On Tuesday night’s we have been wrestling with the topic of “being a disciple of Jesus.” In fact we have considered the question, “can you be a Christian and not be a disciple?” What does our bible say about this? If I have simple faith in Jesus, am I good? Is that the only transaction needed? Do I need to be a disciple? What is a faithful disciple of Jesus? Let’s consider the “beloved disciple” John and see what we can learn.
John is not a perfect example of a disciple of Jesus, but he is a positive one. John along with his brother James were the “Sons of Thunder” John was a fisherman by trade. John was influenced by the ministry of John The Baptist. John was sought out and called by Jesus Christ to be a disciple so I would like to look at some of the highlights from John’s life and consider the thought “What is a Faithful Disciple Of Jesus”
The first thought that I would like to consider is:
I. Faithful Disciples Are Surrendered – Matthew 4:21 “Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” John didn’t just “accept” Jesus as the Messiah, didn’t come to the alter and pray the sinner’s prayer, didn’t tell his brothers he had faith in Jesus and just keep on living like all the other good fisherman of the village. He surrendered his life to Him!
Jesus would later explain the surrender involved in a true disciple’s life, Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them.’
John left his job, he was a fisherman. That was his profession. He left his family. John & his brother James left the family business. They went away and left their daddy with broken nets in his hand. He left his home. Following Jesus brought uncertainty, un-chartered territory. Look at what John the disciple did and it’s real close to what Jesus did. Mmmm, consider that.
Becoming a faithful disciple begins with SURRENDER! I believe that this is why we see, and more importantly the people in the world see so few “faithful disciples of Jesus” You must understand that there is more involved in the Christian walk than simply “accepting Jesus as Savior” You, like John must fully surrender yourself to Jesus! Being a faithful disciple will require you to step out of your comfort zone.
1) It may require you to leave some things behind – “Deny yourself”
2) It may require you to lift some things up – “Take up your cross daily”
3) It may require you to live some things out – “Follow Jesus”
The Christian life is more than a one-time decision; it is a daily walk with Jesus Christ. Along with surrender comes sacrifice. There are some things that you may have to leave behind in order to be a “faithful disciple of Christ”
John told us this in 1 John 2:15-17, “Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
Not loving the world and the things that are in it is something that doesn’t come easy to us! Luke 9:57-62 is a report we find about people who said they would follow Jesus but consider what happened.
As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.” Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.”
What do we learn from this?
1) People don’t want to sacrifice what they personally think that THEY should accomplish in their life, you know we want to choose those things in life that WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH FOR OURSELVES. I not goona leave that behind for Jesus.
2) People don’t want to sacrifice Family Obligations – “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
3) People don’t want to sacrifice Close Relations – ““I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.” Really consider the firm response of Jesus: “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.” Jesus is not looking for half-hearted commitment…. HE SEEKS SURRENDERED FAITHFUL DISCIPLES!
There are many who have put their hand to the plough and then looked back to the old life. There are some here today who have made a half-hearted commitment to Christ. There are some who have never truly surrendered to Jesus. There are some who have placed family and other things over Jesus and there are some who have been surrendered and have fallen away.
Much like the story of Peter who denied Jesus that night, you might have fallen. Does this mean that you cannot be a “faithful disciple”? Of course not! If there is the hope of restoration, and there is, then there is the possibility of you being a FAITHFUL DISCIPLE!
That brings us to:
II. Faithful Disciples May Fail At Times – let’s go to the garden, Matthew 26:37-41, “When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.”
Peter, James & John were Christ’s inner circle, on this fateful night Jesus chose these men to come with Him during this difficult hour. It was an honor to be with Him at this place, but these men were tired, concerned & weary. Sleep came easier than prayer. John did not betray Christ like Judas did, he didn’t deny Christ like Peter. But John was not perfect, in this moment, he failed! Jesus comes after just one hour after he tells them how distressed He is and asked them to stay awake and their spirit was willing but their flesh was weak.
Your spirit may be willing, but your flesh is weak. You may be here and you have failed. You have given in to the limits of this flesh. You have been tempted and failed. You are not without hope! Jesus didn’t write John off after he failed! Jesus didn’t even write Peter off after he denied him later on! If you have failed, there is still hope for you to be faithful disciple of Jesus! In fact, John recovered quickly, and it was during an incredibly difficult time. Consider:
III. Faithful Disciples Remain When Others Leave
John 19:25-27, “ Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
John went deeper and further in his relationship with Jesus. He was never satisfied just to be a disciple. He was the one leaning on Jesus breast at the Last Supper. Judas betrayed Christ, John was faithful. Peter denied Christ, John was faithful. When others watched from far away, John was at the cross. When the others were hiding for fear, John was at the cross. All who had proclaimed that they would never leave Him left, JOHN REMIANED!
Understand something, John had guts and was bold in his faithfulness to be at the cross. There was a great risk in being identified as a follower of Jesus. Consider also the fact that John had a front row seat to the agony of the Cross. His Master, Savior, Teacher & Friend was being brutally crucified as John watched. Jesus was suffering because of John’s sins and mine and yours and John had to watch.
It would have been easy to turn away and be tempted to leave but John suffered through the pain of watching his friend facing the torture, agony and pain of the crucifixion. There are times when the Christian life isn’t easy. There are times when the easiest thing you can do is remain silent. There are times when we would like to be Joseph of Arithemia and become “secret disciples” but these are the times when “faithful disciples” must be “bold & courageous” faithful disciples.
So we have seen that “Faithful Disciples Are Surrendered To Jesus, they may Fail, they will remain when others leave but finally I would like to say that:
IV. Faithful Disciples Live In The Spirit
When You Live In The Spirit You Will Hear Christ. When You Live In The Spirit You Will See Christ either personally or in others. When You Live In The Spirit You Will Be Used By Christ. You know that this is true, the Bible examples are many and if you have lived in the spirit you know you have been used too. When You Live In The Spirit You Will Be Comforted By Christ. Again, if you have lived in the spirit, you know that this is true.
You may not see Christ with your physical eyes, you may not hear Him with an audible voice. But He will speak to your spirit. You can see Him with eyes of faith. He will use you to accomplish a specific task. He will comfort your troubled heart. There are many benefits to being in the SPIRIT! But you cannot be in the spirit, if you are not a faithful disciple.
In fact if you look at this sermon, Points #1 & #4 are book ends. You cannot have one without the other! If you seek to be a faithful disciple you must BE SURRENDERED and you must LIVE IN THE SPIRIT!
I believe in these promises from God
When you do these things, Christ will bless you in ways that you cannot imagine
When you do these things you will “remain when others depart”
When you do these things Christ will use you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom
When you do these things you will be in the center of the Father’s will
When you do these things you will bring honor & glory to the Father’s name
When you do these things you WILL BE A FAITHFUL DISCIPLE OF CHRIST!
Can you say that you are faithful today? If not, you can change that right now! I am not asking you if you have prayed a prayer and “asked” Jesus to “come into your heart” I am asking if you have surrendered ALL TO HIM TODAY. If you haven’t… DON”T LEAVE THE COMMUNION ALTER UNTILL YOU DO!