Summary: This message focuses on the profile of what a disciple looks like.
We are in the summer series, “CSI: Church,” and asking why we do what we do. The next two weeks we’re going to focus on our commitment to discipleship. One of the frustrations with the institutional church is that it forgets the mission that Jesus has given us. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” That’s our reason to be. Why should we follow this command? Stanley Hauerwass, who is a professor at Duke University, puts it this way, “Jesus is Lord, and everything else is crap.” That sums it up. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me under heaven and earth.” Jesus is Lord, and everything else doesn’t matter. And if He is Lord and if we follow Him then this is our purpose. For the next two weeks, we’re going to focus on discipleship. Why is discipleship important? Missiologist, author and pastor Alan Hirsch gives three reasons. First, when you study every great movement of God in history, whether that be the early church, the underground church movement in China, the Methodist movement or the Pentetecostal movement, everyone of those take discipleship with the utmost seriousness. We can’t be the church or the movement God intends without it. Second, Jesus commands it. The Great Commission isn’t about evangelism, it’s about discipleship. It says to make disciples of all nations to obey all that Jesus commanded. It’s part of what we should be doing and the fact that we don’t know how to do it is sort of weird and unfaithful. Third, discipleship is how Jesus gets into us as His people. It’s how we model out lives after Him. We let His life flow through us and it’s about us becoming more and more like Jesus but also about Jesus getting more and more into me.
This week, we are focusing on the profile of what a disciple looks like. Next week, we will talk about the path of discipleship.
In our Scripture today, Jesus comes to Simon and his fishing partners, James and John, and extends an invitation. There are several things we learn from this verse. First, it is a command, not a suggestion. Jesus doesn’t ask, “Would you like to follow me?” He simply says, “Follow me!” Second, it is also a promise. The promise is that if they choose to follow Him then they will no longer fish for fish but fish for people. They will no longer feed the stomach but feed the soul. Third, “many are called, but few are chosen.” Jesus realized that most of the people anxious to come and hear the word of God would never make the cut, or have the game to be a disciple. Many are invited, but only a few are selected amongst the invited. Everyone is invited, but only the few are selected. That is a troubling passage, a sobering passage to me because I just don’t want to be invited; I want to be one of those that are chosen because I had gifts and the ability. There is a difference between the crowds that show up anxious to hear the word of God and the missional community of Christ who is carrying out the word of God on planet Earth. There is a difference between the institutional church and the body of Christ seeking to live like Him, to save souls and to expand the Kingdom of God.
When we consider the profile of a disciple, these scripture references tell the story of the few. The story is not about the crowds who come, nor is it about the tremendous catch of fish. The story is about the fishermen…the few that Jesus has chosen. Why did Jesus choose fishermen? All were unlikely men to carry out the movement of God on planet Earth. They were not socially respectable people. They weren’t educated. They weren’t economically successful. So, what did Jesus see in these fishermen that made him realize he could trust the labor of God to them? These men knew how to labor for fish, and would know how to labor for people. We don’t become disciples of Jesus and the transforming influence on the world easily or naturally. When we think of faith, we think of the belief of faith. But the Bible doesn’t talk about that; instead, it talks about the labor of faith. 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by loved, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Many are called, but few are chosen, because fishermen understand that this is a labor of faith. It is not a recreation of faith.
The second thing I noticed about fishermen is fishermen have dogged persistence. They labor hard their entire lives. Story of Steve Sjoren