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  • Darrell Stetler II

What it Means to Make Disciples: NewStart Day 15

Many smaller churches have no clear discipleship strategy. A few years ago, I got tired of winging it every time a new person needed to be discipled. I developed a tool that can help, the NewStart Discipleship Journal, and started using it where I pastor, in Southwest OKC’s Bible Methodist Church.

It did help! For the first time, I feel like I have a discipleship plan that can really multiply disciple-makers in my church. As a small church pastor, I know this is a big deal.

If you’re interested in how I did it, you can register for my free 1 hour webinar on “How Even Small Churches Can be 100% Ready to Disciple New Christians (And multiply Disciple-Makers!).”

Here’s a teaching transcript from the first discipleship video from day 15:

New Start Discipleship Day 15

Hey there, welcome to New Start Discipleship Day 15. We are starting our third week and that's pretty fantastic. I want to encourage you to continue to reach out to a mentor. And if you don't have one, check on the website or email your pastor or email me or text me and ask me; how you can get a hold of a mentor, all right? Today, I'm in a different location, as you can see, I was out of town the day and so just recording here in a friend's church and asked if I could borrow his office or his church office for a little while.

Today, we're Romans 7 and we’re on Romans 8. Now, I got to put this in context for you today as you're reading this, so you can kind of get a grasp of it. Basically, Romans 3 that we were in recently, is the heart of the gospel message. It's the beginning of the idea that God is the justifier. He's the Forgiver of those who believe in Jesus. And we asked the question, how is it possible God could be just and the justifier, the forgiver? How can you be fair and the justifier? And the answer is found in the power of what Jesus did in the cross, where the mercy of God and the justice of God meet and cross paths.

And so, that's the kind of the heart of the gospel. But today, in Romans 7 and 8, we start talking about the scope of the gospel, how far it can go? How deep it goes into our lives. You see, some people stop with the idea that they are forgiven and they basically stopped with the idea. They're forgiving, they're like, okay, I've been forgiven of my sins and that's what the gospel means is what it means to be a Christian. And I would say, well, yes, it does mean that. But the scope of the gospel goes further and bigger than just being forgiven. The Gospel is not just eternal fire insurance, right? It goes into literally the transformation of every part of our character.

And so, in Romans 7 and Romans 8, Paul is going to unpack the struggle with the old life, the struggle with the old self, the old sinful nature that resides within person, and then he's going to go on into how that gets transformed in life in the spirit, okay? So, it's a very, very crucial passage, because do we just live in Sin and continue on and struggling with all this? Absolutely not.

And so, today, I want to talk about; first of all, I want to put Romans 7 in context for you. A lot of people say that Paul in Romans 7 is describing his regular experience as a Christian. And I would say, that's hogwash, all right? That's absolutely not true. Paul's not describing his regular experience as a Christian because if he is, he contradicts everything that he said in Romans 6, and everything that he says about his spiritual life in every other place. Like a virtually every place he talks about, he says, I'm living a life void of offence, my conscience bears me witness that I'm right with the Lord and I'm living a life of honesty, truth, integrity, and faithfulness. He says,

“I labored more abundantly than all the rest of the apostles, I did all of these things and by the grace of God working in me.”

He's living this kind; he is talking about this kind of thing all the time. And in Romans 6, he says that, the truth is in Romans 6 is not in your reading today, but I'm referring back to it because it's an important passage for being able to understand, he talks about how we've died to sin, we can't live in it regularly, as a victim of sin bound to sin any longer.

And then in Romans 7, he says a very important thing in Romans 7:14, to help us understand what it is he's talking about. He says,

“Is the law evil, if it caused me to be more sinful?”

Because he says, I knew what I was supposed to do. And he describes his life before he was saved, because I knew what I was supposed to do, but I had no power to do it. And that's bondage. Isn't it? Like I know what I'm supposed to do, but I have no power to do it. And he says, well, verse 14,

“We know that the law is spiritual, right? It's good. It shows us God's will for our life.”

But he says,

“But I am.”

And he says he changes into a present tense;

“I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”

Now, clearly, Paul's not talking about the Christian life here. He's not talking about his current experience. He's speaking in what's called the historical present, alright? He's talking about something in the past, but he's talking about it as if it was right now, because he wants to make the struggle real. He wants us to relate to the struggle that he has had with the carnal, sinful nature. And so, he talks about it in the historical present. What that means is he's talking about something in the past as if it's happening right now. So, he talks about it and he says,

“I am sold as a slave to sin.”

In verse 14, Paul would never describe it that way. If he was talking about what he was experiencing right now.

But then he goes on to unpack how we can live and he talks of there are actually two realms, there are two kingdoms. There's the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of flesh, the kingdom of bondage, the kingdom of sin, the kingdom of Satan. And there's the higher kingdom, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Spirit, the realm of the Spirit. He said, we can live the lower life or we can live the higher life. And if we are saved, we have been set free to live the higher life. And that's the fact. It's not that we are bound and sold as a slave to sin, instead, the spirit sets us free. And he says that in verse, chapter 8:1-2,

“Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Then he says in verse 9;

“You are not in the realm of the flesh, but in the realm of the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you”

And it does, he does, the Holy Spirit does live within you. So now as you read these chapters can let Paul unpack this a little bit over five minutes today, so I got to let you go. But let's read through it, unpack that and just rejoice in the life that Christ gives us, as we see what is really possible in the Christian life by reading Romans 7 and Romans 8. Thank God.

My name is Darrell Stetler, and I create discipleship tools to help small church pastors finally learn what it means to make disciples, not just collect attenders!

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