Summary: This sermon looks at the area of discipleship and about being a secret discipleship. It looks that the proposition that confessing Christ is a reasonable requirement, an essential fact, and an absolute demand.
Last week I talked a little bit about the need of fulfilling God’s calling upon the church and our lives, and here at Living Waters we’re all about this overall goal.
First, it’s to share the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone, or as our slogan reads, “Each One Reach One.” Next it’s to build up the house of God within every person, or is literally what discipleship is all about. And then our mission is to make a difference in our community for Christ.
Today I’d like to do part one of a two part series on discipleship. What I’d like is for this series to lead us into a discipleship program that will begin in a couple of weeks.
In the fourth-century there lived a Christian monk named Telemachus (Te–lemekes). He lived in a remote village, tending his garden and spending much of his time in prayer. One day he heard the voice of the Lord telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot.
Weeks later, he arrived in the city at the time of a great festival. The little monk followed the crowd into the Coliseum. He saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Then he realized these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. He cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!”
As the games began, he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall, and dropped to the floor of the arena. When the crowd saw this tiny figure rushing to the gladiators and saying, “In the name of Christ, stop!” they thought it was part of the show and began laughing.
When they realized it wasn’t, the laughter turned to anger. As he was pleading with the gladiators to stop, one of them plunged a sword into his body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, “In the name of Christ, stop!”
Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at the tiny figure lying there. A hush fell over the Coliseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others began to follow. In dead silence, everyone left the Coliseum.
The year was 391 AD, and that was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. Never again in that great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd, all because of one tiny voice that could hardly be heard.
This story illustrates the power that one person can have when they courageously take a stand for the Lord.
Times haven’t changed all that much from when Telemachus took that fateful journey. The same games are played, maybe not as brutal, but just as deadly. It is played in today’s Ultimate Fighting Challenge, in unsanctioned street fights, or on the Internet where kids are becoming adept at killing others on video screens.
The unfortunate reality is that we tend to compromise our beliefs and values so as not to upset the fun or recreation of others.
In churches there are in endless discussions concerning these beliefs and values, but not so much to see how they can be kept, but rather it’s to see now many can be eliminated.
Christians in our society are also saying that it isn’t necessary to go to church, to tithe, to get baptized, or to actively witness, saying, “My life is my witness.” It’s gotten to the point where some who call themselves Christians believe that confession is not essential to living a Christian life, or to salvation. Christianity for many is a fire insurance policy, a guarantee, if you would, against hell.
But the Bible knows of no such faith. The Bible teaches us to discover God’s will and then do it. It involves finding out what the Bible says, and then living our lives in accordance to God’s word, not according to our wishes or desires.
What you might say is that Christianity is in danger of becoming wrongly defined.
Let me give an illustration of what I mean by being wrongly defined.
On a test a teacher asked, “What is a lobster?” One student wrote, “The lobster is a red fish that moves backwards.” The teacher wrote in the margin. “A very good answer, but for three exceptions: In the first place, the lobster isn’t a fish; in the second place, it is not red, and in the third place, it doesn’t move backwards. Aside from these little mistakes you answer may stand.”
So, what is Christianity? What does it mean to be a Christian?
Well, it’s to live a Christ-like life because Christ lives in us, and it’s where His will becomes our own. The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because it’s God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)