July 18, 2023

The ABC’S of Generational Multiplication

Series: Discipleship

1 Corinthians 4:14-16; 11:1

 To be born again into the kingdom of God is to receive the nature of a Father’s heart! Father God’s nature is generational. He is referred to as the God of Abraham (who had a son), Isaac (who had two sons), and Jacob (who had twelve sons). These twelve sons became known as the twelve tribes and eventually the NATION of Israel!).  The nature of Father’s kingdom is never to build just for ourselves but always beyond ourselves.

Psalm 78:4-6, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,…” Notice in this passage that there are four generations involved: the forefathers, and their children, children yet to be born, and their children. In 2 Tim. 2:2, "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." In this verse we see four generations: Paul-Timothy-Faithful men - Others.

One doesn’t have to be a student of scripture for long until it becomes clear that everything God does is multigenerational. God seldom ever does anything in one generation or for just one generation.

Since we are commanded to make disciples of all nations, those believers who have no heart for the future are a serious problem for God’s generational transfer plan. WHY? Because the Christian faith is only one generation from extinction. Therefore, obeying the Great Commission is imperative and not optional. Our assignment requires "Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing!" which is to “make disciples” of all nations. We will only get one life-time to fulfill God’s purposes of securing a people of God after us. So a key measure of a Christian man’s value is what he leaves behind by way of spiritual offspring, because persons are the only thing that make it to heaven.

Life in Father’s kingdom requires that we are constantly becoming responsible to the generations past in order that we may reproduce this spiritual life in the generations to come. This process of generational transfer or multiplication is better known by the biblical term -- disciples-making. Our mandate and mission is to make DMD's with TWI! (Disciples Making Disciples with Total World Impact!)

The Procedure for Generational Transfer Requires Discipling Lives and Not Just Teaching Lessons

1 Corinthians 4:15-16, “Ten thousand people may teach you about Christ, but I am your only father. You became my children when I told you about Christ Jesus, “Wherefore I beseech you, be followers (mimetes, mim-ay-tace’; an imitator) of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Paul had no intention of depreciating the importance of teaching, because teaching is the initial stage of the disciple making process, for it establishes the disciple in the posture of a learner and then properly lays the necessary foundations. Disciples must be students who diligently give themselves to a thorough understanding of the basic foundations.

However, the ultimate goal of the disciple making process is generational transfer or fatherhood, for fathering is where reproduction takes place. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 4:15 that there are many teachers but few fathers. Paul lamented the fact that the Corinthians had many teachers but few fathers. What is the difference between teachers and fathers? Teachers impart lessons -- Fathers impart their life! Teachers teach a subject in an impersonal format and go home every night. Fathers train a life in a personal relationship by their life and learning from babyhood to sonship, to fatherhood. Every parent understands this. It is much easier to be a teacher than a father because relational reproduction requires risk, resource expenditure, and intimacy.

Discipling is spiritual parenting and one of the essential elements of good parenting isn’t first rules and regulations, but having and maintaining a love relationship between parents and children. Fathers are about insuring the future by reproducing sons in the present. It is imperative that every father imparts life and learning to his sons before he departs this life. Teachers may impart knowledge and prophets may predict the future, but fathers shape it. One is like a thermometer the other is like a thermostat. Fathers rear what they reproduce. Fathers are defined, not by their own success but by that of their offspring.

The Pattern for Generational Transfer Requires Imitating the Pattern Son Jesus

No one has set forth Jesus' method of generational multiplication any clearer and simpler than Robert Coleman in his book, The Master’s Plan of Evangelism. In it he employs eight principles that sum up Jesus’ model for making disciples. Whether or not we obey the only mandate the Master gave us, is contingent upon how well we embrace and employ the following eight truths!

1. Asking Father God for a Select Few
Selection for Vocation -- (Mk. 3:14a -“…He chose twelve…)

Jesus’ selection of the twelve was for the job, i.e. vocation, of becoming like Him and multiplying what He did. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public. Men were to be his method of winning the world to God.

Before Jesus ever preached His first sermon, He had already selected people to follow Him. Jesus was not interested in developing programs that would reach the multitudes, but in developing individuals that would impact the multitudes.

The men He selected would not impress us as being "key people". (Nor did they impress the religious leaders of Jesus' day.) They were rowdy, insensitive, quarrelling, envious and bigoted. They came from common backgrounds, a few were social outcasts. Within these individuals He was to initiate the Kingdom of God on earth and lay the foundation for the New Testament church.

Jesus ministry reached 1000’s, and touched 1000’s, but He trained 12 men. He gave His life on the cross for millions, but He gave His 3½ years of public life to 12 men. Miracles, multitudes, and mass ministry benefited from Jesus’ work, but they didn’t constitute His work. Men were His work. Jesus saw the masses through the man, and He built the man to impact the masses. Jesus recruited hundreds, developed seventy, choose twelve, graduated eleven, and focused on three!

Where do you start looking for potential disciples? We must start where Jesus did -- by serious, extended prayer. Luke 6:12-13, "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:"

Where do you look for potential disciples? There are only two places:

The Harvest Fields: Mt.13:38, "The field is the world..." John 4:35, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!"

What do you look for in a potential disciple from the Harvest Field or in an unsaved person?

Look for a T-H-I-N type person.

T- targeted by the Holy Spirit

H- Holy Spirit sets them up (a benevolent ambush is arranged)

I- interested in the gospel message

N- new believer is born

The Household of Faith: Galatians 6:10, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." Ephesians 2:19, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God."

This person may be a new believer or one who has been in the faith for many years but doesn't know how to build disciples. So what do you look for in this type person? You look for a F-A-T-S-O type person.

F- faithful

A- available

T- teachable

S- servant-spirited

O- obedient from the heart.

2. Bonding with Them for Fellowship

a. Association for Infection -- (Mark 3:14b --“… chose twelve that they might be with Him…”)

Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation. The process is better caught than taught. What you’ve got is what the person closely and regularly associated with you is going to be infected with.

Withness, Togetherness, Community, Fellowship – these words express the very reason for God saving us. God’s desire is for a Huge Family of hot-hearted, passionate sons who delight in Him and in each other, not a Labor Force of Field Hands who work for Him. What is this Withness, Togetherness, Community? Community: A unified people who possess a common way, embrace a common truth and celebrate a common life. 

Community, or Fellowship, is the Greek word, "koinonia" and is translated by our English New Testament by numerous terms: "communion, association, fellowship, sharing, partakers, common, contribution, communicate, and partnership."

Although no one English word can catch the full meaning of the Greek, the New English Bible comes close as it translates all of the above by the expression “sharing in the common life.”

John 3:22, is a verse that you can read many times and not see anything extraordinary revealing about it: After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained (tarried –KJV) there with them and was baptizing.” The revelation is in the word remained with them. It is the Greek word, “diatribo?”, which is made up of two words –dia –through, (denotes the channel of action) and tribo which means “to rub”. While Jesus was with them, He rubbed off on them. Like a contagious disease, they caught what he was carrying!

3. Concentrating on Training Them in the Faith

  a. Concentration for Education -- (Mt 11:29a -“…take up my yoke and learn (manthano; to learn, to understand.) of me…)

Concentration is another way of saying that you cannot build disciples without intentionality. You must be disciplined and teach and require specific disciplines of your disciples. You cannot does this in large numbers such as in a church service by preaching from the pulpit, or by lecturing to a small group from behind a lectern, or by teaching a Bible study. Why? It is too general and widespread and not concentrated enough.

Life teaches us the imperativeness of concentration. No horse will carry a work-load until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No river is ever turned into light and power until it is dammed up and directed into the channels that spin the turbines. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.

  1. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, "Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways."

Concentration involves person to person education, indoctrination, and implementation. It involves person to person relationships, discussion and interaction. Bible scholars estimate that Jesus spent 85% of His 3 1/2 years of earthly ministry concentrating on 12 men!

We must live, and require the disciples we are building to likewise live, as commanded men and women always under our Master’s orders. There can be no vacillation or insubordination toward the Great Commanders orders. We are engaged in cosmic spiritual warfare, the issues of which are life and death, and every day that we are indifferent to our responsibilities is a day lost to the cause of Christ. The most elemental truth of discipleship is that we are called to be servants of our Lord and to obey his Word. It is not our duty to reason and challenge what and why he said what he said, but only to carry out his orders. Unless there is this concentration and dedica­tion to all that we know he wants us to do now, however immature our understanding may be, our education, or training will never make reproducing disciples, only rebellious, immature spiritual kids who have never been broken from self-will and bound to the Savior’s will.

4. Discipling Them to Live in the Spirit’s Fullness

    a. Impartation for Empowerment –

John 17:11a, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world…”

John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

John 20:21-22, "Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus gave what He had to His disciples. He gave Himself to His disciples:

He gave them His knowledge of the Father -- Jn 15:15; 17:8,14

He gave them His peace - Jn. 16:33

He gave them His joy - Jn. 15:11

He gave them His love- Jn. 13:1

He gave them the Holy Spirit -- Jn 20:22

Making disciples involves personal, intimate, long-term association for the purpose of impartation of life as well as learning.  Jesus gave himself away to his disciples. One of the first things he did after his resurrection from the dead was to surprise his disciples with his presence and then say to them “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22.

Jesus wanted his followers to obey him and do greater works than he did (John 14:12). But in recognizing this truth, he realized that his disciples would need to discover the indispensability of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment in order to fulfill their assignment. Also in having a deeper experience of his Spirit by receiving Him, they would know the love of God being poured out in their hearts and flowing from them to a lost world. That is why his demands were accepted without argument. The disciples understood that they were not just keeping a law, but were responding to One who loved them, and was will­ing to give himself for them.

There is no growing, going or reproducing, no reaching, teaching, training of disciples without the Other Jesus without a body, third person of the Trinity – blessed Holy Spirit, empowering our lives. We need to receive the Holy Spirit and go on daily being filled with the Spirit for the impartation of the life of Christ and reproduction of the ministry of Christ. When this is a reality in the discipler’s life, he can like Paul call his disciple to follow or imitate me as I imitate Christ.

We must teach our disciples about the Holy Spirit's person, presence, power, gifts, and guidance. We must teach and model for them how to walk in the Spirit, worship in the Spirit, work in the gifts of the Spirit, and witness and war in the power  and provision of the Holy Spirit.

"How else could they ever fulfill the commission for their Lord with joy and inward peace? They needed an expression of Christ so real that their lives would be filled with His Presence. Evangelism had to be a burning compulsion within them purifying their desires and guiding their thoughts. Nothing less than a personal baptism of the Holy Spirit would suffice. The super-human work to which they were called demanded supernatural help-an enduement of power from on High." The Master Plan of Evangelism, p.69.

5. Exhibiting a Leadership Style that They will Want to Follow
a. Demonstration for Instruction
-- (John 13:15, "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”)

"An example" is the Greek word, "hupodeigma." The term means, "to show under the eyes as an illustration or warning."

In 2 Peter 2:21, Simon Peter, wrote, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example.” The word he used for Christ as our “example” "hupogrammos", which literally means to “write underneath.” It refers to an outline which is traced from one sheet of paper to another. Today, we would call the completed drawing a “carbon copy.” It is also used as the model of handwriting to be copied by the schoolboy. It is used figuratively of a model of conduct for someone’s imitation.

In other words, you as a discipler must practice what you preach. You will never build a Jesus standard disciple by saying, "Just do as I say not as I do."

The Christian’s life is to be a copy -- albeit imperfect -- of Christ. We are to be being transformed by the Word, then translate this into being a disciple of Christ and then transfer or transmit it to others, others, and others as DMD's with TWI!

The Process -- Personal Life Transformation – Public Living Translation – Parenting Lifestyle Transmission!

The disciples had a teacher who prac­ticed with them what he expected them to learn. Being with Jesus was OJT and meant that class was always in session – teaching them, training them by personal demonstration of how to do it, and transforming them so that they like good apprentices good repeat the process! People are looking for a demonstration, not just an explanation.

When it came to having a humble servant spirit that was willing to do the little and the lowly, Jesus did not first lecture them, but got down and washed their dirty feet. After which he said, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

Prayer was not just taught as a part of the discipling curriculum, but demonstrated over and over again in all night prayer meetings led by Jesus. Ministering to the sick and delivering those in demonic bondage, was demonstrated in practical experiences before it was explained in technical terms. Evangelism was lived before them in spirit and in technique. Watching him, they learned what it was all about. He led them to recognize the need inherent in all classes of people, and the best methods of approaching them. It wasn't outlined on the blackboard of a stuffy classroom nor written up in a "do it yourself" manual. His method was so real and practical that it just came naturally.

The process of generational transfer involves an apprenticeship in which the journeyman tells the learner what, tells them why, shows them how, does it with them, lets them do it, and then deploys them for world impact.

6. Finding Seekers by Going with Them into the Harvest Fields

    a. Delegation for Job Description Penetration -- Luke 10:1, “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.”

Jesus was always building into the lives of his disciples so that when the time came for him to go back to the Father, the disciples could take over his work and go out into the world with the redeeming gospel to make disciples of all nations. This plan was initially stated when Jesus called his disciples unto himself as he declared, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). Patiently he made it progressively clearer as they followed him what this gigantic job assignment really entailed.

When he tells the disciples in Luke 10 to pray for workers, where do you think they were expecting these leaders to come from? Seminary or Bible colleges? Of course not. Other churches? None existed. The passage is about farming leaders, not robbing other ministries of them. No, there is no other solution than that the leaders for the harvest must come from the harvest itself. We must farm our leaders, not recruit them. The new disciples are the new workers, and the seed of the next generation is found in the fruit of the current one. This is farming, and it is the way God created the world to work. Farming, or harvesting, leaders is a long-term solution. Recruitment is a short answer to a long problem.

The patience with which Jesus brought this out to his dis­ciples reflects on his wisdom in not telling them too much too soon to overwhelm them with the apparent impossibility from a human perspective of taking on the whole world. He was never impulsive in his insistence on action. The first invitation to the disciples to follow him said nothing about going out and evangelizing the world, although this was his plan from the beginning. His method was to get the disciples into a vital experience with God, and to show them how he worked, before telling them they had to do it.

Someone suggested that Jesus' whole process could be summed up by using an acronym made up from our English word: MAWL

M- model and your disciples watch as you employ the discipling process.

A - allow them to assist you in the process of building disciples.

W - watch and assist them as they employ the process to build disciples.

L - leave them to do what you imparted to them and you look for others and others, etc.

Jesus was training men to do a strategic assignment and when they knew enough to get started, he saw to it that they did something about it. The application of this principle is so pronounced that it needs to be considered as another part of his strategy of conquest through trained and spiritually alert men.

As Jesus was beginning his third general tour of Galilee (Mark 6:6; Matt. 9:35), he knew that the time had come when his disciples were ready for him to delegate responsibility for penetrating the darkness with gospel light. So he delegated them to put into practice what they had seen their Master do. So "he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth" (Mark 6:7; see Matt. 10:5; Luke 9:1-2). Like a mother eagle teaching her young to fly by pushing them out of the nest, Jesus pushed his disciples out into the world to try their own wings.

Just as he had sent the twelve out a few months before, he now sends out, "seventy others", two by two to witness for their Lord (Luke 10:1). This group of disciples probably included the Twelve. The size of the group also indicates that this was due in measure to the increased activity of the Twelve in witnessing for Christ.

Jesus sent them out in pairs. In this action Jesus demonstrated that the Kingdom work is to be experienced in companionship. It is the work of friends. Together with the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can face anything.

All the resources for the harvest are found in the harvest. We do not need to feel impoverished or desperate. We simply need to do what Jesus instructed us to do. It can be scary, but the risk we take is the place for faith, and with faith we will see the fruit we need.

7. Guiding Them to Become Men who are Faithful and Fruitful

     a. Supervision for Observation, Confirmation, Correction and Continuation -- (Mark 8:17, "But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them (his disciples), “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?”)(other references -- Luke 10:17, 21; Luke 9:41)

Supervision is a process where a disciple is held accountable or respon­sible for those things entrusted to them. Accountability is a part of our daily lives. Why? Because practice does not make perfect only permanent!

In God's Family in general and in discipling relationships in particular, accountability is mutual. Being accountable to someone does not mean that we are to submit to such an extent that they become the vehicle of God's will over our lives?

Paul writes in 2 Cors 1:24, "Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith."

Jesus did not hesitate to confront his disciples in love for the purpose of correcting them so that the process of turning them into reproducing disciples would not miscarry. His supervision involved confirmation when they got it right, correction when they missed it for the purpose of continuation of the process.

Jesus’ format for making disciples that assured the ongoing success of the process involved: Instruction, impartation, demonstration, delegation, and then supervision. He kept check on them. In this process he used constant repetition, application, and correction. He built such confidence and security into his disciples so that they understood that correction as not rejection! Listen to the words of David in Psalm 141:5, “Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it...” He welcomes correction as a sign of affection, not rejection!

The gospel accounts are filled with illustrations on how Jesus checked up on the actions and reactions of his disciples as they faced various difficult situations. He kept after them constantly, giving them increasingly more attention as his ministry on earth came to a close. He would not let them rest in success or in failure. No matter what they did, there was always more to do and to learn. He rejoiced in their success, but nothing less than world conquest was his goal, and to that end he always superintended their efforts.

8. Helping Them to Become Reproducing Multipliers of Fruit

     a. Reproduction for Multiplication or Generational Transfer --John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

He expected them to mature from a childhood consumerism to sons that are producers, and on to become fathers that are reproducers.

The decisive test for those Jesus had discipled would be whether they would carry on his work after he had gone. Could they do as good a job without his physical presence and daily supervision as they could with it? Until this point was reached in their Christian nurture, Jesus from a purely human point of view could never be sure that his investment in their lives would pay off for the Kingdom. If the disciples failed to impart his Spirit and method to others who would keep this work going, then his ministry with them all these years would soon come to naught.

Here are some questions all disciples of Jesus should ask: “Will I still live when I die? Will there be sons and daughters in the faith who will say what I have said and do what I have done? Will I have a legacy when I’m gone?”

One of the most deflating moments for the United States in the his­tory of the Olympic Games occurred in 1988 in Seoul, Korea. The American 4 x 100-relay team was poised to break the world record and assume its position as the best in the world. It had peerless ath­letes. There was no thought that this team could lose. The only question was whether they would crack the world record. Yet as the final leg of the race approached, the unthinkable happened. The Americans dropped the baton. The handoff was not completed. In an instant, the race was over. The crowd, electrified moments ear­lier, was left in stunned silence. The American team had arrogantly relied on their inherent speed and failed to practice sufficiently the handoff that was so crucial for the completion of the race.

"Every Christian must see themselves as the link to the next generation," writes William Barclay. We need to practice the hand-off. When all else fails, read the directions. It is not that Jesus' way has been tried and found wanting; it has been largely talked about but not implemented. Return to small, reproducible, long-term re­lationships as the means of transmission of the gospel from one generation to the next.

Legacies are not about leaving large sums of money to our children or being immortalized by getting our names etched on a building. When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the investments we have made in others who are self initiat­ing, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity and generational transfer in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.

So let's rehearse Jesus' eight procedural activities for building DMD's with TWI:










The process of generational transfer requires following the eight fold method Jesus’ Strategy. Anything short of this will produce a lot of spiritual consumers and many spiritual producers, but few spiritual reproducers who pass on the heart of the Father through the birthing and discipling of many sons, so that the Lamb of God has the reward of His sufferings.


other sermons in this series