Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Dave Miller
The 3/3rds process puts the power of the gospel to work week in and week out. Let me show you how. You have shared the #3Circles, you have a new believer and they want to meet with you to learn to follow Jesus, what do you do? We use the 3/3rds process as the engine of our disciple making practice. It is like the gas pedal to obedience-based discipleship where we teach one another to obey all that Christ commands.
In chapter 4 we learned that salvation is not just the declaration that you are a new creation (justification), but also becoming who Christ has declared you to be (sanctification). Remember, the glory of God in Jesus Christ and disciple making collide in the gospel precisely because God glorifies himself through the salvation of sinners in Jesus Christ and transforming us into the image of Christ.
The same power that saved us also transforms us, the gospel power!
As we share the gospel using the #3Circles we see this truth clearly.
When we repent and believe the gospel we are restored to God’s original design. We become restored image-bearing ambassadors. But we also pursue God’s design by following Jesus because we are restored in Jesus. This gospel truth is the Great Exchange of 2 Corinthians 5:21.
The 3/3rds helps to remind us of this truth from day one. The 3/3rds also keeps us accountable to live in our restored identity. In other words, as we practice the 3/3rds together we refuse to let one another forget our identity. So we look back.
1/3 – Look Back
1. Pastoral Care
3. Accountability & Vision Casting
We encourage one another through pastoral care. Then hold one another accountable for following and fishing. Remember Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Followers will fish. If we are to live in this gospel forged identity then we must be reminded constantly. The author of Hebrews wrote it this way:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries (Heb. 10:24-27).
The day of Jesus return is approaching so we stir one another up to love and good works, we encourage one another, and we refuse to let one another go on sinning deliberately after receiving the truth. This illustration shows the practical way to do just that:
1. Pastoral Care: How are you doing? Struggles/Successes?
2. Worship: Spend time in worship. (Song, Psalm, Thankful for…)
3. Accountability & Vision Casting:
a. Follow - How did you pursue God’s design by following Jesus?
b. Fish - Generation Maps/House of Peace Search, Reading
Notice how we are following the truth of Hebrews. We stir one another to love one another and the Lord through pastoral care and worship. Then we stir one another to good works by emphasizing the commands. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus commands that we follow him. So we hold one another accountable for following. In other words, to did you obey Jesus the way you planned the week before? Jesus says when we follow we will fish, so we hold one another accountable to fishing for men (speaking the gospel) every single week.
We use the Relationship map, like the one you created in the last chapter, to focus our attention on sharing the message (#3Circles) with our ministry (Relationship Map). The Day of Jesus’ return is drawing near, so we cast vision every week to join the mission of God until there is #NoPlaceLeft in my circle of influence.  “Looking Back” is crucial to pursuing God’s Design. We are not allowed to just talk. We must act in obedience.
The pursuit of God’s design will confront us with our sin as the power of the Gospel pushes us to repent and believe God’s truth instead of our attempts to fix our own brokenness. So we drill down ever deeper into the gospel by looking up.
2/3 – Look Up
1. New Lesson
We aren’t just learning a new lesson when we intentionally look up. God wants to teach us through his Holy Spirit. We are actively listening for our Lord’s leadership through his Word so we may obediently follow and become who he has declared us to be in the gospel. We are intentionally practicing a kairos moment to learn the habit of repentance and belief and to practice listening to the Spirit. We train believers in these principles through the second third “Look Up.”
4. New Lesson:
Pray and Study
What we do with this new information has everything to do with making disciples. Let’s walk through the second command in the “10 Ways to Follow Jesus Together” to illustrate what a “New Lesson” looks like:
Identify with the Gospel – Baptism
New Command: Matthew 28:19
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Tell New Story:
One day an angel came to an evangelist named Philip and told him to go south down to the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. That road was out in the middle of the desert. So Philip went and as he was walking he came across an Ethiopian sitting in a chariot reading from the prophet Isaiah. This man was an official in charge the treasury for Candace the queen of his country and he was on his way back home after worshipping in Jerusalem.
The Spirit told Philip, “Go over and join the chariot.”
So Philip ran to the man and heard him reading a passage from Isaiah. He asked the Ethiopian, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I?” he replied. “Unless someone teaches me?” He invited Philip to join him in the chariot.
He was reading this passage:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.
The Ethiopian man asked Philip, “About whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”
Then Philip, starting with that passage, told the Eunuch the story of Jesus and the good news about his death, burial, and resurrection. Just like we do with the #3Circles. And while they were going down the road they came to some water. The Ethiopian said, “Look, there’s water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Well, of course nothing did, so he commanded his chariot to stop and both of them went down into the water. Philip baptized him right there in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just like Jesus commanded in our command today. When he came up out of the water the Holy Spirit carried Philip away. The Ethiopian no longer saw him but went on his way filled with joy!
Read the Story: Acts 8:26-39
Pray and Study Using #3Circles Bible Study Method:
Father we ask that you would teach us now by your Holy Spirit. From your Word we read today, we want to learn how we should turn from our sin and follow Jesus. Teach us now as we study, Amen.
What did you learn from this passage about God and/or His design? When you give an answer, please tell us the verse where you found it.
(We use a sheet of paper or a white board as briefly illustrated below)
“Look Up” provides the opportunity to make the Word of God central to our disciple making process. As we read and study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will show us where we need to repent and believe, then follow in obedience.
The “Look up” section allows us to weekly embed vital disciple-making DNA such as:
The Word of God is authoritative and required.
How to study God’s word for yourself and teach others.
How to repent and believe in every kairos moment.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
Jesus is the point.
Since the 3/3rds is obedience based we next “Look Forward” to take the information we learn and determine how to obey.
Studying God’s word under the direction of the Holy Spirit will always present a kairos moment. The “Look Forward” or third third trains believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called” (Eph. 4:1). We choose to repent of the sins in our life that are leading us to brokenness and our failing attempts to fix brokenness, believe in the promises of God in Jesus and set realistic goals to follow Jesus in God’s design. The following is how we train to “Look Forward”.
3/3 – Look Forward
6. Obedience Goals
7. Commissioning Prayer
5. Practice: Practice telling the story to share
6. Obedience Goals:
a. Follow - Specifically, how do you need to repent of sin and pursue God’s design by following Jesus? and Read this weeks Bible passage.
b. Fish - Who will you try to share Jesus with/disciple this week?