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The Marks of a Disciple | Christlike
May 8, 2022
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We began a new sermon series on Sunday that considers the distinguishing marks of an authentic follower of Jesus. During Lent, we explored the places where Jesus offers an invitation to become his disciple and now in looking at the marks of a Christian we will reflect on how we know if we are being shaped primarily by the world's vision for life and flourishing or by Jesus’ way towards life and wholeness. In other words, we are all disciples of something or someone so how do we more fully and faithfully bear the marks of Jesus and grow in our love of him? One great place to begin such a discussion is in Matthew 28.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Holy One, we gather as your people, giving thanks that we can be together to hear your word, offer our prayers, and sing your praises. Draw us together in your love, that we may know you more deeply. Open our hearts to a deeper understanding of your will, and work within our lives, that we may produce the fruit of compassion. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 148:1-14
1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
3Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.
6And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8Fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!
11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord!
1. What Are We Supposed To Do?
Jesus calls his disciples to make other disciples. Before we can make disciples, however, we must first heed the warning and see the hope in this passage. The warning, or perhaps word of caution, is in the fact that there are only eleven disciples with Jesus in Galilee after his resurrection (v.16). Judas, one of the first disciples, has abandoned Jesus. Judas ate with Jesus, was served by Jesus, and in the end he abandoned Jesus. Judas reminds us that the human heart is always given to leave the one who first loved us. However, v.17 offers us hope that some of the disciples with Jesus doubted. This doesn’t mean they were in a permanent state of unbelief but rather they lived with uncertainty. Jesus welcomes their doubts and uncertainty and makes room for their questions. But regardless of where we find ourselves in our Christian life we are called to make disciples. And, in fact, one of the best ways to grow as a Christian is to share what you are learning.
- In his sermon, Jason mentioned that there are no such things as gurus in the Christian life. Why are Christians often drawn to ‘gurus’. What is the difference between a mentor and a guru?
- What are some ways we are called to make disciples?
- Can you share experiences when you were discipled in healthy and helpful ways?
2. How Are We Supposed To Do It?
If we are all called to make disciples then how do we go about doing that? Matthew 28 lays out three ways: 1) By going, 2) By baptizing, and 3) By teaching. For many generations going meant going to foreign lands to reach the unreached world with the gospel of Jesus. Now as we move deeper in the 21st century a new model is emerging. One where we heed the command to go not necessarily geographically but culturally. The call to baptize is a call to experience new creation, rebirth, which baptism signifies and promises. Jesus, by his grace, identifies with us in our baptism when he claims us as his own child. This means we can offer the same promise of new identity that we have received in our baptisms. Jesus offers a new way of life that is completely countercultural. This new way of life is not something that comes naturally to us but rather it must be learned from others, which means to make disciples we must teach. Jason suggested in his sermon that one of the best ways to teach is to simply go through a book of the Bible with someone and ask: What does the text say? What does it mean? And how does it apply?
- How do you think going, baptizing, and teaching are related to one another in discipleship?
- Do we tend to overemphasize one at the expense of another?
- Can you share some teaching moments when perhaps you went through a book of the Bible with a friend who was curious about Christianity? What was that experience like?
Our motivation to make disciples comes not from duty but delight, not from obligation but gratitude. Yes, Jesus commands us to make disciples. That’s why it’s called the Great Commission, but even this command is given in love and given with a promise that Jesus by his death and resurrection has opened up a new world to us. Perhaps the better title is the Great Invitation because Jesus by his grace and mercy invites us to participate in the work that he is doing—to make disciples of the nations.
- It’s been said (don’t ask me who said it, I just know it’s been said) that guilty disciples make guilty disciples. How does the call to make disciples not from duty but delight help us call others to receive the joy of the gospel?
- What is the difference between making disciples out of duty versus making disciples out of delight? Does it matter? Hint: yes it does!
Dear friends, as you leave this place, take time to be with Christ so that you may know the blessings of our God. And now may the peace of God, the love of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always.