Summary: If we ever hope to make disciples who love and obey Jesus, then we must become disciples who love and obey Jesus.
The Making of a Disciple
Intro: One of the last things Jesus told His followers is found in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
-Well, we know that after the Day of Pentecost came, the disciples started doing just that- sharing the good news about Jesus and making disciples (learners) of all who believed. As the book of Acts progresses, so does the influence of the good news. More and more disciples are made. What does it take to make a disciple? How does a person go from not believing in Jesus to following Him wholeheartedly? Well, discipleship has a high cost involved. Jesus said that the cost of being a disciple and making more disciples may include family, friends, possessions, and even one’s own life.
-As we follow Paul and Barnabas in our text, we can see how committed to discipleship they were. We can learn a lot from watching their lives unfold in the pages of Acts. We feel like our church mission statement describes what a disciple of Jesus is to be about: Experiencing God, developing people, and transforming lives. What is discipleship all about? Well, we know it requires people being together with people, getting to know God better. The main thought of the sermon today seems to sum it up:
Prop: God uses transformed people to transform people. Restated, it takes a disciple to make a disciple. If we ever hope to make disciples who love and obey Jesus, then we must become disciples who love and obey Jesus.
Interrogative: So, how do we keep focused on being and making disciples, like Jesus commanded us to do?
TS: Let’s look at some thoughts about discipleship from our text.
I. The Price of Making Disciples (Acts 14:19)
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
-Paul and Barnabas had recently ministered to the people in Pisidian Antioch and Iconium, and were ousted by Jews who rejected Jesus. Those Jews decided to track them down and give them as much trouble as possible in order to protect their own territory from being won over to Christ.
-There is a price to pay when someone chooses to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. This is all about a whole-hearted commitment to following Jesus. This is about laying it all on the line in order to make a difference in the lives of others. It is about the willingness to suffer and face abuse from those who reject God. There is a price to pay for all who would be true disciples of Jesus.
-Some bad things happen to us because this life is filled with pain. Some bad things happen because we just get stupid sometimes. But there are times when bad things happen to us because we are doing all we can to reach others for Jesus. Is it worth it? Is the price of suffering worth the reward? I could tell you it is, but I’m speaking during a time when things seem to be going fairly well. I haven’t had any stones thrown at me lately. Jesus said to count the cost before committing to follow Him. We would be wise to do the same. Jesus, show us the value of making disciples! High value=high priority.
II. The Priority of Making Disciples (Acts 14:20-21b)
20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. 21 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples.
-Even after being knocked out (perhaps nearly killed) by rocks, Paul got up and continued doing what God had called him to do. Making disciples was such a high priority to him that he could not be kept from it for very long. The question of value had been settled in Paul’s mind. He wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 9:16: “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
-We don’t know how much time lapsed here, but it appears that they left for Derbe the next day and started sharing the good news about Jesus right away. Most of us would be ready for sick leave and look into hazard pay. But Paul was on a mission and would not be deterred.
-Now, most of us can easily excuse ourselves from living up to Paul’s standard. After all, he was the apostle Paul. However, I think we should at least ask ourselves a simple question here. “How easily am I persuaded to abandon my mission?” “What would it take to keep me from doing what God wants me to do?” Maybe nobody will ever throw stones at you, but they may launch a few unkind words in your direction or threaten you. Is that going to stop you from obeying God?