Summary: After salvation we are commissioned to move forward in our Christianity. There are wonderful blessings beyond belief.
INTRO. In giving the Great Commission, Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world...." The requirement for the church to fulfill the work given to us in the Great Commission is that we "make disciples". I have heard many preachers from many backgrounds preach wonderful sermons then they would call for their listeners to make decisions, but very rarely do I hear the call to make disciples. Now decisions are good and certainly important, for until a sinner makes a decision to accept Jesus as God’s provision for his sin then there is no way he can be saved. Notice vs. 30. There are and always shall be until Christ returns, those who will be saved and no more. They will make a decision for Christ but only so far as the "free salvation" is concerned. For while salvation is free -- discipleship costs. It costs in love, in worship, in time to serve, in study of the Word. The world "disciple" comes from the word "discipline". Notice the Master’s language; "If ye continue in my word..."
I. THEN ARE YE MY DISCIPLES.
A. Disciples must pass a test to qualify:
1. Jesus passed Peter, Andrew, James and John on the lake side, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." It took courage, faith and love to make the decision that was beyond simple belief.
2. On the other hand, consider Nicodemus. He it was who came to Jesus by night. His later actions prove that he made a decision for Christ in salvation but he did not "continue in my word" to become a disciple.
3. Jesus asked some who professed Him, "Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not what I say?"
B. His words are the supreme test. Required is explicit compliance, unquestioned obedience, unwhimpering loyalty.
1. He warns those who obey in sound but not in action, who pretend but are not sincere. Matt. 7:21-23
2. So true discipleship goes beyond belief to action. It is not merely hearing the words of the Lord or just in professing to believe his words but it is doing something about what you hear and claim to believe. You can be a doing disciple, not just a believing disciple "If ye continue in my word."
C. Most Christians think that the work of evangelizing is the pastor’s God given job, that the work of teaching is the special work of the teachers. The truth is every saved man or woman is called to do the work of the Kingdom.
1. Paul told the church membership at Corinth: "We are laborers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building." (I Cor. 3:9)
2. We are called to witness for Jesus, to tell the lost of salvation, to bring hope to those who have no hope. This is not the work of a few but the job of all. There are no second class citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.
D. What is involved in becoming a disciple? What do I mean when I say "go beyond belief"?
1. First study the Holy Word. II Tim. 3:15. Not just read it but diligently study it. Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures" (Jn. 5:39).
2. Pray often and long. Do not attempt to work on a new and complicated job without instruction so do not try to do the Master’s work without His instruction.
3. TRY!! Most Christians never become real disciples simply because they never try. Witnessing is no problem. It is just a matter of persuasion. You persuade a friend to buy your favorite razor blade or you take a strong stand in favor of your favorite football team or automobile. Try persuading a friend to come to Jesus on faith as strongly as you would try to get them to try your favorite razor blades.
II. CONTINUE IN MY WORD AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH.
A. There is an old saying that truth is often stranger than fiction. This was never truer than in God’s Holy Word.
1. I have read many science fiction novels yet none can rival the truths of the Holy Bible.
2. Men stand in awe of the truth of creation, the rebellion of Satan and his angels, the terror of Jonah’s experience. We wonder at the stories of Moses and the Hebrew children, the marvels of Israel under David and Solomon. The teachings of Jesus and his miracles has the world talking after 2000 years.
B. But men deal in possibilities and then surmise. God deals in absolute truth. "Ye shall know the truth". Men can only talk about the truth; God gives us the truth.
1. Men deal in circumstance and externals; God deals in the heart and soul of the matter.