Learning More About Discipleship

One major characteristic of a Disciple is to love one another. We heard early in our Christian walk that love is an action, not just a feeling. In this week’s podcast, Pauly and Alan discuss how to take action and love unconditionally. Listen now to learn more!

[00:00:05] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller. In this podcast series, Alan and I will discuss material adapted from our book, The Marital Mystery Tour. Join us as we share practical steps to put into action God’s principles from his word. One step at a time.

Alan [00:00:29] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Polly Heller. Hi, Polly.

Pauly [00:00:33] Hello.

Alan [00:00:34] We always like having her around.

Pauly [00:00:36] Oh, yes.

Alan [00:00:37] So here’s what Paul says, “So naturally, we proclaim Christ, we warn everyone we meet and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him so that if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Jesus Christ. This is what I am working at all the time with all the strength that God gives me.” And that’s Colossians 1:29-29 in the Phillips version. So it’s helping people come to know Christ, but then he’s doing everything he can to bring them to maturity Pauly. And that’s what I think we’re talking about when we’re talking about discipleship.

Pauly [00:01:20] Well, that’s true, Alan, because we have a responsibility as a discipler to help people that we lead to Christ to grow in their relationship with Christ. And if somebody comes into our life who is new in the faith, maybe we didn’t lead them to the Lord, but they’re new in their faith and they need somebody to walk alongside them. We have a calling from God to walk with them and to help them walk through that.

Alan [00:01:58] So you think of a little baby infant. If a baby was brought home from the hospital and just left to its own devices, it couldn’t eat. It couldn’t change itself. I mean, eventually it would die. I mean, it needs somebody to care. And even in Peter first, Peter, it says that he compares that like a newborn babe. You need to long for the pure milk of the word. And I don’t know about you. If you’ve had children when they were hungry, they let mama know, screaming their heads off until mama gave her breast and gave some milk.

Pauly [00:02:38] All right. But you don’t take that newborn baby and say, oh, here’s a steak or here’s a really yummy salad or chew on this carrot. You know, they’re not ready for that.

Alan [00:02:50] Right. So we’ve been talking about the characteristics of a disciple and the actions. Last time we talked about the actions that stop people from becoming disciples, it could be something from the world system that squeezes us into its mold, which could be material things. It could be a person, it could be my background. It could be a lack of faith in believing that God will in, you know, the gal that pointed me to, the person that led me to Christ. She was just afraid she wouldn’t have a husband. And so she went back to the person that did not know the Lord and shipwrecked her faith. All right. There are other people that in my life over the years where I just saw somebody who, you know, is a disciple. They’re faithful, available, teachable. They’re wanting to be. Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ. He didn’t say, follow me, cause I’m perfect. And so there were two people very good at leadership, but one was centered around God and the other guy was center around. He had a secret sin of pornography and was destroying his life. But his skills to be able to help me at work were great. But in the midst of it, those were the things that were eating at his soul and eventually that turned around. But a disciple is faithful, available, teachable and willing to obey and do the things that God calls him to do. A disciple needs to come under the authority of a disciple or not that the Cycler is always right. But temporarily he is the authority that God is using in a disciples wife. And we said the definition of a disciple is a learner, or a pupil needs to be a balance of context of one on one disciple making, as well as being in a group with other people that you work with. It needs to be in the context of a local church. And I think sometimes we have a hard time, especially lately we’ve seen a lot of leaders in the church that are national figures that are falling and recanting their faith. And again, our need as a follower of Jesus is to look to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross. And so our focus and what I’ve found that helps me, Pauly, over the years is to focus on here’s what the word says. Here’s what the Lord says. I don’t know where to put where this person is when they’re recanting their faith after 20 or 30 years and divorcing their wife or they’ve had a ministry to hundreds of thousands or even millions of people over the years in a big organization and radio ministry, TV ministry conferences of hundreds of thousands of people, satellites, all this stuff, and then we find out their sexual indiscretions or whatever. Even though here’s what Howard Hendricks used to say, the blessing of God is on his word, not necessarily the person that’s preaching it. And that’s a little difficult to deal with because the people are so real and we’ve trusted and we’ve put our faith in them because they’re preaching the word and they’re doing the word. And then we hear that they’re recanting the word. And so that’s a very difficult place.

Pauly [00:06:35] Yeah, that’s hard. Part of it is that with all of our social media and our television, people get so much more exposure to so many more people than even like Jesus fed the 5000. So how what was his largest audience ever when he was speaking live to a group of people, maybe 5000 people, and any one of us can put out a video on YouTube and have many, many, many more views on YouTube than Jesus that had at one time when he was speaking. So because of that massive amount of exposure, so many audiences can see what somebody is saying, hear what somebody is saying. And it can really cause somebody’s ego to get very, very puffed up in their picture of themselves to get distorted.

Alan [00:07:48] Not only that, I mean, somebody said that for those of us in ministry and who are very successful, the target is much bigger for the enemy. So it’s not always the pride of the person that’s causing them to fall. Sometimes there are attacks from the enemy as well. And temptations that they may fall to.

Pauly [00:08:09] And the fact that if somebody is exposed as having a sin in their life at some point in their life or in some area of their life, that doesn’t mean that they are no longer a Christian or a believer. The word makes it very clear that these people need to be restored. And God’s heart is for for people to be restored after they’ve gone through a period of confessing their sin and repenting of their sin and going through a process of recanting their not their faith, but their sin and coming back to a place of walking with the Lord again. And that’s just what we all need to do. It’s just that we don’t all have audiences of millions of people following us and being affected by us. And the hard, sad thing is people now who are completely recanting their faith and walking away because they no longer agree with a certain piece or part or teaching of Christ and that another entire topic. But one of the things that I was wanting to talk about when we were talking about teaching faithful men or women is a situation that I ran into with a woman that I was discipling who was going along well and which was still fairly young in her faith. When her husband was unfaithful to her and she could not forgive him, and I told her that she needed to forgive him. She didn’t want to because of her own history and her own background with a father who had been unfaithful to her mother. And though she had grown up with a bitterness toward men who are unfaithful and, you know.

Alan [00:10:16] I mean, that’s pretty normal, right?

Pauly [00:10:19] Of course. But it was her flesh and yet her husband needed to be disciplined for what he had done, he needed to change his ways and to ask forgiveness and to go through his own process of forgiveness and restoration. But as he was going through that, she absolutely refused to forgive him. And I could see that I couldn’t break through that barrier in her life. And I knew even though I had led her to the Lord, I couldn’t disciple her any longer because this was such a major stopping point in her life. And she thought that if she forgave him, then she was completely letting him off the hook and he was making a fool of her. And all of that stuff. At some point I just had to release her and say, OK, Lord, you have to deal with her in this area and her life. And even though I still love her and I talk with her occasionally, I cannot say that she is my disciple.

Alan [00:11:34] Right. And I mean, one person waters, one plants, and God gets the increase. And I think that needs to be the attitude of us as disciplers. And I’d like to do a series of podcasts on what makes a disciple or what is a good disciple. And what are some of those characteristics. And one of them is that it’s not about you. Again, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. The first sentence is it’s not about you. It’s about what God’s doing in people’s lives, not about what we’re building or what we think. You know, it’s a intoxicating thing to see people’s lives changed unbelievably and go from darkness to light. But it’s not about us. It’s about the word of God and the spirit of God and God himself, drawing that person into that relationship. And so you do whatever you can. You know, we knew a couple one time there was you know, the wife was in our house all the time and raised kids together. And we’re in the same Sunday school class, in the same church and the same activities that we did together. And one time we went on a retreat with them and the husband opened up about something that was very difficult for him to share about. And we came back from that weekend after knowing these people for about, I don’t know, five or six years and just totally being entwined in our lives. And we were wondering why she didn’t get in touch with you. And the next thing we heard was my husband told you told me, do not talk to me. And so the shame of his past, instead of unlocking a door and him walking through it, he slammed the door shut. And we no longer had a relationship until later on. God allowed us to bring it back. Which reminds me of, you know, Paul and Barnabas having their great disagreement over John, Mark and Paul saying, you know, he’s not useful for the ministry. He turned his back on me and then Barnabas said, no. He’s useful for the ministry. I’ll take him. And then later on, Paul says, yes, he is useful for the ministry. So I think we need to take people. You know, somebody said we should look at what’s going on in the segment of life. This segment of life may be a shipwreck and terrible, but possibly they may repent, they may recant and go back to their first love.

Pauly [00:14:04] Well, I think, again, of the illustration that we gave earlier about the rich young ruler coming up to Jesus and Jesus saying, well, you just need to sell everything that you have and come and follow me. And he was like, what? I mean, you hit on the one thing. You know, my security is in my wealth. My security is in all of these things that I have. And you’re asking me to get rid of all that. Can I just come and follow you without having to do that? And Jesus loved him. He looked on him with love and compassion because he knew that this was the one thing that was going to be hardest for this guy to give up and follow him. And I think of of my friend who could not forgive her husband, that was too much. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have salvation. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love the Lord. But it just means that in terms of being a disciple, she limited her growth because she couldn’t forgive in this area. And that’s as far as she can grow. She can’t go beyond that point until she’s willing to release that.

Alan [00:15:20] So we’ve been talking about characteristics of a disciple and we talked about the fact. Discipleship is not just sitting over coffee and talking, although it may involve that it’s not an intellectual experience, it’s not a program or a 13 weeks, and then you’re done. We talked about what is a disciple. It’s a trained person who’s taught by somebody. You put yourself under the authority of that person to teach you. And certainly you’ll have other people that will teach as well. But this is an intentional thing that you’re doing and experience that you’re doing. And we talked about being a God pleaser, or being diligent, having a heart for God. Being available. Being transparent. We talked about illustrations of what stops a person from becoming a disciple and going all the way. And we talked about 2 Timothy 22 to where it says teach faithful men and of course, men and women who will teach others also. And so that the ultimate goal is, you know, Paul taught Timothy. Timothy taught faithful men and women and then they taught others. And so the whole goal of our disciple making process is to see others winning people to Christ, knowing that they have a relationship with him and then training them to be able to share with others so that they can come to know the Lord and live a life that’s pleasing to him. And of course, John 10:10 says he came, that they might give you life and give it abundantly. If you’ve never received Christ, if you’ve never invited him into your life, that’s the first step of being a disciple to know. Jesus, said I came, that you might have life and have it abundantly. He also in Romans. We read that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that God demonstrated his own love toward us than that while we were yet sinners. He died for us, and that he wants to have a relationship with us. And he says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And he says, Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord. And so if you want to do that right now, let’s just pray. And, Lord, there’s somebody out there that wants to come to know you today. And they don’t know quite how to do it. But, Lord, you just said confess with your mouth. Believe in your heart, and you will be saved. Lord, I pray right now that they will ask you to forgive them of their sins, to bring them to a knowledge of you, that they’ll start reading your word and going to a place of worship where they can have others who will come and disciple them. So help us to be the kind of people you want us to be and repent of our sin and have you come into our life. And you say you are faithful to forgive all our sin in Jesus name. Amen. If you prayed that prayer, please get in touch with heart and soul or walk and talk. You can just get in touch with us by going to our web site walkandtalk.org. It’s been a great time talking about discipleship. Next time we want to talk a little bit about what it means to be a disciple maker and also review a little bit about what it costs to be a disciple. So keep walking your talk and we’ll see you next time.

Pauly [00:18:57] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Pauly 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.

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