Why does God put us through wilderness experiences.
Dr. Jim Berg, Dean of Students at Bob Jones University, provides today's sermon of the week.
You don't really need to hear your pastor preach this. The outline is so clear and
compelling that it should move any true Christian to repentance and action.
I. THE DEFINITION OF A DISCIPLE A. THE WORD "DISCIPLE"... 1. The word "disciple" literally means A LEARNER 2. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words, it denotes "one who follows another's teaching" 3. But a disciple was not only a learner, he was also AN ADHERENT 4. For this reason disciples were spoken of as IMITATORS of their teachers. B. THE GOAL IN BEING A DISCIPLE... 1. Stated by Jesus himself: to be like the teacher - Lk 6:40 2. To be Christ's disciple, then, is to strive to be like Him! 3. According to the apostle Paul, this coincides with God's goal in the redemption of mankind, that they be conformed to the image of His Son - Ro 8:29 [Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him? Unless you do, it cannot be said that you are truly His disciple! There are also some "identifying marks" of discipleship given by Jesus which can help us to further identify a true disciple of Jesus...] II. THE MARKS OF A DISCIPLE A. A DISCIPLE IS "ONE WHO ABIDES IN JESUS' WORDS" - Jn 8:31 1. This would imply being a diligent student of the teachings of Christ 2. It also requires one to be a "doer" of the Word - Mt 7:21-27; Jm 1:21-25 3. In view of this, a true disciple would not... a. Fail to study the Bible diligently b. Willingly refrain from opportunities to study with others (e.g., Bible classes, church services, gospel meetings). B. A DISCIPLE IS ALSO "ONE WHO LOVES THE BRETHREN" - Jn 13:34-35 1. With a love patterned after the love of Jesus ("as I have loved you") 2. With a love that is visible to the world ("by this all will know") 3. Therefore, a true disciple would... a. Make every effort to get to know his brethren b. Take advantage of occasions to encourage and grow closer to them (e.g., attending services on Sunday and Wednesday nights) 4. Remember, a disciple is one who wants to become like his teacher a. Was Jesus willing to sacrifice time and effort for His brethren? b. Of course, and so will we... IF we are truly HIS disciples! C. A DISCIPLE IS "ONE WHO BEARS MUCH FRUIT" - Jn 15:8 1. Notice the word "much" (also found in verse 5) a. Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed b. But a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God! - Mt 5:16 2. This is so important, that failure to bear much fruit will result in being severed from Christ - Jn 15:1-2 3. How can one be a disciple if he or she is cut off from Christ? [The point should be clear: to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means more that just a casual church member. It requires COMMITMENT, especially in regards to: The teachings of Christ The love of brethren Bearing fruit to the glory of God The kind of commitment involved is seen further when we consider the "high cost" of discipleship demanded by Jesus in Lk 14:25-33...] III. THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE A. JESUS MUST COME FIRST - Lk 14:26 1. Before anyone else, including members of our own family - Mt 10:34-37 2. Even before one's own self - Lk 9:23-25 B. WE MUST BE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST - Lk 14:27 1. Trying to live godly lives in an ungodly world, we may find that following Christ sometimes involves ridicule and persecution - 2Ti 3:12 2. Even if we are blessed to escape such things, we must still be willing to expend time and effort in promoting the cause of Christ in positive ways C. PUTTING IT SIMPLY, WE MUST FORSAKE ALL TO FOLLOW CHRIST - Lk 14:33 1. In other words, Jesus must be KING and LORD of our lives 2. Nothing can take precedent over Him and His Will for us [This kind of "high cost" of discipleship demanded by Jesus caused many people to turn away from following Him. But Jesus wasn't trying to attract large crowds, He wanted disciples! Is the COST worth it? I believe so, for consider some of the REWARDS of discipleship...] IV. THE REWARDS OF BEING A DISCIPLE A. THERE IS THE PROMISE OF "FUTURE BLESSINGS"... 1. We shall be saved from the wrath of God which is yet to come upon the world for its sins - Ro 5:9 2. We can look forward with joyful anticipation of eternity with God, free from sorrow, pain and death - Re 21:1-8 B. THERE ARE ALSO "PRESENT BLESSINGS"... 1. Jesus offers a PEACE the world cannot give to calm the troubled heart - Jn 14:27 2. His words inspire JOY to lift our spirits out of any depression - Jn 15:11 3. He also offers to those who follow Him the ABIDING LOVE OF GOD, which can cast out fear - Jn 15:9; 1Jn 4:18 4. And he makes it possible for us to be members of THE FAMILY OF GOD, which is able if need be to replace our physical family - Mk 10:28-30
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11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.