Friday, October 10, 2008

Make Disciples, Not Friends

Back when I was doing ministry in Arvada, Colorado, I met a young man named Ryan. He was a follower of Jesus Christ. He had friends inside the church. He also had friends who were not following Jesus. He felt great comfort when hanging out with believers. These were people who shared the same faith. They had the same worldview. They had the same way of life. Conversely, when it came to hanging out with non-believers, things were a little different. Ryan told me that when he spent time with his non-believing friends he felt like an “alien.” He felt different. He felt a lack of comfort. He felt weird. Further, he said that he had many opportunities to witness concerning his faith in Jesus Christ, but he did not take them. Why do you think Ryan did not take those opportunities? [Give people a chance to respond] The reason was that he was worried what their response would be. He thought things like, “Are they going to feel weird around me? Are they still going to want to hang out with me? Are they going to associate me with the religious right?”

I have lived and gotten to know believers in Arvada, Colorado; Seattle and Bremerton; Washington; and St. Louis, Missouri. It seems that wherever I go I meet Christians who identify with Ryan. Christians wonder, “What are my friends going to think of me when they find out I’m a Christian? Wouldn’t this relationship be smoother if I just didn’t say anything? If I tell them I’m a Christian, are they going to label me?” I want you to think about this for a moment with me. When we ask questions like this what are we revealing? Who is it that we are ultimately trying to please? We reveal that we are trying to please non-believers rather than please Christ. We are worried about what they are going to think of us, instead of being concerned about their eternal destiny. What are we afraid of? Could it be that we are afraid of being rejected? Maybe our fear of rejection is our problem.
As followers of Jesus Christ we believe in a man who was killed for the things He claimed. He told the first disciples that they would be hated in this world just as He was hated. And this is exactly what we see happen in the life of the first disciples. Early in their mission, the disciples Peter and John were arrested for their witness of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:3). This is recorded in the Book of Acts, chapter four. After they were released they came back to be with the rest of the disciples (4:23). When they all came back together they knew that persecution was on its way and they needed strength to continue. They knew that there would be opposition, threat, and danger whenever and wherever they testified to the person and work of Jesus Christ. So the first thing they did was pray for strength. The disciples prayed: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (4:29). The historian Luke then tells us what happened after they prayed: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (4:31). Some of you may be thinking to yourselves: “I have a hard time witnessing to non-believers.” My question to you is: Have you prayed for the Holy Spirit to give you strength? The ability to witness to non-believers is not natural. It is supernatural and comes when you are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, witnessing to non-believers is a very difficult task. You and I need the power of Holy Spirit to give us strength and boldness. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He said: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (1:8). After witnessing the resurrection, the disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit to witness boldly and fearlessly wherever and whenever opportunities presented themselves.

The title of this devotion that most likely caught you off guard today is Make Disciples, not Friends. Some of you may be thinking: “Now, we don’t want to turn people off do we?” No, but turning people off is better than not doing anything at all. The idea is this: perhaps we are so concerned with making friends, and with what other people are going to think about us, we forget our purpose in our relationships with non-believers. I think that you and I are becoming so timid that we are a long way from going overboard in the other direction. Are you concerned with what people are going to think? Or, are you concerned with making disciples? If making friends is an avenue to boldly witnessing, that is great! But if making friends is all we are concerned with, then are we not committing idolatry? Are we more concerned with worldly recognition than serving Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit was given to you when you were baptized into Christ. The gift of the Holy Spirit lives in you today because of God’s grace. By the power of the Holy Spirit you and I are now called to pray to speak the word of God with boldness and fearlessness wherever and whenever the Lord gives us the opportunity. If we get rejected that is fine. That is what the Lord told us would happen more often than not. Take one for the team! Our rejection will still not be as bad as the first Christians who were painfully executed for their witness. So what if people think we are weird. We know who it is that we are trying to please. And we know where out eternal home is.

Jesus said that He could come back at any time. And when Jesus comes back there is not going to be another opportunity for non-believers to change their minds. So when we get the opportunity we need to ask non-believers challenging questions. In our post-Christian, post-modern context, telling people what to do is not received well. But can we challenge people by asking them questions? Asking people questions causes them to think. And I think that is one powerful approach. Another way to share our faith is to simply share what the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has done in our lives. We live in a time where people highly value personal experience. If we tell people how the Lord Jesus Christ has saved and changed us, what can people say? This might be another way we can go about sharing. People are going to respond to us in different ways because everyone has a different experience and background. But we must be ready to respond to critics and skeptics. So that means we must be prepared and ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us.

For this to happen we must repent of our idolatry of seeking recognition from this world instead of asking the Holy Spirit to give us boldness and strength. We know that our ultimate goal in life is not to simply to “be happy.” It is not to be liked. It is not to be free from conflict. But rather it is to serve Jesus Christ. So, now I’m going to ask you to bow your heads with me as we pray together. The only way we are going to be able to share our faith is if we ask Jesus for strength: Lord Jesus Christ, Giver of the Holy Spirit of power, we ask that you would grant to your servants the power to speak your word with all boldness. We pray that you would grant us repentance from our desire for people to simply like us. Rather, we pray that you would give us the words to challenge people. We pray that we would be living testimonies to the work you have accomplished in our lives. Fill us Lord with your Holy Spirit so that we can speak your word with boldness. Amen.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Joe said...

An excellent post on the difference between friends and disciples. I just wrote a short article on this topic myself, and I appreciate the insights offered here. We need to make sure we are involved in people's lives the same way Jesus was. Don't make friends with the hope of making disciples. This is like the woman who marries first and then hopes to change her husband. Instead, make disciples, and those who remain are certain to be better than friends.

Thu Feb 23, 03:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger oakleyses said...

tiffany and co, rolex watches, air max, cheap uggs, louis vuitton handbags, tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren, longchamp handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, jordan shoes, louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet stores, burberry outlet, nike shoes, longchamp outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses cheap, chanel handbags, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, air max, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ugg outlet, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, gucci outlet, longchamp handbags, ugg boots clearance, louboutin, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online sale, louis vuitton outlet, prada outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, uggs, prada handbags

Mon Oct 12, 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

air max, longchamp, air jordan, sac longchamp pas cher, kate spade handbags, nike air force, ralph lauren, nike roshe, coach factory outlet, michael kors pas cher, sac hermes, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, new balance pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, coach outlet, nike free pas cher, mulberry, ray ban sunglasses, air max, nike roshe run pas cher, ray ban pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, polo lacoste, hollister, polo ralph lauren, timberland, michael kors uk, coach outlet store online, coach purses, nike free, north face, hogan outlet, north face, true religion outlet, lululemon outlet online, air max pas cher, vans pas cher, hollister, sac burberry, nike blazer, nike air max, michael kors, vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet, nike tn, sac guess, true religion outlet, louboutin

Mon Oct 12, 11:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

hollister clothing store, nike roshe run, instyler, vans, gucci, ghd, mcm handbags, air max, chi flat iron, reebok outlet, air max, converse, baseball bats, longchamp, jimmy choo outlet, mont blanc, soccer jerseys, bottega veneta, babyliss pro, abercrombie, north face outlet, valentino shoes, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, ray ban, lululemon outlet, louboutin, oakley, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, nike trainers, birkin bag, nfl jerseys, nike huaraches, converse shoes, beats by dre, hollister, insanity workout, ralph lauren, herve leger, north face jackets, p90x, iphone cases, timberland boots, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, celine handbags

Mon Oct 12, 11:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, sac louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton uk, swarovski crystal, toms shoes, canada goose, michael kors handbags, pandora jewelry, supra shoes, sac lancel, canada goose, thomas sabo, montre homme, moncler outlet, coach outlet store online, sac louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots, links of london, ugg, rolex watches, moncler, moncler, moncler, canada goose uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, moncler, ugg, juicy couture, marc jacobs, karen millen, ugg, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, michael kors outlet online, hollister, pandora charms, swarovski, canada goose, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, doke gabbana, barbour, louis vuitton, barbour, moncler, canada goose, wedding dresses, pandora charms

Mon Oct 12, 11:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

christian louboutin outlet, louboutin pas cher, uggs on sale, sac longchamp pas cher, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany jewelry, jordan pas cher, nike free, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike air max, longchamp pas cher, ugg boots, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin uk, nike roshe, replica watches, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, nike free run, tiffany and co, air max, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, polo outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren, ugg boots, nike air max, burberry pas cher, gucci handbags

Thu May 05, 01:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

true religion outlet, coach purses, hollister uk, michael kors outlet online, replica handbags, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister pas cher, coach outlet, ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet, new balance, north face uk, true religion outlet, kate spade, hogan outlet, lululemon canada, nike free uk, michael kors outlet online, nike tn, nike air max uk, michael kors, ralph lauren uk, nike air force, converse pas cher, coach outlet store online, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max uk, nike roshe run uk, sac vanessa bruno, north face, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet, guess pas cher, michael kors outlet, nike air max, sac hermes, burberry handbags, mulberry uk, uggs outlet, timberland pas cher, michael kors, vans pas cher, polo lacoste, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, ray ban pas cher

Thu May 05, 02:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ray ban, reebok outlet, oakley, gucci, new balance shoes, hollister, mcm handbags, chi flat iron, valentino shoes, nike roshe run, mont blanc pens, converse outlet, nike trainers uk, abercrombie and fitch, p90x workout, insanity workout, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, nike huaraches, longchamp uk, nfl jerseys, instyler, hermes belt, north face outlet, baseball bats, celine handbags, beats by dre, jimmy choo outlet, converse, soccer jerseys, herve leger, ghd hair, lululemon, soccer shoes, timberland boots, bottega veneta, babyliss, nike air max, iphone cases, hollister clothing, ralph lauren, vans outlet, mac cosmetics, north face outlet, vans, hollister, ferragamo shoes, giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike air max, louboutin

Thu May 05, 02:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

links of london, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, pandora charms, louis vuitton, ugg uk, lancel, moncler outlet, supra shoes, pandora uk, marc jacobs, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose outlet, toms shoes, hollister, coach outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler uk, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, moncler, moncler outlet, ugg, karen millen uk, pandora jewelry, barbour uk, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, replica watches, doudoune moncler, canada goose uk, moncler, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, canada goose, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, thomas sabo, swarovski, canada goose, montre pas cher, ugg pas cher, barbour, moncler, louis vuitton

Thu May 05, 02:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, ray ban sunglasses, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, tiffany jewelry, sac longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp pas cher, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin shoes, replica watches, burberry pas cher, longchamp outlet, louboutin pas cher, prada handbags, jordan pas cher, polo ralph lauren outlet online, kate spade outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, nike air max, air max, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, nike free, cheap oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses wholesale, louis vuitton, gucci handbags, louis vuitton, ugg boots, tiffany and co, christian louboutin outlet, nike air max, tory burch outlet, polo outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike free run, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses

Mon Aug 01, 01:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

sac hermes, hollister uk, converse pas cher, nike roshe run uk, uggs outlet, polo lacoste, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet online, north face, oakley pas cher, hogan outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, nike air max uk, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet, new balance, coach outlet, timberland pas cher, coach outlet store online, ray ban uk, ralph lauren uk, replica handbags, mulberry uk, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet online, coach purses, north face uk, michael kors outlet, michael kors, burberry handbags, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, nike blazer pas cher, nike free uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, nike air force, true religion jeans, kate spade, nike tn, vans pas cher, true religion outlet, lululemon canada, true religion outlet, hollister pas cher, ray ban pas cher

Mon Aug 01, 01:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

soccer jerseys, nike huaraches, vans outlet, hollister, louboutin, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, jimmy choo outlet, nike air max, asics running shoes, insanity workout, nike roshe run, converse outlet, ray ban, lululemon, baseball bats, babyliss, p90x workout, hermes belt, nike trainers uk, ralph lauren, bottega veneta, mcm handbags, vans, nike air max, lancel, soccer shoes, timberland boots, instyler, chi flat iron, beats by dre, oakley, nfl jerseys, gucci, abercrombie and fitch, hollister clothing, herve leger, north face outlet, ghd hair, north face outlet, hollister, mont blanc pens, valentino shoes, wedding dresses, converse, longchamp uk, reebok outlet, iphone cases, celine handbags, mac cosmetics

Mon Aug 01, 01:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

coach outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, louis vuitton, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, canada goose uk, moncler outlet, moncler, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, ugg uk, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, moncler, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, swarovski crystal, ugg pas cher, replica watches, hollister, moncler uk, ugg, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, doudoune moncler, supra shoes, pandora charms, pandora uk, marc jacobs, toms shoes, karen millen uk, montre pas cher, moncler, juicy couture outlet, canada goose outlet, canada goose, moncler, canada goose jackets

Mon Aug 01, 01:43:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home