Gospel-Centered Discipleship

Nuclear FissionConsider for a moment the physics of an atomic bomb.  The process that leads to the massive explosive force is called nuclear fission.  In order for this reaction to take place a single atom of a heavy element like Uranium or Plutonium must be split into two lighter elements which in turn will cause two major effects.  The first is a release of subatomic particles (neutrons) that impact other atoms causing them to split and trigger a chain reaction.  The second is a release of energy that occurs each time an atom of the heavy element is split.  The potency of the bomb depends upon the creation of a chain reaction in which millions and even billions atoms split, release energy and cause others to split.  When this occurs the energy of each splitting atom combines to make a massive amount power and explosive force.

What a great metaphor for Gospel Centered Discipleship.

Consider the picture of discipleship Paul implements in 2 Timothy 2:1-2:  “you therefore my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

A simple reading of this passage reveals that Paul understood the massive impact that would result as Timothy (Titus, Luke, and others he discipled) not only grounded himself in the Gospel but then multiplied his efforts by sharing the Gospel with the lost and then raising them up into disciples who would likewise ground themselves in the Gospel, share the good news, and teach others to do the same.

Consider the impact of this simple model of discipleship in comparison to mass evangelism efforts devoid of a strong emphasis on multiplicational discipleship.  In the following chart the column on the left represents the impact of a person who leads a single person to Christ everyday for the rest of his or her life. The column on the right represents the impact of a person who only leads one person to Christ every six months, but then disciples that person and teaches him or her to lead others to Christ and disciple them to reach and disciple others at the same pace.

Number of “CONVERTS” (1 converted each day) Number of “DISCIPLES”

(1 discipled each 6 months)

1                              To start                                               1

183                           ½ year                                              2

365                           1 year                                                 4

548                          1½ years                                           8

730                         2 years                                               16

1,095                     3 years                                                64

1,460                    4 years                                                256

1,825                    5 years                                              1,024

2,190                    6 years                                               4,096

2,920                    8 years                                             65,530

3,650                    10 years                                      1,048,576

4,380                    12 years                                     16,777,216

5110                       14 years                                     67,108,864

5840                      16 years                                  268,435,456

6570                      18 years                                1,073,741,824

7300                      20 years                               4,294,967,296

8030                      22 years                             17,179,869,184

Jesus’ Command to Make Disciples

It should come as no surprise, then, that when Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 he did not command his followers to make “converts” or simply stand in pulpits and preach the message of salvation.  He told them to “make disciples.”  In His words “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus and Paul both knew that emphasizing and implementing Gospel centered discipleship was necessary to  cause the kind of chain reaction that would have a worldwide impact of massive potency.

A further study of 2 Timothy would show us  that some of the basic necessary elements are a Gospel centered discipleship include a commitment to the purity of the doctrines of the faith, and the commitment to impart and equip future generations of faithful men to become mature and ministering worshippers of God.

When these elements of discipleship are driven by the Holy Spirit suddenly not only are massive numbers of people coming to saving faith but those individuals coming to Christ mature in the Word and in obedience to God, and begin to share with others the Gospel message. As another person receives the Good News, he or she is trained and equipped to become a mature and ministering worshipper of God who in turn, tells another of new life in Christ and then works to equip that individual to become a mature and ministering worshipper of God.  This spiritual multiplication can then change a world.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging aspects of this command to make disciples is the reality that each one of us can be the founding catalyst of many spiritual generations of disciples. Each person’s life has an incalculable potential to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

So how does this relate to masculinity?

God has called men to a high calling: to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and to make disciples who make disciples. The Great Commission is a Great Responsibility and it will need Great Men to take up the call, done in the strength that is found in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:2).  One of the greatest practices of masculinity is carrying out the Great Commission and making an impact for the King in the advancement of his Kingdom.

Check out the full sermon here.