“Go, therefore, and make disciples.” These are Jesus final words and marching orders for His church, and therefore is our core mandate. So the questions we should be asking are, what exactly is a disciple? And how do we make them? For the first few months of 2024 this is going to be our quest, to discover the ingredients and recipe for making disciples. You will never get a great chocolate chip cookie from store bought dough. Great cookies begin with a careful understanding of the texture, taste, and feel of the perfect cookie followed by the development of a recipe mixing the necessary ingredients to bake that cookie. And great disciples are made when we are intentional about the ingredients given to us by Jesus and follow His process to make them. In this series we will examine our church’s plan to obey the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and we will reveal the Genesis Church Discipleship Grid, our recipe for disciple making. This grid will be used for years to come to help every ministry understand their role in disciple making in the hopes that we as a church will continue to build a disciple making culture. And we hope that every member and attender of Genesis will hear the call to become a disciple, a committed follower of Jesus with the ingredients of a true disciple baked into their lives.
Sermon 1, January 21 – On a Mission from God (Matthew 28:16-20)
Jesus’ parting words to His disciples gave His people their commission, to go and make disciples. While we may struggle to understand all the implications of this call, these men knew exactly what Jesus was commanding. They had spent over three years with Jesus as He invested in their lives making them disciples. So they knew that the commission was to invest in others the way Jesus had invested in them. We begin our series on our commission to make disciples by looking at the Great Commission and learning what Jesus meant when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
*We will celebrate Communion
Sermon 2, January 28 – The Recipe (Matthew 4:17-22)
What is a disciple and how are they made. We might learn about disciple making by thinking about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. First of all, no way a great one comes from store bought dough. To get the perfect recipe we have to start with knowing the perfect cookie, and then developing a recipe with a mix of ingredients mixed and baked to get that cookie. In the same way, if we are to be a disciple making church we need to begin with a definition of a disciple and then discover the ingredients Jesus gave and the conditions necessary to make disciples in our culture.
Sermon 3, February 4 – The Ingredients: Gospel Fluency (Romans 3:21-26)
This is the first sermon on 10 core competencies (ingredients) necessary for a disciple making culture. The first and maybe most important ingredient is Gospel fluency. Knowing and believing the Gospel is central to our journey of becoming disciples, followers of Jesus. Apart from the Gospel, religion will be centered on our efforts to change our own lives and keep religious duties and rules. Paul reminds us of the universal need of the Gospel, but also the beautiful truth that we are justified as a gift because of the finished work of Jesus. Disciples need foremost and consistently to be reminded of the central truth of the Gospel, and shown that their identity and acceptance before God is always based on the finished work of Jesus. In other words, they need the Gospel, and as Martin Luther declared, “beat into their heads continually.” The Gospel is our one and only message as a church and it is our desire to lead our people to gain clarity and fluency in the Gospel.
Sermon 4, February 11 – The Ingredients: Passion (Matthew 22:34-40)
We become what we love. Every activity in the Christian life should flow out of our love for Jesus. This should be the motivation for all of our religious activities and pursuits. Whenever my spiritual activities become mundane, or I do them out of duty, they will accomplish nothing. But when my obedience and service flow from a growing love relationship with my Creator and His Son Jesus, then spiritual activities and service will change my life. Loving God is both the pathway and the goal of our discipleship, but it will also spill out in love for my neighbor. So we will make much of Jesus, hoping to lift people’s eyes to see Jesus and fall in love with Him.
Sermon 5, February 18 – The Ingredients: Stewardship (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
God owns everything. A steward is a person who has been entrusted with someone else’s property. First, God has entrusted us with our own lives, but we are not our own. Jesus way of saying this was to declare that a disciple must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. This is giving all of me to all of Jesus. God has also given us time, talents, and treasures, that he invested in us for His purposes. God made everything, owns everything, and by His grace, allows us to enjoy it.
Sermon 6, February 25 – The Ingredients: The Disciplines of the Word (Psalm 119:9-16)
A significant aspect of following Jesus involves the implementation of what theologians have called the means of grace. These are disciplines and rhythms for our lives given by Jesus and the Scriptures. The first set of disciplines we will examine are the disciplines that pours the Word of God into our lives. We are a church that takes the Bible seriously and it is our desire not only to preach and teach the Bible each week. So we want to train disciples to be hearers and doers of the Word. But we also want to encourage and resource our people in daily rhythms of Bible intake, leading them to read, study, memorize, meditate on, and even share the Scriptures. No single rhythm in life will do more to give joy and lead to growth in the Christian life than the discipline of Bible intake.
*We will celebrate Communion
Sermon 7, March 3 – The Ingredients: The Disciplines of our Walk (Matthew 6:1-18)
While the means of grace centered on Bible intake are important, there are several other disciplines designed to create life rhythms that help us apply and live out the truths found in the Word. As Jesus is teaching His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, He addresses their generosity, prayer, and fasting. We should notice that he does not say, “If you pray,” or “If you fast,” or “You might consider giving to the needy.” Jesus assumes that this will be part of the normal rhythms of His disciples lives, but wants to make sure that the way they go about these things comes from the proper motivation and includes the ultimate goal of knowing Jesus in a deeper way. We find many such disciplines in the teachings of Jesus, including prayer, generosity, fasting, worship and gathering with God’s people, and witness. As a church we want to help people implement these and other helpful rhythms and grow in them.
Sermon 8, March 10 – The Ingredients: Body Life (Romans 12:3-8)
God’s means for making disciples is the local church. Ours is a day when we have access to all the teaching and content of Christianity on a devise, without the mess and time commitment of going to church every Sunday. As a result, so many people are disconnecting from their churches, and finding other things to do. But the evidence is significant. Growth as a disciple cannot happen apart from a person being present when the church gathers, finding their place in the body, and actively participating in the mission and ministry of the church.
Sermon 9, March 17 – The Ingredients: Community (Mark 3:7-19)
Discipleship in the Scriptures is never an individual event, it is a team sport. First of all, God has ordained that our growth happens in community. This is modeled in Jesus’ calling of the 12 to himself where He invested in them, did ministry among them, and then sent them out. Second, growth in the Christian life happens in the context of deep and meaningful relationships as people seek to follow Jesus together. Third, it is the authentic love found within community that images the glory of God to the outside world. What this means is that disciples need both rows and circles. Rows where they gather with God’s people for worship and to hear the word taught. And circles where authentic relationships so important for our being shaped into the image of Jesus.
Sermon 10, March 24 – The Ingredients: Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-16)
The primary goal for disciples of Jesus is for them to be shaped day by day into the image of Christ. Disciples are people who are growing in the character of Jesus, who more and more are demonstrating the morality and values found in Scripture in their personal lives. This involves our sexual ethics, integrity and honesty, kindness, demonstrating justice, and care for our neighbor. God is holy, Jesus is holy. Without holiness it is impossible for us to see and really know God. Holiness in the Christian life matters, and disciples will desire the blessings of holiness.
Sermon 11, March 31 (Easter) – Easter Shaped Disciples (Luke 9:18-25)
Easter celebrates the pivotal and climactic moment for all of history, as the Son of God was delivered over to sinful people who condemned the innocent savior to death on a cross. Jesus submitted Himself to the Divine purpose for our salvation, laying down His rights and life for us. But that is not the whole story, Christ rose again defeating our worst enemies, death, hell, and the grave. Before His death Jesus predicts these events to His disciples, and then makes a bold demand on those who want to follow Jesus. True discipleship is a life of following the very path of Jesus, denying self, dying to self, and following Jesus. The result in a sacrificed life is resurrection power. Following Jesus does mean walking the path of Jesus, but the outcome is resurrection power and finding our true selves.
*We will celebrate Communion
Sermon 12, April 7 – The Ingredients: Theological Formation (2 Timothy 3:10-17)
Theology matters, it matters greatly. What we believe about God, Jesus, ourselves, and redemption will show up in the way we live our lives. It is God’s design that the church teach people the great truths about God so that people will authentically worship God, standing in awe of His person and work. It is also His desire that believers in Jesus grow in these great truths so that they shape their lives and they can be protected from false teachers. New disciples will probably need these truths taught on a simple level, but the goal is that they will begin to embrace the faith once for all delivered to the saints, be able to teach it to others, and be able to spot a counterfeit.
Sermon 13, April 14 – The Ingredients: Mission and Ministry (Luke 9:35-10:8)
The Gospel has an engine that propels disciples out as missionaries. We see this clearly in Jesus’ ministry with his disciples. He has invested in their lives, taught them the truths of the Gospel, and did a lot of ministry with them. This was preparation, as Jesus then calls them to lift their eyes to see the lostness and brokenness of their culture and begin praying. The amazing thing is that they actually become the answer to their own prayers as Jesus sends the disciples on mission. Disciples have Spiritual gifts, and part of growing is to use these gifts for the building up of the body of Christ and advancing of Christ’s Kingdom. Any approach to discipleship that creates people who only sit and learn will create top-heavy Christians. The call of discipleship is to hear the call of Jesus and live as people who are sent together on mission.
Sermon 14, April 21 – The Ingredients: Witness (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
To be a disciple of Jesus is to be an ambassador sent to our world as a representative of Jesus’ Kingdom to proclaim His message of reconciliation. Love for neighbor includes the desire to see them come to Christ. The discipleship found in the Gospels and lived out in Acts is clear, that those who have the Spirit will be Christ’s witnesses. Discipleship in the church must include both equipping and motivation for this task.
*We will celebrate Communion
Sermon 15, April 28 – To our Neighbors and To the Nations (Matthew 28:18-20)
We come back to where we began, with Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations. This means that Christ has entrusted us, Genesis Church with the commission to make disciples here in Eureka and our area. We are an outpost of Christ’s Kingdom here with this task. But we are also part of this task to the nations. So we take a look at the layers of people reached by the ministry of Jesus and hopefully learn that this task will lead us to make disciples of all sorts of people, from those who are completely uninterested in church to those who are serving as leaders and pastors, and all in between.
Sermon 15, May 5 – Preheat the Oven (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Our goal for this series was to create a recipe for making disciples. We showed 10 ingredients that we hope to “bake” in to the lives of people, and we have looked at the different types of people we are called to disciple. This creates for us a grid for disciplemaking that will help every ministry in our church evaluate and cast vision for the central task Jesus has given our church. Our final sermon in this series will cast vision for how Genesis is already being intentional about Jesus’ commission and share the ways we hope to improve our recipe going forward.