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LEARNING TO BE A DISCIPLE

Date: 
January 21, 2018
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Mark 1:14-20

THEME: One learns to be a disciple by following Jesus…

 

INTRODUCTION

  • I love the Gospel of Mark…
  • Mark hits the ground running… He doesn’t waste very much time on details… Mark reduces the story of Jesus’ life and ministry to the bare essentials… he goes right to the heart of the story…
  • He doesn’t begin his gospel in Bethlehem with the birth of Jesus… he skips right on to John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan… By the end of “the first paragraph” of Mark’s gospel the public ministry of Jesus has begun…

 

  • There is a real sense of urgency about Mark’s gospel… everything seems to happen at top speed…
  • His favorite word is “immediately”  - a word that he uses forty times – giving us the impression that Jesus jumped from one thing to another with barely enough time to catch his breath…
  • “Mark’s gospel is fast-paced, like a series of images flashed on a screen one after another, moving almost too fast for us to keep up.”  <Donovan>

 

I – THE CALL OF THE DISCIPLES

  • Two weeks ago I preached about the baptism of Jesus… The very first thing that Jesus did

    following his baptism was to call four fishermen to be his disciples…

 

  • Have you ever gone fishing? “So tell me, why do fishermen who have no boat try to throw their

    lines as far out as they can while fisherman in boats try to get their lines as close to shore as

    possible?” <Quinn>   

 

  • Picture the scene by The Sea of Galilee  <Blackburn>
  • Jesus has been baptized…
  • Almost immediately John the Baptist is thrown into prison…
  • Jesus has taken up the central theme of his preaching: “The right time has come, and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!”   (vs. 15)
  • Walking along the shore of the Lake, he sees two fishermen, Peter and Andrew – they have finished a very successful night of fishing…
  • As the boat comes to shore, Jesus calls them, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch men.”  (vs. 17)
  • We need to understand what Jesus had in mind here… when we catch fish, they are destined for the frying pan… catching men actually means rescuing them – calling them to repent and believe so that they can be a part of the Kingdom!
  • How did Peter and Andrew respond to Jesus’ invitation?  At once they left their nets and went with him.  (vs. 18)
  • Now we see Jesus, Peter and Andrew walking a little further on to where Zebedee’s boat is already tied up… they seem to have come in a little earlier… James and John and their father and the hired men are carefully going over their nets – untangling them, mending any tears, folding them up ready for casting…
  • Jesus calls out to James and John, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch men.”
  • Their response was the same as Peter and Andrew’s – “they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went with Jesus.”  (vs. 20)

 

 

  • What the four fishermen did may seem a bit strange to us when we think about it… their

     response to Jesus was immediate… the implications were going to be lifelong… something about

     the personality and authority of Jesus had gripped them.  <Blackburn>

  • Mark doesn’t tell us why Jesus chose Peter and Andrew, James and John – just that he did.
  • He doesn’t tell us why they responded so readily – just that they did.
  • Mark emphasizes the compelling nature of Jesus’ call and the suddenness of their decision to follow him and become fishers of men.
  • There was nothing remarkable about these four men… they were ordinary fishermen… and in many ways, they remained pretty ordinary except for Peter, but Jesus saw something in each one of them that he could capture to begin building the Kingdom of God on earth…
  • These four ordinary men – along with the other eight apostles – helped to turn the world upside down… they didn’t do it alone… they did it by the grace of God and with the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

II – LEARNING TO BE A DISCIPE

  • We call them “disciples” and that suggests that they were “learners” with Jesus as their teacher.
    • In a sense, the disciples became Jesus’ apprentices (interns)…
    • there were not a lot of facts to learn, but the disciples had to learn to do what Jesus was doing…

 

  • There aren’t too many jobs that you can just step into without any training/learning…

 

  • How did Peter and Andrew, James and John learn to be disciples?
  • How do you and I learn to be disciples?
  • One learns to be a disciple by following Jesus.
  • The disciples needed to be “trained” to do precisely what Jesus was doing:
    • Proclaiming the Kingdom of God
    • Recruiting people for the Kingdom
    • Drawing folks into community            that experiences God’s reign…    <Donovan>

 

  • For the first disciples, following Jesus meant coming with him, living in his presence, going

     where he went, allowing him to be the leader…

  • it involved a commitment to Jesus as a person, not just as a teacher…
  • they were not just learning what he had to teach them, but they were committing to him as a person…

 

  • Following Jesus meant hearing and seeing him, observing his character, modeling their lives on

     him…

 

  • Following Jesus meant learning how to live for him and how to bring others to live for him… not  

     only was Jesus the focus of their life and commitment, but they were to go out and bring others

     to him… they were to learn to “catch men” – rescuing them… calling them to repent and believe

     so that they can be part of the Kingdom too!

 

  • For 3 ½ years Peter and Andrew, James and John would be disciples – learners – before they

     could become “apostles” – ones who were sent out to make other disciples.  <Blackburn>

 

III – WHAT DOES A DISCIPLE NEED TO KNOW?

  • What do you think Peter and Andrew, James and John had to learn in order to be good disciples?

 

  • Immediately they learned that being a disciple means changing your values and your priorities

     and maybe even walking away from some of the things that have been important to you…

  • Peter and Andrew were skilled fishermen, but they walked away from their nets and their boat to follow Jesus…
  • James and John were successful businessmen… they not only left their boat and their business, but they walked away from their own father and the hired men to respond to Jesus’ call to discipleship…
  • Becoming a disciple means leaving behind that which is important to us and focusing upon that which is important to God…
  • Disciples must let God determine their values and priorities and place their trust in God to meet their needs…

 

  • Quickly the first disciples learned what Jesus meant when he talked about the Kingdom of

     God because the Kingdom of God was surely his priority…

  • The Kingdom of God is the place where God is king…
  • If you have allowed God to become king in your heart, you are part of the Kingdom of God…
  • When Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God has come near,” he was saying, “God’s Kingdom hasn’t fully arrived yet, but the seed has been planted. Get ready – it’s coming!” <Donovan>

 

  • Over time the first disciples learned that being a disciple is not easy…
  • Being a disciple requires sacrifice, patience and endurance…
  • Being a disciple means being called for responsibility, not for reward…

 

  • By the time their “internship” was over the disciples learned to do precisely what Jesus was

     doing… rescuing the perishing… reaching out to the lost, the last and the least to bring them

     peace and to offer them hope…

 

CONCLUSION

  • Let me end this sermon with two personal questions for you to think about during the week

    ahead?

  • First: What does becoming a disciple mean for you?
  • Second: What is Jesus calling you to do?

 

SERMON SEEDS

  • Daily Study Bible (Mark) – William Barclay
  • Life Application Bible Commentary (Mark) – Published by Tyndale
  • Sermon preparation materials from sermonwriter.com – prepared by Richard Donovan
  • Following Jesus – an EXCELLENT sermon by Rev. Peter J. Blackburn
  • Leaving It All Behind – a sermon by Rev. Randy L. Quinn

 

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