This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 NIV
Adding a Kingdom perspective to our traditional church discipleship process has some profound implications, not just for others, but for you and me. We want to bear fruit. The goal is not to simply telling others about the gospel, but to live it in a way that shows we are His disciples. When the gospel is evident in our lifestyle, what does that look like? I want to suggest four areas:
Kingdom perspective – Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. As disciples, we want to be branches that connect directly to the vine. Servants typically connect to other branches. So we have branches connecting to branches instead of connecting to the vine. That is the nature of discipleship in the beginning. We connect with a church and teachers to learn how to relate to the Lord. We mustn’t forget that the goal is to get personally connected with Jesus ourselves. As an individual, I’m not merely following the lead of others. I’m personally connected to the vine (Jesus) and I’m personally doing what the Father is doing in my metron and my mountain.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8 NIV
Connected with my own heart – When I graduate from servant to friend (Jn 15:15), I begin pursuing the dream that God wrote in my own heart. I’m no longer fighting my will; I’m doing what I was created for, what I enjoy, what I’m passionate about. My heart, mind, and soul are aligned with what the Father is doing in the Kingdom. I’m no longer self-sabotaged over heart boundaries. My heart knows why God is making my name great and why I’m finding success in my part of the Kingdom. Most importantly, I’ve given myself permission to “ask whatsoever I wish” from the desires in my own heart. God and I are on the same page.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14 NIV
I can navigate pruning and warfare – When we pursue our dreams, things don’t always go according to plan… for two reasons: First, God is building his Kingdom, and we’re playing a role in a much larger battle. If our sector takes a hit, that doesn’t mean it’s my fault. I’m part of an exciting, strategic Kingdom initiative, and I can handle setbacks without wilting in condemnation or quitting out of frustration. I know that God is for me. I’m highly esteemed in heaven and highly favored by the Lord.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11 NIV
The second reality is that every branch that bears fruit is pruned so that it can bear more fruit. When some of our sprouts get lopped off, we can see the loving hand of the Father preparing us for greater fruit (Jn 15:5,8), greater works (Jn 5:20, 14:12), greater things (Jn 1:50) and greater glory. Again, we’re not wilting in condemnation, just refocusing for a season and setting our minds on an even greater future… much easier said than done when you’re in the heat of battle or the pain of pruning!
It’s really a privilege when God trusts us to be part of His battle and to stand strong, or to survive a pruning process that will increase our effectiveness by removing our personal limitations. Neither is pleasant in the moment, but the fruit and the reward for going through warfare and pruning defines spiritual maturity and adds an unmistakable depth of character and stature in the Kingdom that everyone can recognize.
Cups that overflow – There are two dimensions of abundance that God is putting into disciples. They are like trade marks for Kings. First we carry an anointing for greater works. We can do the same stuff Jesus did and does… prophetically, healing, divine appointments. Whether it’s spiritual gifts or Ephesians 4 ministry gifts, we just provide what’s needed. I am always amazed at the level of power and authority that the Holy Spirit provides in conferences, coaching and relationships. It’s available for all of us.
The second trade mark of Kingdom disciples is the ability to create wealth. God is opening a door in the spirit so that we can fund our ministry dream and help others to do the same. Like teaching others to pray or prophesy or heal the sick or lead others to Jesus, now we are learning to multiply finances and teach others to do the same. Without any of the wrong attitudes that can go with wealth, we are simply living reflections of the fact that God provides for His disciples generously… their cups run over to bless others spiritually and naturally. They really can fund their dream. Kings show themselves to be Jesus’ disciples by walking in abundance instead of poverty. He is our provider and He is a good provider; it shows by the way He takes care of His disciples. Our cups overflow to the point of blessing and discipling nations.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Ps 23:1 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. Ps 2:8 NIV
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… Matt 28:18-19 NIV