Series- on being a Disciple versus a Christian.
As we have seen, many in our culture call themselves Christians, but few truly live like disciples.
What is a disciple?
Lk 14:26-27 (+ Living Bible, Amplified Bible)
If you come to Jesus, you must live a certain way to be a disciple- (if not, you are a cultural Christian).
In other words, your belief system must/will affect the way you live, if you are a disciple.
There is a cost, or commitment, to being a disciple.
Rami Ayyad ran a Christian bookstore in Gaza. He regularly received angry threats and the bookstore was firebombed in April. Last month (Oct), He kidnapped. He was publicly tortured, stabbed multiple times, and shot through the head. He left a wife/two small children behind.
Rami loved God more than his own life.
When we come to hear a sermon or go to a Christian conference- looking for new revelation/insights.
Do we need more information OR should we focus on living what we already know.
Jews- 1600 commandments- Jesus narrows down to 2.
In week one- Disciples …
In week two- Disciples …
Go fishing- disciples make disciples
In week three- Disciples …
Wash smelly feet (serve one another)
Many aspects of a disciples life involves other people, it involves relationships- in and outside the church.
In the year 2001, there was a house in Chicago. It was run down, weeds everywhere, apparently abandoned. Neighbors would sometimes mow the lawn. The house finally came up for auction because of back taxes. Someone bought the house. They went into it to clean it up, and what they found was horrifying. Instead of just finding an old run-down house, they actually found a man named Adolph Stec, who had apparently died of natural causes, sitting alone in his reading chair. Next to Adolph Stec was a newspaper. In the year 2001, he was sitting next to a newspaper dated 1997. Apparently, this man had been dead for four years- no one even noticed, not a neighbor/relative/friend. How does someone die and no one notice?
How does someone come into to this building to visit with us on Sunday morning and no one notice?
Just had a complaint about this two weeks ago.
Talk today about breaking bread TOGETHER
Where did the disciples meet?
The early church met both in the temple, or corporate setting, and in individual houses together.
Breaking of bread- more than just Communion- they did life together publicly/in one another’s homes.
I wonder how the meals then compared w/meals today
In many homes meals are hit/run- grab a bite to eat, run the kids off to ballet, boy scouts, band practice.
Many families do not take time to eat together.
Meals taken together in the NT- much more leisurely and seemed to have a greater priority.
Lets look at the setting in Acts 2 … Peter had just preached and 3000 added to the church.
What we find in Acts 2 …
Disciples break bread and doing life together.
What were the disciples devoting themselves to?
breaking of bread,
Devoted- to be constantly diligent, persevere in, adhere to closely.
There commitment to … teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, prayer- was not …
accidental or incidental or unintentional- they were earnest in pursuing these things …
both in the temple in and in their homes.
Fellowship- koinonea- partnership, participation- social intercourse- speaks of relational intimacy
with one another.
We increasing our focus on Home Fellowships, but- we will be calling them- House Churches.
This is the term used in the Bible …
1 Cor 16:19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
You will not be part of a House Church accidentally- it must be an intentional decision.
House Churches are a Biblical form of community.
Are we too busy for, or not interested in, what the NT puts forth as part of the normal Christian life?
Assembling together in the temple/home.
We have talked about the difference between the terms Christian and disciple.
In reality- should be no difference- one in the same.
When I think of a Christian I think of a relationship with Jesus- a personal relationship- essential.
However- our relationship w/Jesus- never intended to be private- personal yes- private no!
It is not intended to be- I have God, I love God, and therefore I do not need the church.
A disciple does not have just a personal relationship with Jesus- He has a shared relationship w/Jesus.
Mtt 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." NASU
There is something powerful about His presence when we come together- participating in- family of God.
2nd greatest commandment- love our neighbors.
Many of us do not know our neighbors, and in many cases we do not even know our own families.
We are so busy working, recreating, or getting kids to their activities- do not have time for one another.
One pastors take on this- the problem is air conditioning. Before AC people hung out on their front porch. Add to that attached garages and automatic door openers- drive in and never see your neighbors, then fenced in backyard so we never have to interact with our neighbors, and how about the answering machine so I never have to talk to them, and the cell phone with caller ID, ATM machines, buying over the internet, movies delivered to my mailbox.
Interesting phenomena- young people- using technology for community-
MySpace, text messaging, instant messenger.
Not promoting-never replace personal interaction- the real issue is the priorities and values in our hearts.
Consider for a moment some of these Bible verses …
Ro 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Ro 13:8 … love one another …
Ro 14:19 … we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Ro 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, …
Gal 5:13 … through love serve one another.
1 Thes 5:11 Therefore encourage one another
Today- have many excuses not to bother w/people- I do not want to trust people- they let me down.
You can be sitting in church today and not know anyone and be lonely.
You can be married and be lonely because you have not worked the relationship God has given you.
It is true that in relationships there is the BUTT factor.
People can be a pain in the butt- but …
Where there is misunderstandings/arguments/fighting- there can be restoration, crying/rejoicing together.
It honors God when we commit ourselves to working through and enjoying relationships.
Result of togetherness- a miraculous flow of the love and power of God resulting in many lives changed.
Extreme commitment to God and one another will bring about extreme results.
Awe- fear, alarm, fright, terror.
The holy fear of God fell upon the people because of the way they did life- love God, love one-another.
The took care of one another’s needs.
Do you realize that in this building right now there are people with many needs- many going unmet.
Many of those needs will only be met through
Will we leave here today and ignore people or take time to …
koinonea with them,
go out and break bread together, or
join a House Church?
Jn 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. NASU
I want to challenge us to learn to do life together.
To make an extreme commitment to loving God and loving one another so we see extreme results.
Disciples break bread together.
Another story …
This year- HAMPTON BAYS, NY- partially mummified body of a man dead for more than a year has been found in a chair in front of his television, which was still on. The man, 70 years old, died of natural causes. Neighbors thought he might be in a nursing home- nobody checked
(Material for this sermon comes from Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv)