Discipleship (Summer 2011)

What is a disciple? And what does discipleship look like in our modern era? Following Easter, our sermon series and GIFT groups will explore what it means to follow Jesus in today’s world … in the midst of economic cutbacks and job losses, and all the insecurity they create.

Being Disciples

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A sermon series May to June 2011

Our key text comes from Jesus’ Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20 …

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

That was the mission Jesus gave to the first disciples. It is the mission Jesus gives to us today: To be disciples of Christ, and to make disciples of others.

May 1st: What is a disciple?
Key readings: Galatians 1:11-25, Matthew 28:16-20
The story in Matthew’s gospel tells us that a disciple is someone who:

Hears Jesus’ call
Worships Jesus
Obeys His word

We look at the experience of the first disciples who met with the Lord Jesus, and we also hear of Paul’s own account of receiving Jesus’ call. Then we need to ask ourselves: what story we do have of meeting with Jesus?

Sermon available online

May 8th: Under the authority of Jesus
“All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me”.
Key readings: Colossians 1:15-22, Luke 8:19-25
We cannot be disciples unless we recognise the total authority of Jesus. Paul tells us that Jesus is:

Lord of creation (Colossians 1:15-17)
Lord of the church (Colossians 1:18-20)
Lord through the cross (Colossians 1:21-23)

And Luke reminds us of Jesus’ power over the wind and the waves. Have we considered what it means for us to say “Jesus is Lord”?

May 15th: Obedient to Jesus
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”
Key readings: 1 Cor 1:26-2:3, Luke 9:1-6
We have been given:

a big task. We have a message for the whole word.
a simple task. Not to run organisations or build churches, but to make disciples.
a common task. It requires everyone playing their part to carry out this command.

We think about Paul’s focus as he came to Corinth, and Jesus’ commands to the twelve. Then we ask how we might also obey Jesus’ command today in our churches.

May 22nd: Living a new life in Jesus
“Baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”
Key readings: Romans 6:1-14, Luke 9:18-27
Baptism is a sign of new life of Jesus. Paul teaches us that we are:

already raised with Christ (Romans 6:1-4)
awaiting resurrection (Romans 6:5-10), and therefore
called to actively offer ourselves to Him (Romans 6:11-14)

We are also reminded of Jesus’ call to take up our cross daily and follow Him. If we have been baptised in the name of Jesus, then we must be ready to take up this challenge.

May 29th: Loving God
“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”
Key readings: Deut 5:1-10, Luke 9:57-62
What has Jesus commanded us? First of all, to love God with all our heart and with all our mind and all our strength. In practice, as the first three commandments teach us, this involves loving God:

gratefully, as we give thanks for our redemption (vv.1-6)
exclusively (vv.7), not making excuses like the would-be followers of Jesus in Luke’s story.
faithfully (vv.8-10)

June 5th: Loving our neighbour as ourselves
Key readings: 1 John 3:10-18, Luke 10:25-37
The well-known story of the Good Samaritan still provides the best illustration of this command, to love:

without limits
practically
even at cost to ourselves

And as John reminds us, this kind of love is patterned on and comes from Jesus. We have to stay focused on Jesus if we are to keep on loving in this way. And our love starts with our fellow church members!

June 19th: Teaching others
(Slightly out of order as June 12th is Pentecost!)
Key readings: 2 Cor 2:12-3:6, Luke 10:1-16
Whether or not we think of ourselves as teachers, we all send out a message as to what it means to follow Jesus. As we go out to live for Christ day by day, Paul teaches us we have should have:

an “aroma” of Christ (2:14-16)
an “attitude” of glorifying Christ, not ourselves (2:17-3:2)
an “aim” of spiritually transforming the lives of others. (3:3-6)

It’s a radical new way of living that only comes from a growing and deepening relationship with Jesus

June 12th: Reliant on the Holy Spirit
“And I am surely with you always”
Key readings: Romans 8:9-17, Luke 12:1-12
The Holy Spirit fills us with the presence of Jesus day by day. He comforts and encourages us in the task of being disciples by giving us:

the seal of ownership (Romans 8:8-11)
status as sons (Romans 8:12-16)
strength in our sufferings (Romans 8:17), and notice Jesus’ promise to the disciples in Luke 12:12.

How dependent are we on the Holy Spirit when it comes to living for Jesus?

June 26th: Keeping our focus
“Until the very end of the age”
Key readings: Acts 1:1-11, Luke 12:35-40

Our message – Jesus is alive! (Acts 1:1-4)
Our mission – to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:5-8)
Our motivation – Jesus will return (Acts 1:9-11)

Let’s reflect on what we have learnt about discipleship over the past eight weeks, and as we turn next to the book of James, be ready to learn about putting all this into practice.

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