Discipleship

Discipleship

Scripture: John 15:8, John 6:60-70, Matthew 20:20-23
Date: 06/06/2009  Lesson: 10
A disciple is a lifelong learner of the teachings of someone else. Christians are called to a life of discipleship.

Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor

Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We welcome you again to another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome those of you who are joining us this morning, like you do every week. You are a part of our family here at central. Those of you who are watching on the various television networks, listening on the radio, or watching live on our website this morning at saccentral.

org, welcome. And I am so glad that you are going to sing along with us this morning, 'cause you have sent in your favorite requests. And we have a favorite this morning. The first one is "for all the saints," 421. Pull out your hymnals and sing along with us.

This is from edilson in brazil, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, dale in Iowa, and David in New York-- , verses 1, 3, and 5. Through gates of pearl streams in their countless host, singing to The Father, son and holy ghost: hallelujah, hallelujah! You looking forward to that day when those pearly gates are gonna open and we're all gonna go inside? I am looking forward to that day. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, you know what to do. Go to our website, saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link, and send in your favorite hymn. Our next song, "a child of the King," is a big favorite.

This is on 468 in your hymnals. From nicole afton massimo walusiku, mario in Alaska, geof, shann, sokula, Moses, betty and dawn in australia, cosmin in austria, melva in belize, ismenia in brazil, semie and fe in California, denise, george and reby in Canada, cornelius in Delaware, mahtem in denmark, antoinette and sherace in england, aka in Illinois, Joseph in india, shavanie in jamaica, Noah in Kentucky, owens in malawi, barbara, Maryland, joanna and carla in New York, Godswill in nigeria, charlotte and lloyd in North Carolina, ernest in norway, gurmu in Oregon, emily in Pennsylvania, nic in the Philippines, yolanda in saint kitts and nevis, bennett and catherine in Virginia, and juanita and joy in Washington. Okay, we're gonna sing this for you guys this morning and everybody else who likes this song--468, verses 1, 2, and 4. You know as I've traveled around the world, I've been in some of the poorest places, refugee camp in nicaragua, in, oh, completely impoverished villages in india and other places like that. And some of those people, the Christians there are some of the happiest people I have ever met.

And they have absolutely nothing. And the people here on the western lifestyle, we have so much. And we can be completely miserable. And, you know, it doesn't matter if you have absolutely nothing. If you're a child of the King, you are going to have a mansion some day, exactly how you want it.

And that is something that we all have to look forward to. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for bringing us here this morning. We're so thankful for the Sabbath that you have given to us, for fellowship, for, oh, just the blessings that you have showered down on us this past week. We thank you for each and every one.

We pray that you will be with those that are here this morning, and those who you know each and every one who are joining us this morning and wanting to study Your Word together. Some live in the farthest reaches of this planet, some out in the middle of nowhere, but they feel a part of our family here at central because they're joining with us. And we thank you so much for the technology that you have blessed us with, that we can share with every person. We thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us and for being with us today as we study Your Word. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our administrative pastor here at central church, pastor harold white. Good morning. Boy, that was a good strong, "morning." That's great. We welcome you all here this morning in Sacramento. It's a beautiful morning, going to warm up they say.

Welcome to all of you who are joining us by radio, internet, live-streaming, satellite, wherever you are joining us today, we welcome you likewise. Many of you I've had the privilege of communicating with by e-mail, over the phone. Our online listeners, I enjoy that part of my work so much. Get to meet people via the internet from all parts of this world. That's exciting.

The free offer today is number 771. It's called, "teaching the disciples." And it's a dvd, "teaching the disciples." And you can get that by going to www.amazingfacts.org, or 1-866-788-3966, or 1-866-study-more. Okay, we got that out of the way. Is everybody okay this morning? Amen. Beautiful day, beautiful day to be alive.

I appreciate The Song service so much. We have so much to sing about, don't we? Yes, if we have Jesus, we have everything. About 4 weeks ago I think it was, the lesson was entitled, "sin." Remember that one? I was kind of hoping that I would get to be able to teach that one, because I'm very experienced in that. Well, sad to say, that's probably true for all of us. And it's really no laughing matter, is it? No, sin is what's caused the great havoc and all the misery in this world.

And why would we ever want to sin? Well, that's why the Bible says, "it's the mystery of iniquity," isn't it? It's a mystery why we would ever want to sin. It's terrible. But we do, unfortunately. Praise God we have a Savior. Let's turn to our lesson this morning, "discipleship.

" And let's share the memory verse. It's taken from the n.i.v. And it's John 15:8. You have it there in your quarterly. And I would invite you to read along with me now if you would.

"This is to my father's glory, that you bear much fruit; showing yourselves to be my disciples." Well, as we said, the sinful nature comes very natural to all of us. But being a disciple is not that way until you become born again. Being a disciple of Jesus is kind of foreign to people until they become born again. And even when the disciples that Jesus had were his disciples, there was much about this concept of discipleship that they did not understand. Should we emulate the disciples that Jesus had? Well, that's a question you can say "yes and no" to.

If you say, "yes," you're probably saying, "let's emulate them after or post-cross." Because pre-cross, they still had a lot to learn, didn't they? In fact, their real genuine conversion didn't seem to come 'til after the cross, right? All of us are post-cross Christians. We live after the cross. And so we should be like the disciples after the cross, right? And yet probably still many of us are walking around as pre-cross disciples. Well, let's jump into our lesson this morning. And we gave out some slips of paper.

The first text we'd like to have somebody read is Matthew 28:19-20. "Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and The Son and the holy ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Thank you very much. Appreciate that. "Make learners of people.

" That's what a disciple is. A learner. Someone--so we are to make learners of all people. Learners of what and learners of who? Well, learners of the story of salvation and pupils of Christ, right? We are learners of Christ. Are you a Christian? Well, if you are a Christian, you should be able to say that you are a disciple, right? Because you can't be one without the other.

In fact, you will recall in the Bible, that there was a point in time that Christian, the word "Christian" came about. And it was applied to the disciples. They were called Christians for the first time. Disciples, you can't separate the two. So is there ever a time that we stop becoming learners? I hope not.

What do we need to learn? Well, first of all, we need a brain, right? Hopefully it's a functional brain that's functioning. And next we need material or good information to absorb. So you need a brain and good stuff to absorb to be a good learner. So first of all, how important is the brain? It's very important, right? And are there things that are beneficial to the brain and things that are harmful to the brain? Well, there are. And we have scientific studies for it now, besides the Word of God.

There are things that are very good for the brain such as physical exercise, mental exercise, good diet, right? There are bad things for the brain. And that would be poor diet, lack of physical exercise, lack of mental exercise. And in fact, some music, they actually can record the brain waves and find that some music is a negative impact on the brain, right? And television, yeah, we don't have to say too much about that, do we? There--in fact, there are some studies out now that say when you watch tv, your brain is almost exactly like it is when you're sleeping. It's kind of like in a stupor. And so that says a lot, doesn't it? My wife is taking some classes.

And one of her recent, most-recent professors--it's not a Seventh-day Adventist, but she is dead against television. Early childhood training is the area of study. And she says, it's her opinion and her tremendous conviction that no child before the age of should ever watch television. And she goes on to say that even these baby einstein things, not good for children, too stimulating. I don't know about that.

I'm not sure. But there is certainly some aspects to television we would agree with, wouldn't we? Being bad for our young people. So our minds are very important. What we do to enhance our brains will help us to become better learners or good disciples. That's what we want to be.

So if my fundamental mathematics are correct, it seems like if you add this up, you would say, the sum matter of this is in order to be a good disciple, you have to have a good healthy brain and providing yourself with good, healthy, Christian, uplifting material. Is that right? That's pretty good mathematics. If you add it up or subtract it down, I think that's what you come up with. Now another point, before we go into Sunday's lesson, it's in the opening verse actually. Jesus says something that was his father's glory.

And that was that we do what? We bear much fruit. So if you're a disciple, you are to bear much fruit. So if you're a disciple, you are a tree. You're not only a tree; you are a fruit tree. You are to bear much fruit.

Now fruit trees are very interesting. Some of you probably have planted fruit trees. And it's so exciting the first year that they have produced fruit, right? Maybe early on the second year that you put 'em out, oh, you run into the house and tell your wife or your husband, "there's some little pears on the tree we planted." And you're so excited. So early on, fruit trees bear fruit. But as the fruit tree matures, you bear more fruit, right? You see more fruit on the tree.

And that is true, or at least it should be, of Christians, right? The more we mature, the more fruit we should produce. Is that correct? Now, have you ever seen an old, old tree? Very twisted and gnarled and just looks like it's about ready to fall over. But lo and behold, that tree is really still producing wonderful, delicious fruit. Yeah. Well, that tells me one thing.

If we are disciples and we are to be like trees bearing fruit, there's no retirement plan for Christian. Have you ever heard an older person--I've heard an older person once or twice say this. "Well, it's up to the young people now. I've done my duty. It's up to them now to do the work of the discipleship.

" No retirement plan in the work of discipleship. Would you agree to that? That's right. Well, let's see. If somebody would read for us Matthew 4:18-19, somebody have that one? "While walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, 'follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

'" Okay, thank you very much. Here is the leader calling for some followers. And did they follow? They did. They dropped what they were doing and they followed after him. That's really something to think about.

If a person says, "follow me, and I will make you rich," does that happen in our world today? Yeah. Do people follow after them like, what's this guy's name, madoff or something like that? Did a lot of people follow him? Down the brink. All their money gone. Yeah, "follow me, and I'll make you rich." Was Jesus saying that? No, not really. But in a sense, you know, those who first began to follow Jesus probably had mixed motivations.

Think about it. They were looking for a deliverer, right? They were looking for the coming Messiah. And no doubt, these men that Jesus chose had been people who had been studying the word and looking for the coming Messiah. And in Jesus maybe they saw that this might be the one. But also, didn't they have some mixed concepts about what the Messiah would do? And so they thought Jesus was gonna set up an earthly kingdom.

And if they would follow him, maybe they would have--well, fact, we find out later on that a mother came to Jesus and said, "can my son sit on the right and my other son sit on the left in your kingdom that you're gonna set up?" That'll make things really good for me too, right. So there's probably mixed motivations for those that dropped everything, dropped their nets and followed after Jesus. You think there's mixed emotions for people who give up supposedly everything and follow Jesus today? Could be, because sometimes we throw out the net kind of like Jesus did. Did Jesus say, "come and follow me, and if you are going to be lucky enough, you may just even lay down your life for me. And you may even do it on an upside-down cross.

" Now he didn't start out that way, did he? He didn't start out that way. He just said, "follow me." And he began to teach wonderful things. And isn't that what we do? We throw out the Gospel net. And we say "follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and you'll be blessed." And so on and so forth. And we don't--the first thing we throw out is, "you're gonna suffer persecution of the worst kind this world has ever seen.

" No, we don't say that first. That's not deception, is it? No, because you tell 'em what is truth. There is eternal life for all those who follow Jesus. But before it's all over you have to tell the full story, right? There's good, the bad and even downright ugly happens to those who follow Jesus sometimes. People were crucified upside down.

People were put to death by stoning. And so eventually the role of the disciple needs to be spelled out very clearly. There's a quotation by kierkegaard, kierkegaard, one of those theologians. It's worth sharing. He said once, he went to a church, he says, "I looked around and nobody was laughing.

" He says this, "I went into the church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, Marked it with silk bookmark and said, 'if any man will be my disciple,' said Jesus, 'let him deny himself, take up the cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor and follow me." Sometimes we live in a pretty sterile, religious environment, don't we? And sometimes we forget maybe that to be a Christian involves sacrifice. To be a real disciple, we may have to one day give up our lives. Is that right? That's a possibility.

Now every leader needs a follower. And every follower needs a leader. Is that correct? That's right. We're over on Sunday's lesson, "followers and leaders." Someone stated though, "the trouble with being a leader today is that you can't be sure whether people are following you or chasing you." That's probably true. If you are a follower, you better assess the kind of leader that you have chosen to follow on this earth.

If you are following somebody on this earth, you're going to church per se, for example, it's nice to go to a church that you feel confident in the senior pastor, right? We all have confidence in pastor Batchelor. And it's good to choose a leader on earth that you have confidence in. There's this--one day a train was about to leave the station. And the conductor came around to get tickets. And the first man he came to, he says, "oh, you're on the wrong train.

" And the guy said, "well, the ticket man," he says, "pointed to this exact train and told me to get on." And after a little bit of conversation, the conductor decided to go talk with the ticket man. It wasn't long until he found out that he was on the wrong train. So it's good to know that the man at the front is on the right train, right? That's right. And we can be sure that if we accept Jesus, we're on the right train with the right leader, right? When the leader is lost, how can followers get on the track? In one sense, we're all followers, right? All followers of God. But as humans on this earth, we tend to fall in one category or another.

We tend to be leaders or followers. Is that true? Some people say, "I could never be a president of a company. I could never be a pastor. I could never do this because I'm not that personality, not that kind of a personality." Pastors are in leadership positions. Would you agree to that? Yes.

Not all pastors make good leaders sometimes. Is that true? Unfortunately, it's true. Even the best of leaders, the best of pastors, sometimes err. Is that true also? So I think the best safety in this scenario is that everything we hear from an earthly leader, or everything we see an earthly leader doing, we better compare that to the heavenly leader, right? Jesus Christ, our role model. We all tend to be a leader or we tend to be a follower, but I would have us realize that we need to be good at both.

Because you might not think of yourself as a leader. Maybe you'll never be a president of a company. But you lead some people. If you're a mother or a father, you lead little feet, don't you? That's right. You lead somebody in life.

You're all leaders. Some way to some people. So we're all leaders. And we're all followers. We have to be good at both.

In fact, I'd like to say it this way. If you aren't a good number-two man, you'll never be a good number-one man. You need to be a good follower before God will ever place you in any role of leadership. So we need to be both, don't we? Good leaders, good followers. Well, the lesson here on Sunday points out something very interesting.

Jesus was a leader. He was selecting his followers. How well did he do in selecting his disciples? What did the religious leaders think of Jesus' selection of disciples? Do you think they were impressed? Not very much impressed at all. In fact, there's an interesting, very clever, little letter that somebody composed from the Jordan management consultants. And it's addressed to, "Jesus, son of Joseph, woodcrafter's carpenter shop, nazareth.

" And it's even got a zip code: "25922." I don't know if that's true, but anyway. It says, "dear sir, thank you for your submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests. And we not only run the results through our computer, but also arrange personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant. The profiles of all tests are included.

And you will want to study each of them carefully. As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, The Sons of zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the greater Jerusalem better business bureau.

And James, The Son of alphaeus and thaddaeus, definitely have radical leanings. And they both registered a high score on the manic-depression scale. One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He's a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible.

We recommend," who? "Judas." That's right. Very interesting written little letter somebody composed that certainly applies to what we're talking about here, right? Jesus chose 12. And he had reasons to choose those 12 wherewith nobody probably understood at the time. You do not judge the book by its cover. Is that what we say? That's right.

You might not think of yourself of having much to offer. But you better think again, because with Christ you have a lot to offer. Is that right? That's right. It's probably a very sad commentary if we would all just realize how much potential we have wasted. I think back to the 63 years of my life, and just think what my life could have been if I let God lead in every aspect of my life.

We probably shortchange ourselves way, way too much. How well do you follow? So what he did, Jesus chose men that he knew would one day become men that he definitely wanted, would definitely fulfill their responsibilities. I don't know who shared this little illustration. Maybe it was Pastor Doug, I don't know. But he talked about.

..gave an illustration, a man who offered some kind of prize to three gentleman for that man who could walk the straightest line. And the way he was gonna do it was he was gonna go across this great big field and leave the men on the other side. And this was a freshly snowed-on field. Snow blanket covered the field. And the men were to walk towards the man.

And the one that walked the straightest line would get the prize. Well, as they started walking toward the man, one man was watching the other two, see how well they were doing. And the second man was looking back to see how well he was doing. And the third man--you guessed it--where was he looking? He was looking at the leader. And he was the one that walked the straightest line, right? Those other two were looking at others, looking at themselves, didn't walk a very straight line.

So very true how we need to keep our eyes upon our leader. Remind me of a long-distance racer back--i think his name was roger bannister. Maybe some of you remember better than I do--one of the first men to break the 4-minute mile, run the mile in less than 4 minutes. That's really--that's really going fast. A lot of people have done it now.

But he was one of the very first. And this other man, I forget his name, but they had both broken the 4-minute mile. And they were finally in the same race together. And boy, this was the race to be looked for. Everybody was anticipating this race.

And as they went around once, twice, three times, they're coming around the fourth time, I believe it was roger who was ahead. And coming around that last corner, he took just a little moment to look over his left shoulder to see where the next runner, his most highly competitor was. And as he was looking over his left shoulder, that runner was going around his right side. And roger lost his stride, and he lost the race by looking back. And that's very applicable to us.

How many times have you lost your stride, spiritually-speaking, by looking back? I mean we look back sometimes to gain some profitable understanding and experience, but don't look back to throw yourself off stride, because we need to look forward, right? That's right. Would somebody read for us Matthew 10:24-25? I think somebody has that. "A disciple is not above his teacher; nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!" Thank you very much.

A disciple is not above his or her teacher. Now if we're disciples of Jesus that shouldn't be a difficult thing. We should never think we're above Jesus. Although sometimes we get to thinking we know more than God does. Do we do that sometimes? But when it really comes to bear is on the human level, doesn't it? Sometimes we have leaders.

And rightly so, we have to have that. And sometimes we have followers. And sometimes followers begin to think the leaders don't know what they're talking about. Or they're leading us in the wrong direction. Many challenges take place because of that.

I'd like to share just a little illustration and then share the ramifications of this. One time a company hired a consultant to improve efficiency in this company. And he immediately called all the workers together and launched into this little thought. He said, "here, you are all now on the titanic. And the titanic is sinking.

You find yourself very quickly on a lifeboat. It's dark. It's hazy. Which direction do you row?" Well, he doesn't give 'em time to answer. He says again, "okay, this is the situation.

That's the situation you are. You're in the lifeboat because the titanic is going down. Which way do you row?" Well, you find out that on your little lifeboat there is the navigator. A navigator is there. Which way do you row? Well, you didn't give him time to answer again.

He says, "you row the direction the navigator tells you to row," right? And everybody kind of murmurs silent, "yeah," agreeing. Finally there was a man in the back spoke up, and he says, "well, I don't know. He already hit one iceberg." Now here's the point. When we are learners, and we have a leader, and sometimes we get it in our mind that the leader is going in the wrong direction, we have a dilemma, right? What are we going to do? Well, the first thing I would encourage us to do is to make sure that we're not the ones that's off track. Too many times people surmise things that are not actually true.

And all the sudden a ruckus is caused because of this surmising. And all along it wasn't true to begin with. So make sure before you ever do anything at all. So as followers, I believe, first of all, we need to choose good leaders to follow. Second of all, let's be the very best followers that we can be.

Supportive, not the one that's always trying to bring up the problems. You ever been around that kind of person? Sometimes they're always wanting to bring up the negative problems. I don't know why they do that. Maybe they--i guess they're genuine, but sometimes it's a negative influence. Don't you think sometimes? Well, let me ask you on a scale of one to ten, how good were the disciples as followers? Seven, eight, nine? Well, before the cross, you might put 'em at five or six, right? After the cross you might shoot 'em on up to ten because they were even willing to follow Jesus to their own death, right? Dying for their leader, I would say, is a number ten.

That's what I want to be. And I guess I'll never know until I'm faced with that dilemma: either follow Christ or die. But I hope I'm there. Don't you? And the only way you can be there is through the power and grace of Jesus anyway. There was a point on Sunday that makes this concept, here, Monday, very important.

And that was "a leader is important, but leaders are useless without followers," right? Nothing more disappointing to a person who's been chosen to be a leader of a committee and to find that nobody else on the committee wants to do anything, nobody else wants to do anything. I've talked to many pastors who very discouraged because they have some wonderful people in the church, but nobody wants to do anything. That's not the way it should be, right? We all should want to do things. It's like general John garvin was a supreme allied commander in europe and a commander in chief of u.s. European command.

And he was asked one time what it was like to be in charge of so many various forces. His reply was, "I often feel like the director of a cemetery. I have a lot of people under me, but nobody listens." God probably feels that way about us sometimes, don't you think? A lot of people under him, all professing to be his, but maybe we don't listen as good as we should. But let's be quick to add, a good leader inspires good followers, right? A good leader inspires good followers. And I've seen that so many time on a human level.

And that's what made Jesus so successful. He was a powerful, authoritative leader, but he was also--back that up with a great deal of humility and love and compassion and all the rest. Did the disciples follow him willingly? Can you think of a time when they said, "no, no, no. Jesus. We can't do that.

" Well, sometimes they didn't know how to do it. "How do we feed 5,000 people? We don't have enough food." But when he gave them instructions, they certainly jumped to and followed through, didn't they? When he said, "go prepare the passover meal," did they say, "no, I don't want to do that." No, they did it. "Go get me a colt so I can have my triumphal entry into Jerusalem." They did that too, right? They were very willing followers. Jesus had a commanding influence with his leadership. Real disciples respond with obedience and loyalty because they want to--because they want to, not just because they are ordered to.

Christ was a leader that inspired action in other people. And he's still doing it today, isn't he? His leadership qualities that he's left for us wrote down in His Word are still the things that bring people ready forward to the front lines to give their all to Jesus. And the reason he was so good, as I mentioned, he not only was strong with authority, but he was strong with humility. And I ran across this little quote. It says it was a caution given to newly promoted executives.

It said, "remember what the mama whale told the baby whale: when you get to the top and start letting off steam, that's the time you're most apt to get harpooned." And that's very true, isn't it? Sometimes when you get to the top, there's people ready to take aim at you. And they took aim at Jesus, but his true followers didn't, because not only did he inspire great enthusiasm, encouraged to follow him, but he was also very humble about it, wasn't he? Let's move on. I want to have a couple texts. Let's see, John 13:23 and John 21:20. Who has those? Right over here.

First one is John 13:23. And then the other one is John 21:20. And they are written by the apostle John. And I would have us look at these verses. It almost sounds like a man with a problem of arrogance as you read these verses, because they are verses written about himself.

First one is John 13:23. "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved." Okay, and then John 21:20. "Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on his breast at the supper, and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays you?' Okay, so this man is writing the Gospel, John. He's writing about the fact that Jesus loved him, the one whom Jesus loved. It's almost like child playground chatter.

"Teacher loves me more than she loves you. I'm the teacher's pet," or whatever. It's almost like that, but I would have us think differently. John knew in his mind, without a shadow of a doubt, he was assured of Jesus' love. That's a good feeling.

Are you assured of Jesus' love? I hope you are. Sociologist have a theory of the "looking-glass self." And that is you become what the most important person in your life think you are, whether it be a father, a mother, brother or sister or your boss or somebody, you become that kind of person, what he or she thinks you are. And so John was that. He had this sociologist theory, well down long before sociologists today. He knew that God, Jesus Christ loved him.

It's like the irish priest who was walking on a walking tour of the world parish, sees an old peasant on the pathway there, bowed in prayer. And he stops and talks to the man. And he says, "wow, you must be very close to God." And the peasant thinks for a while. And then he says, "yes, God is very fond of me." And God is very fond of you. Do you know that? God is very fond of all of us, isn't he? If you know that, you'll be blessed.

If you don't know it, I hope you learn it very soon, because it's very important issue. Somebody has Matthew 20:20-21. Does somebody have that one? Right over here, okay. "Then the mother of zebedee's sons came to him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from him. And he said to her, 'what do you wish?' She said to him, 'grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and the other on the left, in your kingdom.

'" Okay, thank you very much. All the zeal that they were feeling, because the next verse says, "yes, we are able. We are able to do it." Well, eventually, eventually they were able. But they had to be truly converted before they actually came to that. And Christ had to help 'em.

But for a while, they certainly weren't able to drink of the same cup. You notice this from time to time; the first love experience is an exciting time in people's life. And it seems like they're really ready to do anything and everything for God, until a big trial comes. And then it's almost as if they've vanished. People sometimes just turn and walk no more with God.

John 6:6--6:66 talks about disciples who turn and walk no more with Christ. By the way, that's a good verse, isn't it? For that kind of verse, for that kind of number, John 6:66. "Turn to walk no more with Christ. And sometimes that happens with disciples. I often think about mothers, parents, who become parents for the first time and how excited they are.

It is wonderful, exciting. But they don't know. They don't have a clue what they're really in for, do they? I can't tell you how many parents have told me this kind of thing, "if I had only known, I don't think--" or I've had people actually say, "if I'd only known, I would never have had children." I've had lots of people tell me that. Because they've had children maybe get in trouble with the law, the drugs, you know, the whole thing, just turn away from the church, whatever. It's very sad.

Well, first of all, I don't think parents ought to make those kind of statements, because that's kind of negative. Because one thing trials--one thing trials do for a parent is it really teaches you about God's relationship to us, doesn't it? It really does. Teaches us a lot about what we're talking about here this morning, sacrifice. Well, we must move on. We're really moving out of time here.

We're not getting as far as we should, but the lesson on Tuesday, the bottom asks a pretty potent question. "What has following Christ cost you? If your answer is," it says in the lesson, "nothing really," the lesson says, "maybe you need to take a closer look at how closely you are following the master." Well, I would agree with that text. I would agree with what they said there. I have mixed emotions about it in one sense. I believe following Christ will cost us something.

But not always, some days following Jesus is the greatest high you can ever be on, right? Some of the greatest blessings come to us because we are following Jesus. And even stephen when he was stoned, he looked up and he saw the heavens open. And when they started stoning him, he didn't seem like he was feeling any pain. He says, "father, forgive them. They don't even know what they're doing.

" So what was his reward? The reward of being a disciple. That's what we're talking about. Well, his reward right there was death. Where is he at now? He's still sleeping, isn't he? In the grave. Cessation of life here on earth as we know it now.

He's sleeping in the grave 'til Jesus comes. But what of his future? He's going to be in the first resurrection of John 5, right? "The resurrection of life," it says. So what are the rewards of being disciple? Does God offer you riches because you become his disciple? No. Does he offer you fame if you become his disciple? Not particularly. Well, what's the difference? Because I know people who are not Christians who are rich.

And I know people who are not Christians who have a lot of fame. And I know Christians--people who are not Christians, who have actually been healed from diseases. So what's the deal about following Jesus? What is there? What benefit is there to following Jesus in this life? Is it only the reward of eternal life? Is that the only reason for--the benefit for following Jesus now? And I would say no. And the lesson points it out in one word: peace, right? The world does not give you the same kind of peace that Jesus can give us. The lesson says that Christian's peace is unlike the imperfect and transient kind of peace the world offers.

But in Philippians 4:7-- somebody has that one too. Who has that verse? Right over here. Philippians 4:7 talks about a peace. And my question is why do not all of us as Christians have this kind of peace that Philippians 4:7 is talking about? "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Thank you very much. The peace that passes all understanding.

Why don't we all possess that? Well, perhaps it's because we don't read the previous verse that says, "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with," what? "With thanksgiving," that's right. Maybe we're not experiencing that text as much as we should to experience the next verse. As someone has said, "safety consists not in the absence of danger, but in the presence of God," right? And isn't that what prayer does for us? It doesn't bring us--bring God down to us so much as it lifts us up to God, right? Can you have the beautiful look of peace by trusting God in all things? That certainly is a segue into Thursday lessons where it is entitled, "the Lordship of Jesus Christ." The world seems to love Lords. You noticed that? And there's films out. I guess there--wasn't it "the Lord of the rings," or something like that? The world loves to have their Lords to look to and be, I don't know, razzle-dazzled by, whatever.

But it's a whole lot different than the Lord, right, the Lord Jesus Christ. The dictionary says about Lord, "a person having great power and authority, a ruler or master." So when Jesus becomes your Savior, he also becomes your Lord. And a lot of people want Jesus as their Savior, but they don't want him as their Lord, right? Because if you don't--if you have a master, that's somebody telling you what to do all the time. And you know, people don't like to be told what to do and what not to do, until you come and fall in love with Jesus. Then it's easy, isn't it? If you fall in love with Jesus and he tells you to do something, it's a whole lot easier.

Well, sometimes it's a struggle, but it's a whole lot easier. The lesson pointed out how professing Christ as your Lord back in those days would have been a huge thing, why? Well, if you professed somebody on earth as your Lord, that was a tremendous blow to the person who was the King or the leader of the country. And you could lose your head, right? If you would fall down and worship or give homage to any other human being than the King--and so following Jesus back in those days was a huge thing, right? Now I don't suppose it's that huge a thing for all of us right here in Sacramento. Have any of you been threatened with...for professing Jesus as your Lord? Anybody been threatened with your execution of you-- or separating your head from the rest of your body? No? I haven't either. It may come to that someday, right? But I don't think it's any less of a challenge for us than it was in those days, because accepting Jesus as Lord is monumental, right? It's very, very important.

It's very clear from the passage in Matthew 7:22. In fact, I would like to read that for us, Matthew 7:22. Give me a chance to read one this morning. Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus is the one speaking and he says this, "many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!'" Or iniquity. It's very clear from this passage that merely professing Christ as Lord is not enough.

By his grace we must live life fully allowing him to be Lord of our lives. Now you would think that would take the wind out of the sails of those who preach, "only believe, that's all you have to do." Now believing is very important. And believing is the only thing that merits salvation. Grace comes as a free gift by faith, by believing. Nothing else you can do to merit salvation.

But there is something else you will do because of having salvation, right? And you will live the life of a disciple. You will live a life of acknowledging Jesus as your Lord. It's not believe, then work to earn your salvation. No, it's believe and allow Christ to work through you, his will and his life in you. There's a great deal of difference between the two, isn't it? And let's don't skirt around the issue, because the text that Jesus just gave us doesn't skirt around it at all.

Allowing the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be theme of our lives means living a life of obedience to what? His commandments. And doing that by grace. We don't do it in our own power. It's impossible, but by grace it is possible. Can we all say "amen" to that? By grace it is possible to obey his commandments.

We must believe that. Well, our free offer, again, is number 771, "teaching the disciples." Go to www.amazingfacts.org, -866-788-3966. And again, we want to thank you all here in Sacramento for being with us this morning, and some of our visitors who have traveled a far way off to be with us and thankful for our listeners on the internet, on radio or live streaming. God bless you and we'll see you again next Sabbath. Hello, friends.

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