Skip to content

Discipleship – the final call 弟子訓練-最終メッセージ

Today we conclude our year-long study of discipleship. We’ve looked at many vital elements of discipleship throughout the year but today let’s finish by looking at three key elements of discipleship.

Love 愛

I’ve just come back from a conference in Malaysia. I want to thank the church for sending me. There was so much to learn and receive and take part in and over the next few weeks and months I look forward to sharing with you some of the fruit of the conference.

But for now let me share with you the most impressive thing of the whole conference: it was the love of the people.
It was a very powerful conference. There were prophecies. There was speaking in tongues. There were stories of enormous sacrifice. There was the sharing of great knowledge. There was a willingness to give up everything to serve the poor and lowly and the most remote regions of the earth. All very inspiring stuff.

But it would have meant nothing – all that would have meant nothing at all – if there was no love. I’m pleased to say that there was love! It was wonderful to be a stranger amongst several hundred people and to never feel like a stranger at all. Lebanese friends, Egyptian friends, Malaysian friends and even some new Australian friends. Jesus said “Everyone will know if you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35/ヨハネによる福音書13:35

Love is the Christian trump card. It’s the big difference between religion and faith, between knowing about God and knowing God, between being a fan of Jesus and being a disciple of Jesus.

We have to qualify this. What is this love that Jesus is talking about? How are we to understand it? He didn’t say ‘be nice to one another’. He even went beyond saying ‘Love others as you love yourself’ (which is an excellent benchmark). He said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34/ヨハネによる福音書13:34

Paul goes on to teach this in some detail. This should be familiar to you but it’s worth reading again.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:1-8a/コリントの信徒への手紙一13:1-8a
1 たといわたしが、人々の言葉や御使たちの言葉を語っても、もし愛がなければ、わたしは、やかましい鐘や騒がしい応鉢と同じである。
2 たといまた、わたしに預言をする力があり、あらゆる奥義とあらゆる知識とに通じていても、また、山を移すほどの強い信仰があっても、もし愛がなければ、わたしは無に等しい。
3 たといまた、わたしが自分の全財産を人に施しても、また、自分のからだを焼かれるために渡しても、もし愛がなければ、いっさいは無益である。
4 愛は寛容であり、愛は情深い。また、ねたむことをしない。愛は高ぶらない、誇らない。
5 不作法をしない、自分の利益を求めない、いらだたない、恨みをいだかない。
6 不義を喜ばないで真理を喜ぶ。
7 そして、すべてを忍び、すべてを信じ、すべてを望み、すべてを耐える。
8 愛はいつまでも絶えることがない。

2. Show and Tell ショー&テル

Do you remember ‘show and tell’ in kindergarten? You’d take something that was important to you to school and show it to everyone and tell them all about it.
George’s birthday story: George telling me he got a bird for my birthday. He just couldn’t help it. He was so excited he just had to tell! He couldn’t help blurting it out!

This analogy shows us very simply and clearly what it should be like for us to share with others about Jesus. We should be bursting with joy, bursting with love for Jesus that we just can’t keep it in.

In our Bible studies recently we asked the question, “What are some reasons that we find it hard to share the gospel with others?”
Some said it’s fear. We fear rejection, ridicule or even persecution.
Some said it’s a lack of knowledge in what we believe.
Some said it’s a compromised lifestyle – that is, our lives don’t match the message. So we keep quiet.
All of these might be quite true.
But there was one other answer which cuts right to the bone: maybe we just don’t love Jesus.
We want to love Him, we say that we love Him but the reality is we just don’t love him enough to talk about Him.

C.S. Lewis said “Our delight [in Jesus] is incomplete until it is expressed.”
Paul said that our public confession of Jesus is so vital that it’s actually a part of our own salvation experience.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9/ローマの信徒への手紙10:9

Our hearts to confess Christ – to share Jesus with others – should be motivated by two things:
Our love for God and His Word.
Our grief and sadness over those who are lost.
  1. 神の御言葉への愛
  2. 失われた者への悲しみ

Many Christians are likely to say: me? In ministry? Evangelise? That’s not my thing. I’m not gifted in that way. It doesn’t suit my personality. I’m better suited to other things. There’s some truth to this. We’re not all called to be evangelists.

But we all have a role in sharing our faith with others.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15/ペトロの手紙一3:15

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:18/コリントの信徒への手紙二5:18

Ministry to others – sharing Jesus with others – is not about technique or talent. It’s not even about giftedness. It’s about relationships. Firstly it comes from a love relationship with God. That overflows into a love relationship with others.
As we love others, as we live out a life of faith before others, we share with them ‘the ministry of reconciliation’ – we explain gently and respectfully why it is we live as we do. And so we share with others our love for God and His Son Jesus.
Our love for others must be bigger than our fear of what they might think of us.

3. Supernatural 超自然的

So, to recap so far, to live as a disciple of Jesus, we need to live a life of love.
And we need to be willing to share and explain that love to others.

But we also need a touch of the supernatural. We can’t do these things on our own and God doesn’t expect us to. That’s why He’s given us a helper. The Holy Spirit. Disciples of Christ are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Followers of Jesus are Spirit-led. (It’s our motto for this year!)

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

i. He convicts the world of sin. 
Convicting people of sin is His job, not ours. And we can be very thankful for that because we are rotten at it. It makes us sound like mean, judgemental, arrogant people. No, discipleship means we share the love of God, the gift of the Son, the change in our lives and we let the Holy Spirit convict people of sin.

ii. He baptises us into the body of Christ and gives us the assurance of salvation.
This is a supernatural act at the time of salvation when the Holy Spirit gives us a new nature and identifies us with Jesus Christ. As we grow as disciples, the Holy Spirit becomes an inner witness to our spirit, sealing us, and giving us confidence that we truly do belong to God.

iii. He distributes spiritual gifts.
Because He made us, He knows us best and is qualified to give us not the spiritual gifts that others look good using but the spiritual gifts that we can use, as disciples, most effectively to build up the body of Christ, the church. He is also sure to give us gifts that bring us joy as we use them.

iv. He produces spiritual fruit in our lives.
As we abide in Him, He develops in us the communicable characteristics of God Himself. As we grow in discipleship, we look more and more like Jesus.

v. He fills and empowers us.
This is key to being a 5th gospel believer.
When a person is drunk on alcohol, it affects their speech, judgement, physical responses, vision, emotions, relationships, personality, thought processes and levels of confidence.
When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, it affects their speech, judgement, physical responses, vision, emotions, relationships, personality, thought processes and levels of confidence.
This is why Paul makes the analogy between being filled with wine and filled with the Holy Spirit. They affect everything about us – alcohol negatively, the Holy Spirit positively, supernaturally. And Paul is talking about the filling of the Holy Spirit in an ongoing way.
We are to ‘be being filled’ (all the time) with the Holy Spirit. We are to be constantly relating to and under the influence of the Holy Spirit. This reminds us that Christian living is not about ‘dont’s’ and it’s not about rules. It’s about relationship. It’s about a lifestyle that is sold out for God. Consumed with Him. Committed to Him. Starry-eyed in love with Him.

vi. He works miracles.

Miracles were not just a new testament phenomena. They still happen today. People are miraculously called and saved. People have miraculous encounters with God and escape from danger. People are healed. People are given words of knowledge, words of prophecy, words of encouragement that could only come from the mouth of God. I believe miracles should be commonplace. As disciples we are not to merely enjoy salvation but to activate God’s Kingdom of power and light into the world.

In a nutshell, discipleship means that because of our love for God we live a life of contagious joy, we share Him with others, not counting the cost, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Christian family.

D.L. Moody: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully surrendered to Him.”