As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introduction—Discipleship can mean so many different things today. Many times when we hear that word, “discipleship”, going to a class is what we may come to mind. For some it means to follow Christ. To yet others, it means to go to church.
These are all good and all beneficial. Discipleship is a discipline that our Lord has asked of us in order to know our place and purpose for the work that God has for us. And oh yes does He have work for us to do. So this morning, let’s find out what the Word of God says about discipleship.
Read John 1:35-51
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.
- Discipleship requires you and me to be a follower
- 1. Look for Jesus-you can miss an opportunity to follow if you are not looking for your purpose. This should be an intentional, willing, and expected way of finding out how to be a disciple.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Verse 35-36 indicates that John was talking to a few church members and he made sure that he was aware of what was going on around him
- As he is in conversation, He notices Jesus passing by. John says, hey look there is the “Lamb of God”. John wasn’t so caught up in his discussion that he missed an opportunity to tell others to follow Jesus.
- Remember that the Kingdom of God supersedes your world here on earth, so make sure you have a Kingdom mindset.
- Verse 37, says that the 2 disciples heard John say, “Look, there’s Jesus,” so they in turn followed Jesus. Isn’t that the goal? Our goal for discipleship is to make sure we keep Jesus in the forefront.
- 2. Listen to Jesus-if you receive anything from this message this morning, this should be it. When Jesus Speaks, you would do well to listen. Here are a few ways that Jesus speaks to us. 1. Thru the Bible, 2. Thru people, 3. Thru pray, etc.
- The Word of God will always be the final authority for us to know if it is really Jesus speaking to us, or asking us to follow Him.
- Allow Jesus to 3. Lead because He knows the way. Your way may not be the path that Jesus leads, so I implore you to be ready to follow the leader, who is Jesus. He is a great leader! You wont be disappointed!
- The cost of discipleship requires us to check in our egos, forget about our agenda, and to abandon our selfish ways. We need His ways because they are always higher than our ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Illustration: When we were kids we played a game called follow the leader. One person leads as others follow. If one doesn’t do what the leader does, then they are out of the game. In the end, the last one standing in line becomes the new leader. A leader is someone who cares, serves, loves, instructs, trusts, and has passion. A leader makes others feel important, so they will want to follow. Jesus makes everyone fell as if they are the most important person in the room. You learn this as you follow Him. Following is part of discipleship.
Application—Are you following Jesus in discipleship this morning?
- Discipleship also requires being obedient
- Consider the cost of obedience.
- Your time will be required. I know that our time is valued, and for many if us, out time is very limited, but what better way to spend the time that you do have than in discipleship, drawing nearer to our Lord
- Your effort will be required. It is not easy to answer the call of discipleship. You will need to give effort in this process.
- Your sacrifice will be required. I truly believe that the cost of discipleship is going to be sacrificial. You will have to choose to free yourself in order to be available.
- Sacrificing something that we like for something that is better. More knowledge of God. More love for God. More of God!
- A lifestyle of discipleship is a life of sacrifice. No question about it.
- Commit yourself to the plan of discipleship
- Today you have an opportunity to respond to the call of discipleship. As we read in the text, these that heard the call responded immediately.
- We should respond also as soon as we realize that we are being called to a life a discipleship
- If we wait, we find ourselves continually making excuses and reasons why we shouldn’t join God in His plan for our lives.
Application—Will you say yes to discipleship today?
- Discipleship has its rewards
- You will be Closer to Jesus
- Jesus will change you. He changed Simeon’s name to Peter which means rock. He will change you. As He changes you, you know Him in a more intimate way
- More of Jesus, less of you. That’s what I want. Do you?
- Jesus invites us to be part of His life. He said to these followers to come and see where He is staying.
- This may not seem like much in this story, but when someone asks you to come to the place they are dwelling. They are allowing you to know a very intimate part of their life. Jesus was inviting them to come close to Him.
- What a reward from Jesus. He wants to share everything about Himself with you. Will you follow Him?
- Jesus will Reveal His plan to you
- As a minister, I have had many people ask me how do I know what God wants me to do or what is it where I fit into the great scheme of the Kingdom of God. How do I know my purpose? That is the million dollar question.
- As you follow Him, consider the cost, and commit your time, efforts, and sacrifices, and He will reveal it to you. You cannot know until you answer the call to discipleship. It is the narrow path that leads to righteousness.
- Joshua 3:14-16, 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing.
- When you choose discipleship, your faith will be up for a challenge, but God will honor your commitment.
- Our text tells in John 1:50-51, that He will show us great things, and that heaven will open up and we will see His great plan!
- So as I said in the beginning of this sermon, discipleship means many things to us. To some it’s going to a Bible study class, to others it’s going to church, to some it is following Christ. It is all of these and then some.
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,