1. THE TRUE MISSION OF JESUS
It was not just the cross. It was much bigger than that.
He rattled the nation with a mass movement of people into the Kingdom (John 11:48)
It was to be copied to all the world (Matthew 28:18-19)
This vision was birthed in heaven (Daniel 2:44-45, Psalms 22:27, Isaiah 9:7, Malachi 1:11)
Jesus still commands and controls this movement via the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:16-18, John 16:13-14).
2. HOW IT STARTED
Luke 3-10 records Jesus as he trained, sent, empowered and released emerging leaders in his mass movement.
Jesus was continually training future leaders: first 12 (Luke 6:12-13), then 70 (Luke 10:1-2).
Once they were trained, he asked them to train hundreds more future leaders called persons of peace (Luke 10:5-6).
This divinely ordained leadership and church planting system was the template for us to follow
3. JESUS WAS STRATEGIC
Galilee just happened to be the most heavily populated region of Israel.
It was also isolated by both distance and culture from the religious legalism of Jerusalem.
It was on the borderlands of surrounding nations (Matthew 4:23-25, Mark 5:1).
Jesus ministered to Phoenicians in Lebanon (Mark 7:24, Mark 7:31).
Jesus’ fame spread to Syria (Matthew 4:24).
People from Greek cities across the Jordan followed him (Matthew 4:25, Mark 7:31).
Jesus ministered to Jews, Greeks (Mark 7:23), Romans (Luke 7:1-10) and Samaritans (John 4) all as equals with Jews.
Then he went south to the cross!
4. THE RESULT
Saturation evangelism of all of Galilee.
Hundreds of trained leaders ready to go.
The emergence of deeply planted communities of faith in many of the 200 or so Galilean villages.
Perhaps 10-20% of the Galilean population, or some 20-40,000 people became followers BEFORE Jesus went to the cross!
All were ready to spread the gospel after the resurrection.
This is why there were 120 leaders with the disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:15), 10 times the number of original disciples.
Proof: In Matthew 3:4-6 and John 4:1-2 tens of thousands gathered to hear him teach (Matthew 4:23-25, Luke 9:10–17).
The Sanhedrin was very worried about losing their power (John 11:47-48).
It’s also the core reason why the Sanhedrin tried to get rid of him (John 11:49-50).
5. FIELD 1: JESUS PLOUGHED HIS HEART
Field 1 is all about PLOUGHING the weeds out of our heart
Jesus was water-baptised by John. Death to the old life.
Then he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). Power for the new life.
Jesus then died to his human desires (weeds) in the desert temptation (Luke 4:1-13).
Only then did he begin preaching.
Jesus always modelled what he wanted us to follow.
6. FIELDS 2: JESUS’ MOVEMENT BEGINS BY GOSPEL SOWING
Field 2 is all about SOWING as many Gospel seeds into human hearts as possible:
Jesus initially preached in Nazareth where he grew up (Luke 4:14-16).
He was rejected by his home town (Luke 4:28-30).
He then went down to Capernaum preaching, healing and driving out demons.
One location worked. One didn’t. It will be the same for us. Gods gives the increase.
Jesus was now sowing many spiritual seeds.
He was looking for followers who would become disciples and then leaders.
Miracles were key (Luke 4:42).
The movement had begun!
7. FIELD 3: JESUS GROWS FUTURE LEADERS
Field 3 is about GROWING new believers into strong disciples.
In Luke 5:1-10 Jesus challenged some local men with the offer of discipleship.
Jesus was always thinking about the future expansion of his movement (Luke 5:8-10).
If we are not on his task, we are on the wrong task.
Why fishermen and not religious leaders?
Because they had a great work ethic, obedience to the call, perseverance, and initiative.
Jesus didn’t call educated or rich people, he was looking for obedient people (Luke 5:11). The fishermen immediately left thriving business, family and their future to follow the master.
8. JESUS CONFRONTS RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
In Luke 5:33-6:11 there are four examples of religious traditions.
First; Jesus was challenged about associating with sinners (Luke 5:27-32).
Second; he was challenged about not fasting (Luke 5:33-39).
Third; the disciples were working on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5).
Fourth; Jesus healied someone and doing good on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-11).
Religious tradition has been one of the greatest obstacles to the growth of the kingdom.
Even some of the early churches began to fossilise within two generations of the resurrection (Revelation 3:14-20).
9. LUKE 6:12-16: JESUS CHOOSES HIS 12 LEADERS
By Luke 6 there were perhaps 50 or even more followers.
After praying all night Jesus chose 12 leaders (Luke 6:13).
Movements need leaders. They need structure.
This fateful morning was the day construction began on the foundation stones of global church that you and I are part of today (Ephesians 2:19-20).
The term Jesus used to describe the 12 is apostle and it simply means a sent one.
Three years of lifestyle training now began:
1: By watching him work and listening to his teaching (Luke 6:17-49, Luke 7:21-23).
2: Through specific leadership training (Luke 8:1-18).
3: Through active replication and multiplication of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 9:1-9).
4: By mentoring others in the same process (Luke 10:1-24).
This was not an academic Bible school. It was an apprenticeship.
Training leaders was so important that Jesus worked on it for years.
It consumed more of his time on earth than any other project.
Deep learning that ploughs the heart is the only learning that counts if you want exponential growth.
Why the night of prayer? Jesus said in John 5:19 that he only did on earth what his Father told him to do. His father told him who to choose that night.
The key to becoming like Jesus is to first learn to hear the father’s voice. (John 10:4).
Jesus modelled this for the disciples so that both they and we would copy it when spreading the Good News (John 5:19, John 5:30, John 5:37).
Training the 12 future leaders through modelling is WHAT Jesus did.
Obedience to the voice of the Father is HOW he did it.
That’s how he chose his 12 leaders.
That’s how he always knew exactly what to say to people.
That’s why he sent us the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:47-49, John 16:13).
10. LUKE 8:1-16: JESUS EXPLAINS HOW TO MULTIPLY HIS MOVEMENT
Jesus now gave the disciples an important lesson on the future of his movement.
It was the parable of the sower.
It’s all about finding the 4th soil people that multiply themselves.
In addition, in Mark 4:13 he said to his audience about the parable of the sower: Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
It was a reflection on what he was already doing (Luke 8:1-16, Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:1-16).
This parable unlocks all others.
It is also why we use the illustration of the four fields (ploughing, sowing, growing, harvest) to explain how the Kingdom grows.
1. The story looked back.
It looked into Israel’s history. In the Matthew 13 version Jesus quotes extensively from Isaiah 6:9-10.
2. The story was what Jesus was doing.
The last group included the disciples themselves. Jesus spoke with a number of these 4th soil people. These included the woman at the well (John 4:4-42), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) and the Roman Centurion (Luke 7:1–10).
3. It had a future element.
It told them who to look out for in their own ministry. In Acts we see yet more examples of these unique 4th soil people such as the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26–40), Cornelius the first non-Jew to become a believer (Acts 10:9–11:1), Lydia (Acts 16:13–15), the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:22–38) and of course the apostle Paul himself (Acts 9:1-30).
These “4th soil” people were spiritual superheros and are the key to exponential growth.
They are future leaders, evangelists and apostles.
11. LUKE 9:1: THE DISCIPLES BEGIN TO COPY JESUS’ MINISTRY
Jesus begins to move from demonstration and example, to replication:
- I do and you watch
- I do and you help
- You do and I help
- You do and I watch
The disciples were to do exactly what they had seen done (Luke 9:1-2).
It was a delegated authority over the natural world.
The less possessions the disciples took the faster the message of the Kingdom of God spread.
Possessions would have slowed them down.
The disciples were looking for 4th soil people.
The trip went very well (Luke 9:6, Luke 9:10).
This explains why well over 10,000 people then came out to hear Jesus (Luke 9:10-17).
Jesus was now shaking all of Galilee.
12. LUKE 9:46-62: JESUS DEALS WITH SPIRITUAL PRIDE IN HIS LEADERS
Great things were happening but…
It was inevitable that some pride arose with such a booming movement.
Jesus had dealt with these temptations in the wilderness, now it was the disciples turn.
They argue over who of them would be the greatest in this new kingdom (Luke 9:46).
They wanted to call down fire from heaven on a village that rejected their leader (Luke 9:54-56).
He finishes this all-important lesson with teaching on the cost of following him (Luke 9:57-62).
There would be no glory for these men outside the souls they would bring into eternity.
The social, political, religious and economic pyramid of human privilege and power must be turned upside down in the Church of Jesus Christ.
13. FIELD 4: HARVEST TIME; JESUS MULTIPLIES HIS MOVEMENT
The HARVEST field is about establishing self-function house churches that multiply
Jesus now widened the training to include another 70 or so of his disciples (Luke 10:1-24).
Yes there were many more than the original 12 wanting to be trained up.
There were multiple levels to his system of training leaders.
Unlike the original 12, these 70 or so other disciples possibly stayed in Galilee after Jesus went down to Jerusalem and to the cross.
Many probably made the 4 day trek down to Jerusalem to be present as part of the 120 in the upper room. (Acts 1:15).
It is also a known fact that Lebanon was the first country to hear the Gospel. Could it have been these other disciples that took it their first?
The teachings Jesus gave to these 70 or so others were so important that they formed the foundation of a system of finding the 4th soil people that still works today.
First, a quick summary of what we have learnt in this essay:
- The movement Jesus started was divinely ordained in the throne of God.
- Jesus was baptised, filled with the Holy Spirit and died to himself and the world
- Jesus then started his mass movement through miracles and kingdom teaching.
- He won many followers in the earliest of days.
- From these followers he chose 12 men for intensive leadership training.
- They lived with, watched and leant from their master.
- He taught them to look for 4th soil people when preaching and praying for people
- Then he sent them out to practice what they had seen him do.
- The whole of Galilee was shaken by this first wave of evangelism.
- Opposition then quickly raised its ugly head.
- Pride came soon after.
- Jesus then trained 70 or so others to expand his mass movement even further.
- These 70 or so were specifically instructed to look for the next generation of leaders.
- The result was a mass movement into the kingdom before Jesus went to the cross.
That’s what he wanted the early church to copy.
Using the same system that Jesus designed, the Good News spread rapidly around the globe in the next few centuries: To North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Central Asia and even China.
Sadly in Europe this system of discipling and planting communities of believers changed dramatically on October the 27th 312AD when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and forced all Christians under his rule into the sacred buildings left vacant by the usurped Roman religions.
From that point on:
People came “to church” instead of being the church.
The church became an institution instead of a movement.
Sermons and rituals took over from relationships and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Works took over from faith.
The Protestant reformers brought us back to salvation by faith, but kept the Roman church structures.
Fortunately this is now changing rapidly as a reformation of church structure is finally taking the Good News back to its original social structure. There are now in excess of 700 New Testament model movements globally. Here are some South Asian examples:
Victor John, whose story is in the book Bhojpuri Breakthrough
Abdul from Bangladesh The CAMEL Method
Ying Kai in China T4T
Neil Cole and Jeff Sundell in the USA
Growth in the global number of true followers of Jesus is up from 1% in 1900, to 7% in 2000, and will reach an expected 12-15% of the global population by 2050 according to The Future of the Global Church by Patrick Johnstone. Mass movements are accelerating this growth.
Jesus and the four fields
Field One: Ploughing: Luke 3
Field Two: Sowing: Luke 4
Field Three: Growing: Luke 5-6
Field Four: Harvest: Luke 9-10
- Teach someone the five big lessons you learned from this lesson.
- Read Luke 4-10 every day for the five days so it really sinks in.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to train you in these principles.