Four pillars of disciple making (Part 4)

Centrality of the Word

To realize the Kingdom of God, we must learn from our Master and Mobilizer, Jesus Christ. He modeled a Kingdom lifestyle among a small group of men, taught them God’s heart and asked them to go and do the same. When Jesus left them, they could go and reproduce what they experienced within those three years. Jesus mobilized disciples to realize His Kingdom. To mobilize, therefore, is to make disciples the Jesus way, with a specific outcome – a Kingdom lifestyle. To disciple someone is to mobilize someone to realize the Kingdom and to mobilize someone is to disciple someone to realize the Kingdom.

A while ago I started to share thoughts about four pillars of disciple making and mobilizing. We explored the importance of creating community in a small group in our mobilizing efforts. In this post I want to concentrate on the centrality of the Word when we mobilize people to live a Kingdom lifestyle.

The second primary pillar of disciple making is the Word.  The Word is our source of life, without which every person will die spiritually.  The Word which became flesh lives in us through the Holy Spirit, but we have to read and study the written Word in order to feed our spirit!  Matthew 4:4 –“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Jesus is the Word, but even He lived from the words from the Father’s mouth that flows from His heart.  Each believer must personally sit at the feet of the Father to be fed by Him.  Only direct revelation from the Father is true nourishment. People’s sermons and lectures stimulate us the moment we hear them, but they do not feed us in the long term. The average believer does not even read one chapter of the Bible per day and then we wonder why our lives are not flourishing or we don’t grow into a disciple making lifestyle.  John 8:31-32 – “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  The first basic characteristic of a disciple is someone who knows the words of the Father and who lives his/her life according to these words.

It is impossible for us to make disciples without the Word.  Heb.4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  The Word that became flesh, Jesus, lives in our spirit and can only live His life through us if He is stimulated and awakened by the written Word.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and He only works in the presence of the Word.  Col.3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

The problem believers have is that nothing in their lives can become a lifestyle if there is no foundation of Word.  You can build the most beautiful things into their lives, but it is all going to fall through and disappear if there is no Word foundation.  The Holy Spirit works through the Word and the less Word you have in your life, the less opportunity there is for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and less chance there is for life change. The Word releases the working of the Holy Spirit!

We need to help people to listen to God for themselves and not being dependent on a trained or professional person, a booklet or manual to reveal what God is saying. People should discover for themselves God’s heart and will for their lives. Firsthand revelation brings forth life change.  A disciple making community’s secret lies in reading the Word together and discovering His will together and encourage and help each other to obey the Word with their lives. 

As a mobilizer, we should take this very seriously. We must be careful not to think that we can change peoples lives or make them think differently. This is the work of the Spirit of God which gives revelation when we read Scripture together. Our job is to create the space and ask the right questions so that people can discover for themselves from the Word.