Lesson Text—Matthew 4:17-20 Matthew 4:17-20 17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Lesson Text—Matthew 4:17-20 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Lesson Text—Matthew 4:21-23 Matthew 4:21-23 21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
Lesson Text—Matthew 4:21-23 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Focus Verse—Luke 6:40 Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Focus Thought True disciples of the Lord Jesus must believe in Him, deny themselves, accept their place in Christ’s kingdom, and be faithful in performing His will and work unto death.
Culture Connection Materialism or Discipleship? I. True Discipleship In his article titled “The Discipleship Deficit: Where Have All the Disciples Gone?” author Greg Ogden observed, “Regarding materialism and measuring success, half the Christian public never has enough money to buy what they need or want. One in four Christians think that the more you have, the more successful you are”
Ogden keenly recognizes the problem created in Christianity when believers embrace the wrong idea that material wealth and possessions demonstrate or equal success. While there is nothing inherently wrong with having wealth or possessions, for the true disciple of Jesus Christ it is vital they remain of much lower priority than following and pleasing the Lord. I. True Discipleship
The very nature of Christian discipleship is abandoning all, if necessary, that we might follow and serve Jesus Christ. Hence, a true disciple’s worldview revolves around how to please Christ and serve Him effectively. Jesus does not require us to take a vow of poverty, and being destitute is neither a prerequisite nor a virtue in serving Him. However, before we can truly serve Jesus Christ as His disciple, our worldview must shift so that possessions serve us rather than us serving them. I. True Discipleship
I. True Discipleship We cannot serve both God and things. We have the opportunity to choose whom or what we shall serve.
Contemplating the Topic I. True Discipleship Jesus chose discipleship as His plan to reach the world. In the eternal purpose of God, Jesus was born into the world with a mission. As had been predestined from before the foundation of the world, Jesus came with a mission to reach the whole world with the opportunity of redemption. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
I. True Discipleship “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37). Jesus did not plan to physically visit all the nations in the world, and neither did He personally go to the major population centers on every continent. Rather, Jesus confined His ministry to a single, small, and seemingly insignificant nation—the nation of Israel.
There He spent His ministry training a handful of close disciples, not trying to personally contact the world’s masses or the various leaders of the nations. Then at the end of His ministry, He commissioned those disciples to go into all the world and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19). What Jesus did not do personally, He sent His disciples to do, along with all future disciples. The ultimate goal was and remains to reach the whole world through Christian discipleship. I. True Discipleship
Searching the Scriptures True Discipleship I. True Discipleship “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
I. True Discipleship And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
The Meaning of Discipleship A. The Meaning of Discipleship A disciple is “a follower,” or specifically, “a pupil of a teacher.” The word comes from the Greek word mathete, “a learner.” Disciple is not an Old Testament word and neither does it appear in the Epistles. However, the word disciple appears in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts more than 260 times. The word disciple was common in Hellenistic culture where many Greek philosophers had disciples.
Disciples of Greek philosophers committed to full-time association with their mentors, learning their lifestyle and pursuing the goal of becoming like their master. So it is with true disciples of Jesus; they strive to become like Him. We accept not only His teachings but also His way of life. With the philosophers and other teachers during New Testament times, students usually sought out their chosen teacher and asked to be disciples; with Jesus, however, the reverse is true. I. True Discipleship
Jesus sought out and called His disciples. Disciples of philosophers sought to learn from their teachers with the hope that someday they would be masters themselves and have disciples of their own following them. With Jesus, it was different. The disciples of Jesus were never to become masters with their own followers, but they were always to remain disciples of Jesus. And they did not win converts to themselves, but rather to Jesus. They sought to develop fellow disciples of the Lord. I. True Discipleship
The disciples of Jesus did not attend a schedule of classes, but they left all—houses, jobs and employment, family—to become full-time followers. They invested everything they possessed in the cause of Christ, and they literally followed Him everywhere He went. They wanted to do more than just hear an occasional sermon; they wanted to adopt His way of life, to understand His worldview, to think as He thought. In other words, they abandoned all in their efforts to be like Him. I. True Discipleship
The Development of a Disciple B. The Development of a Disciple In more than a dozen instances in the Gospels, Jesus said, “Follow me.” This is the first step to becoming a disciple. • To Peter and Andrew fishing in Galilee (Matthew 4:18-19). • To Philip (John 1:43). • To Levi, or Matthew, working at his toll booth (Matthew 9:9).
• To the rich young ruler of the synagogue, “Sell what you have and give to the poor, and . . . follow Me” (Matthew 19:21,NKJV). • Even at the end of His ministry just before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus reminded Peter one more time, “Follow me” (John 21:19). I. True Discipleship
For more than three years, Jesus poured Himself into His disciples. He taught them through lectures and sermons, but most importantly, He demonstrated by His actions the way to live. Even when Jesus healed the sick and performed supernatural miracles, He reminded His disciples, “Greater works than these shall [ye] do” (John 14:12). He expected His disciples to grow, to develop, and to mature as they learned daily how to be more like their master. I. True Discipleship
The Continuing Process of Discipling Coverts C. The Continuing Process of Discipling Coverts Not only does the Lord call believers to become disciples, but He also calls them to make disciples of others. After the Lord finished His ministry on earth, He turned everything over to His disciples to continue His mission.
He commissioned them, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” or as some other translations say, “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The word “teach” translates from the Greek word matheteuo, which means “to disciple, that is to enroll as a scholar and to instruct.” If a person is a disciple of Jesus, he should be like Jesus, so the world will see Jesus through his life. As Jesus called disciples to follow Him, so now His disciples are to continue to call others to become His disciples. C. The Continuing Process of Discipling Coverts
In Jesus’ final prayers in Gethsemane, He prayed for His disciples He was leaving behind. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20). The Lord was praying for future disciples that would be converted after He was gone. Those first generation disciples reached out to disciple the next generation; then that generation reached the next, all the way to our present generation. Jesus included us in that prayer! I. True Discipleship
I. True Discipleship When Jesus first called His first disciples, they immediately began to reach out for others to join them. Andrew, already a disciple of John the Baptist, heard John point out Jesus as the Messiah and immediately turned to follow Jesus. The very next day, Andrew went to find his brother, Peter, and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew then brought him and introduced him to Jesus.
I. True Discipleship The following day, after the Lord called Philip to follow Him, Philip immediately went to find Nathaniel. “We have found him. . . . Come and see” (John 1:35-51). The fishermen, Peter, James, and John, were astonished at the unexpected and miraculous catch of fish. They had fished all night, caught nothing, and thought it futile to try again. But at the urging of Jesus, Peter threw the net one more time.
I. True Discipleship The catch was so great the net broke. James and John rushed to the rescue with their boat, and there were so many fish that the two boats could not hold them. The boats almost sank. Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man.” Jesus replied, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shall catch men” (Luke 5:1-10).
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16).
Requirements of Discipleship II. Requirements of Discipleship Believers must consider whether they are willing to pay the price of true discipleship. Jesus said, “Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” He went on to ask, “Or what king, going to make war . . . sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28, 31).
The Privilege of Being a Disciple A. The Privilege of Being a Disciple Jesus had many followers and believers in the broad meaning of the word disciple. Out of this multitude, Jesus selected twelve disciples who would become His leaders. This would be the small group that Jesus would work with closely every day throughout His ministry. They were not the famous or elite of the country, but ordinary common people.
Jesus chose them not because of who they were or what they had accomplished, but for who they could become through His grace and mercy. Further, He saw their potential for the future. These twelve He called apostles; they would be the leading disciples to be sent eventually to the rest of the world. We should consider it a great privilege and honor to be chosen by God to fulfill His calling for our lives. God calls ordinary people to perform His ministry on earth. I. True Discipleship
He does not call us because we are beautiful and nice looking, rich and powerful, famous and popular, important or of elite family heritage, or because we have great talent and abilities. God chooses us not because of who we are now, but because of who we can become through Him. God has great confidence in every believer whom He calls for He knows He will strengthen us to meet every challenge. As Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). I. True Discipleship
The Demands for Being Disciples B. The Demands for Being Disciples Jesus laid down strict demands of His disciples. Three times in Luke 14, Jesus used the phrase “he cannot be my disciple.” See verses 26, 27, and 33. The following is a list of some of Jesus’ demands for His disciples.
Self-Denial. He must “deny himself” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). This instruction appears three times in the Gospels. Our first priority is to not seek our own will or our own pleasure. • 2. Take Up His Cross. This phrase also appears three times. (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). (See also Luke 14:27.) Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). I. True Discipleship
He further wrote, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). We must “die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31). 3. Put Christ above Family. “He that loveth father or mother. . . . son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:35-37). “If any man . . . hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters . . . he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). I. True Discipleship
4. Forsake All. “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). 5. Willing to Lose His Life. Being a disciple is not only the most important thing in life, it is more important than life itself. (See Matthew 10:28, 39; 16:25; Luke 14:26.) 6. Abide in His Word and Teaching. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). (See also John 15:7.) I. True Discipleship
It is important to remember that discipleship is just one aspect of our relationship with Jesus. We must never think that following Christ or being like Christ saves us. Our salvation was purchased by His death on the cross. If we followed Him there—even to being crucified like Him—we could not effect salvation. It comes as a gift of grace purchased by God. We are called to have faith that His death and resurrection provides for our salvation. Of course, we need to appropriate it. I. True Discipleship
The Reward of Being a Disciple C. The Reward of Being a Disciple Peter said, “We have left all, and followed thee.” Jesus replied, “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting” (Luke 18:28-30). (See also Mark 10:28-30.)
I. True Discipleship Mark 10:30 specifies that a disciple’s reward will be a “hundredfold,” which according to Strong’s Concordance means “a hundred times.” That is an amazing return on an investment. Put simply, a person who gives his life to Jesus Christ makes an investment that returns a far better life now than the life he was living prior to serving the Lord.
The Disciple’s Relationships III. The Disciple’s Relationships Becoming a disciple of Christ will totally change one’s lifestyle, worldview, and relationships. One young man, upon being released from prison, decided he needed to abandon his old life of drugs and sin, and live for God. He obtained a phone and programmed his answering machine: “This is Terry; please leave your name and number. But I want you to know that I am making a lot of changes in my life. If I don’t call you back, then you might be one of those changes.”
Relationship with Christ A. Relationship with Christ A disciple is first of all a follower, a student, and a learner. The disciple of Jesus wants to learn everything he can about Jesus, His lifestyle, His mission, and His wisdom for living. A disciple also is obedient. He strongly desires to do the will of God, to carry out His wishes, and to obey His instructions in all things. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). A genuine believer loves Jesus and desires to obey Him.
I. True Discipleship A believer’s love for the Lord causes him to go further than just serving Him and obeying Him. Love leads a person to know Christ intimately, to spend time with Him, and to develop a personal relationship. That means spending time in prayer and in His Word. Believers want to worship Him. “Lovest thou me?” Jesus pointedly asked Simon Peter three times. (See John 21:15-17.)
Some individuals may obey God out of fear, and others may serve God out of duty, but we are disciples because of our love for Jesus. A disciple desires to imitate his master. A disciple of Christ wants to become like Jesus, to act like Him, to do what Jesus would do, and to treat others as He would treat them. Above all, a disciple wants to think like his Lord. Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). I. True Discipleship
What initiates and facilitates a believer’s love for Jesus Christ and his desire to be like Him? The foundation of his relationship with Christ is his reception of the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we are filled with the same Spirit that was in Jesus Christ. This is the same Spirit that did miracles through Jesus—that opened blind eyes, healed the lame, and raised the dead. When we receive His Spirit, we desire to be like Him in every way, and the Spirit leads and guides us into all truth. (See John 16:13.) I. True Discipleship
I. True Discipleship When we have the Holy Ghost, we have Christ in us (Romans 8:9-11). As the Father was in Christ, making them one, so also we should be one with God by His Spirit in us. (See John 17:20-23.) To be a true disciple today, we must have the Holy Ghost, which is accompanied by the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance.
Relationship with His Natural Family B. Relationship with His Natural Family A disciple of Jesus Christ will be a better husband or wife, a better father or mother, a better employee, a better citizen, and a better neighbor. Still, his first priority always will be to his master, Jesus. The Lord warned His disciples that if they loved mother, father, son, or daughter more than Him, they were not worthy of Him.