“What is A Disciple of Jesus?”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 4.19
Matthew 4. On this first Lord’s day of the year, I would like to preach a message reminding us of our church’s mission statement.
“Northlight Baptist Church exists to display God’s truth to the world, to make true disciples of Jesus Christ, who disciple others to build up and cause the growth of His church.”
For a while now, on Thursday nights we have been in a series on discipleship. I would encourage you, if you are in the area and you haven’t gotten in the habit of attending our Thursday night service…we usually run from 7 to about 8:30 or so. We have a Bible study and take prayer requests and divide up to pray. There is no pressure to pray, you can sit and listen … but we’d love to have you come out.
For those who have been with us, some of the message today may be familiar to us, but I trust will hit home in a new way.
So on Thursday nights, we’re talking about discipleship and making disciples.
One author stated … “Tragically, most believers do not know or do not accept that we [the local church] are God’s Plan A for reaching the world and that there is no Plan B.”
God’s plan is to use the church to reach the world. Let’s find out how and read …
Matthew 4:12–22 12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was 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 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.
Verse 19 is the call of discipleship for each one of us. Jesus says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And the men leave all the have and follow him. Now….
disclaimer:We know all of us are not called to leave our full time jobs, like these men were. They did not do that in the early church either. We know that because money was collected to support the poor believers in Jerusalem. Where did that money come from, except that Christians had jobs…so there is a limit as to how far this applies to us…
But it does apply to us in that each believer is called to follow Jesus, to be changed by Jesus, and to make disciples. This is the natural overflow of being a disciple of Jesus. Following Jesus isn’t by itself. It also includes Jesus making you and him making you into a fisher of men.
“Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” From the beginning then, Christ’s design for his people is that we make disciples who make disciples. We are called to make disciple-making disciples.
But what has happened today is that the church has limited the cost of discipleship. We’ve turned the command of “Be a fisher of men” and the command to “go and baptize and teach all nations” into “Please just come and sit in the pew and watch the Sunday morning show.”
One author noted, “We view evangelism as a dreaded topic, reduced discipleship to a canned program, and so many in the church end up sidelined in a spectator mentality that delegates disciple making to pastors and professionals, ministers and missionaries. But that is not the way it’s supposed to be.”
The joyous command that He’s given us is to participate… to actually participate in God’s plan of calling out for His name a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
So, we’re called to make disciples. But what is a disciple? From verse 19, a disciple is someone who follows Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and who is being changed into a disciplemaker.
First, Jesus says…Follow me…
A True Disciple Follows Jesus: “Follow Me”
What does that mean to follow Jesus? To follow Jesus means to bring everything under His authority. Bring everything underneath His authority. But we can break that down a bit more…
To follow Jesus means 3 things: to learn from him, to live like him, and to serve him. Everything brought under his authority…
A follower learns from Jesus
A follower of Jesus has received Jesus and Jesus work in the gospel. A follower of Jesus clings to him as God when Jesus said, “before Abraham was born, I am.” Jesus claims to be God in a human body. He is the Lord over all, the Son of Man who Daniel saw approaching the Ancient of Days and was given a throne and dominion and a kingdom and glory… This is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday today and forever. He is the eternal one who, when He was on earth, prophesied that he would die and rise again from the dead.
A follower of Jesus has received Him and He has received that work He predicted: His death and resurrection. His death is powerful to take away my sin and His resurrection is His promise to me to raise me up from the dead too.
A follower of Jesus receives His person and work, he has placed his faith in Him for eternal life, trusting nothing else.
A follower also lives like Him
A true follower also seeks to live like Christ.
A true follower will be growing to live like him more and more. Peter tells us in first Peter 2:21 you have been called for this purpose… Christ has left you an example for you to follow in his steps… The goal there is to be like the one who committed no sin there was no lying in his mouth. He was harshly treated, but he did not treat harshly and return.
Like Christ, we should be zealous for the glory of God…zeal for his house should consume us, our food and drink should be to do the father’s will and like Christ, we should be humble even willing to wash the disciples feet.
A follower will increasingly learn the necessity of self-denial… For Christ denied himself when he did not look out for his own personal interests but also for the interests of others when he although he existed as God for all of eternity he didn’t clutch on to that, but he emptied himself of himself and took the form of a bond slave and was made in the likeness of men.
TRANS: Follow Christ…this means that a true disciple will learn from this Christ, seek to be like Him, …and also a true disciple will serve Christ.
A follower serves Him
A true disciple of Christ will seek to have all of his actions, thoughts, and words submitted to Christ.
What whatever he eats or drinks or whatever he does, he really wants to do all to the glory of God. He seeks to let his light shine before men that others might see his good works and glorify his father who is in heaven.
True disciple will follow Christ to the point of bearing his reproach, he will reprove the works of darkness, and be filled by the Holy Spirit showing himself to be on the Lord side. This is a true disciple’s desire and there is growth toward these things…
As His sheep, He knows the sweet sound of the Savior’s voice and will not follow another…though it’s easy to get distracted…
ILL: An American, traveling in Syria, saw three native shepherds bring their 3 different flocks to the same brook, and the flocks drank there together. At length one shepherd arose and called out, “Men-ah! men-ah!,” the Arabic for “follow me.” His sheep came out of the common herd and followed him up the hillside. The next shepherd did the same, and his sheep went away with him, and the man did not even stop to count them.
The traveler said to the remaining shepherd, “Give me your turban and crook, and see if they will not follow me as well as you.” So he put on the shepherd’s dress and called out, “Men-ah! men-ah!” Not a sheep moved. They know not a voice of a stranger. “Will your flock never follow anybody but you?” inquired the traveler. The Syrian shepherd replied, “Oh, yes; sometimes a sheep gets sick, and then he will follow any one.”
APP: Are you well this morning? Or are you sick and you’ve been following the ways of the world…the “can’t get wait to get ahead” in this life mindset… if only I had more of this life…friend, pursuing the things, prestige, and glory of this world will leave you high and dry…yes, you may get ahead in this world, but “he who dies with the most toys still dies.”
TRANS: A true disciple follows Jesus, but secondly a true disciple will also be changed by Jesus.
A True Disciple is Being Changed By Jesus: “I Will Make You”
Jesus said, Follow me and “I will make you.” “I will make you,” Jesus said.
This is Jesus making us, molding us into whatever he desires… like a master potter spins his clay to make the most beautiful of artwork…so also does He desire to do with you… if you’d but stay on the spinning wheel!
But note that He does the work. Jesus says, “Follow me and I will make you.”
We repent of what we have been but rejoice in what we will be. Jesus is not saying follow me because of who you are now. Jesus is not saying follow me and make something of yourselves… No Jesus is saying “Follow me and I will make you.”
That’s a package deal. You can’t separate it. You follow Jesus and he will make you. You can’t have the first without the second. If you choose to follow Jesus he will make you. He will change you into the person he wants you to be, both now or in eternity.
A true disciple is being changed by Jesus. God works in you to change you, he is at work in you…Paul tells in Philippians 2…
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both [working in you] the desire and the ability for His good pleasure.
God is at work giving you the desire and the ability…but you better work out your salvation with fear and trembling! God is the one at work, that should cause you fear and trembling to the point that you respond to his working in you.
Paul urges us in Romans 12… I urge you, brethren, by all the mercies of God in Christ, … present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice … 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
On one occasion in Acts 4, the apostle Peter, a fisherman who never even went to Pharisaical school, stood up in the face of death and proclaimed Christ that there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved…
And the people observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men and they were amazed and …here we go…began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
They had confidence, strength…why? Because they had been with Jesus. Have you been with Jesus lately or are you scared? Have you been looking into the Word of God beholding the glory of the Lord? Do you know what it is to do that and to be progressively transformed into His same image from glory to glory?
Would you pray with Paul in Ephesians 3…that God would strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your heart so that Christ would dwell in your life… that you would be rooted and grounded in love and be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the multidimensional love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God? Would you pray about that?
You can’t follow Jesus without being changed by Him. Whatever you follow will change you, and it’s the same with Christ. Yes it’s more with Christ…
ILL: Someone once said … No one can come to Christ and remain the same anymore than he can come into contact with 2,000 volts and remain the same. Following Jesus is a crucified life, the death of self and then change happens …
APP: How does this change happen?
You must expose yourself to God’s grace, His enabling favor in order to be changed. Read your Bible. You may need to make it your New Year’s resolution to read his word every day. Some of us need more of a focus this year on praying…being diligent to pray every day. Singing hymns, family worship…these are all ways to be more and more exposed to God’s grace that you might be changed.
TRANS: Changed into what? What’s the goal? The goal is to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus who makes other disicples.
A True Disciple Seeks to Make Other Disciples: “Fishers of Men”
Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you into…what? Fishers of men.” A disciple follows Jesus…he’s received His person and work, and seeks to and makes progress toward obeying Christ’s teaching, and makes progress toward following His example. A disciple is being changed by Jesus and now a disciple is one who is is being changed into a disciple maker.
Just like a fisherman catches fish, so also follows of Jesus are to be trained to catch men. “I will make you into fishers of men,” Jesus says. He desires to do this with each believer here.
This is God’s calling…Jesus said …
Matthew 28:18–20 18 … “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This is for Jesus’ followers… “Go” he says.
Stop trying to figure out if you’re called or not. What are you going to do with the command? “Go” He says. “Make disicples” baptize and teach them. You are called to teach.
God wants to get you to the point to where you can teach. Not in front of hundreds, but just to one. We need to get you there; it’s God’s design.
Do you want extra help? Are you hungry and want to progress more? Feel free to ask for more one on one help. Do you long to teach others God’s truth from His word? Do you want to plugged in and be more active to help others grow? Let’s talk about that, too.
But spend time with Jesus…You don’t need much, Bible and prayer and time, effort, and sweat and tears. Through this, He will make you.
APP: Jesus taught his disciples to go out two by two in pairs through the towns in Luke 10. In Matthew 10, he taught His disciples to go to people’s houses. And in Acts 5 we see Peter, after being persecuted, went from house to house and kept on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
That’s a biblical method, door to door evangelism. If you are interested in door to door ministry, no matter your age or gender or location, please contact me. Don’t worry, you’d just be watching at first.
ILL: But one of the greatest things I learned early in my Christian walk was how to share Christ. A deacon at my first church in Illinois took me out door knocking and the more I went with him the more he showed me how to witness and the more I got comfortable with how to preach Christ to people. Christ wants you to learn how preach Christ…
But no matter how you do it, you must do it. And at people’s doorstep you have a captive audience.
No man learned how to fish just by reading; it takes practice…get some practice leading people to Christ.
When you talk with someone whom you don’t know, do you think about whether they are on their way to heaven or hell? Do you have a burden for them?
When I was at school at Bob Jones University, Dr. Bob III when he spoke in chapel had this saying …he would start it and we would finish, “the most sobering reality in the world is that…” and the 6,000 or so people in the audience would say in unison “people are dying and going to hell today.” And that statement would nearly echo in that auditorium…and it most certainly echoed in my heart over my years there.
People who rebel against God their whole lives, though they say they like God, nevertheless throw away his restrictions from them, running toward hell. Does that bother you?
If you’ve trusted Christ and you’re following him…Are you thankful God has saved you? Do you love the joy, the peace, and patience? The endurance during trial? The stability at home? Do you long that people would just come to Christ and know the peace that you have?
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 4.19
Because of our story this morning, there is a picture of soul winning in a fisherman… a Professional Bass Fisherman HENSON FISHING,…a very appropriate last name … gives his fishing tip for those just starting out fishing…
“I would have to say spend as much time on the water as possible!! You have to be in tune to what the fish are doing at any given time. And the only way to do that is to spend time with them!”
Get to know some lost people…the great way to be in tune with lost people and to figure out how they think so that you can lead them to Christ is to be spend time with them … you can’t lead them to Christ if you’re not spending time with them.
ROBIN FOLLETTE, Writer & Bass fisherman gives his tips …
“Cast, cast and cast again. Practice as often as possible until you have it down pat, then start again before the season opens so that you’re nailing it before you hit the water. You don’t have to be on the water. I learned to land a lure any place I wanted it when I was a six or seven year old. Dad tied a rubber plug on my line and pointed to a Hula Hoop as my target. I backed away as I got better and learned to cast farther with accuracy.”
You’ll learn witnessing by witnessing and studying the gospel. Study how to win people to Christ; that’s what we’ll be doing on Thursday nights. Pray and ask the Master fisherman how to speak with people.
I’ve found that people like to talk about themselves, I’m sure you’ve noticed that too. I like to ask people a bunch of questions about them to show interest in them and to care about them: like what takes up their time, their job, school, homelife, whatever. And then finally ask them questions about their church life and what they believe about Christ. I’d ask eventually, “Do you believe the Bible is God’s word? Do you believe Christ was a good man or was he more than that?” Things like that.
What are some ways that you can serve the Lord to make yourself more available to evangelize and make disciples?
Get with me if you want to go door knocking.
Hold a Bible study
Get with someone in the church and disciple them or be willing to be discipled.
Attend community activities to meet non-Christians
Be willing to talk about Jesus on the job
Invite people to our services/outreaches/family nights
Invite people over on your prayer list for the lost
Participate in a sport’s league and meet non-Christians
Invite unchurched neighbors over to your house for a meal or game night
Serve at your local nursing home
Serve on community committees and meet non-Christians
Offer Christian books or resources to people you know
Follow Christ, be changed by Him, and let’s go fishing! There are people who need rescued from their sin, throw out the life line…that’s 567.