“As Jesus was going down the road he saw Matthew sitting in his tax-collection booth,
‘Come be my disciple,’ Jesus said. So Matthew got up and followed him.” Matthew 9:9
Intro: Today I want you to think about your identity as “a Disciple.”
When Jesus was thirty years old he began his public ministry.
The first thing he did was gather a group of people who he could train.
They are called his disciples.
Many times in Scripture it tells us that he invited people to become his disciples.
In Matthew 9:9 it says this, “As Jesus was going down the road he saw Matthew
sitting in his tax-collection booth,
‘Come be my disciple,’ Jesus said. So Matthew got up and followed him.”
Today, Jesus Christ makes this exact same offer to you to come be “a Disciple.”
He’s asking you this today: Come be “a Disciple.”
What is a “disciple?”
The word “disciple” comes from the Latin word dicipulus.
It means pupil
It means student
In the Greek it is the word mathetes which is in the Bible.
It means a student.
It means a learner.
It means a pupil.
A disciple is an apprentice.
It means someone in training
When a mentor takes on somebody to train they are called their disciple.
Moses’ disciple was Joshua.
Elijah’s disciple was Elisha.
David’s disciple was his son Solomon.
Elisha had disciples of his own.
John the Baptist had disciples.
Paul had a disciple named Timothy
One the most basic level
1. A disciple is just somebody who’s being mentored by somebody else.
So that’s the first way it’s used in the Bible.
2. The second way it’s used in the Bible is to refer to the twelve disciples,
physically the twelve guys that Jesus chose which were also called apostles.
3. The third way it’s used is in the book of Acts.
The word “disciple” is just a synonym for “Christian.”
It wasn’t until the church had spread completely out of Israel into Antioch
That the disciples were first called Christians.
So at first in the early Bible times nobody was called a Christian.
They were all called Jesus’ disciples.
But what I want us to look at this morning is what Jesus meant when he uses the term disciple.
Jesus frequently took a very common word like student, pupil, disciple, apprentice
and he adds new meaning to it.
So I want us to look at Jesus’ definition of what it means to be a disciple.
Because about ten times in Scripture Jesus says
“If you do this then you’re my disciple…
If you do this then you can follow me.”
So we want to look at what it means to be “a Disciple.”
1. To be a disciple I must learn to KNOW THE LOVE OF JESUS.
How do I do that?
How do I learn to know the love of Jesus.
I must spend time with Jesus – a lot of time with Jesus.
Because like any relationship, the more time you invest, the more you’re going to get out of it.
You can’t be a part-time disciple.
You don’t fit it into your schedule.
If I’m being trained by somebody,
if I’m being mentored by somebody,
I fit myself to their schedule.
They don’t fit themselves into my schedule
I fit myself to their schedule.
You can’t be a disciple in just a few minutes a day.
You’ve got to spend time.
You’ve got to be in constant conversation.
It’s a full-time responsibility.
You’re with your discipler.
You’re with your mentor.
You’re with your teacher, your trainer, all the time.
Here’s what Jesus said in John 12:26 “If you want to be my disciple you must come and follow me,
because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me, the Father will honor them.”
This verse teaches us three things about spiritual growth.
As your pastor, one of my goals is to help you grow spiritually,
not just today, not just this week, but for the rest of your life.
I want you to write these three things down that we notice from this verse.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS A CHOICE.
God’s not going to force you to grow.
He leaves it up to you.
So I want you to think about the words “If you want to be my disciple.”
Think about the word “want.”
If you want to be my disciple
then you must make the choice to grow.
Do you want to grow in your spiritual life?
Spiritual growth is not automatic.
Spiritual growth is intentional.
It’s not something that just happens.
It’s not involuntary.
It’s not inevitable.
You have to choose to grow spiritually.
Jesus says I’m giving you the choice.
I want you to know my love, my love for you and my love for others.
You know that you can grow old without growing up.
Everybody know what I’m talking about right?
We all know people who grow old but they’re still spiritually immature
or emotionally immature
or they’re very self-centered.
They haven’t ever matured in their life.
You’re as close to God as you choose to be.
Don’t blame your boyfriend.
Don’t blame your girlfriend.
Don’t blame your parents.
Don’t blame your husband or wife.
Don’t blame your pastor.
You’re as close to God as you choose to be.
If you’re not close to him it’s because you’re choosing not to be.
If you move far from God, if you feel that way, guess who moved.
God didn’t move.
You made the choice.
Spiritual growth is a choice.
GROWTH IS A COMMITMENT.
Spiritual growth is a commitment.
You must commit to grow in order to grow.
It is called making a profession of faith.
You show that commitment by public baptism. (We can talk about this more later)
This is going to be the week I really get it in gear.
This is going to be the week I take action.
2020 will be here a just a few weeks.
This is going to be the year I stop being a spiritual baby. I’m going to grow up.
A group of tourists was visiting a picturesque village
They walked by an old man sitting beside a fence.
In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked him,
“Were any great men born in this village?”
The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”
Every person who is a born-again believer
starts life as a baby in Christ.
Whether the new convert is six or sixty,
that person is still a new Christian
and needs to grow in the Lord.
A baby Christian
who has been saved for forty years is a tragedy.
God intends for us to grow and mature
so that we can be a positive influence in the lives of others.
Notice Jesus says, “You must come and follow.”
Think about that.
First he said you’ve got to want it.
Then you’ve got to come and follow.
We GROW IN THE LOVE OF JESUS
If you want to grow you can’t just sit there.
You’ve got to move!
You’ve got to get it in gear.
You’ve got to take action to grow.
This is true in every area of life.
We grow by making commitments.
Marriage causes you to grow up a lot.
Have you noticed that?
Having kids causes you to grow up.
Anytime you make any kind of commitment it causes you to take a step of growth.
Taking on a new job is a commitment which helps you grow.
Choosing to go to college is a commitment that helps you grow.
Anytime you make a commitment you grow.
In fact if you don’t make commitments in life, you remain in permanent immaturity.
Commitment equals maturity.
Your commitments define your life.
You are the sum total of the things you are committed to.
Here’s the problem.
You can’t be committed to everything.
And you shouldn’t be committed to everything
because not everything is worth being committed to.
Part of my job as your pastor is to help you sort through all the commitments you’ve got
There are some of you here today who are not as committed to God as you could be
Because you are over committed to things you shouldn’t be.
You make commitments all the time.
You make some good ones
You make some bad ones.
What commitments in your life do you need to keep?
What commitments in your life do you need to give up?
Over the three and a half years that Jesus worked with his disciples, his trainees
He moved them from no commitment to super commitment
and he kept turning up the heat a little bit at a time.
For instance the very first words of Jesus, public words of Jesus, when he starts his ministry,
John 1:39 “Come and see.”
That’s the first invitation.
The Guys said, where are you going, Lord? He said “Come and see.”
What is he doing here?
That’s about as low a commitment as you can give.
Just come and check it out.
That’s what you say to our neighbor or friend when you invite them to church.
Just come and check it out.
Come on this Sunday
check it out.
You don’t have to say anything, sign anything, sacrifice anything, stand up
– just come and check us out.
That’s where Jesus starts with people. Check it out.
Then he begins to move them on.
The next commitment he says “Come and follow.”
He says first “Come and see,” then he says “Come and follow me,” in Matthew 9.
Then, many of the invitations that he gives in the early stages of the relationships
are invitations that were promises to meet needs.
In Matthew 11 he says “If you’re tired, come to me and I’ll give you rest.”
In John 7 he says, “If you’re thirsty come to me and drink.”
In John 5 he says “Come to me and have life.”
In John 8 he says “If you follow me you won’t stumble in darkness.”
In John 10 he says “Those who come to me will be saved.”
So he’s inviting them to come
Right where they are
Just As I Am
and he’s going to meet needs in their life.
One of my favorite verses is John 21:12
It is right after the resurrection. Jesus says “Come and have breakfast.”
What a combination. Jesus and food.
Spiritual food and Physical food is always a great combination
But as time passed, Jesus began to require more of his disciples.
In Mark 8 he says, “Come and deny yourself.”
In Matthew 8:22 he says “Come follow me and let the dead bury the dead.”
In Luke 9 he says “Come and take up your cross.”
He’s turning up the heat.
He’s requiring more and more commitment.
Engage in scripture daily
Cultivate Fruits of the Spirit
Begin to develop an understanding of theology
Submit to spiritual accountability
Grow spiritually in small groups
Come see on Sunday morning
Come study the bible on Wednesday evening
Come volunteer to serve in other ministry of the church
Come and go visit the widow,
Come and go visit the sick and prisons, the broken, the lost
THEN WE SHOW THE LOVE OF JESUS
The Bible says we must spend time with Jesus because it’s a choice, it’s a commitment.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS A RELATIONSHIP.
Spiritual growth is a relationship.
It’s not about rules.
It’s not about rituals.
It’s not about a formula.
It’s about being with Jesus.
Think about the words
“Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am.” John 12:26
Think about: “be where I am.”
Spiritual growth is about being with Jesus.
This was his plan all along.
His plan in Mark 3:14 says And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach So what does it mean to be a disciple today?
Obviously Jesus isn’t here physically.
How do you “be with Jesus today?”
“Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
You talk to him all the time.
You have a running conversation with Jesus Christ.
In fact, I can talk to you and talk to him at the same time.
Many times someone will be talking to me and asking me a question
and I’m saying “Lord, tell me what to say because I don’t have the slightest idea how to handle this.”
And God answers
Not in an audible way
But he puts ideas in your mind and heart what he is saying.
After you’ve been walking with the Lord for about a while it gets easier to know
“That’s the Lord putting an idea in my mind.”
That’s the Lord speaking to my heart.”
It gets clearer and clearer.
That’s what spiritual growth is.
The more you grow spiritually, the more you’re able to hear God speak back to you in your mind.
When the devil puts an idea in your mind we call it temptation.
The devil wouldn’t be attacking you so hard if there wasn’t something of value inside you.
[Thieves don’t break into empty houses.] Turn to someone and say it
“Thieves don’t break into empty houses”
[“You have something very valuable inside you.”]
“You have something very valuable inside you.”
When God puts an idea in your mind we call it inspiration.
The truth is you’ve got to be with him.
And the more time you spend with God, the more you talk with the Lord, the more you’re going to grow.
If you only have a little quiet time every day you’re going to grow a little bit.
If you only talk to the Lord on the weekends in church, you’re not going to grow much at all.
But if you learn to talk to the Lord all the time,
to have a conversation with him
you’re going to really start growing because it’s a relationship.
You become humble in serving others
You treat other with mercy and justice
You are able to tell the story of Jesus and share the Gospel
You tell other about what Jesus has done for you
Jesus can do for them.
You begin to give generously
And You seek out mission and ministry opportunities to be part of
You SHOW THE LOVE OF JESUS (RECAP KNOWS, GROWS, SHOWS)
In Luke chapter 14 he says this “If you want to be my follower you must love me. You must love me more than your own father and mother, your wife and children, your brothers and sisters – yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
What’s Jesus saying here?
He’s saying that your love for God is to be so intense that everything else pales in comparison.
That doesn’t mean you don’t love the other people.
Actually the more you love God the more you’re going to love other people.
But He’s saying you have to exclusively belong to God.
Because you wouldn’t have your family,
you wouldn’t have your kids,
you wouldn’t have the people you love…, your friends, without God,
so he says you’re to love God more than anything else.
That’s called Worship.
You develop this regular rhythm of serving and sharing the love of Jesus in your life.
I want you to write this down.
Jesus said, you must love me more than anything else.
Spiritual growth is measured by love.
Write that down.
It’s not measured by how much you know.
It’s not measured by your Bible knowledge.
It’s not measured by how long you have been a church member.
Your spiritual maturity is measured by how much you love.
How much you love God and how much you love others.
In Mark 12:30 “Jesus said “The most important command [out of all of them in the Bible] is this:
you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Do you feel the passion in that verse?
When you love God with all your heart
and all your soul
and all your mind
and all your strength, you’re loving God passionately.
There’s a word for that in the Bible.
Do you know what it’s called when you love something more than anything else?
It’s called Worship.
Whatever you love the most you worship.
If you love your boat the most, you worship your boat.
If you love your job the most, you worship your job.
If you love your own body the most, you worship yourself.
Worship is whatever you give your best love to.
The word “worship” in the Bible, proskuneo,
Do you know what that word literally means?
It means “to kiss”.
It appears at least 60 times in the bible
It means to bow down
bow down before
That’s what it means – to kiss.
It means to show love and affection,
to shower with love
When you worship something you don’t care what other people think.
You’re totally involved in showing affection and love.
And you don’t care how it looks to other people.
When you worship God, some of you are worried about, how do I look?
How would I look if I raise my hands too much? I might look like a fanatic.
What would others think if I become emotional? I don’t want to get emotional.
I want to keep my countenance and dignity.
You are worried more about what others think than what God thinks.
When you are a disciple who is in love with Jesus
A Passionate Spiritual Disciple (review slides again Knows, Grows, Shows)
You don’t worry about what other people think,
You just worship and nothing else matters.
You are Worshiping in the Spirit
and you are so much in love with God you don’t care what other people think.
You’re just doing it to express your love to him.
It is sometimes solemn like the gentle peace of the dove
It is sometimes mighty like the rushing wind and tongues of fire
But it is unmistakably passionate and unmistakably of God
Are you passionate?
Are you spiritual?
Are you a disciple?
Guess what? The same love we have to have for other disciples also.
This is where things become a little more difficult.
I must love every other disciple. Uh-oh!
It is easy to love God because he’s perfect.
But other people are not.
I’m not perfect either.
Sometimes you find it hard to love me or difficult to get along with someone else
Sometimes you will see my imperfections and I will see yours
Sometimes we show our faults.
Yet Jesus says, if you’re going to be my disciples you can’t just love me.
You have to love everybody in my family.
What is the family of God? It’s the church. It is the people of God.
You have to love every other believer, every other Christian, every other follower of Jesus.
Every other disciple.
Here’s what Jesus said John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“If…” “if” he defines discipleship – conditionally.
“If you have love for one another, then everybody will know that you are my disciple.”
Not just love for me but you love each other.
Being a disciple is not just having a bumper sticker on the car that says “Jesus Follower.”
It is not just wearing a little gold cross necklace.
It is more than a t-shirt that says “disciple”
He says the proof that you are my disciple is you love every other disciple.
You love every other disciple.
You love the church of God.
You can’t love Jesus and not love someone else in the church.
Because with all of its imperfections,
all of its faults,
all of its failures because it’s made up with normal, ordinary, imperfect people,
Our sins may be different
But we all need the same Saviour
Jesus died for the imperfect.
So how do we grow as “a Disciple?”
We learn about the Love of Jesus
We then Grow in the Love of Jesus
We then Show the Love of Jesus
We have to do this intentionally.
There is not just 10 ways to do this there are hundreds of ways can grow and love and serve.
The first is to do something real about it.
It is called making it public profession.
If you make a commitment but you don’t tell anybody about it you probably won’t keep it.
Like if I said to my wife, “Let’s get married but let’s not tell anybody.”
What kind of commitment would that be?
What will your next step be?
Prayer: Lord I don’t know much about being a disciple but I’m willing to start. Dear God, I don’t want to be a baby believer. I don’t want to be a Passionate Spiritual Disciple. I want to grow up. I want to be a man of God. I want to be a woman of God for you. I want to spend more time with you, Jesus. I want to learn to talk about Jesus to my friends. I want to learn to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want to learn to love other disciples. I want to be a part of this church family. Lord, I can’t do this on my own but I ask you to do this with me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.