Bible Reading: Matthew 4:18-25
(*) One night in a pub, a rather drunk man told me he was a Christian!
I put him in a bit of a tizzy, by asking him, what he thought, in
his estimations, a Christian is! He told me that although he was
a member of the Church of Scotland, he didn't bother to attend!
Well as you can guess, I left the man in no doubt, that the only true
Christian, according to Scripture, is the person who is BORN AGAIN OF
THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND HAS CHRIST DWELLING IN THEIR HEART!
(a) Last Tuesday at the Bible Study, in the first of our series
dealing with counselling classes, we recognised the importance of the
seeker, not only becoming a Christian but going on the be a true
disciple of the Lord.
(b) This morning however, we will be looking at what makes a Christian
a TRUE DISCIPLE!
(c)Maybe you always thought that every Christian, was automatically a
(d) I'm afraid as you will see, this is very far from the truth as far
as the teaching of the Bible is concerned, and there is little point
in professing to be a "CHRISTIAN", which means "A FOLLOWER OF
CHRIST", if we are NOT WILLING to follow Him and His Word within the
Scripture, thus becoming a TRUE DISCIPLE!
POINT 1 WHAT DO WE MEAN BY 'DISCIPLE'?
(a) The word "DISCIPLE" comes from a Latin word "DISIPULUS", meaning a
"A PUPIL" and of course the word brings to mind the thought of
"DISCIPLINE", which is so essential if a pupil in any subject is to
(b) We can see immediately, that the DISCIPLE is someone who is TAUGHT
BY CHRIST one who will accept ALL OF HIS TEACHING! AND PUT IT INTO
Lets face it, a school pupil will never be successful or amount to
anything, if they REFUSE TO BE TAUGHT!
William Barclay tells of someone who once spoke to a great scholar,
concerning a person who had professed to be one of his students. The
teacher said, "He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one
of my students!"
He further says, "It is one of the supreme handicaps of the Church that
in the Church there are so many distant followers of Jesus, and so few
(c) We CANNOT profess to be DISCIPLES of Christ, if we REFUSE to
accept His teaching and will not obey His commands!
(d) We must of necessity take an honest searching look at our hearts,
and locate the HUB AROUND WHICH EVERYTHING ELSE REVOLVES!
In our hearts, there IS ONLY ROOM FOR -ONE CENTRAL DESIRE_, which,
because it is cherished, will govern all that we do!
(e) We must make sure that our eyes are focused upon Christ alone,
because the eye is rather like the lamp, for it can give light to the
whole darkened region within us, or it can leave us in that darkness,
which will continually get worse as time goes on - depending on WHERE
WE FIX OUR GAZE, AND WHAT WE FOCUS ON!
POINT 2 THE DESIRE FOR PROSPERITY
(a) If we have a strong DESIRE FOR PHYSICAL PROSPERITY, it will PULL
AGAINST and WEAKEN OUR DESIRE FOR SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY!
(b) It is impossible for us to give ourselves to both worlds - as
one often must succeed at the expense of the other!
(c) The teaching of the Lord very clearly is that we must be willing
to throw away our own existence, the primary driving force of our own
welfare, if we are to be successful disciples! WE MUST DIE TO SELF!
(d) The Apostle Paul, in Galatians 2:20, puts it this way, that we
must be "CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST"
(e) No earthly gain, could make up for the spiritual loss we experience
when we don't give Christ His rightful place in our lives.
(f) It is He Who must hold the supreme place in our heart, and we
must be willing to disregard all else in the light of the calling of
He Who has said, "COME FOLLOW ME!"
(g) The clear teaching of Scripture is that He must come before family,
friends, and even ourselves! Even our own LIVES are unimportant,
because OUR REWARD IS ETERNAL!
POINT 3 SERVICE IN THE PRESENT!
(a) We must not be side-tracked, by looking back at what we feel
we have LEFT BEHIND, OR MISSED by following Christ!
THE DISCIPLE MUST KEEP BELIEVING EYES ON THE FUTURE, INSTEAD OF THE
(b) You will remember the illustration which Jesus gives of the
ploughman who mustn't look back, or he will drive a crooked furrow.
Common sense will tell us that we cannot follow anyone, if we are
looking backwards instead of forwards!
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP OUR EYES FIXED ON CHRIST!
When our family was small, we, on one occasion, did our shopping at a
large supermarket, and our son Phillip, who has Down Syndrome, didn't
keep his eyes on us, with the result that we got a little announcement
that said, "Will the parents of Phillip Ross please go to the Sauce
and Pickles department!"
[c] The more we allow our ATTENTION to be taken up with THE SAVIOUR,
the more like Him we will become! The more of HIS NATURE we will show.
i. We will become MORE HUMBLE, and self will take a back seat!
ii. We will become MORE SUBMISSIVE, before God, and seek to FULFIL HIS
WILL in all things.
iii. We will HUNGER AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, and God will satisfy that
iv. We will BEGIN TO SHOW MORE MERCY and understanding to those who
have wronged us.
v. Where there is DISHARMONY, and UNREST, we will NOT FEED IT
BY OUR PARTICIPATION & INVOLVEMENT, but will seek in every situation,
to be a MINISTER OF PEACE.
vi. CLOSE HARMONY between the Lord and ourselves will mean our HEARTS
BECOMING PURER, our THINKING becoming HOLIER, and the resulting ACTIONS
becoming MORE CHRISTLIKE!
POINT 4 THE DISCIPLE'S PERSECUTION
(a) Let us make no mistake, if we are LIVING THE DEDICATED LIFE OF
A TRUE DISCIPLE, we are becoming a GREAT DANGER TO THE KINGDOM OF
(b) This will mean PLENTY OF PERSECUTION, from WITHOUT, and
unfortunately, from the DEVIL'S "007's" who are planted amongst God's
people, within the Church.
(c) The Devil will seek to WEAR US DOWN with FALSE ACCUSATIONS, AND
We will be HATED AND MISTREATED!
(d) But the Bible teaches that we should treat it as JOY when we SUFFER
for the Lord's sake!! After all, we are through these experiences
building up our ETERNAL REWARD!
(e) We may NOT always FEEL IT EASY, but the TRUE DISCIPLE learns to
ACCEPT ALL THAT HAPPENS TO US, as being in some way within GOD'S PLAN
of things for our lives. (Romans 8:28)
(f) Not only that, but the work we are doing down here for the Lord,
will bear fruit that will last for all eternity! As disciples, we are
God's agents in this world, entrusted by Him with the eternal welfare
of the souls around us!!
POINT 5 THE DISCIPLE AND PEOPLE!
(a) Whilst we are here living in this world, we are not really a part
Let us always bear in mind that we belong to the family of Heaven.
(b) In the eyes of the world, the Christian Disciple is in many ways a
i. In a world that is SEETHING WITH HATRED, we are told to love
absolutely everyone - even our enemies!!
ii. In a world of WAR, we are to BRING PEACE!!
iii. In a world of SIN, we are to be HOLY!!
iv. In a world that is OBSESSED WITH SELF-CENTREDNESS, we are to
consider the WELFARE OF OTHERS FIRST!!
(c) When we truly look at the people of this world through Christ's
eyes of love, then we will feel as He does, that they are "FIELDS
WHITE UNTO HARVEST!" (John 4:35)
In other words, people are READY to be saved NOW! Each disciple of
Christ, must do their utmost to urgently bring men, women, boys and
girls into the Kingdom!
(d) Maybe you think that is a job for ministers and missionaries!
A young woman puzzled about the call of God once asked Ron Davies, a
missionary home on furlough, "Please Mr Davies, what is a call?" His
face lit up. He beamed at her and took up his Bible. Turning the
pages of it, he found Mark 16:15, showed it to her, and read aloud
the words, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature!" "The call! That is the call," he said.
"God expects every Christian to go somewhere with the Gospel. All you
have to do is to find out just where He wants you to go. It may be here
in your own home town, or it may be He wants you to go to Africa, to
China or Kashmir. If you are a Christian, you must preach Christ
(e) May the words of this little poem, express the desire of our
Use me God in Thy great harvest field,
Which stretcheth far and wide like a wide sea;
The gatherers are so few; I fear the precious yield
Will suffer loss. Oh, find a place for me!
A place where best the strength I have will tell;
It may be one the older toilers shun;
Be it wide or narrow place, 'tis well,
So that the work it holds be only done.
- Christina Rossetti.
(Both quotes from The Christian's Daily Challenge p.298)
(a) The TRUE DISCIPLE OF CHRIST, has no time to PLAY at being a
CHRISTIAN, by gathering in their MEETING, SINGING their songs,
perhaps even giving their TESTIMONY - and then feeling SELF-
SATISFIED at the end of it, and believing they have DONE ALL THAT GOD
REQUIRES OF THEM.
DEAR FRIENDS, THERE IS MORE, MUCH MORE TO DISCIPLESHIP!!!
(b) Perhaps, they even feel head and shoulders above their fellow man,
because they are Christians. They should step down for a minute, off
their pedestal, and remember in the words of a quaint localism,
"We're all Jock Thomson's bairns!" (A Scottish term meaning, "We're
all part of the human family")
In their self satisfaction, they can so easily forget that we are ALL
sinners in this world, and the only thing that makes the Christian
different, is that they have been saved from their sin by the Grace of
(c) Every Christian, without exception, has the same calling - to
(d) God has a specific work for each one of us to do! Are we doing it??
(e) Remember, what I said at the beginning, as to the disciple being
a PUPIL, continually learning of the Saviour!!
ARE WE THE DISCIPLES THE LORD EXPECTS US TO BE??
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
TAKE UP THY CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.