OLD SCHOOL DISCIPLESHIP
INTRODUCTION… “Old School” (p)
If you use the phrase “Old School,” you are using a slang phrase that means “anything from an earlier era that is looked upon with respect.” (urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=old%20school). It is very similar to the phrase “back in the day.”
Super Mario 3 is an “old school” video game.
Harry Houdini is an “old school” magician.
Knight Rider is an “old school” action TV show.
Vinyl record and a turntable is an “old school” way of listening to music.
Looney Tunes are “old school” children’s cartoons.
Making spaghetti sauce from scratch is “old school.”
Pin the tail on the donkey is an “old school” birthday game.
Today we are going to continue our emphasis on “discipleship” (as we have done all month), but we are going to take a step back and look at discipleship from a different perspective. All of the passages we have looked at thus far have been in the New Testament and come from Jesus Christ. Today, we are going to look at the Old Testament at an example of “old school” discipleship. The Old Testament is not without passages that inform us about discipleship. Moses and Joshua can teach us. Elijah and Elisha can teach us. King Josiah can teach us. Some of the proverbs can teach us. The passage we are going to look at today is from Deuteronomy 6 and has much to share with us about the topic of “discipleship” especially because this passage is quoted by Jesus in Matthew (22:37), Mark (12:29-30), and Luke (10:27).
READ Deuteronomy 6:1-12
“These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-- a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-- then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
This passage presents to us several key truths about being a follower of God and the relationships that we have with the people around us. This passage is directed to people who are holy to God – who are separate, distinct, selected, chosen, and elected. These people are the children of God. They are disciples of His Way. We find in this passage a great description of the inside of a disciple, the actions of a disciple, and the blessings of being a disciple.
INSIDE OF A DISCIPLE (verses 5-6)
RE-READ DEUTERONOMY 6:5-6
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
This passage informs us, much like the New Testament does, that being a follower of God and a disciple of Jesus means that our whole life and our whole self is involved. There is no part of us that does not serve God.
Notice in the passage that we are instructed to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength. The heart is our emotions, our intentions, our motivations, and how we view the world. Our heart motivation should be to have a right relationship with God and do have holy motivations when pursuing Him. The soul is our life essence, our purpose, and our intelligence. When we talk about being a Christian, being a disciple, or being a child of God, we are talking about a personal relationship with God that sinks down into the very core of who we are as human beings. The strength mentioned here is not physical power, but rather the intensity with which we are a disciple. A child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ is not a person that simply possesses faith or confesses the right godly thing at the right time, but rather we who are the children of God have faith that possesses us and we pursue a life of righteousness, godliness, and faithfulness. Our faith is rooted so far in our lives that no part of us is exempt from God’s influence and His Lordship.
To put it another way, we are to be zealous for the things of God. God and His Way of life become not just what we do, but become part of our heart and part of who we are. A disciple of Jesus is someone who is zealous for Him.
Proverbs 23:17 says, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.”
Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Galatians 4:18 says, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good…”
ILLUSTRATION… UT Fans (p)
My very first church that I was a minister of was a little country church in the hills of Appalachia in East Tennessee. I went to college in Tennessee and my first church was there. I lived many years in Tennessee. I lived many years in and around Knoxville. Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee and their very zealous fans. I finally understood zeal and commitment while living in Knoxville. In Knoxville, trucks and cars and jeeps and motorcycles that are Tennessee orange and have the UT logo are a normal staple of all dealerships and sell out often. For football games, tons of people arrive in town driving not just RVs, but RVs decked out in all kinds of UT colors. People have UT tattoos, hats, shirts, and everything under the sun. Even the area code of that part of Tennessee was changed in 1999 to 865 which is the letters ‘VOL.’ I remember one time my in-laws came to visit and it was gameday. My father-in-law had a Gators tag on his car and he parked his car where he could see it because he was convinced someone would vandalize his car. The intensity and commitment of UT fans is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am sure it is like that elsewhere, but the zeal for UT in Knoxville is boundless.
That is what Deuteronomy 6 is talking about when it mentions all heart, all soul, all strength.
ACTIONS OF A DISCIPLE (verses 7-9)
RE-READ DEUTERONOMY 6:7-9
“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
I love this part of the passage because we are given specific direction on how to be a disciple and also how to disciple others. The passage begins with a specific word… “impress” (NIV). Many English translations have the words “teach diligently” (KJV, NASB, AMP, ESV, ASV). I like the original Hebrew word in this verse because it is a pretty intense word that means to “teach incisively” or “to teach in a penetrating way.” As disciples, our faith cuts down to the deepest parts of us. As a disciple teaching others, the lessons and truths we teach cut to the deepest parts of them as well. Discipleship changes us on the most basic level.
How do we do that? How do we make discipleship a priority? How do we make faith a normal and important part of our lives? For parents, how do we disciple our children? As grandparents, how do we disciple our grandchildren? As a spouse, how to we disciple our husband or wife? As a Christian friend, how do we share faith and disciple the friends we love?
This passage indicates two ways we are to be sharply teaching and impressing faith on those around us. First, we are to use words. Most of the time I hear people say that evangelism and discipleship are letting people see how you live. While that is true, we must also use words. We need to understand God, Jesus, the Spirit, the Bible, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Forgiveness, Grace, Forgiveness, and so many other important tenets of Christianity so that we can share with words and be able to explain them to other people. Not only are we to be able to talk about these things, these types of spiritual conversations should be a normal part of our day. When we are at home, out to eat, on vacation, before bed at night, and when we wake up in the morning.
Suggested action steps:
Make reading the Bible and attending a Bible study a normal routine for your life and the lives of children you are responsible for.
Make time for prayer.
Have discussions at meal times with children and grandchildren about spiritual issues and Bible verses.
Have one spiritual conversation a week with your spouse.
Express to people in your sphere of influence why worshipping at church is important.
Second, we are to look different on the outside and by the way we live. This passage talks about writing out Scriptures and tying them to our hands and foreheads and putting Bible verses on the doorframes. You see, the Hebrew people would have dressed different because of their faith. The Hebrew people reading this passage would have built their homes and decorated them in certain ways. They would have looked different. Their homes would have been different.
Suggested action steps:
Print out Bible verses and put them on the doorframes of your house for you to see and for your family to see.
Wear Christian t-shirts and hats when NOT in church and out in the world.
Download the Bible onto your phone and always be reading it and have it ready for opportunities.
Pray when you are in restaurants.
ILLUSTRATION… Community Groups at NBCC (p)
A few years ago, I attempted, for the third time since I have been at NBCC, to create a system of small groups. I am seriously ashamed to say that in all three instances I failed to create lasting small groups at our church. The last time, however, was a failure for a very specific reason. The last round of community groups were created for one specific purpose to ask one specific question. That question is: How is Your Relationship with God? The whole reason the groups existed were to gather, ask that question often, and push and pull each other towards a deeper relationship with God. In the end, I found that we flat don’t want to ask that question of others and in return, we don’t want to answer it. It is an extremely uncomfortable question because it forces us to be honest about how zealous we are being for God and not to hide our mistakes and lackluster attitudes. These groups met with limited success because for some reason it is ingrained in us that another person’s spiritual life is none of our business. That’s simply wrong and Deuteronomy 6 teaches us that discipleship is at times cutting and deep when we apply it.
BLESSINGS OF A DISCIPLE (verses 10-12)
RE-READ DEUTERONOMY 6:10-12
10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-- a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-- then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
The last part of the passage about “old school” discipleship shares with us that for those who are zealous in heart, soul, and strength and commit themselves and their family to following God, blessings are the result. We are exposed in these verses to different blessings that God will give the Jewish people because they seek to follow Him and they remember Him:
Verse 10 tells that God will keep His promises and will lead them to the Promised Land
Verse 11 tells that they will be satisfied with the cities, crops, and the land itself.
Verse 12 tells that God will keep them out of slavery and oppression.
I cannot help but think that the same promises given to His people then are the same promises given to us now. What happens to us when we are zealous in heart, soul, and strength and commit ourselves to Him? What happens when our family wholeheartedly seeks after God and His will? What happens when everyone in our family is serious about Jesus Christ and being a disciple?
(#1) Verse 10 tells us that God will keep His promises and will lead us where we need to go.
(#2) Verse 11 tells us that we will be satisfied with our lives in Him.
(#3) Verse 12 tells us that God will keep us out of the bondage of sin.
I believe there are other blessings as well that come from being a disciple of Jesus. I am not sure I could think of all of the blessings, but here are a few more that I believe to be true:
(adapted from bible.org/seriespage/17-discipleship-its-requirements-and-its-rewards)
#4 We have a grace-filled holy Savior as our Master and Guide who understands us.
#5 We have the Holy Spirit which enables us to do whatever God requires of us.
#6 We understand God and His plan in intimate ways that unbelievers cannot fathom.
#7 We are given eternal life through Jesus Christ and He claims us as His.
We started out talking about “old school” things this morning. I want you to remember the definition of “old school” that I used. I said “old school” means “anything from an earlier era that is looked upon with respect.” What we find in Deuteronomy 6 this morning is a passage about discipleship worthy of our respect. This passage is worthy of us praying over and acting upon. I hope we who are here today take discipleship seriously and pursue our God with all our hearts and souls and strength. It is my hope we have a church family that is zealous for God and His will. I hope you receive blessing after blessing because you have committed not only yourself, but your family to God’s way.
PRESENTATION OF THE GOSPEL
One of the blessings I just mentioned a few moments ago is that a disciple is given eternal life and Jesus claims us as His. I want you to know that this is true for every single person who believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. That is NOT true if you are outside of Christ. Jesus Christ gives the opportunity for everyone to receive Him. Maybe you are here this morning and you know for certain that you do not have eternal life. Are you sure what will happen to your soul? If you are not sure, please understand that being a believer in Jesus Christ and being His disciple means you can have absolute assurance that your sins are forgiven and that you have God’s grace. If you have those types of questions, I encourage you to come forward this morning.
REMINDER OF THE APPLICATION
For the rest of us who are already believers, go and be zealous for the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Don’t turn back, but plow ahead with everything you have!
CONCLUSION IN PRAYER