Summary: As God’s people we are not expected not just to know what we should believe but we need also to know how to behave
TOPIC: CROWD OR DISCIPLE
(A Life that Honors God – Sermon on the Mount Series)
Text: Matthew 5:1-2
“1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying:”
(ILL. College Needed "Follower" Not Leader – With the growing avalanche of college applications, this joke, purportedly based on a true incident, gets dusted off: An honest father wrote to the dean at a women’s college, objectively appraising his daughter’s qualifications. "While she is not an outstanding leader," he admitted, "she does follow well." Back came the dean’s reply: "We have already admitted 167 leaders to this year’s freshman class and desperately need your daughter since she is the only follower."—Changing Times)
We are in the times where follower is needed by God. God desires followers. What God is wanting is not just a believer but a follower, a disciple. While every disciple is a believer, every believer on the other hand is not necessarily a disciple.
Almost last three Sundays ago I started to talked about being a kingdom builder, where Jesus compares it to wise builder who builds his house in a rock, Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” And Jesus is referring here to His teaching on the Sermon on the mount. And today I would like to challenge us to be God’s Kingdom Builder by going back at the very start of the Sermon on the Mount, for us to know the principles behind God’s Builder. Let’s open our Bible in Matthew 5:1-2 (read). From our text we can see a crowd and a disciple. As we look at this let’s see ourselves and let’s ask ourselves, “Am I a crowd or a true disciple of Jesus?”
1. THE CROWD VS. THE DISCIPLE
v.1-2, “1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying:”
In Matthew 8:18-22 there is also a situation where large crowds follows Jesus and let’s see what Jesus did (read). When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you no matter where you go!" But Jesus said, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head." Another of his disciples said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me now! Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead."Let’s start by taking a closer look at verse 18: “When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake”. Jesus has been ministering to the crowd near Capernaum. He had healed many diseases and driven out evil spirits. He had preached and taught the people, and so many of them followed Him that they were pressing against Him at the beach. Then Jesus gave His disciples an order: “We need to move to the other side of the Lake.” Why would Jesus want to do this? Of course we know that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and that He had indicated often that He must keep moving from town to town to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. But the way Matthew has worded verse 18 indicates that the motive for Jesus crossing to the other side was more than just wanted to reach the people on the other side. Matthew writes: “When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.” Jesus saw something in the crowd that was not right. Perhaps it had grown too large, but we know that Jesus preached and fed more than 15,000 people at a time when he fed the 5,000 men and their families. I think it is more likely that He observed in the crowd a desire to follow Christ solely based upon His miracles, and not out of desire to change. They were excited about what Jesus could do for them, but they did not have a heart to become ‘like Jesus’.
There is a big difference between a disciple and a crowd. Some of the differences I observe are these: The crowd loved Jesus and sought Him for the help He could bring to their troubled lives. There was nothing wrong with that at first. Jesus loves people and He cares for their injuries and sorrows. He came as a healer and one He restore people to life. But the disciples had grown from following Jesus out of a hunger for His miracles to following Him out of a hunger for Him. The crowd enjoyed listening to the teaching of Jesus, but the disciples wanted to think like Jesus and pray like Jesus and be like Jesus. The crowd wanted a savior to rescue them for all their problems but the disciples longed for a King to rule over their lives. The crowd received what they needed from Jesus and then went on with their lives, but the disciples gave up everything to be with Jesus and to join Him in His work. Crowd follow for their own gain, their own interests but a disciple follow to be with Jesus to experience His fellowship and to minister to others as Jesus minister to them. A crowd considers as consumer but a disciple is producer. A disciple is one who come to Jesus to listen and to learn – the simplest definition of a disciple is ‘student, or one who learns’. But it really means much more than that. A disciple is someone who follows a Master. It is a someone whose life is shaped by the teaching of the Master teacher. In short a disciple is molded and shaped into the Master’s image.