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What a True Disciple Looks Like - Genesis Part 45

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2022 7:00 am

What a True Disciple Looks Like - Genesis Part 45

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Now, if you were here last week, you will remember that our message from Genesis 19 was all about living in the fear of God, about taking our personal holiness seriously, about taking a hard look at our lives, and with the Holy Spirit's help, cleaning up our spiritual sloppiness and moving away from playing with sin and dabbling in sin.

It was a hard message. And we noted last week that only a true disciple of Christ could and would receive it. And so it occurred to me this week that since we singled out true disciples of Christ in our message last week, it might be good before we move on to take a message and talk about, well, exactly what is a true disciple of Christ, exactly what does a true disciple of Christ look like. And so that's what we're going to do today before we move on.

So are you ready? All right, here we go. In John Chapter 6, we find the Lord Jesus saying some very controversial things. Verse 41. He said, I am the bread of life that came down from heaven.

If anyone eats this bread, they will live forever. And the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. So the Jews began to argue among themselves saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no eternal life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Therefore, when they heard this, many said, Lord, this is a hard saying, and who can hear it? Now, we know that the Lord Jesus Christ was not promoting cannibalism here in this verse, nor was he talking about communion, because communion had not been instituted yet.

There was no such thing. You say, Well, then, Lon, what in the world is he talking about? Well, let's go back to verse 29 of this chapter, John 6. Jesus said, This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom God has sent.

That is the Lord Jesus himself. But as we all know, my friends, believing in Jesus can mean all sorts of things. So what Jesus is doing here in John chapter 6 is he is defining exactly what kind of believing in him brings people eternal life. And what Jesus is saying is that it's not an intellectual, in-our-head type of believing. Rather, it is an all-embracing surrender of our lives, where we take Jesus inside of us the way we do food and drink, and where we allow him to assimilate into every part of our being, just like we do food and drink.

In other words, it's the kind of believing that is so intimate and personal that we lose our life in him. This is what Jesus said, Matthew 16, 25, Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it. Now, do we get that? Do we all understand that? We do.

Okay, good. Because a lot of people in John chapter 6 didn't. And the Bible tells us that a lot of people stopped following Jesus because of his words here. Verse 67, So Jesus said to the twelve, Matthew, Peter, John, James, Do you also want to go away? Then Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that you are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Folks, here we have the bottom line of what it means to be a true disciple. A disciple may not fully understand what God's up to. A disciple may not fully grasp why God is doing what God is doing in their life, why they have certain disappointments and certain sufferings, and why God's waiting so long to answer their prayers. A disciple may not understand that. A disciple may not even understand exactly what Jesus is saying sometimes. But regardless of all of that, true disciples stick with Jesus anyway, no matter what. This is the mark of a true disciple.

You say, But yeah, Lon, but listen, that's wonderful. But you still didn't answer the first question we talked about. What are the distinguishing characteristics of a true disciple? What's a true disciple look like?

What sets them apart from people in the rest of the world? Well, OK, let's do that. There are five of these distinguishing characteristics of these markers that set disciples apart. And here they are. Number one, marker number one, a true disciple lives under the authority of God's written word, the Bible. Now, every human being lives under the authority of something. It's just that for most people, it's the authority of self.

What I want to do, what I feel like doing, what I like, what I believe. This is not how a disciple lives. Disciples live under the authority of the word of God. And even the Lord Jesus himself, when he was on earth, lived like this.

Remember the Garden of Gethsemane? He said in Matthew twenty six, verse thirty nine, not my will, but thine be done. Lord, there's the scripture and the scripture demands I go to the cross. And even though my flesh doesn't want to go to the cross, the scripture is the authority for my life. And if that's what I need to do to fulfill your will for my life, then not my will, but thine be done. Disciples understand that God didn't give us the Bible to be optional advice.

He gave us the Bible to be the authority under which we live all our life. And that leads me to marker number two, which is a true disciple is committed to biblical obedience in every area of their life. Jesus said, Luke six forty six. Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Jesus said, greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command you. James Chapter one, verse twenty two says, be doers of the word and not hearers only. God said to Joshua, Joshua one seven, only be careful to do according to all the law which Moses commanded you. The first question any disciple asks about any situation is, what does God want me to do?

What does God tell me in the Bible that he wants me to do or what has God told me on my knees that he wants me to do? And once the disciple knows the answer to that question, that is precisely what a disciple does, whether they like it or not, whether they feel like doing it or not, whether it makes them popular or not. Biblical obedience, no matter what anybody thinks about you, anybody says about you or anybody does to you. This is a mark of a true disciple. Number three, marker number three, a true disciple has a deep desire to serve the Lord. You know, it's interesting throughout the New Testament that every true disciple called themselves by the very same name. Watch, the Apostle Paul, Romans one, called himself a servant of Jesus Christ, the Apostle James, James one, called himself a servant of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter, second Peter one, called himself a servant of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Jude, Jude one, called himself a servant of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John called himself, Revelation chapter 1, God's servant. servant. Whether it's full-time Christian service or whether it's serving as a volunteer, disciples derive their greatest joy in life and their greatest meaning in life, not from their careers, not from their hobbies, not from their physical possessions, but from their service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Marker number four. A true disciple is passionate about sharing their faith in Christ. Acts chapter one verse eight. Jesus said, You shall be my witnesses. And a true disciple takes this seriously. True disciples understand John three thirty six that he who does not believe on the Son of God shall not see eternal life, that these people are lost, that these people are headed for hell for all of eternity. True disciples understand Acts four twelve that salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. True disciples understand that it is both their solemn duty and their great privilege to share the gospel with lost people and true disciples live a lifestyle of evangelism, meaning that every day they live, everywhere they go, with every person they meet, they are bubbling over to share Christ. First Peter chapter three verse fifteen says, Be always ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you about the hope you have inside you.

Always ready to share Christ. This is the lifestyle of every true disciple. And finally, marker number five is a true disciple always chooses the option in life that most honors God. A disciple looks at every situation that comes along and says, Okay, now, which of the options that I have available to me most honors the Lord, and then that's the one that they pick.

Now I've learned having walked with the Lord over the last 42 years, I've learned something about this. And what I've learned is that the option that most honors God is always the hardest option available to you, the toughest option available to you, the most humbling option available to you, and the one that is most objectionable to the flesh that's available to you. And that's why only true disciples choose it. Nobody else in their right mind would choose these things. But a disciple says, This is what honors Christ.

That's what I'm going to choose, and I'll pay that price. So let's summarize. What does a true disciple look like? Well, there are a person who number one, lives under the authority of the Word of God. Number two is committed to biblical obedience in every area of life. Number three has a deep desire to serve the Lord. Number four is passionate about sharing their faith. And number five always chooses the option in life that most honors God. This is a disciple.

Now that's as far as we're going to go in our definition of a disciple, because it's time to ask our most important question. And you didn't think we were going to do this today, did you? So I know I know you're pleasantly surprised, aren't you? Yeah. All right. So everybody out there loud and Prince William and Bethesda and on the internet here at Tysons, are you ready? All right, take a deep breath. Here we go.

123. How sweet it is. Yeah, you say so what, Lon?

Well, friends, listen, here's the so what. It's one thing to know what a disciple looks like. It's another thing to be a disciple. So the question we need to close with is how does a person become a true disciple of Christ?

Because you know what they say, unless the preacher tells you so what and how he's no good. So how do Can you become a disciple of Christ? Well, there are two steps to it. Step number one is that a person is got to want to be a disciple. A person has to you say that's profound. I didn't say it was profound.

I just said there's two steps to this. A person has got to be dissatisfied with simply being a believer in Jesus Christ. And they've got to have a driving passion to go deep in their walk with God so much so that they're willing to pay whatever price it takes to achieve that goal. And friends, there is always a price to pay to being a disciple. Sometimes it's a price in our family. Man, I'm telling you, I paid a huge price in my family and many of you have as well. Sometimes it's a price with our friends who say I don't want to be your friend anymore. If that's the kind of person you want to be. Sometimes it's a price in our ego. That's almost guaranteed.

I can promise you that. Sometimes it's a price in our priorities, or sometimes it costs us a boyfriend or girlfriend who says I'm not interested in going there with you, or a job, or some creature comforts. But just like the twelve in John chapter six, people who want to be disciples stay the course no matter what the cost.

You got to want it. And that leads to step two, which is a person has to dedicate themselves to the process it takes to become a disciple. Jesus said in the Great Commission, go ye into all the world and what's the next word? Make disciples.

What's Jesus saying? He's telling us that disciples are not born. They're made and they're made by an intentional process that is based upon the consistent practice of spiritual disciplines. You say what's the spiritual, I'm not sure what's the spiritual discipline? Well there are many of them, but the four most important ones when it comes to making a disciple are these. Number one, spiritual discipline number one is Bible reading and study. Blessed is the person, Psalm 1, 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 reading and the study of the Word of God.

They are people of the book and the reason that they're people of the book is because they have devoted the time and the energy it takes to become people of the book. Friends, how in the world, remember what we said a disciple looks like, that they're committed to biblical obedience? How in the world are you going to carry out biblical obedience if you don't even know what the Bible says?

You can't. Disciples are people of the book. They know the book, they study the book, they read the book. That's spiritual discipline number one. Number two, spiritual discipline number two is scripture memory. Psalm 119 verse 11, your word I have hidden in my heart, David says, that I might not sin against you. Disciples are people who are constantly memorizing God's Word, hiding God's Word in their heart.

And let me tell you why they do this. Because disciples understand the life-altering power of God's Word when it is cemented into a person's soul. As Paul said in Romans chapter 12 verse 2, he says the Word of God, when it's cemented in our life, transforms us by the renewing of our mind.

It changes our software. I don't know how it does it, but it changes the very way we think and the very way we regard life. It absolutely, well, what's the verse say?

It transforms us. I remember when I came to Christ, the man that led me to Christ said, you need to start memorizing scripture. I said, well, I've memorized chemical formulas and I've memorized other stuff. Why do I have to memorize the Bible?

And he explained this to me. And so what I did is I made a goal to read the Bible through in six months, which I did. And then every time I got to a verse that really spoke to me, I wrote the verse down.

I wrote the reference on the back of a little three by five card. I kept him in my pocket. And whenever I had a spare minute, I would take out the cards and I'd go over. Right then I was hitchhiking around the country.

So I had a lot of spare minutes actually. And at the end of about three months, I had a stack of cards, about a foot high of scripture verses that I'd met me. I'd go back once a week and I'd review every verse that I'd memorized up to that point.

So I didn't lose them. And by the end of about four months, I think I'd probably memorize, I don't know, 600 verses of scripture. Listen, if you want to know why the change in my life was so radical and so quick and so dramatic, there is only one reason. It's 600 verses of scripture reprogrammed my life.

That's why. Well, I'm glad you're clapping, but what I want to know is are you memorizing scripture? Clapping won't change your life. Memorizing scripture will. Number three. Spiritual discipline number three is prayer. Jesus himself, Luke five says, would often slip away into the wilderness and pray so much so that the disciples said, Lord, teach us to pray. Let me just say categorically, no one with a wimpy prayer life can become a true disciple of Christ.

It cannot happen. Disciples are people with calloused knees because they're on them regularly seeking the face of God. And finally, spiritual discipline number four is being in biblical community, but not in biblical community with just anybody. Proverbs 27 17 says, as iron sharpens iron, so one man or woman sharpens another. The point is that if we want to be people of spiritual iron, the Bible says we have to rub up a hole against other people of spiritual iron, other people that are true disciples.

Why? Because disciples Hebrews 3 13, exhort one another daily, lest anyone become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Disciples Hebrews 10 24 are always looking for ways to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. This is why Lone Ranger Christians seldom if ever become disciples because they're bereft of they're missing this kind of iron sharpening iron relationship that it takes to get there. So look around, and who you're hanging out with, my friends, because it is unlikely that you will rise any higher spiritually than the people that you are the closest to and allowing to have an influence in your life.

Highly unlikely. So let's summarize. Disciples are made and maintained by an ongoing and consistent practice of spiritual disciplines, Bible study, scripture, memory, prayer, and being in biblical community. One more thing we need to add coupled with the Holy Spirit's supernatural ministry in our heart.

See, you can put all the ingredients for an omelet in the pan, but without heat, nothing's going to happen. Friends, we can do all the necessary spiritual disciplines in our life, but it takes the supernatural heat of the Holy Spirit to make it work and turn it into true discipleship in our lives. You say, Well, how does the Holy Spirit do that in my life? I don't know.

I have no idea. But but what difference does it make? And don't worry about it. God wants you to be a disciple far more than you want to be a disciple. You give him the ingredients in the pan, and I promise you the Holy Spirit will heat them up and turn them into discipleship in your life in my life. But friends, all of this demands intentionality. Nobody accidentally memorizes scripture. Nobody accidentally studies the Bible. We don't walk along one day, trip and fall and say, Oh, while I'm down here, I think I'll pray.

Nobody does stuff like that. Nobody accidentally gets into biblical community and stays faithful to it with other godly people. Eve, as we said earlier, disciples are people who want to be disciples, and are willing to pay the price in time, in energy in their priorities to become a disciple. Now, let me close by saying that here at McLean Bible Church, we want to see every one of you become a disciple, a true disciple of Christ. That's our goal. But can I be really honest with you?

Yeah. And that is, I need to tell you that it's my assessment, as your pastor, that over the years, we have not done a very good job of creating this kind of culture of discipleship here at McLean Bible Church. What I mean is, we haven't laid out a very clear pathway to help people grow into disciples here.

And we don't have a very good mechanism to allow mature believers to pour into and mentor younger believers into disciples. But as part of the strategic relook that we've been taking at our church family over the last year, which I'm going to talk to you more about in April, you don't want to miss it, we are determined that we're going to change this. And with the Lord's help, we're going to build a culture of discipleship here at McLean Bible Church, where we bleed discipleship and mentoring. Praise the Lord. Amen.

Alright. We're determined that we're going to become the church in Washington, DC, where somebody says, Hey, I want to go be discipled and turn into a real follower of Christ, where would you go? The people say, Oh, man, you want to be mentored into a true disciple of Christ and McLean Bible Church is the church you have got to go to.

Now, we're not there right now. But with the Lord's help, that's where we're going to get to over the next few years. This is our goal. So please pray for us and get ready to be a part of some very exciting changes that are coming to McLean Bible Church. If you're a younger believer, who deeply desires to be mentored and discipled, if you are a mature believer, who deeply desires to pour your life into younger believers and help them become disciples, friends, this is the right time to be at McLean Bible Church. And we're going to roll all of this out in the summer and then into the fall. So we got a lot more coming.

Stay tuned. But just let me say that in the meantime, I want every one of us here praying about getting in on becoming a true disciple. You know, Bob Eckhart, who led me to Christ. The first week I was saved. I mean, literally, I don't think I'd been saved seven days. He had me out on the street standing next to him, Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with a stack of tracks in my hands, handing out tracks to people walking by. I didn't know anything.

I'm like, here, here. Don't don't ask me. I don't know anything. Ask him. But here, would you like one of these? What do I know?

I know nothing. But he had me out there on the streets anyway. And I said to him, Bob, don't you think I should learn a little bit more before you put me out on the street like this? And he said, no, absolutely not. He said, when you come to Christ, I'll never forget it. He said, you're either in or you're out.

There is nothing in the middle. He said, so you got to make a decision. Are you in or are you out?

Because if you're in, this is what people who are in do. And if you're out, then you just need to go. Nice fella.

He was a nice fella. And he was telling me as a Christian, a young one, what we need to be telling ourselves in the church, either in or you're out. Somehow we've created in America, the kind of church where there's three levels, out, in, and hanging out in the middle. But the Bible knows nothing about that third classification. The Bible knows nothing about hanging out in the middle, living in the murky shadows of churchianity. The Bible knows nothing about that, either in or you're out. And I'm so glad I decided 42 years ago, with Bob's encouragement to get in and go after being a true disciple.

And I want you to decide that you want to be in. There's no middle ground here. Some of us here have been living in that middle ground. We attend church and yeah, you know, maybe we read the Bible a few minutes a week, you know, whatever.

But friends, the Bible knows nothing about this classification of Christian. You're in, you're in the whole Megillah. So this is what I want you to pray about. I want you to pray about deciding you're in and whatever it costs you in time, in priorities, in friends, in boyfriends, in girlfriends, in your family, it doesn't matter. Whatever it costs, like the 12 you stick with Jesus, no matter what.

That's the disciple. And that's where we want you to be. And when you start there, God, the Holy Spirit will take it from there and he'll turn you into a disciple, I promise. But that's something we got to decide.

Are we in or are we out? I hope you'll pray about that. Let's bow together. Heavenly Father remind us today that when it comes to following you, the Lord Jesus didn't give middle ground. He said, if you lose your life for me, you'll find it. And that kind of language, losing our life for you, Lord, is not middle ground.

That's all in talk. So as we pray and think about where we stand with you, help us Lord Jesus to be content with nothing but all in. Like the 12 in John 6, all in, regardless of what that might mean. And Lord Jesus, I pray that you would help us to become a church here in Washington that's not a mile long and an inch deep, but a mile long and a mile deep, where true disciples are being produced by the hundreds and the thousands.

Lord, that's how we're going to shake this tail. Because true disciples have a lifestyle of evangelism. And an army of people with a lifestyle of evangelism is what the early church was. That's what ripped Jerusalem to shred spiritually.

And that's what's going to do it here in Washington. So Lord Jesus, I pray that you would honor what we're going to try to do here at McLean Bible Church, building a culture of discipleship and that you would help us fulfill our mission of impacting this town for Christ because of it. Speak to our hearts deeply today about our part in all of this. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And what do God's people say? Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 17:31:35 / 2023-04-08 17:42:39 / 11

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