Summary: Christians don’t automatically become disciples. They must stedfastly follow the example of the early church, and incorporate the spiritual disciplines into their lives.
1. Illus. of Peggy Lee song, “Is this all there is?”
• Went to see circus- “Is this all there is?”
• Got married- “Is this all there is?”
• Had children- “Is this all there is?”
• Got old, preparing to die, looked back on life and said, “Is this all there is?”
2. I hope some of you are asking that question about your Christianity today. I hope you are saying, “I come to church nearly every Sunday morning, and I know I’m on my way to heaven. Somehow, my relationship with God doesn’t bring me the overflowing joy and the inner fulfillment that I thought it would. Is this all there is to knowing Jesus? Is there something more?”
3. Yes, there is something more. God not only wants you to be a believer, He also wants you to be a disciple. Can I show you God’s definition of a disciple? Luke 14:
Vs 26- Jesus the supreme object of your affection.
Vs 27- So totally committed to Him that you are willing to die for your faith, if necessary.
Vs 33- places Jesus ahead of all possessions.
4. Acts 2: 42 is God’s design for building disciples. Key phrase is “continued steadfastly…” Daily habits.
5. Text: In our text, Luke records the spiritual habits that caused these Jerusalem Christians to develop into disciples.
6. Today: Any Christian who wants to become a disciple must cultivate some specific spiritual habits.
7. What are the spiritual habits that will develop us into disciples?
I. A DISCIPLE MAKES A HABIT OF STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD
1. “they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine…” Doctrine = "didache" and literally means “the teachings.” It referred to a specific body of truth about Jesus and the Christian life that the apostle’s taught to the saved in order to build them in their faith. They continued steadfastly in this didache, this body of truth.
2. You say, “well this has no application to us. As far as I know, all the Apostles are dead!” That’s right, they are. But you know what? As the apostles aged and those teachings were in danger of being lost, the Spirit of God did a miraculous thing. He inspired them to write those teachings down. We have these teachings today in the form of the New Testament. I am holding in my hand the written record of the apostolic teachings!
3. What is the implication of all this for the modern day Christian? Just as early Christians had to saturate themselves in the apostolic didache to become disciples, so we (hold up Bible) must saturate ourselves in the apostolic didache. We have to saturate ourselves with the study of God’s Word, and particularly the New Testament.
4. Illus. of two Baptists arguing over which was more biblically ignorant
• Unfortunately, instead of being saturated in God’s Word, many Christians are like two Baptists I once heard about.
• One said, “I’ll bet you $5 you don’t even know the Lord’s prayer.”
• The other said, “Sure I do. Now I lay me down to sleep etc.”
• First one said, “O.K. here is the $5. I didn’t think you knew it!”
5. See Colossians 3: 9-10.. The problem is that when we are saved, we don’t automatically start thinking like a disciple. As a matter of fact, we still have the old thought patterns that we had as lost people. As we saturate our minds with God’s Word, over a period of time it reprograms our mind. We begin to think like Jesus, hold same priorities as Jesus, and make decisions like Jesus. In other words, we start becoming disciples!
6. How can we go about saturating our minds with God’s Word?
Daily devotional time in Word.
Active Sunday School attendance and participation.
Different Bible studies. Example: Denise Waters teaching precept study, Cedricia Wilson teaching 10 Steps to Maturity material etc.
Wednesday night Bible study time- going through Philippians at present time.
Bring Bible to worship services.
7. If you want to become a disciple, have to deliberately give yourself to the habit of studying God’s Word.
II. A DISCIPLE MAKES A HABIT OF FELLOWSHIPPING WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD
1. See, “steadfastly… and fellowship…” The word is "koinonia" and it usually translated partnership, communion, fellowship. In the secular world in the time of the New Testament, it was used to describe business partners sharing a business, or marriage partners sharing a life together.
2. As Luke uses it, it describes the way two believers would share the common bond of Jesus. It involved at least three characteristics:
It involved transparency between believers. (No façade etc.) This practically guarantees that fellowship can only take place in small groups.