Matthew 4:18-22; 28:16-20
Jesus went throughout the region and into the synagogues proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matt. 4:17; 4:23). However, public preaching was not His main goal or reason for doing so! Rather Jesus' main goal for His interrelations with humanity was "discipling" above any other activity (Matt. 9:9)! Jesus taught the need for repentance publicly. He further taught and challenged His disciples, both personally and systematically that Christianity does not end at repentance and conversion. It begins there!
Because of His primary goal of molding disciples, Jesus went directly and personally to call those with whom He wanted to work. He took them from the normal ways of life. He did not go to the universities or synagogues, but literally to the "man on the street." Jesus built His own group of select "disciples."
1. He called Peter and Andrew (Matt. 4:18-20)
2. He called James and John (Matt. 4:21-22)
3. He called Matthew (Matt. 9:9)
4. The rest are chosen (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-19)
5. He sent them out (Matt. 10:1-15)
6. Jesus ended His time on earth with an imperative command for them to make more disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), which is also our call!
7. Jesus calls you!
A call is extended to you and a response is required! You have been given a precious and wondrous call without irresistible pressure, yet with passion and conviction. "Follow me." That call was unprecedented in the first century culture and understanding. Normally a student would seek out a teacher, a Rabbi. A Rabbi would never seek students, as it was a pride issue. Jesus broke the pride and arrogance to model that we are to know Him personally and effectually. And in so doing be seekers of disciples and not just wait for them to come to us. We are to challenge each other to leave our comfort zone and enter the realm of His worship and service.
Ask yourself, "How do I, and how can I do these:
· Have made a profession/acceptance of Faith in who Christ is and what He did on your behalf! 1 John 3:23; Acts 16:30-31
· Jesus is Lord of all! 1 Corinthians 3:2; Romans 8:9-17
· A disciple is willing to grow in Christ! 2 Peter 1:5-7
· Discipling is not an option--it is a command!
· A disciple has surrendered himself to His Lordship! Romans 8:28-32, 12; Galatians 2:20-21; Philippians 3:1-10; 1 Peter 4:2
· Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 2:2 all tell us that it is a lifestyle that moves us deeper into prayer and into worshipping Christ!
· A disciple makes good decisions and is focused on God's will!
· A disciple is honest with God and others! 1 John 1:9
· A disciple walks with the precepts of Psalm 15!
· A disciple knows his abilities, gifts, and talents! Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4:10
· A disciple is willing to submit to Authority! 1 Peter 2:13-15
· A disciple is infused with humility! Psalm 149:4; Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 18:4; Ephesians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:12-14; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10
· A disciple will not be critical or have a bad attitude! Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Ephesians 4:29-32
· A disciple is not greedy! Luke 12:15; Romans 12:14-15
· A disciple is willing to wait on God's timing! (Saul versus David)
· A disciple is a listener! (James)
· A disciple confesses sin and repents from it! Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 12:9
· A disciple will not have a trace of pride in him! Job 35:12; Proverbs 6:16-19; 16:5; 18; 29:23; Obadiah 3; Galatians 5:26
· A disciple is discerning! Proverbs 20:25; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7
· A disciple loves people and the lost! Micah 6:8; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 10:24-25; 2 Peter 3:9
· God calls us to motivate and teach others to move more in prayer and care for others! Mark 1:35-2:12; Galatians 6:1-10
· John 1:36-52, and Acts 10,16 tell us that discipling grows from a web of relationships!
· A disciple is a person who forgives! Matthew 5:46; John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:1-2; 4:32
· A disciple is willing to endure hardships and consider them as growth opportunities! James 1:2-4
· A disciple is faithful! Matthew 25:29; Luke 16:10-12
· One of the themes of the Gospels and Acts 11-16 is that in discipling people, we walk them through the phases and experiences of life. We come along side them and we do not let them go off on their own!
· Mentoring and small groups will be you keys to success!
· Discipleship is a lifestyle. As we get into the lives of others, the purpose for loving them is simply because He first loved us, and, then we become instruments of His grace.
· In John 15, the goal is intimacy with Christ, that of being surrendered to Biblical priorities and not to our own. Then we become tools that Christ uses to equip others. We are to be equipped so that we can enable others to grow in Christ!
· Discipleship is not a one-time act. It is a change of heart, a change of direction for a lifetime.
· In Mark8:34-38, Jesus said we are to deny ourselves. This means we are to surrender ourselves completely to Him. We are to identify with His character and with what He did on our behalf on the cross, and then, out of gratitude, follow Him wherever He leads us!
· Discipleship is dynamic, not static. Jesus desires us to understand that being a Christian is not just about sitting in a pew or saying a prayer. It is about a life committed, a life changed, a heart and will surrendered, and a new direction and worldview with His precepts and character for living as our example.
· A disciple is a server with a servant heart who leads by servant hood! Ephesians 2:10
Ask yourself, "Where am I?" in these thoughts:
· When we live just for and to ourselves, we miss opportunities, learning experiences, and growth, and we exchange an eternity of rewards for a limited time of fun.
· Remember, Christ loves you and wants the best for you. His way is the best way, and we need to have Him and the perspective of eternity in mind, not our limited feelings and desires!
· Jesus lived and died on our behalf, for He willingly gave up His life by paying the penalty for our sins. He allows us not only to escape the fires of hell, but also to give us eternal life. What is your response?
· Being a true disciple means having a willingness to trust Him completely in all aspects of our lives from the highest highs to the lowest lows. It means we are not only willing to trust Him to provide for our salvation, but we trust Him for the future. We are to trust Him even when we do not know, like, or understand, and when where He is leading is unpopular!
· Being a true disciple allows us to put our hand to the plow and not look back. As we grow in Christ, we become increasingly unsatisfied with anything less than His call and character.
Ask yourself, "Am I willing to pay the cost?" Luke 9:23; Luke14:25-35
· Jesus invites you to discipleship. But, He lets you know up front that it is a commitment that will cost you something. It is not going to be easy. You cannot just say you love the Lord. You must show it with your heart and it must transcend to your hands and feet. Then you will be Jesus' disciple!
· Discipleship is costly because Jesus must have priority over your will, ideas, plans, and presumptions.
· "Follow me," means going His way to His purpose, not our own way. It means following His plans, not our own; obeying His will, not our own.
· Jesus is saying, Look, if you want to be a disciple, you will have to choose to whom you will be loyal. Will it be God the Creator and Savior, or your limited ideas and things?
· The world hates Jesus because it knows that He has priority over all things and all relationships. The world wants to be god even though there already is a God!
· Considering the cost of discipleship means asking the question, "What does Jesus want me to do?"
· Jesus wants us to see that the cost of discipleship involves understanding that there is a higher calling on our lives than doing what we want to do. We cannot say to God that we are only available two hours on Sunday! We must respond with the attitude of Isaiah, Here I am God, ready to be used by you.
How much does discipleship cost? It costs everything! However, the rewards are limitless as we are entrusted to a Savior who loves us deeply and more than we could ever comprehend! He desires the best for us, He has a plan and purpose for us in the kingdom of God, and He wants us to spend eternity with Him. There is no better way. To whom would you rather entrust yourself and your possessions?
© 1987, 2002, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/