Disciples GoSeries: Follow. James Dewhurst November 17, 2019
True disciples of Jesus commit to following, imitate and duplicate all that Jesus did!
During our series so far we have learned that disciples are to be motivated by love to imitate Christ, stay connected to his church, build relationships, willingly serve, study the Scriptures and live them out, and take advantage of the benefits of prayer!
Today, as we jump back into our Follow series together, I want to focus on one of the most critical steps that a disciple must take in their faith journey – Disciples GO!!!
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
Rick Warren – “The way you store up treasure in heaven, is by investing in getting people there.”
Another person said – “Evangelism is not about reminding people how lost they are, but about how loved they are.”
A wise person said – “The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but it’s sending capacity.”
Someone else said – “Evangelism is hard, but watching people you love go to hell is harder.”
C.S. Lewis – “The opposite of love does not hate, it’s indifference.”
Jesus lived His life here on earth with a purpose! He was a man on a mission, and his mission was to save the world! As Jesus was preparing to face the cross, while he stood in front of Pilate he said in:
34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (ESV)
Christine Caine – “It is our responsibility to make Jesus’ last commandment our first priority.”
What is the point of eating? To take nutrients into our bodies that can be digested and turned into energy so that we can go do something productive. Food that is stored and not spent, turns into fat. If what we take in isn’t spent, our bodies become unhealthy. The same is true of our spiritual lives. If we just take in God and his word, and never go out and spend what we are learning, we will become unhealthy, stagnant Christians.
Currently in our surrounding community (Pataskala, Etna, Baltimore, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Johnstown, Blacklick) on average, about 37% of people go to church somewhere, sometimes. (This means that 63% of our communities go nowhere!)
Some recent research on church attendance in America found that:
> 65% of adults claim to be Christians in the U.S. (That’s down 12% in the last decade)
> Only 22% of millennials in our country today say they attend church once a month.
> When fathers go to church regularly, 44% of the time their children will go as well.
> When father’s don’t go to church regularly, only 3.4% of the time will their children go.
We need to reach fathers! We need to reach mothers! We need to reach children!
20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (ESV)
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV)
*Feet are not typically described as beautiful, but feet that carry the gospel are!*
One of the most beautiful things to witness on the planet is a sinner being saved!
Question – If helping people find Christ is so beautiful why don’t more of us go do it?
1. We don’t GO because we are afraid!
– What if I say or do the wrong thing?
– What if I don’t have all the answers?
– What if I don’t have all the right words?
Jesus addresses these legitimate concerns in Luke 21:15 “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
In the face of persecution, the Bible says of Stephen in Acts 6:10 “But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
God told Israel: Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”
2. We don’t GO because we are distracted!
Jesus went to visit his close friends one day in Luke 10:40-42 (NIV) “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mother Theresa was once asked what causes people to lost their spiritual passion, and she replied with one word: “Distractions!”
Jesus told the Ephesian Christians who had been busy doing lots of good things in: Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”
3. We don’t GO because we have forgotten!
Jesus reminds us all in: Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
Why do people store up temporary things in a temporary home, if we believe in heaven?
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
For those who are saved and un-saved, Jesus clearly tells us in: Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Bible tells us that there is a real heaven and a real hell! The Bible also says that there will be people who end up in both! In our men’s Bible study on Thursday mornings, we have been going through a book called Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan. One of the points that the author makes is that we don’t hear about hell very much anymore because it’s harsh, offensive and certainly not politically correct. It’s not a popular topic! The author raises the question that so many in our world ask today, and that is: “How can you believe in a God who allows people to go to hell?” I think the better question is, “How can Christians, who believe in a heaven and a hell, not be doing everything they can to make sure the people they love don’t end up there?”
Oswald Smith – “No one should have the right to hear the gospel twice when there are people out there who haven’t even heard it once.”
> Go read through the book of Luke from now until Christmas Eve
> Go and pray for divine opportunities to open up for you to share the gospel!
> Go make a list of the names of people you need to witness to or invite to church!
*It’s time we stop waiting on the Lord to GO do the job that we need to be doing!*
Prayer is not a burden, it’s a blessing. It’s not a task it’s a treat. It’s not a vocation it’s a vacation. It’s not a weight, it’s a reprieve! It’s where God picks up what we drop off!
Prayer exists to lift our burdens, not add more to them!