6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This sermon looks at the characteristics of a Christ-Follwer - Humility, Obedience, Confession, and Surrender.

The Anatomy of a Disciple

Pastor Jeff Williams


In graduate school, I escaped the most feared class in the psychology department, “A and P.” This class frightened even the most serious student. “Anatomy and Physiology” was no “head-bone connected to the neck-bone” class. Students were responsible for memorizing all the bones in the body, the physiology of brain functioning, and neuropsychological principles. Many students struggled to make sense of our amazing bodies and some of my friends liked the class so much they got to take twice!

In understanding how our anatomy works, we understand ourselves better. This morning let’s look at the anatomy of a disciple. What does a disciple look like? How do they react to the world?

If it is true that Jesus called us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), then we should be focused and intentional about how we do that. Pontiac Bible Church’s desire in that we make an IMPACT for Christ. By Instructing in God’s Word, Mobilizing for Ministry, Praying with Faith, Adoring God in worship, Caring for others, and Telling others the Gospel, PBC seeks to deepen your walk with Christ. In short, we want to help you become a disciple of Jesus.

What is a disciple? The word disciple in Greek means a “pupil of a teacher.” In a way, every one of us is a disciple. We are all students of someone and if we desire to be leaders, we must always be learning. But a disciple is someone who not only accepts the view of that teacher, but puts it into practice. They not only agree with them, but they submit to their ideas and surrender to their vision. The pupil becomes like the teacher.

Jesus said:

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40, NIV)

This training can have disastrous consequences. Thousands of young German men became disciples of a maniac leader named Adolph Hitler and nearly destroyed the world. Followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh willing gave up their lives for their lunatic leaders.

But, this process can also have amazing results! Twelve young men, some of them teenagers, followed a young, unmarried, homeless, Galilean rabbi and turned the world upside down. Two thousand years later, the discipling process is still in action and the world continues to gawk in wonder as Jesus transforms life after life, as many of you can attest to.

May I ask you a personal question? Are you are a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have you surrendered your will for His will, have you submitted totally to His Master Plan? Do you want to grow spiritually and become more like Jesus?

I have asked a good friend of mine, “Bones” to help us this morning.

[“Bones” is a full size rubber skeleton that was standing next to me on the stage]

Let’s look at how this fleshes out. Sorry Bones. Two books by Calvin Miller, “Into the Depths of God” and “The Unchained Soul” sparked my thinking for this sermon.

In digging deeper into the mystery of discipleship, we will be looking at one of the most eccentric and fascinating figures in all of Scripture, John the Baptist.

The HEAD of a disciple: HUMILITY.

Back in the 1970s there was a very popular song by Mac Davis that went something like this,

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble/when you are perfect in every way/I just can’t wait to look in the mirror/I get better looking each day/to know me is to love/I must be a wonderful man/Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble/but I’m doing the best that I can.”

Some of us remember that song. For some of us it was our theme song!

Barnard of Clairviox said that there are four Christian virtues: humility, humility, humility, and humility.

Humility means mildness, gentleness, or meekness. The disciple of Christ does not have a big head. They are not full of themselves; they do not look down on people. Disciples instinctively think of others before themselves.

[Bone’s bumper says it all – “Just love everyone!”]

Solomon wrote:

“The stuck up fall flat on their faces, but down-to-earth people stand firm” (Proverbs 11:2, The Message)

Paul put it this way:

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3-4, NIV).

It has been said that pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick except the person that has it. Humility is the opposite of pride, and God hates pride.

Proverbs 29:23 says: “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”

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