Learn more about what it takes to be a disciple in this podcast
Note: Below is a transcription of this Walking Our Talk podcast. Please excuse any grammatical or punctuation flaws, as the transcription is a written version of our fluid conversation.
Pauly [00:00:07] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller. Join our conversation as we discuss practical ways to apply spiritual principles to your everyday life and help you walk your talk – one step at a time.
Alan [00:00:29] This is Alan Heller as we walk our talk and Pauly Heller. Today, we’re going to be talking about discipleship. Three men that I respect that have different sorts of views and some similar views on what it means, what it means to be a disciple. And then we’re going to talk today also about what it takes to be a disciple-maker. How do you do that? So first, we’ll talk about Howard Hendricks. He gave a message one time talking about what it means to be a disciple. And he said that Gallup in the 70s did a poll which talked about, you know, is when everybody was Chuck Colson wrote his book called Born Again and Born Again was a big slogan said in the 70s and the 80s. And Gallup did this poll where the number of people that attended church was greater than it had ever been. People that said the Bible was the word of God just more than has ever been. People who believed in heaven and hell more than they had ever been recorded and that they had a born again experience. The only problem was he made a conclusion at the end of his study that said never before has the gospel made such inroads and yet makes so little difference in how people live. So here everybody says that they’re born again, that they believe in the word. But they’re not living like it.
Pauly [00:02:02] Very trendy to be born again.
Alan [00:02:04] Exactly. And so he went on to talk. Howard Hendricks went on to talk about and he was the used to be the chancellor of Dallas Seminary or the honorary dean or something like that in his last years. But at one time, he was the head of the Christian Education Department at Dallas Seminary. And here are the three things he talked about, being a disciple. And I just thought they were very good, an unrivaled commitment. He has to be first in everything that God or Jesus has to be first. And everything that we talked about this in another podcast, he talked about that Jesus made an exaggerated contrast when he said, you need to hate your father, mother, sister and brother, basically saying there cannot be a rival anywhere in terms of your relationship with the Lord. And then he talked about unceasing cross-bearing. Pick up your cross and follow me that Jesus comes before self. What is your cross? It’s not just a physical illness or it’s not just the hard person you have to deal with or the person you’re married to. Picking up your cross means putting down your self, life and your flesh and following the Lord. There are those who will say at the last of their life, God will say to them, thy will be done. And there are other people that he will say, My will be done. And then the last one is unreserved cost. Christ must come before others, self and the things that we possess or our prestige or power that we might have. We need to give up everything or we cannot be his disciple is what he said in Luke: Chapter 14. So unrivaled commitment, unceasing cross-bearing, and unreserved cost. Matthew 16 says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”. We are building and we are battling. And we need people who won’t quit and won’t allow anything to stop them. And the only way that we can be disciples like that, of course, Pauly, is to have the Holy Spirit being filled in, are being filled with always spirit and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And then Galatians says, “Don’t walk after the flash. And then you will walk after the spirit.”
Pauly [00:04:54] Yeah. That is so true, Alan. I love that idea of having an unrivaled commitment to Christ. If Christ is first in your life, that’s not the same thing as church being first in your life or your ministry being first in your life. Part of making Christ first in your life is being filled with his Holy Spirit because that is his command to us to be filled with the spirit. He sent the Holy Spirit to us to be our Paraclete, which means to walk alongside. He’s the one who came to take the place of Christ as God in us, God in the world. And so his Holy Spirit now speaks to us individually and communally and part of being a disciple is learning how to be led by the spirit of God and some of being led by the spirit. And having our commitment to Christ be first is listening to what he is telling us to do and not to do. And sometimes church can lay demands on us that aren’t necessarily what Christ wants for us. And we have a hard time saying, no, we need to know what is Jesus saying to me? That for me to say yes to as well as for me to say no to. Sometimes it means yes, you need to get out of bed. You need to go and get to church early. You need to do this.
Alan [00:06:45] I like that one, can you do that one?
Pauly [00:06:45] But you need to get up and go and do. And sometimes the spirit might say in what looks to be the same circumstance, the spirit might say, no, you need to stay home and spend time with me or focus on your family or be available to your spouse. And you can’t know that if you’re looking for just a yes and no rule. Like every time that somebody asks me to do something, I need to say yes.
Alan [00:07:17] And I think being a disciple and a disciple-maker, which we’ll talk about next time, but being a disciple-maker, you need to be principle-based about scripture, not just every little thing, trying to find an answer for every little thing.
Pauly [00:07:37] In this situation, you do A or you do B.
Alan [00:07:39] So here’s what it says in the Book of Acts, Chapter: 1 “And being assembled together with them. He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said, You have heard from Me for John, truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel? And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put into his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses. You will tell other people about me, too. In Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the Earth.” So it’s the power of the spirit that’s going to see people come into God’s kingdom and then be discipled by you.
Pauly [00:08:43] That’s right. Because we can end up doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. We can serve and serve and serve in the children’s Sunday school ministry. And it makes me feel so good about myself because I’m giving so much time to these children or I’m visiting sick people or I’m making meals and I feel so good about myself because I’m doing that. Well, that’s doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Not that you’re not supposed to feel good about yourself, but your main objective is to be serving Christ, to be doing what God wants you to do, and that there’s a very subtle difference in that, that other people might not even be able to see. But if you are being discipled by someone that the person who’s discipling you might say, “so how are things going with the children’s ministry?” “Oh, they’re going great. I just love these kids. I feel so good about it.” And, you know, and on and on and. Well, what if God was wanting you to take a break from that for a while so you can focus on other things? Oh, I could never do that. I’m just saying that a good discipler. Will be able to ask you the questions that will cause you to examine your own heart and your own motives and say to you, you know, let’s go a little deeper into this. What do you think Jesus really wants you to be doing here? Is this the best use of your time? Is this the best use of your spiritual gift. Is this really building in you the characteristics that God has for you? Kind of going back to the humility and the meekness that you were talking about before.
Alan [00:10:43] Or one of the things that will happen if you’re using your gifts and abilities and if you’re truly walking in the spirit, you’re going to see fruit. You’re going to see people coming to know him. You’re going to see people being blessed by your ministry. And so it’s not that we’re saying don’t do ministry or don’t do what you feel good about doing. It’s just is it directed by the Holy Spirit?
Pauly [00:11:07] Right. There’s a balance.
Alan [00:11:08] Let me just. Another great article about discipleship. I read about was Greg Laurie mentions in his article about the requirements for discipleship. His number one was love God more than anyone else, which is what we’ve already talked about. Number two was deny yourself and take up your cross. That sounds familiar because, in Luke 14:27, it says, “and whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. And if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” That’s Luke 9:23. So again, cross-bearing. And then three was forsake all that you have. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has. Cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33. To forsake means to surrender your claim to, to say goodbye to it. Until I recognize that everything I have belongs to Jesus Christ. I’m not his disciple. Consider Jesus encounter with the rich young ruler, which we’ve talked about. What must I do to inherit eternal life? And he said, sell all you have. And so, again, forsaking everything for the Lord, you’ll lose things. But, you know, he says if you don’t lose your life, you can’t find it. You lose your life in Christ life, which means you take on a new identity. And we haven’t talked love to do a series on what does it mean to be identified with Christ and no longer Galatians 2:20 says, “it’s no longer I who live, but it’s the life I now live. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” And so, you know, we can’t learn everything all at the same time. But you got to start somewhere. The fourth thing Greg Laurie talked about was counting the cost. Luke 14:28, “For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down and first count the cost. Whether he has enough to finish it.” Jesus underlines the importance of counting the cost of a disciple of discipleship. Many people make impulse purchases without even considering the cost. Or they rush into marriage or career. Sadly, some do the same in their commitment to Christ. So the point is illustrated in Luke 9:57-58. Now, what happened is that they journeyed on the road that someone said to him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes. Birds of the air have nests. But the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. So the man in the story did not even wait to be called. He hastily volunteered. He seemed to have a good heart, but he was impulsive. And so counting the cost and telling. You know, when I first was asked to be a disciple of my friend Joe when back in college. And it was I talked about this in an earlier podcast that he basically sat me down at what we called the Beveridge Center, which is sort of the place where you got snacks and stuff on campus in the Student Union Building. So, Joe sat me down and he says, I’m the new guy in town here. And I just want to ask you some questions. And so he opened to Luke, where he talked about the parable of the sower and the seeds and the good soil and, you know, said some of the seed fell on hard pan and just got scorched and some fell on and you know, where it grew up and the thorns and thistles and the cares of the world got in the way. And and he says, what kind of soil do you want to be? He said, there’s the good soil that, you know, the seed was planted and it grew and became Life-Giving fruit. And so I said, of course, I want to be good soil. Well, here’s what you have to do. And so he gave me some assignments and things that I needed to do in order to be a little bit more committed to my relationship with God. And I am very thankful that he did that. And I couldn’t really do all the requirements that Joe had for me about going out and sharing my faith in the dorms and stuff. I worked out three or four hours a day, five to six days a week, and I just didn’t have the time that maybe some other students had. But he was willing to let me be a disciple and become a part of this growth group that he had called an action group. And he saw the potential in me. And that was a good lesson. And I think Jesus saw the potential in peter, even though he said, I won’t deny you and did deny you did deny him. And he said on this little pebble, I will build my church. He Peter was Petrus, which was Pebble. And then and he turned into a rock. And the church was built on his testimony of who God was. And so even though he failed, Jesus and Jesus had to ask him, Do you love me, Peter? And he said, Of course I love you. And he had to ask him three times. Do you really love me? Do you love me more than anything else in the world? And he said, Feed my sheep. So the last one I want to talk about before we end our time is a classic, the master plan of evangelism, Rodge Robert E. Coleman. And you can get that, you know, in any on Amazon or whatever. But he has a careful study of Christ’s life and strategy to reach the world. Involve the following principles of discipleship. So his first one was selection. He carefully selected a few key men as disciples and he prayed for them. He actually fasted and prayed all night. And then so selection and then association. He gave extensive personal attention to his disciples, which we’ve talked about already, consecration. He taught his disciples progressively more of the demands of following him. In other words, they knew what it was to believe in him. And then he taught him more about accountability and obeying what he said. Importation is the next one. He emphasized to his disciples the essential role of the Holy Spirit, which is what we just talked about. And then demonstration. He modeled what it was he was talking about. And of course, we talk about Jesus model is he did it. Then he asked them to come and do it with him. Then he asked them to do it while he supervised them. And then he just let them do it. And so that’s really a great model for discipleship, going with your discipleship and disciple and showing him what to do or her and then doing it with them and critiquing, then letting them do it and then letting them go and do it on their own. And he sent out Jesus sent out, and they came back all excited that demons were subject to them. And they were just excited about this ministry experience. And Jesus said, just be thankful your name is read in the Book of Life. So that’s that humility that we’ve talked about. Then the next one was supervision. He provided alternating instruction and application, giving encouragement and correction and then giving them new assignments. That’s in Mark 6:30 and Luke 9:10. And then lastly is reproduction. He always kept before them. The goal of reproducing his likeness in others. So that’s in, John, 15:16. So the whole thing is follow me as I follow Christ, not follow me as I go into a brick wall. And so any last words about discipleship or what it takes Pauly and what encouragement would you give to somebody who wants to be a disciple?
Pauly [00:19:42] I think the main thing to keep in mind is that being a Christian is being a follower of Christ and that everything that we need is in Him. And he provides us all that we need for life and godliness. And that begins with our following Him into death to ourselves and into the resurrection power of His Holy Spirit. And He and anything that He calls us to do, He will do. In us and through us. And there’s nothing that he will ask us to do that He will not do Himself well.
Alan [00:20:28] Right. He’s given us the power and authority. And I think sometimes we forget that it’s him who gives us that power and authority. It’s not us. And so he said all authority has been given to me. Go and make disciples. And so that’s God’s call on each of us. And we hope, you know, the name of our program is Walking Our Talk. And we’re hoping that these lessons are helping you walk your talk in the Lord. And if you want any more information, just go to walkandtalk.org. It’s been great to be with you. We look forward to talking about what it takes to be a disciple-maker, next time.
Pauly [00:21:15] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Paulie Heller, where we put into action those principles. We know from God’s word one step at a time. You can find more help at our web site: walkandtalk.org