Th Call To Discipleship
“THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP”
Part 1 of 3 part series on discipleship
Three part series on discipleship (what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ)--The Call to Discipleship...The Cost...The Commendation.
The term "disciple" occurs 273 times in the New Testament. We often think of the term in narrow sense (the 12 disciples--song, “There were 12 disciples Jesus called to help Him, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, his brother John...”).
Those twelve were called and singled out as Apostles of Christ, but the truth is, Jesus had more than 12 disciples--Joseph of Arimathea, Ananias of Damascus, the woman Tabitha, Mnason of Cyprus, and others are called disciples of Jesus. After Christ’s ascension, the Bible records that there were 120 disciples in an upper room waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit.
As the church grew, believers continued to be referred to as disciples. And so every believer ought to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (sadly that is not the case).
A lot of people who profess to be His follower don’t understand what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. They may go to church, have a profession of faith, read their Bibles, give in the offering, even serve in some capacity in the church; but a person can do ALL those things and STILL not be a disciple.
I. DEFINITION OF A DISCIPLE
A disciple is more than being a follower. A person can follow from afar and never become a true disciple.
A disciple is one who fully submits to the authority of Christ in their life.
The word literally means “a learner, or a pupil”. It has the idea of being an apprentice or journeyman. It is not about merely learning the facts, but it is living and applying what you’ve learned. No soldier was ever trained by the mere study of his training manual, but by practicing his drill. Illustration – They say you know that you’re in trouble when you ask the doctor in the operating room how many surgeries he has done, and he replies, “You mean including this one?”
It is not by being hearers of the Word, but by being doers of the Word, that we become true followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. The condition of Christianity and the church as a whole indicates that a lot of people are just part of the crowd and not disciples. That’s why polls often show little difference between the way the world lives and professed Christians live.
Too many people are trying to play both sides. They want to come to church on Sunday and sing “Oh How I Love Jesus” and then live like the world during the week. You can’t have it both ways. Jesus said that is impossible to serve two masters – You will love the one and hate the other. Unlike many today, including many preachers, Jesus wasn’t obsessed with numbers. Large crowds didn’t impress Him. What He wanted was people who were willing to obey His voice and commit to serving Him.
As a church, God doesn’t call us to gather a large crowd – He calls us to win souls and to make disciples. We’ll never make new disciples unless first WE are willing to obey His voice…to learn His words and DO them.
II. DUTY OF A DISCIPLE John 15:8, 16a --To bear fruit--
Our lives are to exhibit evidence of our life in Christ. He has called every single believer to serve Him. He has ordained us
and set us apart to carry out His work on earth. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are an ordained minister of the gospel! Maybe not as a pastor or
preacher who stands behind a pulpit, but God wants to use you right where He has put you and in whatever capacity He allows
you to serve.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
God has called us to minister to those around us. The next time you see someone struggling with something in their life, or you pass by someone who needs Christ, ask yourself, “If I don’t reach out to them, who will?” If people are going to hear that God loves them and how Christ died on an old rugged cross to take away their sin, they’re going to have to hear it from us, because they aren’t going to hear it from CNN or Oprah Winfrey.
How do we bear fruit?
A.) Abide in the Vine John 15:4-5 Life & growth come from the vine.
Illustration – the kids’ science experiment with piece of celery with tip sitting in food coloring.
We soak up and draw from whatever we are abiding in (world, etc.). That’s why we read our Bibles every day...go to church...fellowship. If something is not growing, it’s dying (same goes for us).
B.) Cut the Clutter John 15:2-3 If you don’t prune the branches, you’re not going to see much fruit. The crop will continue to dwindle until there is no more fruit (just a lot of leaves).
Sometimes our lives get so cluttered with other things that use up all the nutrients and there’s no life or energy left for growing fruit. We get so busy tending to temporal things that it crowds out things of spiritual importance in our lives.
III. DETERMINATION OF A DISCIPLE John 15:16 “GO…”
As disciples we must make some decisions and determinations in our
lives. Are we willing to do what it takes? Are we going to obey His voice
and let Him teach us and lead us and grow us and use us.
Discipleship requires some very deliberate steps in our lives:
1.) Be saved 2.) Be surrendered (baptized, in church, etc.) 3.) Serve
Conclusion: Leadership magazine once ran a cartoon that showed a church with a billboard in front that said: “The LITE CHURCH: 24% fewer commitments, home of the 7.5% tithe and 12 minute sermons; we have only 8 commandments--your choice. We are everything you’ve wanted in a church … and less!”
This cartoon may present what people are looking for in a church but to be a disciple of Jesus, one must be totally surrendered to Him.