Becoming a Disciple

Luke 5:1-11 Talk about the need for discipleship in today’s world. The world is in crisis because it is in rebellion to God and God’s law. Although people recognize there is goodness and justice, they do not obey. Indeed, it is impossible for us to obey God’s law on our own. That is why Jesus came down to die for our sin, so that everyone who depends on Him and His righteousness will be saved. This is God’s prescription for human trouble. He knows that eventually, all our efforts to save ourselves through education, politics, economics, medicine, and so on are insufficient. They affect our minds and bodies, but do nothing to fix what is wrong in our spirits. Jesus is the only answer, but who will tell people? His disciples will. Those first disciples all abandoned Jesus, saw Him crucified, and witnessed His resurrection. Afterwards, they went out and gave up their lives in order to make disciples of all nations, in obedience to Jesus’ command. Each of you here today who is a Christian is a direct result of their work. We are spiritual descendents in a line going back to Jesus Christ. Today, I’d like to talk about becoming a disciple. What are the steps to becoming a disciple? Let’s how Peter, James, and John became disciples according to the Book of Luke. Luke 5:1-11 Hearing God’s word, v 1-3 1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. Jesus was 30 years-old when He began His ministry, which lasted for three and a half years. The Bible says that He preached repentance and the kingdom of God. He taught the Jewish people about God’s laws—that they weren’t about obedience on the outside as much as total obedience inside and out. Jesus said God’s standard was perfection, but that forgiveness was available to those who repented and submitted their lives to Him. Peter was washing his nets when Jesus came by. He let Jesus use his boat to preach to the crowd on the shore. Peter was a very normal person. The Bible says that he was a simple fisherman, without an education. He made promises that he could not keep, and he often spoke too presumptuously. From these verses, we see that Peter heard the word of God. Before we can become disciples, we need to hear the word of God. The Bible says God’s word is like seed that drops into our hearts and grows. The first step to becoming a disciple is to hear the word of God.

Being challenged by faith, v 4-5 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." 5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Peter was impressed enough by Jesus’ teaching to call him “Master.” But seems like he obeyed Jesus out of respect, and was doubtful they would actually catch fish. Before we really know God very well, we may have respect for the teachings of Jesus in the Bible, but we don’t put much faith in them. Jesus wants a chance to prove Himself to you. Our relationship with God consists of taking incremental steps of faith. God is always stretching our faith. My own faith is always stretched and God is always showing me where I am asked to take action on what I’ve heard. Jesus challenged Peter’s faith. Peter had just listened to Jesus’ teaching and was impressed, but now Jesus was asking him to put his faith into action. He asked him something a little unreasonable and inconvenient. How is God challenging your faith today? Is Jesus asking you to do something that is a little unreasonable and inconvenient? Are you in a relationship that you know is not what God wants? Are you working in a job that makes you compromise your principles? Take that first small step of faith and let God prove Himself to you. To become a disciple and to grow as a disciple, we need to be challenged to take steps of faith. Recognizing who God is and who we are, v 6-10 6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. When Peter obeyed Jesus, he experienced a miracle. When faced with this experience, Peter realized immediately that God was there standing before him, not sitting up in heaven unconcerned and unaware. God became real through Peter’s experiences with Him. Shouldn’t it be the same with us? Yet, some people find all kinds of reasons to doubt God. The Bible says that all people should be able to see there is a God simply by observing creation. When you pass by a Mercedes on the side of the road, you don’t just say, “How odd. What a coincidence this beautiful car appeared here!” No, the Mercedes itself is evidence and reason to believe there was someone who made it. But thank God we can experience personal evidences of His love. It is not by accident that you are here today listening to this message. God wants to have a relationship with you.

What did that awareness of God do for Peter? It caused Peter to realize he was a sinner. This is absolutely essential to becoming a disciple. We need to realize that making Jesus our Lord and King is not optional. The Bible says that God created us, but that we rebelled against Him and our nature is in rebellion against Him. What Peter was doing was realizing that rebellion against God and surrendering to Him. The Bible says that Jesus came to save us, even while we were in rebellion. And, the Bible says that one day, Jesus will come back to judge the earth. At that time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you’ve already recognized Him as your Lord, His return will fill your heart with the most joy you can imagine. But, if you have denied Jesus, His return will be sheer horror. Take a moment to ask yourself if you are ready to meet your Maker. We may call ourselves Christians but do you act like Jesus is returning? If you are not comfortable with the thought of Jesus returning, let’s surrender ourselves to Jesus now like Peter did. God promises in 1 John 1:8-9, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Receiving a commission from God, v 10b Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." Jesus reassured Simon, “Don’t be afraid.” God loves you. He doesn’t want to punish you, He wants you to return to Him and receive forgiveness. More than that, God has a plan for your life. He wants to use you to do His work and to tell others the good news—that God has come to save them! The fourth step of becoming a disciple we can learn from these verses is that we will receive a commission from God. Who knows Matthew 28:19-20? Jesus said in Matthew 28:1920, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is Jesus’ commission to all His disciples. We are all fishers of men. What does this commission mean to you? Does it interfere with or inform your life plans? Is it something you’ll do a few hours every other weekend, or is it something your whole life is oriented around? I want to challenge you today to make Jesus’ Great Commission the central theme of your life. Let’s live to fulfill the Great Commission. I hope everyone has this mindset when we launch the north campus later this year. We should remember that our goal is not to stay comfortable in one place. We are to go! Committing our lives to God, v 11 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

The final step to becoming a disciple is commitment. We should be willing to put our entire lives in God’s hands. Being a disciple of Jesus is a journey because we are following Him. We need to consider where He went and what He went through, and eventually where He is today. Ignatius of Antioch, when he was on his way to be martyred in Rome about 100 A.D. wrote to the Romans, “Now I am beginning to be a disciple.” According to tradition, when Peter was running away from the Emperor Nero, he met Jesus walking into the city. Peter asked Him, “Domine, quo vadis?” Which means, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered he was going to be crucified. Peter understood what God was telling Him and so went back to face execution. Why am I telling you these things? Because if I tell you anything less, I am not doing you any favors. Discipleship is nothing less than following Jesus. Let’s sing I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.

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