Summary: Defending discipleship against division caused by loyalty to a human persona creates an ongoing allegiance to our Master and Lord.
Today, we tread troubled waters. We may ‘strain at the oars’ so to speak. Pride will be confronted today. It may even be a little painful. Believe me when I say to you, “This is necessary; to be the real deal, to be genuine and authentic, to become the group of disciples which is the church of the Christ: this is necessary.” There are sacred cows that have been fed for a very long time which must now be sacrificed. The problem is that we have gotten used to the cows, we like the cows, we have invested into the cows.
I understand fully, some here may not make this sacrifice today, or this week, or this year. Some may never make this sacrifice. It is a voluntary choice. But know for sure, it is not me asking you to make this choice, but it is Jesus Christ! Before I reveal the choice we all have to make, let us review what we have covered thus far. Then we will listen to Jesus teach us about discipleship, - what it means, what it costs, and what destroys it.
Here is a quick review. In the first sermon we learned that Jesus claims for Himself these truths. Jesus Christ claimed for Himself, - Deity, ( He claimed, before Abraham was, I am.), and Sovereignty, (He declared, all power in Heaven and on earth has been given to me.) Our response to Him is either submission and surrender or rebellion.
In the second sermon we learned that His power and authority can benefit us. We connect to Jesus Christ as His disciple by participating with Him in living a holy life, by being enabled from the strength of His might to carry out His will and mission, and by serving Him fearlessly.
In the third sermon we learned that our pride though camouflaged, (that is, Pride hidden from ourselves and others.), hinders us from seeing, hearing and opening our hearts to Christ and His way.
Today, we will learn from scripture to:
• Know what discipleship means.
• Understand what discipleship cost.
• Prevent what destroys discipleship.
The first teaching of Christ for us today is to:
I. Know What Discipleship Means, (Matthew 10:24-39).
A. It Means Identification with the Master and Teacher, (Matthew 10:24-25).
1. What Jesus Taught.
Jesus taught the disciple would be like his teacher and the slave like his master. He taught the disciple nor the slave would not be above the teacher or master. The results of identifying with Jesus meant the disciples would suffer as He suffered, perhaps even more.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (Matthew 10:24-25)
2. What the Disciples Experienced.
From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. (Galatians 6:17)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).
Discipleship means identifying with Jesus Christ! Do you really think church members in today’s culture, those who attend crying, “Meet my needs!”, would continue attending church if they went through what the infant church went through? There is a major difference between the modern church member and the early disciples.
B. It Means Taking Courage to Fulfill the Master’s Mission, (Matthew 10:26-31).
1. What Jesus Taught.
Four times Jesus mentions fear in six sentences. Jesus knows His disciples will face fear in their walking with Him. His mission has inherit dangers in closed societies, such as in present day Iran and Iraq.
Jesus encouraged them and us by:
• Do not fear them; they attacked me; they will attack you.
• Do not fear them; they can only kill the body.
• Do not fear them; My Father always knows your situation and values you above everything.
• Do fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Fear then from His teaching can be a block to action or a motivation to action. What do you fear most; what man can do to you OR what God can do to you. Taking no action upon His mission is not an option.