When I was a kid, one of the best Christmas presents I ever received was a chemistry set. It had glass test tubes, beakers, a burner, various other scientific equipment and racks of chemicals. I would sit for hours and hours mixing, heating, boiling, and crystallizing. As a kid, I kept hoping that I would find the right series of chemicals and steps to make something explode.
I wanted to see some kind of a big flash, foam, a puff of smoke, or some kind of â€œcoolâ€ reaction. Â But no matter how many sequences, or combinations I assembled in my test tubes I was never able to get the cool reaction I wanted to see. After a few weeks the chemistry set went back into the box, and it stayed there for years. Why play with the set, if nothing really cool never happened? I was not content to see salt form, or water changing colors.
You may not have a childlike fascination with chemistry but I would be willing to bet that at some point you have wanted to see your life have a â€œcoolâ€ reaction for the Lord. You have desired to see peopleâ€™s lives changed because of how you have ministered to them, or to see people receive Christ for the first time, or even see families reconciled, the hungry fed, the blind to see, or the dead to be raised. You are not a Christian, if these desires have not expressed themselves in some way in your life.
When I was in advanced high school chemistry I discovered that there were some key elements that had been removed from my kidâ€™s chemistry set. I still had the kit tucked away in a closet, so I went and examined it. It was these key ingredients that would specifically keep those â€œexplosionsâ€ from happening.
If Satan knew what these key elements were, and could remove them from your lifeâ€™s chemistry set, do you think he would do it? My parentâ€™s wanted a kit that was safe, and so that I would not blow up the house. Satan desires for you to be a safe Christian, and to not â€œturn the world upside down.â€ Is there anything sadder than a safe Christian? She has the potential to change the world, but settles for changing nothing.
The Elements that we are about to discuss have the potential to be explosive. When combined together, they will literally change the world. These are what Christ has commanded that we do, and it is what Satan fears you will discover.
John 17:18, 20
Christ has called all Christians to make disciples. His last command as He ascended into heaven was â€œgo and make disciples. . .â€
I. Element #1; Invest
If we begin with the premise that Christ has commanded all of His followers to make disciples, then how do we do this? We make disciples the same way Jesus did, when he said, â€œCome and follow me.â€ For three and a half years Jesus invested himself in twelve men intensively and in thousands with less intensity. Jesusâ€™ disciple making was done with an end-goal of sending them out to make even more disciples.
The focus is not the program, and the management of those programs. Instead, it is and has always been about people investing themselves in the lives of other people â€“ for the express purpose of â€œmaking disciplesâ€ â€“ and the end goal of sending them out to invest themselves in the lives of other people.
The people Jesus invested in varied from three to thousands.Â It varied from intense discipleship to â€œsimplyâ€ a healing touch or conversation.Â But He invested himself none-the-less.
So the first element of a world changing life is investment. You can invest your life in others in varying degrees. For the girl at the grocery store, you may only have a minute. But for the little boy in your Sunday school class you may have a year. However much time you have, make wise use of it â€“ never waste it.
David and the exploding film container.
While I was in high school my friend David and I experimented with chemicals that we would â€œborrowâ€ from the advanced chemistry lab. David and I began a series of experiments that included various combinations of chemicals placed in a small black 35mm film container. Our goal was to have a delayed reaction from chemicals mixed together. We had little success until . . .
One evening after school we had planned to hang out and talk about our teenage diabolical plans, so we arranged to meet at my house. As David was driving into my backyard the canister that he had placed in his front shirt pocket suddenly and without warning exploded, sending hot sparks, and extremely stinky grey smoke all over him, his clothes, and the interior of his car. He had the presence of mind to stop the car, and put it in park and then jumped out. As he ran around yelling, slapping his face and shirt to put out the flames, I yelled with glee that we had finally succeeded! His eyebrows and hair were singed, and man did he stink. His clothes were ruined, and he was going to have a hard time explaining the interior burns of the upholstery to his parents. We had succeeded, but it was not exactly what or when we had expected.
When you invest yourself in the lives of others for the sake of Christ, you may find yourself suddenly very messy (even in pain), eyebrows singed, and stinky. But donâ€™t forget that this is a success; you are a part of radical change in this personâ€™s life. Just donâ€™t expect it to be clean, neat, or quiet.
II. Element #2; Go and Multiply.
Where? So if we are to invest ourselves in the lives of others, where will these â€œdisciplesâ€ come from? So, where are we to look for these people that we are to invest in? Do I just keep talking to people until I get goose bumps or a spiritual â€œfunny feeling?â€ Should I wait on top of a mountain for them to find me? Christ tells us that we are not to wait for them to come to us, instead we are to go to them. Acts 1:8, helps us to answer this question.
Acts 1:8 â€œBut 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. (ESV)â€
When Jesus gave this teaching to the disciples he was in Jerusalem. So, he says that we are to begin at home, and then work outward. We are to focus the investment of ourselves in four areas of outward progression.
- Jerusalem (our home)
- (and) Judea (larger context of home â€“ like your state)
- (and) Samaria (those who are culturally different than you, see Luke 10:25 ff.)
- (and) The end of the earth (other nations)
Notice that this verse says, â€œandâ€ in Acts 1:8 but not â€œor/either.â€ We do not get to choose if we focus all our efforts into one of these areas, instead we are to balance our investment in all four. In financial terms this would be diversification.
 NOTE: I am not a terrorist, and my desire to see things explode has been surpassed by what I desire to see God do on other peopleâ€™s lives. I would also like to avoid any entanglement with the Homeland Security Agency.Â I do not have any explosives, not even the chemistry set when I was a kid.Â But I do have a book that has drastically changed peopleâ€™s lives all around the world.Â If there are any Homeland Security Agents, who happen to be reading this, who would like a copy of this book, just let me know.