Sermon Notes: K-Disciple-S-C

Disciple 2022

Matthew 4:17-22 and Matthew 7:21-27

Introduction: The power of worldviews and our awareness of those presuppositions.

Someone asked a question a couple of months ago, and we discussed it as a group. 

I suggested that Psalm 5:5-6 really answers the question, but those two verses in that Psalm do two very important things.

  1. Those verses challenge pop-Christian doctrine that can undermine the holiness of God.
  2. Those two verses reveal the effects of Plato’s dualistic philosophy on Christian theology AND show us that worldviews and presuppositions from them can affect our thinking whether we are aware of it or not. That’s the power of worldviews.  
    1. The idea that we can draw neat lines between a sinner and sin and one does not affect God’s relation to the other is not Christian. It’s Platonic.

Every thought and idea has a source. Those sources are sometimes presuppositions that we may be unaware we have assimilated into our thinking.

Most people have not taken a course in Platonic thought, and are unaware that his philosophy on the nature of things has been the building block of western thought for millennia. 

Platonic philosophy is part of the air we breathe, and thus affects the systems we employ and the ideas we have. 

Plato has impacted Christian thought and continues to do so. 

K-Disciple-S-C

Now, how many ideas, thoughts, and actions have been applied to discipleship, and what a disciple is that are completely foreign to the Bible, and we just assume they are acceptable?

Colossians 2:8 gives instruction about such challenges, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

The Bible will tell us what discipleship is and how we do it.

Discipleship, as the Bible presents it, has the tendency to be made more complicated than it has to be because we bring so many unseen and unchecked worldviews and presuppositions to it and never question those ideas.

DISCIPLES – HEAR AND OBEY GOD

The gospel of the kingdom makes disciples who hear and obey the Lord Jesus. Those disciples live and work in their God-given vocational domains of created society, and from there Jesus multiplies his church through every disciple everywhere all the time. 

Disciples hear a call from the Lord Jesus in the gospel of the kingdom and respond in faith to a life of relationship with God where they can continually hear him and live a life of joyful, challenging, and rewarding obedience to him. 

A disciple is one who has heard God’s call in the gospel and responded in faith to the call of the gospel (they heard and obeyed the call). They have been baptized, and they enter the fellowship of the kingdom through membership in the local church, and Jesus’ disciples are, therefore, on the life-long mission of growing up into maturity in Christ where they live and act like Him, hearing and obeying his word.

This definition I came up with for us is obedience-centered. 

Why? Because obedience is the foundation Jesus gave us for discipleship.  

The gospel of the kingdom calls us to a disciple’s life of hearing God and obeying him. That has to be the root of all our discipleship efforts…hearing and obeying God.

Our methods of discipleship can be many, and those methods have to have as their end a disciple that hears God and lives a life marked by obedience to God. 

Question: Is this true?

Let’s take a look at two Scriptures: Matthew 4:17-22 and Matthew 7:21-27

Matthew 4:17-22: Jesus calls his first disciples, they hear him, and they respond to him in obedience.

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

  1. Notice Jesus preaches the gospel of the kingdom in verse 17. V. 17
  2. In Jesus’ gospel preaching, he calls potential disciples to follow after him. V. 19
    1. There is an invitation given for an action response NOT a response of agreement about who is inviting them to the action. 
  3. Peter and Andrew, James and John respond immediately to Jesus’ invitation by leaving and physically following Jesus. V. 20; 21-22
    1. We know these men heard Jesus because they responded to him.
    2. SIDE NOTE: This does not mean they abandoned their vocation at this point. They would later take on missionary roles and leave their vocations. 
      1. We do see that these men heard Jesus and responded by dropping what they were doing to follow Jesus. 
      2. The gospel of the kingdom is so powerful that it called these men to action and they followed Jesus.
  4. We can conclude that the gospel calls people to a response of obedience. 
    1. The call of the gospel requires a potential disciple to HEAR AND OBEY. 
    2. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom that calls people to repent, and that message wrecked these men so much they left their current tasks behind to get more of Jesus. 
    3. These men heard and obeyed for their salvation and that hearing and obedience marks the rest of their discipleship with Jesus. 
  5. We can conclude that we cannot simply call for people to believe the content of the gospel without physically obeying the call of the gospel to actually follow Jesus.
    1. It is NOT enough to agree about who he is.
      1. Salvation requires us to repent, and discipleship requires us to keep hearing Jesus and follow Jesus by obeying his word.
    2. What does this look like? We’ll see soon. 
  6. We can conclude that after following Jesus, he will teach his people to become fishers of people just like he is. V. 19
    1. Jesus tells them that he intends to not just let them learn information from him, but that he intends to turn them into fishers of people. 
    2. Part of hearing Jesus and obeying him is the fruit of doing exactly what he said he teach us to do, become fishers of people. 
    3. Part of obeying the call is doing what Jesus did in preaching the gospel of the kingdom and catching people in the net of the kingdom of God and turning them into fishermen and fisherwomen who hear the gospel call and obey that gospel call. 
    4. HEAR AND OBEY.

Matthew 7:21-27

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

  1. Jesus does not recognize those who call him “Lord” and then fails to obey his word, i.e. the will of the Father. 
  2. Those who claim to know Jesus and never obey his word will not dwell with him in the eternal kingdom. 
  3. Those who hear and respond in obedient action are disciples who are not destroyed by the storms of life. 
    1. The storms will do their damage to the structure, but the storm cannot erode the foundation of faith in Jesus that is constructed on hearing and responding in obedience to build on God’s word. 
  4. Those who hear and affirm the message and yet do not obey, have no foundation and are destroyed. 
  5. We can boil down the building blocks of discipleship to two very basic and foundational realities: HEAR AND OBEY. 
    1. Remember, how we learn to hear and obey God’s word can be as multifaceted as the glories of God’s kingdom. 
      1. But the building blocks of that practice have to be hearing God and obeying him. 

Is there a process that helps us to live this disciple life of HEAR AND OBEY?

I’m glad you asked! There is, and it’s right in the texts we just studied and it’s played out in the entire book of Acts by the local church. 

We call this process Radical Life. 

HEARING AND OBEYING IS ONLY POSSIBLE AS A DISCIPLE WHEN WE LIVE IN THE RHYTHM JESUS GAVE US IN THE BIBLE. WE CALL THAT RHYTHM THE RADICAL LIFE. 

NOTE: YOU CAN SEE THIS RHYTHM AS THE RHYTHM OF THE CHURCH ALL THROUGH THE BOOK OF ACTS. IT’S THE RHYTHM OF ABIDING IN JOHN 15.

It is the same in all of Scripture because it is God’s way. You can put any name on it you want, but you can’t miss the rhythm if you pay attention. 

  1. UP: Jesus’ call in the gospel of the kingdom is a call to be reconciled back to God from the death of sin. 
    1. Jesus, being God, calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John into the UP relationship of being reconciled to God. 
    2. The gospel is a gospel that reconciles people back to God. 
    3. This is the UP call of the gospel. 
    4. NOW, we can hear God. 
  2. IN: Jesus’ call in the gospel creates a new family. 
    1. Jesus is going to take a diverse group of people and make them a family in which the Holy Spirit is thicker than blood. 
    2. The church is the new family of God. 
    3. The church is the Israel of God. 
    4. The church is the one body made of Jew and Gentile, slave and free. 
    5. Matthew 12:46-50 (ESV) 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
    6. Acts 16 and the founding of the church at Philippi. 
    7. We are called into a new family in which we are now daughters and sons of God AND our brothers and sisters and spiritual fathers and mothers are those we are on mission with all over the world and specifically those we are in covenant fellowship with locally through church membership. 
    8. In this new family of God, we hear God together and obey him together. 
    9. Now, Peter, Andrew, James and John will join in Jesus’ new band of misfits and they will hear Jesus and obey him together. 
  3. OUT: Jesus makes it explicit that when we follow him that he will make us fishers of people. 
    1. Jesus calls the UP reconciled people of God who HEAR AND OBEY, IN to a new family to grow into maturity and begin bringing more people into that family by going OUT to those who are not part of the family.

Application: How are we to practice this life of discipleship in which we HEAR AND OBEY God?

  1. UP: Be saved. Hear the gospel. Get the UP relationship established through repentance and faith. 
    1. If you have not believed the gospel. Believe today and get after following Jesus. 
      1. How do you start a life of obedience?
    2. Obey the first command. The first act of obedience to Jesus is baptism as the public witness that we have changed teams. 
    3. When we come to Jesus we have been drafted from team Satan onto team Jesus. 
    4. To follow the analogy all the way through, baptism is the public press conference where we put on the jersey of team Jesus in an act that imitates the cross, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. 
    5. Read God’s word and learn the life of listening to God in his word. 
    6. Pray and listen to God speak to you by the Holy Spirit. 
    7. Be present, engage in, and listen to your church and be discipled by the rhythms of church life. 
    8. Listen to and learn from other Christians in your church with whom you are in covenant fellowship. 
    9. Pay attention to the circumstances God has you in, listen to wise counsel, and act in obedience to God’s word. 
  2.  IN: Be a present and committed member of a local church. 
    1. Church membership is biblical. Some people don’t believe that belonging to a church is biblical. 
      1. Hebrews 13:17 should make us all ask and answer two questions.
      2. Hebrews 13:17 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
        1. First, if there is no biblical requirement to belong to a local church, then which leaders should a Christian obey and submit to? 
        2. Second, and kind of important to your elders, who will we give an account for?
    2. Be intentional about being an active, present, giving, serving, and committed member of a local church. 
      1. The rhythms of gathered life help us to order our lives around hearing and obeying God together. 
    3. Prioritize time with fellow members in a RL group. 
      1. RL groups are the hub of everything that happens in our church. 
        1. Smaller gatherings of the church are the lifeblood of folks and the place where spiritual gifts are most expressed in the New Testament. It’s no different today. 
        2. Even now, in ROME, GA, there is a movement by local churches to implement this strategy that we’ve been trying to implement for over 20 years because they recognize that it’s the only effective way to feasibly do ministry as times are changing at lightning speeds. 
        3. Churches are learning the hard way that lean and mobilized membership in covenant fellowship is not only biblical but powerfully effective. 
        4. They wanted us to be part, and we let them know we’ve already been doing that. We planted on that strategy. 
          1. It’s hard because it labors against unseen presuppositions and worldviews and ministry-centered mindsets on what a church is and what a church should do. 
  3. OUT: Engage your vocational domain by healing brokenness and chaos and bringing order AND preaching the gospel of the kingdom AND inviting others to Jesus as you follow Jesus together. 
    1. Be the best employee you can be. Jobs exist because chaos exists. 
      1. Be one who brings order to creation in all manner of vocations. 
    2. Speak naturally about your faith in Jesus. If it’s real you can’t hide it. 
      1. You are the salt of the earth. 
      2. You are a city set on a hill. 
      3. You are the light in the room. 
    3. Bring people who follow Jesus with you to worship Jesus together with their new family, and we’ll help you baptize them, and ya’ll get after disciple-making together. 
    4. Let me give us a churchwide goal: Will each family/person commit to reaching one person/family and bringing them to church on Easter Sunday, April 17?

“We need to remember that the kingdom of God expands, not by institutions, programs, or new and improved churches, but by something much simpler and organic: the activity of committed disciples.” Bob Roberts, Real-Time Connections: Linking Your Job with God’s Global Work (Zondervan, 2010), pp, 24-25.

“What was the key to the early church’s success? They didn’t have seminaries. There were few churches and fewer pastors. The majority couldn’t even read. And there wasn’t much of a New Testament Bible as we know it today. As a result, they did not practice merely education and information-based discipleship; it was a kind of discipleship resulting in radical behavioral transformation. We want to master the information; they longed to master the life…” Bob Roberts, Real-Time Connections, pp. 104-105.

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