Summary: To be a disciple of Jesus begins with a "desire" to follow Him. Here at 4 essential components of discipleship explained.
Introduction: Pastor Randy Leckliter tells the story of a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time, suffering from a severely parched throat, he spotted a little shack in the distance. He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water sitting next to it. A note was attached to the jug that read: “Pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need.” Now the man had to make one of two choices: 1. He could trust the note and pour the water into the pump and if it worked he would have all the water he needed. However, if it didn't work he would still be thirsty, and he might die. 2. He could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction. The problem with this decision was that the jug might not contain enough water to meet his needs, and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began working the handle. At first nothing happened, and he began to grow anxious. But he kept pumping and soon water started coming out. In fact, so much water came out that he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled every container he could find with the life-sustaining fluid. Because he was willing to give up immediate satisfaction and trust the note, he had all the water he needed. Now the note also said: “After you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveler.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “Please prime the pump, believe me it works!” [illustration found on SermonCentral.com]
We have a similar choice to make: do we trust our sinful flesh and the world that promises immediate gratification or do we trust the living God who has revealed to us in the Bible how to be redeemed from our sins and follow a Savior into a powerful life on this earth and an eternal life in heaven. I think the choice is obvious. We need to pour in all the water and trust God with everything. My friends, this short story is exactly what discipleship is all about – trusting the words and deeds of someone else. Here at Bethel Friends, we need a new discipleship program.
In general, a disciple is a person who follows someone else. In the Biblical context, a disciple was usually the follower of a teacher. The word for disciple in the New Testament is μαθητής. Typically the noun is used in a masculine sense. In fact, there are times in the New Testament when μαθητής must be understood as referring exclusively to men – the twelve disciples of Jesus, for example. Then there are other times when it can and must be understood as gender neutral, that is, as referring to both males and females. For example, in Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives the imperative to go make disciples of all nations; this must be understood as being inclusive of all persons, both male and female, not exclusively one gender. “And Jesus said to those Jews (my note - males and females) who believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My Word then you are My disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32). A Christian/disciple is not only a follower of Jesus, but one who by faith seeks to live (abide) within the boundaries of His words.
Luke 8:34-35 - “34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Within these verses we see four key components of discipleship.
I. Discipleship Requires Desire (v. 34)
“…Whoever desires to come after me…”
Illustration: Jimmy was nine years old when he watched his favorite basketball player participate in the NBA All-Star 3 Point Shootout. His favorite player was Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. That year, in 2006, Nowitzki won the 3 Point Shootout and had 10 points in the All-Star game. Jimmy was so excited and inspired by Dirk’s shooting that he decided he wanted to start playing basketball because he too wanted to win the 3 Point Shootout as his favorite player did. As the weeks and months went by, Jimmy begged his dad for a basketball goal. After sometime his dad bought the goal and Jimmy would shoot for hours in the driveway, always pretending to be number 41 on the Dallas Mavericks.