Summary: Call for people to become true disciples
Has anyone heard of a man by the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Bonhoeffer was born into a large family in Breslau, Poland in 1906. He became a German pastor, theologian, spy, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church, who was one of few Christian churches in Germany that openly opposed the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned in 1943 for refusing to join the military and talking against Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. After the failed bomb plot of 20th July, 1944, in which many of Bonhoeffer’s friends and allies were convicted of attempting to assassinate Adolph Hitler, the Nazis decided that Bonhoeffer was too dangerous and Hitler ordered his execution. The Nazis hanged Bonhoeffer in the notorious Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before the end of WWII.
This great Christian martyr and theologian wrote several books, the most famous, The Cost of Discipleship. In this book, he coined the term “cheap grace” and called it, “The mortal enemy of our church” (Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 43). Bonhoeffer writes, “Cheap grace is grace without a price, without costs. Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship.” (Bonhoeffer, p. 29-30)
Bonhoeffer goes on and contrasts cheap grace, this “grace without discipleship” with “costly grace.” Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which, people go and sell all they have. Costly grace is the pearl, for whose value is so great, that the merchant sells all that he has. It is Christ’s sovereignty, for that sake of which you tear out an eye or cut off a hand if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ, which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him. (Bonhoeffer, p. 30-31)
Please turn in your Bible to Matthew 4:18-22
18While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
9As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Our focus tonight is verse 19, when Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Let us pray…
Jesus called the first disciples near the beginning of His ministry in a region called Galilee. Galilee is where Jesus began preaching repentance and the good news. The majority of first three gospels happened in Galilee. There were about 204 cities and villages in Galilee, with an estimated population of between 2 million & 3 million. Galilee is a place of great natural fertility. The soil in the region rejects no plant and the air suits nearly every variety. The fruits grown there are remarkable. The Galilean commerce was heavily dependent on both agriculture and fishing industries.
Jesus calls disciples from all lifestyles and occupations. Regardless of where you grew up, how you live your life, how much money you have, or what terrible sins you committed, Jesus calls you to become one of his disciples. It doesn’t matter if you have slept with hundreds of people, lived a homosexual life, taken drugs, or even killed someone…Jesus calls you to become one of his disciples.
No matter what our past, Jesus calls us to leave our old life, follow him as our Lord, become transformed to be like him, and go make more disciples.
How does God make disciples?
Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
In this one command, Jesus gives us four ways in which God made Christian disciples.
I. Jesus calls disciples—disciples leave their past
Vs 21 says, “Jesus called them…” These fishermen didn’t go looking for Jesus. Jesus came to them. He came to where they lived and called them to be his disciples.
What did these fishermen do? The scripture says Peter and Andrew, “At once…left their nets...” It says James and John, “Immediately…left the boat and their father…” It says Mathew, “Got up and followed him.”
What did the disciples give up?
Simon Peter and his brother Andrew dropped their fishing nets to follow Jesus.
James son of Zebedee and his brother John left their boat and father to follow Jesus. Bartholomew’s, likely a farmer, left his family farming business to follow Jesus.