Putting on a uniform does not make you a soldier. Qualifications are made clear for soldiers.
Kevin Ammerman of Indiana was determined to join the military, but at 351 pounds he was turned down from each branch because he was ‘too big.’ He lost 160 pounds, met the requirements and completed basic training in the Army! (Reported by Meena Hart Duerson, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Monday, October 8, 2012).
Putting on a uniform does not make you a soldier.
Sitting in a church does not make you a Christian.
Jesus clearly defined what it meant to be one of his disciples... and those who were not.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, ESV)
Christ as Lord.
THREE GOALS for this sermon
1- See the greatness of a God who is worthy of our exclusive worship.
2- Properly understand what it means to be one of Jesus’ Disciples.
3. Evaluate our own relationship with Christ.
I. What Does it Mean to be Christ’s Disciple? (Jesus said that if you do not put him above all else, "you cannot be my disciple," Luke 14:26)
A. A disciple is a Christian
1. Kinds of disciples in the New Testament.
a. "the disciples of Moses" (John 9:28),
b. "the disciples of the Pharisees" (Matt. 22:16)
c. "the disciples of John" (Luke 7:18)
2. We sometimes act as if “discipleship” is an option for more committed believers.
3. But a disciple is a Christian.
4. Aubrey Malphurs writes, The Bible teaches that a disciple is not necessarily a Christian who has made a deeper commitment to the Savior but simply a Christian. Committed Christians are committed disciples. Uncommitted Christians are uncommitted disciples
B. How do we become a disciple?
1. Jesus repeatedly tells us to “believe in him”
a. (John 2:11, ESV) “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”
b. (John 8:31, ESV)“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,”
c. (John 11:25–26, ESV) “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?””
C. “Disciple” gives way to “Christian” and other descriptions in Acts/ Epistles
1. The exact point in this change is marked in Acts 11:26. “disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
2. RYRIE: “this may be because a disciple was expected to physically follow his teacher wherever he went, and this meant leaving his family and occupation so as to be able to be with that teacher all the time. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, this aspect of discipleship was impossible, so the word was used less frequently in the book of Acts, and not at all in the gospels.” (Charles Ryrie, “So Great Salvation,” 104-5).
3. Larry Richards: Change in terminology emphasizes that we are disciples of JESUS, not disciples of Paul, Appolos, Peter or Timothy.
So... in Luke 14:26, Jesus is telling us what a true disciple looks like. “Leaving father and mother” is repeated in other passages. Together, they give us the Characteristics of True Faith.
II. FOUR CHARACTERISTICS of TRUE FAITH. True faith worships CHRIST ALONE. There is no room for Jesus as one of many gods. COMPARE (Luke 14:26; Matt 10:37-39; Matt 16:24)
A. A disciples is willing to leave father and mother.
1. Our love for family is filtered through Christ.
2. Even if family does not agree, I will serve Christ!
3. “Hence, even what should be the best and closest of human relationships, in the family, ought never stand in the way of serving God.” Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 181.
4. What about the Christian family? Christ is not abrogating the Law, but rather pointing out that our relationship with others are secondary to our relationship with him. Christ would never command us to act in an unloving manner toward our parents.
a. ““Honor your father and mother”(Ephesians 6:1–4)
b. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, ESV)
B. Denying Self.
1. The opposite of Satan who says, “indulge yourself”
2. Self denial is not self-hatred. It is the restraint of our will so that we can do God’s will.
3. “Self-denial is a real sacrifice of self-interest...to glorify God, and do good to others.” Charles Finney, 1841. http://www.gospeltruth.net/1841OE/410317_self_denial.htm
C. Take up your cross
1. In the Roman Empire a convicted criminal, when taken to be crucified, was forced to carry his own cross. This showed publicly that he was then under and submissive to the rule he had been opposing. Likewise Jesus’ disciples must demonstrate their submission to the One against whom they had rebelled. Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 59.
2. Symbol of repentance (I have yielded to Jesus)
3. Symbol of submission
4. Symbol of death to my old self
5. Jews in Galilee and Jerusalem witnessed frequent crucifixions.
6. In Syria today, Thousands of Christians have been crucified by ISIS. Hundreds of thousands of refugees. Some leaders refuse to leave and have been killed. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/608224/christian-martyrs-
7. We might think that being willing to die for Christ is the pinnacle of discipleship. Being willing to die for Christ isn’t the pinnacle of discipleship—being willing to die for Christ is the beginning of discipleship. Clay Jones http://www.clayjones.net/2010/07/must-you-be-willing-to-die-for-christ-yes/
D. Follow me.
1. “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”” (Matthew 4:19, ESV)
2. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27, ESV)
E. He who loses his life will find it.....
F. This is not Lordship Salvation
1. Jesus is saying here that he must be First. He must be God. We cannot be a disciple without surrender to him.
2. The THINGS that we surrender are part of SANCTIFICATION. This takes a lifetime and is only beginning when we become his disciple.
3. The important thing is that our faith is sincere, even if it is limited. Here, in Matthew 10, Jesus is using the well known picture of Roman crucifixion to speak of our willingness to die for Christ.
III. Jesus exemplified ALL of these characteristics of faith in his obedience to his Father.
A. Leave Father and Mother. Jesus left the splendor of heaven!
B. Deny Self. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38, ESV)
C. Take up your cross.
1. “and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.” (John 19:17, ESV)
2. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, ESV)
D. Follow me. “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (John 17:4, ESV)
Todd and Gracia Burnham were missionaries to the Philippines. They were abducted by Muslim terrorists in 2001 while vacationing at a resort on the Island of Palawan. The terrorists were Abu Sayif, a branch of Al Qeada. They were held as prisoners for 376 days. Todd was killed in a rescue attempt. I have been to Palawan twice since then and was shown the resort from where they were captured. Abu Sayef has been contained and the Island is safe for Philippinos and tourists again.
Less than one week before Martin Burnham’s abduction he gave the devotional at a Wednesday evening service at Rose Hill Bible Church in his small hometown outside Wichita, Kansas. Martin’s uncle, Ralph Burnham, recalled that Todd spoke on Jesus’ words, ‘Follow thou me,’
Just before a Philippine military raid on the kidnappers that led to Martin’s death and Gracia’s freedom, the two huddled together in a hammock under a makeshift tent.
“Martin and Gracia had really been thinking that there would be a chance that they would not make it out alive,” said Martin’s brother, Doug, relying on a phone conversation with Gracia. “Martin said to Gracia, ‘The Bible says to serve the Lord with gladness. Let’s go out all the way. Let’s serve him all the way with gladness.’”
The two then prayed in their hammock, recited scripture verses to each other, and sang. They laid down to rest. Then the rescue assault began and bullets began to fly, puncturing Gracia’s leg and Martin’s chest. -- Ted Olsen, “Martin Burnham Went Out Serving with Gladness” ChristianityToday.com (6-10-02).
True disciples put Jesus above all else, even life itself.
Are you a true disciple?
Are you following Christ's command to follow him?