Summary: Lesson two in a 15 lesson series on discipleship.
The Importance of Discipleship
Sunday, April 18, 2010 am
Reading: Acts 4:1-13
When I was a child, the question I would ask most frequently was, “Why?” And I would venture to say that that is true of all of us. It didn’t really matter what the subject was, the question was always the same, “Why?”
“Why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have to take a nap now?” “Why do I have to eat my vegetables?” “Why? Why? Why?”
And the answer was always the same, “Because.” I don’t really remember if there was anything after the “because”; I think the answer was most often, “Because,” and nothing else. As a child, nothing more was required because if the actual explanation was given, I couldn’t understand it. Why? Because.
But as we grow up, “because” just doesn’t cut it anymore. We want to know why. We want to be able to understand. We want reasons, not just, “Because.” We want real explanations.
Jesus called his followers to be his disciples. Why? I’m sure Jesus had his reasons. But the question before us this morning is, “Why should I become a disciple of Jesus? Why is discipleship so important?”
I. Discipleship is important because it gives us purpose.
A. The instruction from God to fathers is Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
1. We’re not talking about discipline for the sake of discipline.
2. We’re talking about “the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
3. And Paul tells us that if we fail to bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord it will lead to a life of anger and frustration.
4. And if we, even as adults, are frustrated in life, perhaps we should pause and see if this is the cause of our frustration.
B. Life can be very frustrating.
1. One of the reasons that the suicide rate is so high is that people are frustrated with life.
2. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, you’re doomed to failure.
3. But the problem is not that we fail and have setbacks.
a. The problem is that we don’t learn anything from our failures.
b. The problem is that we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
C. As the people of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land, God gave them instruction.
1. If they obeyed the voice of God they would be blessed (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
2. But if they did not keep his commands they would be frustrated (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
3. Look at Deuteronomy 28:20 ESV The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.
D. One of the things that we must understand is that this is God’s world.
1. And when we live in this world with an understanding and respect for God, then he blesses us.
2. And when we live like we own this world and as if we called the shots, then he frustrates us.
3. And he will continue to frustrate us until we accept the reality of the situation and accept the fact that this is his world.
E. To live our lives, not being a disciple of Jesus, is like trying to go up the down escalator.
1. We’re walking and climbing, but getting nowhere.
2. We take one step forward, but two steps back.
3. And the problem is, we’re on the wrong escalator.
4. And what would any sane person do, if they realized they were on the wrong escalator?
a. Climb twice as fast?
b. Get on the right escalator?
c. But pride prevents many of us from making the change that is necessary.
F. Turn to Romans 8:28-39 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29)For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30)And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (31)What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (32)He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (33)Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. (34)Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (35)Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36)As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." (37)No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38)For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39)nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.