(Part 2, of Cavite Trip)
“I just want to find out so I want to ask about what you’re doing regarding making disciples in Cebu. Now that it has reached up to the 14th generation in 4 years time, what is the biggest obstacle that you encountered?”
We sat on a circle with some pastors and saints at the house, my host Joey ask me this question while I share our journey in making disciples.
“Me.” I answered without hesitation. “Four years ago as I sat at KFC fast food meeting a friend for a purpose of making him into a disciple of Jesus I ask God, ‘”How to make disciples?” And to my surprise I heard the Lord said back to me, “Think like an unbeliever.” That’s all I heard.
“What kind of answer was that? How in the world ‘think like an unbeliever’ would let me make someone a disciple?” These are my thoughts as I meditate on what Jesus has just told me.
“Is this what you mean when you said you don’t use words and terminology that’s foreign to unbelievers?” Joey interrupted.
“Yes.” I replied. “Terms like ‘worship service’ or ‘bible study’ or ‘house church’ or ‘christian language’ that would identify us as ‘Christians’ are included. Unbelievers has no idea about these stuff. For them that’s religious. And in terms of making disciples, we don’t use many words like ‘evangelism,’ ‘outreach,’ ‘sinner’s prayer,’ ‘testimonies’ but we make disciples and share God’s love and His sacrifice on the cross.”
A silence filled the room trying to understand what I’ve shared. They just stare at me. And realizing that most of them have a hard time getting it I offer to make all the pastors into a disciple of Jesus. So I said, “Okey, so that you will know what I mean I will make a sort of a demo. I will just make you, the pastors, a disciple of Jesus but on one condition: think like an unbeliever. How was that?”
Everyone was quite Ok and agreed. “Okey then, let’s start but before that I will give you time to change the way you think. Think like you are not saved, think like how an unsaved person thinks. And take note also that let’s pretend that you are all my friends, means we already have a relationship, means also that you are not just simply ‘any’ friend but you are my friend who believe in me and trust me because you see my life change. You already seen me how I live, how I model the kingdom life in front of you. You see me how I see things differently, how I think things differently, and even how I make decisions differently. Means, I have really shown my light to you and a salt. I live how a disciple of Jesus lived.
“This is not an evangelism,” I continued, “where you preach at a person on the street whom you do not even know his name. This is making disciples through our friends already who believe in us and trust us.
I paused for a couple of seconds and ask, “So, did you see yourself as an unbeliever now?” Honestly, many of them have a hard time thinking like one because not only that we become believers for so long but also we have lost contacts with the world, most Christians have no unbelieving friends anymore.
As everyone nod their heads, I said, “You are all in my house now, just pretend it, it can be a coffee shop or under the tree in a picnic, wherever you are, go and make disciples, So I shall tell you why I invited you to eat at my house because I want to make you a disciple. I will make you a disciple.”
“Your disciple?” One pastor on my left side reacted proudly.
“See, I told you,” I said, “think like an unbeliever. You didn’t think like one pastor.” Everyone laugh and agreed. He agreed too. “Ok, let’s continue. If you are an unbeliever how would you respond?”
“What’s that?” Another pastor sitting next to Joey answered.
“Exactly. You are right.” I said. “Based on our experiences in making disciples, we almost got the same answer. They ask back, “What is that?”’
“Jesus has saved you already two thousand years ago.” I continue making these pastors a disciple of Jesus as they continue thinking like an unbeliever. “He paid for your sin because He loves you. He did this right there on the cross two thousand years have passed away. Do you know this?”
“Yes.” All pastors said. “Your answer is true that a non-believer knows this already specially in the Philippines where 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, they already have a background of Jesus death on the cross, so they know this already. Now I will continue making you a disciple.
“Now that you know, do you believe? Do you believe that Jesus saves you there on that cross two thousand years ago? Do you believe that you were saved right there? You have been saved. It is done. It is finished right there, you just have to know. And now that you know, do you believe?”
“Yes.” They all answered. “It’s true. An unbeliever person who is your friend who believes in you and trust you because they have seen your change life would just simply say yes.” I said.
“But is that all?” Several of them wonder. “Exactly also, most of them whom we made into a disciple wonders the same. The answer is yes. That’s all you have to do, believe. Why? Because there is nothing you can do that can make God loved you more or less. He loves you and wants you to love him back but there is a problem which is sin, so He dealth that Himself, not you. You are not the one who died on the cross, it’s Him, it is Him alone. He dealth sin even while you were yet a sinner and while you were not even born yet. So what can you do to save yourself anyway? Nothing, right?”
Silence broke the room but they nod their heads anyway in agreement.
“Now, this part is very important point. If the person is not convince that there is nothing he can do to save himself then do not continue making him into a disciple. He must know that salvation is God’s work alone. But as a disciple maker, continue thinking like an unbeliever. Meaning, answer only questions regarding on this topic, and answer them quickly and on the spot. That means, do not try to explain long using theological stuff, remember he is an unbeliever with no spiritual luggage like us. And most importantly, do not create questions for him. Creating questions for him is using our ‘believers’ thinking. Making disciples should be simple, quick and fast for him to make his friends disciples just as the way you made him. Well, not exactly, but the longer you explain is only making disciples complicated. And if you do that then you are the very reason why Jesus didn’t come yet. Explain only the essential using simple language.
“So, convince your friend to know that God loves Him and because of that He dealth the sin which is the problem. Now the problem is dealth on the cross and the only problem now is your friend if he would believe that what Jesus did is for him to be save. And if he believes then salvation is for him. What did he do? Nothing. Why? Because it is done two thousand years ago. He said on the cross, “It is finished.” Not, “to be continued.”
“So, do you believe? I ask the pastors again. And all answered yes. “Ok, now that you believe that you have been saved, what is your response to what He did for you?”
“I don’t know.” Some of them responded spontaneously. They all seem good to think like an unbeliever.
“Your answer is right using the unbelievers mind.” I said. “Of course you do not know. So I will continue making you into a disciple, ‘”Now, that Jesus died for your sin, what will you do with your sin?”’
“I do not know, what should I do?” All agreed.
“Of course, still an unbeliever doesn’t really know what to do with his sin. He knows nothing. So I will say, ‘”Leave your sin. Are you willing to leave your sin?”
“See, repentance is the answer. But repentance is not something that you to GET save but it is something that you respond to what has been done already to BE saved. In the Bible, whenever people wants to follow Jesus and has heard the Good News, they responded saying, “What must I do to BE saved?” Not, “What must I do to GET save? Remember the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16? He ask the same question. And in Acts 2 where Peter preach to the crowd the people ask the same. Meaning, now that I was saved right there on that cross two thousand years ago, what shall I do to receive it in my life?
“And notice also my answer to is not “repent” but “leave your sin” because I simplify it. ‘Repentance’ is foreign to an unbeliever. You will have to quote verses on that. And whenever we make disciples in Cebu we don’t quote verses as we don’t bring our Bibles to show the person how good we are at quoting Scriptures. Also, quoting scriptures only make making disciples a bit complicated. We quote verses but hardly, sometimes if needed. Because the person whom we make disciples is a friend already who believe in you and trust you. It doesn’t take a lot of proof for him to believe in what you just shared. You are his proof already that what you said is true. Your life is a witness to that.
“Also, remember Jesus who said “repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand,” never uses that to the individual when He is making someone a disciple. He just said, “sin no more.” To paraphrase it, it’s ‘leave your sin.’ Either way, my point is ‘think like an unbeliever.’ Saying ‘leave your sin’ or ‘sin no more’ I believe make more sense to him than saying ‘repent.’ Up to you.
“When I said that ‘repentance is not something that you do to GET saved but only a response to what has been done already two thousand years ago, on that cross’ what I mean for that is ‘repentance doesn’t save you. Imagine that, there are 44,000 denominations in the world today and most of them uses ‘repentance’ without Christ death on the cross!
“Also, in 2Cor.7:10, it says that ‘godly sorrow produces repentance,’ means that on our own we cannot repent. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. So repentance is not our work, but God’s. Even ‘coming to Jesus’ or by the time that the person is ready to become Jesus disciple is not man’s work but God’s. John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” That’s why before making a person a disciple we ask God, “Is he the one? Am I going to make him into a disciple?” So, a lot of our ‘believers’ thinking are really were the very problem in making disciples, not the solution. So shall we continue?”
“So when a person says he is willing to leave his sin, what’s next?” Joey ask.
“Are you willing to leave your sin? I am continuing making you a disciple here.” I said to the pastors. “So are you to stop sinning?”
“Yes.” All said. While I’m in the middle of making these pastor’s disciples of Jesus, some women at the back sitting on the dining table have their own discussions as well. “What are you women is talking there about?” I am jokingly.
“We love it.” They replied. “It’s very nice.” I found out then that these ladies are the wives and leaders of these pastors. Honestly, women, specially pastor’s wife are the ones who can get it quicker than their husbands.
“Oh I see, anyway. Let’s continue. “Now, that you are willing to leave your sin, what shall we do with your sin?
“So, to a believer’s mind what will his answer be?” I reminded them.
“I do not know.” They all replied. “What do you mean?”
“Should we leave your sin on the corner and later you pick it up and continue sinning again? If you want to follow Jesus, He will kill you. Means, He will disciple you. Means, you deny yourself. The life that you know has come to an end. Do you know that Fraternity is a fad in today’s world especially to the young people?” They understood me well. “And do you know what the initiation is? “PADOL” (means to be beaten by a stick by several members as a test if you are worth to become a member of the group.) In the Kingdom of God, it’s PATAY, means death. Why? The wages of sin death.”
I stop for a moment.
“In traditional evangelism, the evangelist would say, “Jesus died for your sin so that you will not die for your sin.” Wrong. That’s half truth. The other half is a lie. The truth is, Jesus died for your sin and you also died for your sin. See Romans 6:2; 3:23; 6:23, Eph. 2:1. See, one of the reasons why I said that we don’t do evangelism, we make disciples.”
“Now, I will continue making you a disciple. Your sin has killed Jesus. You also has killed because of your sin. Just as He died, you also died! You want to be a follow of Jesus? Sorry, you can’t because dead people doesn’t know how to follow Jesus. Dead people don’t hear from God, cannot hear His voice and therefore cannot obey His commands. The Bible calls it dead people because of their sin as “old man” or “old self.” Old people or old self cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
“How does God deals with our old self? Self that is full of sin and wickedness? Sorry, He will not repair you. He kills you. Now, do you believe that you are dead because of your sin? Hey, ‘unbelievers’ I ask you.”
I reminded the pastors again to get their attention. All said yes.
“If you believe that you are dead, then what do we do with dead people?”
All answered in unison, “Bury!?” Then everyone laugh. They get it.
“Let’s go then.” I said. “How many minutes did I just made you into a disciple from the time that I said, “I will make you a disciple to baptism?”
“Three minutes?” One said.
“Making disciples start when you say your intention saying, “I will make you a disciple.” And it will end when you finally baptized the person immediately. In the NT times, baptism delayed is disobedience. You won’t see baptism is delayed even a day. The jailer was baptized at midnight, and the Eunuch is within Phillip’s explaination, they didn’t’ wait for another ‘holy day’ called “Baptism day.” We don’t do wait for “proof of salvation” which is “good works” before we baptized the person for what kind of good works can a dead person do? We don’t do “stages of growth” too before baptizing the person for what kind of ‘growth’ can a dead person be?
“To enter into the Kingdom of God is through baptism, not “sinner’s prayer.” Just as Jesus died, you also died with Him in baptism. And just as He was raised from the dead, you also raise with Him in new life. Jesus way for you to become His disciple is to kill you, that’s why I need to bury you, in baptism. Your old self must be buried because it is dead with sin. In baptism, it is where you and God meet and will forgive all your sins (Col.2:12-13). It is when you receive the “new life.” A new life with a ‘new heart’ to hear God’s voice and follow Him.
(Honestly, I do make some “Christians” a disciple of Jesus because many are not. And when I do I spent much of my time explaining like these pastors, lol. Most of what we explain to an unbeliever is the essential only for him to believe, and respond by repenting, and baptism. As soon as the person is convince that he is dead, he would normally want to be buried. Only an ‘alive’ person who is still ‘kicking’ who don’t like to be buried or someone who’s just ‘pretending’ to be dead. Which I have had some experiences also.)
“This is not traditional evangelism,” I told the pastors, “in which we hear evangelist would say and proclaim after the sinner’s prayer, “Now, receive the new life.” Or, “Now, you have a new life in Jesus.” How can one receive or have a new life without burying the old life?
“This is making disciples.”
(The next day we baptized three up to the second generation. But that is a different story, Part 3)