Wednesday, January 26, 2011



Yesterday we discussed the cost of following Jesus. When Jesus called people to follow Him, He called them into community-to be in relationship others who want to follow Jesus.

Paul gave a dynamic principle to Timothy that is key to empowering the Jesus movement. He says, And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (II Timothy 2:2) Paul picks up on what Jesus taught and what he himself practiced. The way for the Jesus movement to move most effectively is for a few to pass along their experience, strength and hope in Jesus to a few others. Since this is found in II Timothy 2:2, I like to call it the 2-2-2 principle!

The basic theme of the movement is all about spiritual growth. Paul nailed this theme in Hebrews 5:11-14-We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

For the most part, the movement that purports to be rallying around Jesus is an inch deep and a mile wide. There just isn't much growth movement occurring. This non-growth is filled with several signs of monotony. There is spotty growth throughout, lots of sitting, soaking and souring in the seats of the Churches, doubt, confusion, relational discord. Too many are self-directed and self-absorbed-directionless and purposeless.

Instead of living in spiritual monotony, you can enter a spiritual growth cycle. Spiritual maturity seems to occur in four primary stages. FIRST-There is the seeker who is genuinely interested. I've come to understand that when Jesus repeats that He is looking for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, He is requiring that people become seekers-that they are interested.

SECOND-Once a person follows his interest by being a seeker, the next natural stage is to become a believer. To believe in Jesus you need to know more about Him. The more you know about Jesus the more agreement will follow. Being a believer leads to personal trust.

THIRD-The next stage naturally follows being a believer. It's believing enough to be a follower of Jesus. Being a follower of Jesus is to entrust your life to Jesus. This is why it's good to ask the common questions of WWJD?-What Would Jesus Do? And WDJD?-What Did Jesus Do? What's interesting is the more you learn about Jesus the more you understand the answer to these questions just by asking them.

FOURTH-Seeking, believing and following Jesus naturally lead to being a discipler. One who is into discipling others requires that you continue to be a seeker, believer and follower of Jesus, yourself.

What does it take to move from being a seeker to a discipler? There are basically two ingredients that are necessary. One is time and during that time the second is to bathe yourself in the teachings and principles of Jesus.

Let me suggest what I call "scaffolding" materials for you to build upon your life with the result of moving through the four stages of maturity-seeker, believer, follower and discipler. Here's how I would list out the scaffolding materials. There are five in all and we'll move through them over the next few days:

1. All is not as it seems! 2. We are in a great war between good and evil! 3. We have a significant role to play in this war! 4. We must seek to set the prisoners free who have been captured! 5. Jesus is the only one who can help us see the invisible nature of life, the reality of the war, our roles in the war and give us the power to set the prisoners free!

Therefore, we must pray for Jesus to lead out and we will follow.

Here are four observations that come up for me regarding applying the 2-2-2 principle: #1-Jesus is calling you today! a) You who are interested-Believe in Me!-whosoever will! b) You who are believers-Follow Me! c) You who are followers-Make Disciples of Me! #2-Jesus believes those He calls are good enough-you can do it! #3-Jesus believes you can be like Him-to perpetuate His yoke or lifestyle. #4-Jesus empowers you by His presence as 2-3 gather together in Him!

Jesus sends out a revolutionary call-FOLLOW ME. FOLLOW ME is the great transformational invitation to seek, believe, follow and disciple others in Jesus. Jesus says, "This is a special invitation to all of you who don't have all the answers. Who struggle with life. Who are tired. Who are burned out. Who are bruised. Who struggle with grief. Come to me I will teach you how to trust. I will teach you how to learn. Walk with me, work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to trust and live with joy and freedom."