Summary: This message is the first in the series "Disciple: Following Jesus" that looks at what it means to be a disciple of the Master, Jesus.
“Disciple: Following the Path of Jesus”
Part 1 - Disciple
NewSong Church – 09/02/07
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**NOTE: THIS IS A CONCEPT OUTLINE FOR THIS MESSAGE, NOT THE FULL MANUSCRIPT. GRAPHICS AND MULTIMEDIA ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS SERIES.
This morning we are beginning our new series, “Disciple: Following the Path of Jesus.” Throughout this series we will be looking at how we define a disciple, what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, how our faith interacts with our commitment to discipleship, and how our lives are changed by following Jesus and his teachings. Last week we finished our series that looked at who Jesus was. Jesus was an amazing individual, dynamic and engaging, and huge crowds of people would travel with him for days on end, listening to his teachings and watching him perform miracles. The Gospels tell us that many followed him and believed in him.
But they also tell us that Jesus chose from among the hundreds that traveled with him, he selected from the thousands who came to see him a certain group of men to become what he termed disciples.
• These men had answered a call from Jesus earlier: “Leave what you are doing, and set aside the life that you are living, and follow Me.” And the Bible tells us that these men left what they were doing and followed Jesus.
• What made them different? What made them special? What separated them from the crowd and gave them the distinction of being a disciple?
The word disciple is defined as “a person who becomes a student of or participant in the teachings of another.”
Searching for an Experience
I get a few teenagers in my music lessons who sign up to learn to play guitar, and more often than not they come with a list of songs that they want to learn to play. Each one has visions of being a mini rock-god and jammin’ with friends, and singing their favorite songs.
But there is a noticeable difference between those who are only interested in their song list, and the students who come and actually want to learn how to play a guitar, to build techniques and skills, and develop an understanding of music.
There is a line between those who want a music experience and those who want to become musicians. And the same applies to spiritual life – there are many people who are satisfied having a spiritual experience every now and then, but have not stepped up to that next level of developing a spiritual life and living in a spiritual way.
In this case, when we talk about our spiritual lives, we are talking about our relationship and interaction with Jesus Christ. For many, an occasional moment with Jesus is enough. They are the people who come to Jesus with their list – “I’m in need now – I’m lonely now – I’m in trouble now.” They come to Jesus when they perceive that they need him for something that they can not do. They treat Jesus as if he was their butler – push a button, ring a bell, and there he is, ready to meet your every wish and whim.
The Easy Button
Have you ever seen the commercial from Staples with the “Easy Button”?
• In their ads, they usually depict a scenario in which an office employee or manager type person is given a difficult task to achieve, or a deadline that is near impossible to meet, or has a question and can not find the answer
• While the rest of the office runs around in chaotic panic, out of the paperwork there arises – a hero.
• This person rises above the clamor and with an air of confidence reaches out and presses – the Easy Button.With one push of the button, all problems are solved, all things sort themselves out, and life is stress and worry free.
I recently saw a shirt though, that had the picture of the button, but instead of having the word “Easy” on it, the word “Jesus” had been substituted. The caption next to the logo read, “Life’s Problems – One Solution - It’s Just That Easy.” While I’m sure the people who came up with the shirt idea were trying to simply present a humorous parody with a religious slant, at the same time they hit on a portrayal of a Jesus-relationship that many people have and are content with – that Jesus is someone to experience when needed on our own terms and conditions.
Disciples are different. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”