The passion of Christ was to teach and preach
about the wonders of God that could change the heart and life of any
person. After leaving the synagogues for awhile, Jesus ventured out
to the lakeshores of Galilee to uses a boat for a pulpit. Christ went
anywhere people would gather and listen, and for the moment field
preaching was the avenue of presenting the gospel.
John Wesley said, “I love a commodious room, a
soft cushion and a handsome pulpit, but field preaching saves
souls.”5 Jesus’ desire was to see people’s lives changed and for
them to become His disciples.
The focus of today’s text is not on the unique
location of preaching, the sermon, the crowds, or the miracle of the
great fish catch. Rather, it is on the man, Peter, who would begin
his lifelong journey of discipleship. Jesus would elicit from Peter a
desire to be a part of the kingdom of God by becoming a follower.
Peter would discover that his confession of being a sinner would lead
him to a life filled with new ventures because of a heart committed
I received a phone call back in January of 1992 –
fifteen years ago – from a lady who asked if I was the pastor of the
local church. She stated, “I want to be a member of your church.” I
had never met the woman, she had never been inside my church and I
discovered through our conversation that she knew nothing about our
doctrines, beliefs, theology, policy, or history. She had the audacity
to say that she really didn’t intend to attend the church or give,
but felt a need to belong to a church and wanted me to take her into
I shared with her that she needed a relationship
with Jesus, a commitment to involvement, and a desire to bring others
to Christ. Needless to say, she decided to forgo her membership in
our local church. The unfortunate truth is that many people are like
the lady who called. They want to be “long distance” disciples!
Discipleship demands involvement.
Discipleship involves listening.
The word listen means that we make a conscious
effort to hear – to pay attention to what is being said by the
speaker. Gary Fenton writes, “Listening is not only a means of
gathering information, it is the way we acknowledge that the speaker
has worth and value. The people with whom you have a good relationship
are probably those who have listened to you. It was not important
whether or not they could repeat back to you verbatim what you said,
but the value was that they validated you by listening.”6
If the speaker is God we ought to make a conscious
effort to hear what He is saying to us. Unfortunately, we let other
sounds drown out the voice of God. What is it that competes for our
*The whirlwind of cares and burdens
*The rumbling of the wheels of commerce
*The noise of jobs
*The luring sound of entertainment and pleasure
These are but a few. What is it that is competing for your listening heart?
Discipleship involves following.
To follow someone is to run along behind, watch
and observe. When we have decided to follow Jesus it is from Him that
we gather our strength, information and desire.
Dietrich Bonhoeoffer wrote, “The disciple simply
burns his boats and goes ahead. He is called out, and has to forsake
his old life in order that he may ‘exist’ in the strictest sense of
the word. The old life is left behind, and completely surrendered.
The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of
absolute insecurity . . . out of the realm of the finite . . . into the
realm of infinite possibilities . . . it is nothing else than bondage
to Jesus Christ alone.”7
Our goal as Christians is to be followers of
Jesus. From what security have you been dragged? What cesspool of
life has dragged you down? As a follower of Christ, what heights are
you ready to ascend? God has called you and He will not leave you nor
will He forsake you (I Pet. 5:7).
If He will not leave you, will you leave Him? Not if you love Him! Be His disciple by being His follower!
Discipleship involves discipline.
Central to our discipleship is the experiential
disciplines of life. If we are to attain our fullest stature
spiritually, we must allow God’s disciplines to empower us.
Many years ago Richard Foster wrote a book
entitled Celebration of Discipline. He shared the topics of those
disciplines and then devoted chapters to them. It should be a
reminder to us that we are to work through the disciplines so that we
might be better disciples. The INWARD DISCIPLINES include meditation,
prayer, fasting, and study. The OUTWARD DISCIPLINES include
simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The CORPORATE
DISCIPLINES he shared were confession, worship, guidance, and
celebration. He reminded his readers that just because they knew the
mechanics of discipline did not mean that they were practicing the
When Michelangelo started his famous, “Moses”
figure, it was nothing but a block of marble. By the time he had
finished it was a great piece of artwork. When we begin the
disciplines we are only a block of spiritual statuary, but by the
time God is done with us we can be a beautiful piece of spiritual
artwork. Will you start today?
Sermon brief provided by: Derl
G. Keefer, Adult Development Ministries Coordinator for the Church of
the Nazarene in Kansas City, MO
5. William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1953), 53.
6. Gary Fenton, Good for Goodness’ Sake (Birmingham, Al.: New Hope Publishers, 2006), 74.
7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: The MacMillian Company, 1949), 62-63.