Calling All Disciples Derl G. Keefer November 1, 2006 Luke 5:1-11 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 to Jesus! 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 membership. 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 listening ears? *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 particular discipline. 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 __________________ NOTES: 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. 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