Summary: We are all called to be floowers of Christ, but do you really know what it means to be a disciplke of Jesus?
(All my sermons use illustrations found at www.sermoncentral.com and all scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
You and I are called to be Disciples of Christ, followers of Jesus. We are told throughout scripture that this is the way, the only way to get to heaven. Jesus tells us, John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. So we know that we must go through Jesus to get to heaven, but is that all I must do to be considered a Disciple of Jesus? I think that many of us have a problem with deciphering discipleship and so today we will see what it takes to be a real follower of Jesus. I do not want that anyone here this morning get to the time or day when they would hear:
Matt 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
In a book entitled "Quiet Talks on Service", written by a man named Dr. S. D. Gordon, a fantasy is painted for is that is strikingly poignant and says much. Dr. Gordon shows Jesus walking down the golden streets of heaven. He has just returned from earth in His ascension. All heaven is eager to greet Him and welcome Him, and the first to rush up in excitement and greet Him is Gabriel. They have known each other forever, it seems, and these two companions of old walk and arm in arm along those streets of golden. Gabriel – curious – engages Jesus in a conversation that (in the fantasy) goes something like this: "Master, You died for the whole world down there, did You not?" "Yes." "You have suffered much." "Yes," the Lord said. " And do they all know what You did for them?" replied Gabriel. "Oh, no...no; only a few in Palestine know about it so far." Gabriel replies, "Well, Master, what’s Your plan? What have You done about telling the world that You died for them, that You shed Your blood for all of them? What is your plan?" Gabriel waited expectantly, anticipating a grandiose plan – along the lines of the Creation itself.
And Jesus answered, "Well, I asked Peter and James and John and Andrew and a few other fellows to make it the business of their lives to tell others. And then the ones that they tell could tell others, and then the ones that they tell could tell others, and the ones that they tell could tell others, and on and on and finally it would reach to the farthest corner of the earth and all would know the thrill and power and blessing of the gospel."
And Gabriel is said to have replied, "But suppose Peter fails? Suppose after awhile that John just doesn’t tell anybody? What if James and Andrew are ashamed or afraid? What if the rest of them simply chicken out? What then?"
To which Jesus replies, "Gabriel, I haven’t made any other plans. I’m counting totally on them."
Today Jesus is totally counting on us to be His disciples and we need to decipher what discipleship really means:
I. BIBLICAL WISDOM
I think this is the first ingredient any disciple must have. And I think that those of us that allow the Holy Spirit of God to change our lives allow the wisdom of God to rule our lives. When the Apostles saw that they had way to much physical labor to do, and that it was taking time away from what God wanted them to do, they appointed Deacons. They needed servants of God to do the labor, so that they could give their full attention to the ministry of the Word and prayer. When they told the brothers to choose these men they said: Acts 6:3-4 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
The two go hand in hand, the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Jesus even told us that in His absence the Holy Spirit would come and teach and remind us: John 14:25-26 "All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.