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April 7, 2020 12:00 am
Life of Paul series.Support the show (https://www.lonsolomonministries.com/give)
Good morning everybody take a bottle opener together. Acts chapter 14 and were to be continuing in our study the life of a great many possible acts chapter 14 George Barna from Barna research group published a survey this past week. It just came out and was looking at the events here in the United States of America after September 11.
Very interesting study here a couple of the things that he found that particularly caught my attention. Number one he found the church attendance after the Sunday after September 11 skyrocketed at churches all over America did no matter what denomination you were. What kind of church you were there it just went through the roof.
He also found second of all that now, two months later, church attendance has dropped back down to the original levels that it was in August before the events of September 11 ever took place and and he had he had an insider conclusion as to why this is what he said he said and I quote September 11 gave churches an amazing opportunity to be a healing and transforming presence for God in people's lives, but few people experienced anything that was sufficiently life-changing to capture their attention and their allegiance. He went on to say it, just prove the old saying people came back to church and rediscovered why they didn't come in the first place. When I read this I was really excited. I thought you know what are we doing his church leaders here in the United States of America.
How have we so lost our focus that when a needy population of Americans suddenly come to church looking for something.
As Barna says they don't find anything life-changing enough that this aside to stick around. Well friends, you know, the early church didn't have this problem because the early church had a very clear understanding of what their goal was Matthew 2819 Jesus said, going to the world and make disciples in the early churches did not spend their time talking politics planning bake sales or playing bingo. These churches spent their time consuming with making disciples out of people and that's what we want to talk about today we want to talk about how this whole idea of becoming a disciple really impacts your life in my life and it grows out of some of our study of Paul, so let's do back 14 first and then we'll come back and talk about how this relates to you and me here. The 21st century little bit of background.
Remember, the apostle Paul was the associate pastor of the church in Antioch Syria and God calling to go out and do evangelistic itinerant preaching and so he left and began traveling around the what we know today is the first missionary journey of Paul, the left ear traversed Cypress preaching the word. Many went up to the southern underbelly of Turkey and went to Antioch where they threw him out of town.
He went to I Coni him where they threw him out of town. We went to Lysistrata with a stone demon about have killed him and then he went to Derby, where the first missionary journey really came to with logical and and as we pick up here in chapter 14 we find the apostle Paul decided to go home. He was just going to double back. He was going to go from Derby back to Lister back to I Coni him back to Antioch. Look at verse 21 acts chapter 14, the Bible says, then day that is Paul and Barnabas returned to Lister I Coni him and Antioch strengthening the disciples say there's our word strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.
The point is in each of these cities, Derby Lister I Coni of Antioch.
When Paul went back there on the way home. What are the five he found disciples and you know why they were there they were there because the apostle Paul had made him when he came to town the first time he had spent time building disciples the first time and that's why they were there when he came back through town. The second time now when the apostle Paul arrived home first. 28. Look what it says there and he stated Antioch. This is the one in Syria where he had been a pastor. He stayed there a long time with the disciples.
There's our word again and remember, Paul had been here several years pastoring this church of the reason there was disciples. Here is because the apostle Paul in his the other leaders of that church had built disciples here in Antioch folks, you know, we can look at Paul's second missionary journey. We can look at his third missionary journey. We can look at his fourth missionary journey. We can look everywhere. The apostle Paul went in the New Testament and the one thing we find is that everywhere Paul went he left in his wake disciples. Everywhere he went. And that's because the apostle Paul had a very clear grasp on his mission a very clear grasp on the target. He was trying to hit. He knew what his job was. It was to lead people to Christ. Everywhere he went, and once you lead them to Christ to make them in to true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that's as far as I want to go on the passage because we got a question as to the important question, and y'all know what I know to me early in the message today, but I know you already.
So here we go real deep breath. Mice allowed 12 3/2 salon. So what I love that about Paul I think is great about Paul. I'm glad he may disciples blood differences that made in my life here in the 21st century. No will folks listen if the apostle Paul came to stay at your house for couple weeks of the houseguest. You know what his goal would be before you left your house. It would be to turn you into a true disciple Jesus. If the apostle Paul were pastoring this church. You know what his goal would be it would be to turn every single one of you here today into true disciples of Jesus, the apostle Paul were conducting a missionary journey in Washington DC. You know what his goal would be it would be to turn as many people in the city as he possibly could, into disciples of Jesus Christ are so what this here is that God's desire for every one of us today because who says it were a follower of Christ, that we not stop there. Simply being a follower of Christ within. We move on to pursue becoming real disciples of the Lord Jesus. Now here's my question. If we were to be successful in turning you into a real disciple of Jesus.
What would you look like one of the characteristics of a true disciple of Jesus. I mean if I had the paint you a picture of what a true disciple really is so you can copy it. What would that picture be well I've got six characteristics I want to share with you today. What a true disciple looks like, and here's how were going to do this for me to go through them and I want to grade yourself up and take a little test I want to grade yourself on every one of these 1 to 10 okay here's how it works if you got this particular characteristic just nailed you give yourself a 10 and if it when it comes to this particular characteristic you're on a respirator, you give yourself one and in January between the two feel like going and grade yourself and were to see how you do with the end of the test. Okay here we go six characteristics that really delineates what a real disciple looks like number one true disciple of Jesus is a person number one who live under the authority of God's word.
You know we live in a postmodern society where we are told in our school system in every other way that there are no moral absolutes anymore that there are no absolute authorities anymore for human behavior to believe that there are absolute rights and wrongs for things is is antiquated. It's unsophisticated, it's prehistoric well I'm here to tell you that every human being alive lives under the authority of some and for most of us in America. The authority that we live under is the authority of sales. What I want to do what I feel like doing what I enjoy what I like what I warns you to disciple to live that way Domino true disciple lives under different authority to disciple lives under the authority of God's word. VI BLE listen to what David said Psalm 119. David said how blessed is the person who walks in the law of the Lord who the person who observes God statutes you Lord have laid down precepts that you mean to be fully obeyed so I do not neglect your word pay a true disciple understand that God didn't give us the Bible to serve as optional advice for us. God gave us the Bible to be the authority under which we live our lives and that's why four true disciple. The most important question that they asked the foremost question that they ask when facing any situation in life is this question what does God tell me in the Bible to do about this, and once they get an answer to that question. They do it.
It doesn't matter whether they like to whether they feel like it, whether they want to because the authority that a disciple is living under is not the authority of cell is the authority of the word of God you know recently I had a person do some work for me at my house and we were all gonna read it all settle up on the person discussing the reason we don't really think you wronged me in a couple areas in this process and I said really will tell me about it so he told me in. I really didn't think I done anything… I conducted myself with as much integrity as you could do the whole thing so I went and asked some people that I respect and said hey would you think that I do something wrong this it will. We don't really see anything you did wrong, so the guy I met a second time with the guy 1/3 time with the God we couldn't come to any meeting of the mind.
So I just said hey look, my friend. I done as much as I know how to do here you go your way.
I'm going my way. You get on with life.
I'm getting on with life.
That's how were going to do this will that was great but then there was the Bible verse that I kept having problems with me today with his Bible verses.
Matthew five verse 23. If you're bringing your gift to the altar and you remember that someone has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar goal be reconciled with your adversary and then come back, make your offering to God when I asked this verse like every time I pray this verse will come to mind every time I get ready to come up here preaches verse become the mind cannot say Lord you know anything wrong with this guy three times and it's a no-win situation. And besides all that, I don't want to.
I just don't want to do this.
God's justice and the Lord said to me every time we went through that a long did I ask you if you wanted to do this. I did ask if you wanted to do it this what I tell you to do suck all the got backup as an 801 we get together and talk about this one more time. Is it want were you doing this. I said well I got this Bible verse that I need to read to you that already this Bible verse and I said this is why I'm doing it because God tells me to go the extra extra mile to try to get this straight. So let's meet again and you know what folk you've got in your life situations just like this. I know you do where all of a sudden you run into something from the Bible where God says do something a certain way and you don't really want to do it that way. Hey, I'm here to tell you that this issue living under the authority of the word of God is the single most noticeable distinctive.
I believe about a true disciple of Christ. A true disciple has as their highest authority in life not self but the word of God and the word of God says do it we do it is like.
Jesus said, not my will but thine be done now want to grade yourself, how you doing this 1 to 10 how do you do okay.
Number two true disciple cultivates humility in their life because a true disciple knows what the Bible says about humility. Luke chapter 18 verse 14 Jesus said for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone humbles himself will be exalted.
Peter said God as opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. See a disciple knows that in God's economy the way up is the way down and that's why a true disciple is always seeking to cultivate humility in their life and the reason I use the word cultivate is because humility is not natural. Nobody is humble.
Naturally, if were going to become become people of humility were going to have to intentionally and deliberately cultivated in our life by taking action, being proactive in saying this is some I'm going to do you not a chemistry teacher when I was in high school. It was Mrs. Hinton. She made a huge impact on my life for good. But you have a favorite saying she's always say in class. She's always say a word to the wise is sufficient of full needs to be wrapped on the head. She's always say that whatever she said she will and I would you like what you mean when you always say that you look at me, look at the McLean well I spent the first 20 years of my life living on the backend of this universe of hers. Even when I became a follower of Christ. I lived on the backend of this universe. Hers and I've been down the road of having God have to teach me humility. Let me just tell you it's much better to live on the front end of this universe of hers and to do what the Bible says to go out ourselves and seek to to cultivate humility in our lives. Rather than forcing the Lord that the wrap was on the head and teach it to us until friends are true disciple is a person who values humility understands why it's important and goes out proactively to cultivated in their life, so grade yourself had to do a number 21 to 10, number three go true disciple is a person who practices spiritual disciplines in their life is a lot.
I'm not actually sure I know what a spiritual discipline is what you talking about what is a wonderful book proud of it this morning but you can sign up to order it down in our bookstore called the spirit of the disciplines and to go through all the spiritual disciplines. The Bible talks about but I'm going to give you the major for you.
They are spiritual discipline number one Bible reading and Bible study Psalm one. David said, blessed is the person whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on God's law. They meditate day and night disciples are people who immerse themselves in the word of God.
This is a spiritual discipline that they practice spiritual discipline number two is Scripture memory Psalm 119 verse 11 David said your word I have hidden in my heart so I might not sin against you. Disciples are people who are memorizing Scripture, hiding the word of God in their heart. This is a spiritual discipline that they practice spiritual discipline number three prayer.
In fact, the Bible says in Luke chapter 5 that the Lord Jesus went away often and prayed so much so that the disciples came to him and said hey every time we see it looks like your private. Can you teach us to pray. Can you do this for us and in prayer being on our knees before God is something that disciples do. It is a spiritual discipline they practice. Last of all, being in community with fellow believers.
Hebrews chapter 10 verse 24 says let us not forsake meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but rather let us stimulate one another when we meet together to love and good deeds.
Disciples are people who are in relationship core in community with other believers. They go into these communities to stimulate others to love and good deeds and to be stimulated by others. Back to love and good deeds. This is a spiritual discipline that they practice the folks we hear McLean Bible Church try to provide opportunities for you to do all the spiritual disciplines as a matter fact we try to push you into the spiritual disciplines as a matter of fact we try to gently shove you into these spiritual disciplines, but we can't make you do spiritual disciplines. Nobody accidentally memorizes the Bible, nobody accidentally shows up in small groups.
Nobody accidentally reads the Bible and praise. These are things that people have to be intentional about and a disciple is a person who sees the need and intentionally makes the time to do spiritual disciplines that you doing this with grade yourself 1 to 10, number four, if we were to make you into a disciple.
What would you look like number four, you would become a person who accepts responsibility for their actions.
This issue accepting personal responsibility is a huge issue with God. In fact, it explains why King Saul of Israel and King David of Israel got treated so differently.
If you remember King Saul. They both messed up King Saul when he was confronted by Samuel the prophet what he do he said well it's not my fault the people wanted to do it. I couldn't stop people from doing what they wanted to do and and and why you always picking on me every time I see you all you do is tell me everything I did wrong. You know my daddy wouldn't hold much you know my mama played canasta all the time why you always picking on me. Samuel is not my fault your God did took the kingship right away from David.
David mess up, but when he was confronted by Nathan the prophet Nathan said to him, David. You are the man who did this.
This is what David said Psalm 32, he said. I acknowledge my wrongdoing to you, Lord, I did not try to cover up. I soon but I openly confessed my transgression to the Lord.
Pay no alibis, no excuses, no justification.
David said you're right, I did. I'm responsible. And what happened. One of the Lord doing responsive verse continues, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
David found mercy. David found forgiveness friends everybody like messes up true disciples messed up like everybody else does, but the difference between a true disciple and the rest of the world is the way a true disciple handles it when they mess up. They accept responsibility without excuses and then they throw themselves on the mercy of God, and you know what whenever we do that, you always find the mercy of God. That's the way the system more let me take a break and say if you're here today and you never trusted Jesus is real and personal Savior that the very first step to coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ is this one accepting responsibility for your life or where it is today.
Looking at your life and saying hey. The reason I'm in the mess I'm in the day and the reason my life is in the shape it is today is my fault. God and I need a U-turn is not anybody else's fault. I need to U-turn see God loves to show mercy but God only shows mercy on the basis of people accepting personal responsibility you want to do business with God. Hey, God wants to do business with you friend. But you gotta do it. On this basis he done work with people on any other basis true disciples know that is a grade yourself 1 to 10 were almost on number five. What is a true disciple look like number five true disciple obeys God even when they don't understand why God is asking them to do something and everyone of us as followers of Christ have these situations in our lives from time to time.
God asks us to do something God leads us in some direction and it makes no human logical sense whatsoever to you know I think of Abraham. God appeared Abraham.
He said Abraham I want to leave you land, leave your home leave your friends leave your livelihood, leave everything and I want you to follow me. Abraham says will where we don't. Well, not a lot today that later. Well, how my going to live well will take care that later will where my way to feed myself to make a living… That later. Come on, let's go look pretty crazy.
But Abraham was a true disciple. He went Moses, God appeared to Moses and the Moses, to send you back to face the most powerful wiener on the face of the earth and the weapon on the use against him is me and a stick.
You send me back to face Pharaoh with yes well not look will logical you to dinner.
Moses went why is he was a real disciple of Jesus was asking him to go about Esther member the Queen. Queen Esther and Mordecai says that you gotta go in and talk to your husband and save the Jewish people is what God wants you to do. Esther said hey uncle Mordecai don't think you understand. He was walking your talk to him you walking and without appointment base wax people that gullible doing that work on Saturday. Esther, I don't really care. This would God need you to do is what you need to do dear what she say she said well okay if I perish, I perish but I'm going in there. That's what God wants me to do about old Mary mother of Jesus, Gabriel, the angel appears to her and says no, Mary, I know you're a virgin dear but you're going to have a son.
And when people ask you who the father is.
You tell him God. Oh, Gabriel. I'm sure that would work. Nobody will ever have another question about that, Gabriel. That'll be just that'll be just peachy keen.
Gabriel hello women were in the God for that deal. Young thing when I'm saying but want to marry do. Mary went for it. Why, because the Lord was asking her to. She was a true disciple. She set off from the handmaiden of the Lord, Lord, I know this sounds naughty but it is what you want is what will do this is how real disciples live true disciple to save God. This to me to do it. I'm going to do it. I don't care how crazy it looks, doing it all got a good friend of mine who just graduated from the Naval Academy, 1995 wonderful young man loves the Lord wonderful follower of Christ all you want to do is hold like this Blodgett's only ever wanted to do.
She went to the Academy from the bird they walked in. I want to fly jets after he graduated, he selected aviation went to Pensacola to train and he said you know I knew if I did end up in the top of my class. I was going to get Jesse didn't go out with his buddies. He studied 18 hours a day slip six ended up second in his class. He said all man this is great.
I will get jets my dream the day before they were ready to select some lady brass came down first time they'd been there in eight weeks and they said we need to eat to pilots this week. We need to have you don't know what I need to is one of these before propeller airplane with the big AWACS dome on the topic they shoot off an aircraft. Eight. A nothing even close to a jet when you reply today at one of these planes they go about the third of the speed. The speed of a jet and he said we need your best pilots the highest people in your class who have an engineering background graduated from the Academy with an engineering major space. It will take you, and so they called him in his barracks and they said you know you don't even need to come to service election tomorrow you're going to be fine E2's friend. He went to talk to skipper skipper said nobody knew about it. Call me on the telephone.
We talked for a while and he said man I'm so disappointed in me is that I disappoint. I miss my dream my life dream just went up in smoke as to what you gonna do about he said well I really prayed about it and you know what you know that make any sense at all this if God wants me to go fly you to go fly you to somebody the best.
Need to pilot the Navy's carrier just returned from Afghanistan.
He's fine E twos and of the 95 pilots on board the carrier he was ranked number one of all the pilots flying E twos that hardly ever happens on a carrier and every time I think of this young man. I think to myself, now backs a real disciple God asked you to do something and made no sense to him at all these today. You know what God is asking me to do it, do it and I would do with everything I got for the Lord. Now that's a disciple so you pray just so how do you do on this one, number six, and finally a true disciple always chooses the option that honors God. The most you know friends I'm sure you realize that there is a command in the Bible for every eventuality in life these days.
I mean, is not a thing in the Bible about what to do when your computer shuts down. If you have a computer crash, you will not find a verse in the Bible about. Here's what to do with a computer crash or lot. So what we do, how do we know, was a true disciple what to do in these situations listen first Samuel chapter 2 verse 30. Those who honor me, I will honor says the Lord.
Hey friends, what you do in these situations a real disciple looks at the options available and says now what option most honors God.
What option most demonstrates integrity. What option most demonstrates keeping my word. What option most demonstrates godly behavior in a biblical worldview and action are true disciple figures out which option that is in and they do it now in 31 years of being a follower of Christ imitate what I've learned. The option that most honors God. In any situation is almost always the one that I least want to do. Those are almost always true in my life and you know what I'll bet you that's true in your life to you. Finally, off to the most honors God and it will be the one your human nature will lease want to do. That's why only true disciples live like this only true disciples make these kind of choices because they are people are more committed to what honors God. What they feel like to grade yourself 1 to 10 how you doing out so that were done. Now let's go back and review so we can total up.
What is a real disciple look like you were real disciple friends number one, you would be a person who lived your life under the authority of the word of God. Number two, you would be a person who cultivates humility every day in your life.
Number three you would be a person who practices spiritual disciplines number for you would be a person who accepts responsibility for your actions. Number five, you would be a person who obeys God even when it don't make sense to you and number six, you would be a person who always makes the choice that honors God the most in any given situation. Now total up and see how you did and you know when I was in school you probably had a teacher like this she get up at the beginning of the year and she would say nine in my office every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon immediately after school if anybody needs extra help you just to become by my office.
I'll be happy to help every teacher like that treated you know what I noticed at the beginning of the year on Tuesday and Thursday there was a student in shooting range in her office until they had a few tests and after that if you test the people started getting 20s and 40s and 60s on death all of a sudden Tuesday Thursday afternoon I will more popular down his teacher's office t-test due to wonderful things force number one they show us where we really stand and number two.
They motivate us to go except to help people try to give us that we just took a test anybody here. Get a perfect 60 no body neither okay, but here's the point. Depending on what your score is. It tells you where you really stand on your discipleship quotient and number two I hope it will motivate you and me to go get help. The people are offering. Also we can do better next time we take the test here McLean Bible church my friends. We have all kinds of things were trying to do to help you become a true disciple. We have a clean university. We have small groups we have Bible studies, we have men's events. We have women's events. We have adult communities. We have all kinds of things that all men for partnering up with you to help you become a real disciple of Jesus, but you don't, like Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at the teacher's office. A lot of times we look around and not enough people are taking advantage of these things.
That's why it's good to take a test if you got a 20 you need our help.
If you want to be a true disciple if you got authority you need help. If you want to be a true disciple and and you need some of these things that were trying to offer to help you not you got a 54. You don't need these things because you already know a number you can about the 54 do not already doing, but friends if you not happy with your score. We want to help you. We want to come alongside and partner with you because we have a core value here it says that our goal is to transform people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We want to make you into a true disciple and because that's true.
Let us help you okay to not happy with your score. We can help you get the score up so the next time you take the test. You'll do better. We can't do without you so I hope you will avail yourself of the things that were offered here to help you if the apostle Paul were here today he point his bony little finger at everyone of us and say listen to me. Your goal in life. If you're follower of Christ is not to get rich not to get famous not to get powerful your goal in life is to become a true disciple of Jesus.
I hope you become passionate about that and if you do will help us pretty good. Lord Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about what it really means to be a disciple. Thanks for paint the picture we read this word in the in the Bible all the time but we really don't have much of a picture of what a person like this looks like, so thanks for talking to us today in helping us get a grasp on that and my prayer is that you would motivate each one of us here that you would give us a passion about wanting to become a real disciple of the Lord Jesus, not just a follower of Christ, but a true disciple, so more change our priorities in life change the very way we allocate the time and the energies of our life because we were here today. Give us a passion about being a disciple. We pray this in Jesus name, amen