Summary: Christ's call to be a disciple who makes disciples is a mandate given by our Lord.
We have looked to Matthew 28:18-20 to learn how being a disciple who makes disciples is our mission as the people of God. Today, I want us to consider how being a disciple who makes disciples is a mandate given to each of us by our Savior. The dictionary defines “mandate” as: “an official order or commission to do something.” In our passage for today, Jesus tells His first disciples what they were to do; and by extension tells of all His followers what we are to do. In this, we learn exactly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. (READ TEXT)
Pastor and author, Francis Chan speaks of Christ’s call to His first disciples in the opening chapter of his book, Multiply:Two thousand years ago, Jesus walked up to a handful of men and said, “Follow me.” Imagine being one of those original disciples. They were ordinary people like you and me. They had jobs, families, hobbies, and social lives. As they went about their business on the day Jesus called them, none of them would have expected his life to change so quickly and completely.The disciples couldn’t have fully understood what they were getting into when they responded to Jesus’ call. Whatever expectations or doubts, whatever curiosity, excitement, or uncertainty they felt, nothing could have prepared them for what lay ahead. Everything about Jesus - His teaching, compassion, and wisdom; His life, death, resurrection; His power, authority, calling - would shape every aspect of the rest of their lives. In only a few years, these simple men were standing before some of the most powerful rulers on earth and being accused of “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). What began as simple obedience to the call of Jesus ended up changing their lives, and ultimately, the world. And that is still God’s plan for His people today.
Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a “follower” who doesn’t follow. How does that make sense? Yet, many in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, “Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with Me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in Me and call themselves Christians.” Seriously?
Christ calls us to do more than simply take on the name “Christian.” He calls us to be disciples who make disciples. And as we look at the call Christ gave to His first followers, we will better understand this mandate that has been passed along to us. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? A disciple . . .
1. Knows and follows Christ - “Come, follow me”
Read vs. 18-22 Now, when one reads this passage, they get the impression that Jesus simply walked up to complete strangers and called them to follow Him. But that is not the case.
A. They had accepted the invitation to know Jesus personally - John 1:35-42
John tells us how he and Andrew had been disciples of John the Baptist, who witnessed to who Christ was and, as a result, they chose to learn more about Him. Subsequently, John evidently told his brother James about Jesus, Andrew told Peter. This is an interesting story of how these men went from knowing Christ as someone with whom they were acquainted to knowing Him in personal relationship.
At first, they knew of Jesus, but there was no personal relationship with Him. But they chose to move beyond the acquaintance level of
relationship to a personal level; and encouraged their brothers to also know Christ on a personal level.
What is your level of relationship to Jesus Christ today? Are you merely acquainted with Him? Or do you have a personal relationship with Him? The choice is yours. He welcomes you and invites you to know Him personally, just like He welcomed and invited these
disciples to know Him personally (v. 39).
These men know Christ personally because they had accepted His invitation to know Him. Have you accepted His invitation? Do you know Christ personally?
B. They now obeyed the command to follow Jesus passionately - Matthew 4:18-22
Note the progression of things and the lesson for us today. All are invited to know Jesus personally. This is an invitation one can accept or reject. And all who know Christ personally are commanded to follow Him passionately. Part of the reason why Peter, Andrew, James, and John were willing to obey to command to follow Jesus passionately was because they already knew Him personally.
Because they knew Jesus personally, they willingly gave up control to give Him control; and because they chose to obey the command to follow Jesus passionately, they went from living a life of sameness to a life of significance.