

Addition or Duplication?

Let me illustrate this lesson with some figures. Supposing a church had 100 new visitors every Sunday.  That would be quite exciting! If that continued for a year, that would be 5,200 new visitors.  Supposing that continued for ten years.  That would total 52,000 visitors in ten years. Sounds like success, does it not?  If in ten years, no one was saved or discipled, that would be a net gain of ZERO.

On the other hand, if you or I concentrate all our efforts on teaching others to teach others as Paul taught Timothy in II Timothy 2:2, Christ’s church will grow by leaps and bounds.  Suppose we concentrated on discipling only five people.  At the end of the first year there would be 6 disciples who are on fire and ready to win and disciple others for Christ.  

With each one discipling only 5 people,  at the end of the second year there  would be 30 of us. 

After three years there would be 150 of us.

After four years there would be  750 of us.

After five years there would be 3,750 of us.

After six years there would be 18,750 of us.

After seven years there would be 93,750 of us.

After eight years there would be 468,750 of us.

After nine years there would be 2,343,750 of us.

At the end of ten years we would be over 11 million strong.

One major problem with these figures.

Wherever God is at work, Satan is there also using others to contaminate us and neutralize our efforts to win and disciple others.  In fact each of us are either on Christ’s team or Satan’s team. We are either seeking to work with Christ to build His Church or we are being used by Satan to hinder, discourage and destroy Christ’s Church.

That’s the reason Jesus spent so much time with His disciples, teaching them, warning them and inoculating them against the leaven of hypocrisy, unbelief and worldiness of His Church. There are other  concerns Jesus shares with His disciples, but we will get to them as we continue to explore Luke 12.

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September 14, 2006 - Posted by | Discipleship

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