Disciplemaking - Lesson 12

How the World Sees that Inner Work

In this class, Joe Handley discusses the importance of becoming a disciple of Jesus and displaying the characteristics that reflect his goodness to the world. The process of becoming a disciple involves abiding in Christ, putting on Christ's commandment to love God, and displaying the fruit of the Spirit, such as humility, integrity, and generosity. Joe also emphasizes the need for community and the support of fellow believers in becoming Christ-centered people. The speaker uses personal anecdotes and Bible verses to highlight the importance of becoming a disciple and the ongoing process of growth in becoming more like Jesus.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
Lesson 12
Watching Now
How the World Sees that Inner Work

I. Becoming Like Christ

A. Reflecting Christ

B. Displaying Characteristics of Christ

C. Fruit of the Spirit

II. The Process of Becoming Like Christ

A. Imperfect Humans

B. Abiding in Christ

C. Striving to Become Like Christ

III. Impact on the Community

A. Our Lives as Examples

B. Displaying Characteristics Valuable to the Community

C. The Importance of Generosity

  • Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley introduce themselves and express their excitement about the upcoming discipleship course, which aims to enhance participants' relationship with God and their work in the world, and encourage them to bring transformative change to their church and ministry.
  • Joe Handley outlines the elements that they will be covered in the Disciplemaking course: what is a disciple, the great commandment, becoming a disciple, being a disciple, fruitfulness, and multiplying disciples.
  • The lesson discusses the approach to discipleship, which is focused on the four gospels and building obedient disciples through the seven obedience; it emphasizes a holistic approach to following Jesus and the informed imagination, and the course will focus on the gospels of John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
  • Mary Jo Wilson emphasizes the importance of understanding the role of suffering and persecution in discipleship, as it is a recurring theme in the Gospels and is also a part of the early church experience, and discusses how enduring such hardships can be a formative experience for Christians.
  • The lesson discusses the importance of abiding in Christ as the key to joy in life, bearing fruit in one's life, and becoming a disciple of Jesus through a deep and communal relationship with Him.
  • Discipleship is not a program but a relationship. Abiding in Christ is the key to joy in life and bearing much fruit and is achieved through having a deep communal walk with Jesus and allowing Him to prune us to make us stronger.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of a posture of repentance and dependence on the Holy Spirit in the discipleship process, and highlights the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, guiding in decision making, and forming believers into Christ.
  • The instructors and students discuss their thoughts and experiences on what it means to be a disciple, including the importance of maintaining a growing relationship with God, the internal aspects of discipleship, abiding in God, the role of inviting God into everyday life, and the significance of pruning.
  • This session discusses the importance of becoming a disciple of Jesus and our identity in Christ, illustrated through the example of churches in Japan becoming centers for relief goods after the 2011 disasters and being seen as representatives of Christ by the community.
  • By taking this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God, including the importance of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and how they relate to the mission of the church and the call to discipleship.
  • The lesson discusses the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, where Jesus describes the Kingdom of God and how his followers are to live as salt and light in the world, raising the bar on the interpretation of the Old Testament law and calling for inner righteousness, forgiveness, and love for enemies.
  • This lesson reviews the importance of becoming like Jesus and displaying his characteristics, such as humility and generosity, to become authentic Christ-centered people in our communities, and emphasizes the need for communal support to grow in our faith.
  • In this group discussion about discipleship and the Sermon on the Mount, the students and instructors reflect on the Beatitudes and how they challenge and contrast with the values of the world, and discuss how Jesus lifted up marginalized people and called all his followers to be salt and light in the world.
  • In this lesson Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley discuss transitioning from becoming a disciple to being a disciple who makes disciples, with a focus on the overflow of abiding in Christ into the lives of others.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of spiritual conversations and how to approach them in our daily lives through the example of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4.
  • Joe Handley discusses the idea of being a disciple of Jesus and how to share one's story and witness through different tools, including prayer, social media, and engaging with others through layering of interactions.
  • The class discusses the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, highlighting how Jesus approached the woman with humility and respect, treating her like a real person and engaging in a conversation with her, despite social and cultural barriers. They also discuss how Jesus challenged his disciples to adopt a Kingdom way that breaks down barriers and recognizes the value and dignity of all people.
  • This session focuses on the importance of reproducibility and sustainability in disciple-making, drawing on examples from the book of Acts and personal anecdotes.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of a reproducible culture of discipleship in the Kingdom of God, drawing on the idea of the mustard seed and how small actions can have a big impact, and provides examples of how this can be implemented in different contexts such as micro churches.
  • This lesson provides information on small groups in discipleship, including their definition, anatomy, purpose, characteristics, steps for starting one, the role of the leader, the discipleship process in small groups, and their importance in discipleship in general.
  • Instructors Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss with students their visions of the Kingdom of God, with one sharing their goal of sharing their story to help others understand the word of God, while another likens the planting of seeds to the growth of faith, stressing the importance of patience and trust in the process of nurturing them.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss the importance of creating a practical plan for discipleship and ministry, encouraging listeners to reflect on what they've learned, and write a strategic personal plan for following through on their learning.
  • This lesson teaches how to pull together the different sections of a discipleship plan using the model of vision, intent and means, and suggests including a vision, introduction, conclusion and rule of life, while encouraging reflection and sharing with others.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of creating a "rule of life" as part of a personal discipleship plan, which helps to balance and organize different areas of life, including spiritual, social, intellectual, and physical aspects.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson close their discipleship course by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow together, and offer a prayer of blessing for their students to continue on their lifelong journey as faithful followers of Jesus.

In this class, you will explore the foundations, methods, and models of disciplemaking, drawing from biblical principles, historical perspectives, and theological insights. You will examine the disciplemaking approaches of Jesus and Paul, as well as modern examples and strategies. Additionally, you will learn how to develop a personal disciplemaking plan through the assessment of spiritual gifts and identification of ministry opportunities. Finally, you will delve into disciplemaking in the local church and beyond, including church-based strategies, cross-cultural disciplemaking, and equipping and multiplying disciplemakers.

Joe Handley, PhD
How the World Sees That Inner Work
Lesson Transcript

Welcome back. And we're digging into this section on becoming a disciple. Mary Jo did a great kind of start up for us and telling us about the context of Japan post-tsunami and how the people recognized the followers of Jesus as literally images of Christ himself. And it is that part of our identity that we're becoming like him. We really reflect him that we want to be talking about today because we are a part of the inner work that he does in our lives. You know that first section where we talk for a second section where we talked about abiding in Christ, and as we abide in him, then we begin to bear fruit. We shine forth to our neighbors, you know, and second Corinthians chapter three, it says this, that you yourself are a letter of recommendation written on our hearts to be known and read by all. So we are literally a letter from Christ, as Corinthians says, and it's not written in ink as that next verse states, but by the spirit of the living God. And so you and me, as becoming disciples, we are a letter on display for the world. And it is in this place that we really kind of showcase who we are and who Christ is really in us. It is in that place where we display the characteristics of what it become, what it means to become like Jesus, to become like his embodiment of goodness in the world. Things like being humble, you know, not being proud or arrogant. These are important traits, things like our integrity. These things really matter because we're an example of Jesus. We're his reflection on the planet to our neighbors and family and church and community. And so those characteristics are so critical in becoming a disciple. Things like generosity. Will we be a generous people? Jesus was so generous. He gave up his very life so that we could have freedom from sin and have entry into the kingdom of eternity someday. It is these character traits that we want to put on Christ and become more and more like him. And that's the initial phase. After the abiding season, after we after we put on this command of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and abiding in Him, we start to display the fruit of the spirit. We're gentle, you know, We're people of peace. We're displaying character traits that matter to those around us, where people have compassion. We care about those. That illustration of the Japanese community caring for their neighbors. A really powerful illustration of what it means to stand out as one like Christ to those around us in this situation. It's an ongoing process. You and I are not perfect. We learn from Romans Chapter seven and eight the struggle that even people like the Apostle Paul had, where we don't live up to those things. You know, if I talk about integrity or humility, how many of us are really perfect all the time. You know, when you lose your hand and say, I don't have pride or I'm a humble person, right? And so we don't have those traits. And so it really is critical that we put on Christ and that we abide in him so that we can bear much fruit. We become more and more like him. Our lives are a letter, an example to the communities in which we live and the people we're around. And so there's ups and downs in life. Not every day are we perfect. But like we learned from Romans seven and eight, we strive to become more and more like Jesus. And as we rest in him, as we talked about that season of silence, of really resting and abiding and Christ, more and more we become like him and we display him to those around us. It's an ongoing process in which we learn little by little, day after day, year after year. And we. Grow into Christ like this, becoming more and more like Jesus. One other passage I want to highlight here is Proverbs 27, where it says As iron sharpens iron. So one person sharpens another. A part of this process of putting on Christ is becoming more like Jesus. We need each other. We we're not meant to be lone Rangers. You know, Christ put this together in communal fashion. Isn't it interesting that even in his own relationship, he is three individuals in one or three persons, I should say in one, the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Dynamic Synergy, a community together displaying the fullness of who He is. That's a powerful image for you and me, and a reminder that we can't do it alone. We tap into Jesus. Of course, we're led by His spirit as we talked in the last session section. But we also need brothers and sisters in Christ as iron sharpens iron so one person can sharpen another. And that is how we can grow to be authentic, Christ centered people in our communities by having these real life friendships, people that can really sharpen one another like iron sharpens iron. You know, I have these friends in India. One time I was traveling through a town called Chennai, and it really pulls this passage out for me. I was asked to speak and actually it was at a conference and our friends there said, Joe, since you're in town, can you join us to meet with the Asian Access Alumni? And I was able to break away from the conference and attend the session. And it was really quite a an eye opening experience for me. You know, I went in to share. We had a meal together. There were probably, I don't know, 30 people or so from Chennai that were alumni of Asian access that day. And after dinner they asked me to share. So I shared a reflection on our core values of Asian access. And after about 20 minutes of sharing, I finished up and my colleague there said, I think it'd be good for us to have some time together in small group fellowships to pray for one another and reflect on what we learned. Little did I know what God would have in store for me. So I'm sitting there as the speaker thinking, What do I do with myself? And my colleagues says, Why don't you just join a group? And I said, Well, do you do you have one in mind? And he said, No, just randomly choose one and sit in. So I wandered over to these two fellows and said, Hey, do you mind if I break in? I don't want to, you know, upset your apple cart or anything. And they were very happy to have me join them. And so I sit down and they start unveiling not just their reflections on what I had shared that day, not just the values of Asian access and what we really try to kind of embody and the things we're very much talking about this week in this course of disciple making. They said this. They said, you know, before going through this two-year process together, we really felt like lone rangers. We were completely alone out there in this same city. We didn't have friends. And through this process, the two of us became best friends, interestingly enough. And now we meet together twice a month. And we hold each other accountable for the things we committed to. At the end of the program, you know, every graduate of Asian access has to write a strategic plan for their life, much like we're wanting you to do for this class. We want you to write a discipleship plan for your life and for the community you live in. That that's what we'll do at the end of this entire course that we're in together. You'll be writing a plan just like they did, and they wrote a plan that covers four key topics in their life that they would live in a love relationship with God abiding in Christ, that they would grow as a Christlike leader, becoming like Jesus, as we're talking about now, that they would reproduce disciple making leaders, and that that's what we'll be talking about later in the next section. And then finally for them, that they would. Reproduced. Churches that plant. More churches multiply churches so all of them have to write a strategy paper. And so they were holding each other accountable to how is your life going? And are you growing in Jesus? Are you? Are you? How is that church planting going? And if they had a challenge in it, like, boy, it's not going so well, they can build each other up and that iron sharpens iron and help each other out. Really, If someone was failing it with their with their goals in disciple making our church planning, they could say, Well, how can I help you? Have you tried this idea or that idea? But the most powerful example for me was at the end they said, Joe, you need to know something else. Before this whole deal. We really didn't trust each other, and we were kind of felt alone. But through the process, not only have we become friends, but we get in each other's face. And they said literally, He knows all my junk and I know all his junk. And that's the process where we grow together, where we become more like Christ when our character isn't shining like Jesus and someone else can call us out on something. In my own life, I have a journey with a group of people that come alongside me, my wife and a group of men that regularly touch base with me and check in with me. And there they're also watching me. You know, our lives are a letter like it says in Corinthians. And these folks are watching me and they have eyes on me. And when they see me stepping a little out of line, they're able to jump and say, Hey, that looks like junk in your life. And so this idea of us growing in Christ to become more like Christ as we do this, our lives become a shining example. Even our biggest mistakes become an example to others. It's really powerful. Some of the some of the best situations in my life is where I've done something wrong and God makes a corrective measure through one of my friends or family member. And as people observe us learning and growing together, it's a powerful witness to the world around us. Truly, our lives are a letter and you need to know. You may be feeling like, Boy, I'm not good enough. I don't live up to the standards that you know, I have for myself. Romans seven and eight. God is there with us and he is patient. And as we lean into him and it was we lean into others. God makes us stronger and we become more and more like him. We're in this ongoing process of growing into Jesus, where we become more like him in our witness to the world. You know, this became very apparent to me many years ago, and I'm not normally this kind of person. So this is slightly a confession. I typically am very self-centered kind of guy. Just ask my family. They can tell you that. And this one day I'm driving down a road and I happen to see this car stalled. And there was a lady there trying to figure out what's wrong with her car. And I'm not a car guy. I know nothing about mechanics, nothing at all. And I just felt compelled, like I need to help her. So I stopped right in the middle of the road and I got out of my car and literally, I never do stuff like this, but I got out of my car. Usually I rationalize, Joe, you're no good at cars. You know, somebody else can do this, right? So I pull over. It's in the middle of the road and I get out and I start talking to her. I try to calm her down. I look at the car. Obviously I'm not a mechanic type, so I have no idea what to do. But we're able to kind of flag traffic out of the way and then finally get somebody to come and help her out and thank God, you know, some others were able to come and get her car off the road to safety. And for me, it was quite a sacrifice that day because I had something I was supposed to go to. But for whatever reason, I really felt like I needed to be there that day. And this is not normal. Joe handling kind of stuff. Little did I know that my life was a letter that day illustrating this very principle that our lives are on display to the world. So I go into one of our meetings later that week and somebody comes up to me and they say, Oh, Joe, you good Samaritan, you. And I'm like, What are you talking about? You know, I'm the last person you call Good Samaritan. She goes, I saw you when that car was pulled over, that poor lady, and you were the only person to stop and help her out. You're a good Samaritan. And I kind of, like embarrassed because that was the one of those rare occasions where I actually did that. But it does illustrate the fact that our characters are important. The way we display ourselves to others and to the community around us is important. And so our lives are a letter and we're as we become like Christ, the more we put him on and behave in ways like the Good Samaritan or like those folks who were, you know, doing barbecues in Japan, like the folks that are, you know, displaying Jesus to their community, we put on more and more what it means to become like Christ. It is in those characters areas of life that we're displaying who he is. And as you and I become more and more like him, we are a letter that is written by the spirit of the living God that is impacting our community. And that is a key component to what it means to becoming a disciple as we abide in Christ, as we live out what it means to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, what it means to love our neighbor as ourself. We are then becoming more and more day by day, a disciple of Jesus. So what are we going to do this week? What's your assignment? I'd like you to reflect on two things. One, what has your experience of becoming a disciple looked like? What does your journey look like? How have you started to become more and more like Jesus? And how can you continue in that process as you think through the plan that you'll be writing at the end of this course? What is your experience of becoming like Christ? And then where have these gospel passages that we're talking about, particularly in this section where we're talking about the book of Matthew? What is it in these passages about the Kingdom of God that you that are shaping your life? Because remember, we want you to dig deep into the scriptures. This this set this over this course, over the life of this course. So what are these passages teaching you about what it be, what it means to become a disciple of him?