Title: Developing Passionate Followers of Christ
Text: Deuteronomy 6.1-9
Introduction: Ecc. 1.9-10: 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
C.S. Lewis is noted as calling this Chronological Snobbery in his book, Surprised by Joy. Chronological snobbery represents the idea that what has happened in our lifetime is better than what happened in previous generations or eras. We simply cast it aside because it is ‘medieval’ or from ‘the dark ages.’ We simply assume that we know better than Calvin or Augustine or Aquinas. It is arrogance on my part to think that my thought is better simply because I live in a technically advanced age.
So what is the remedy for this? Lewis recommends that every third book you read be from outside your own century. Interesting advice. You might consider it.
A Philosophy of Ministry:
When Michael Wright was pastor of Calvary, I’m assuming before you guys ever moved to South Tyler, he led the church to adopt the following Mission Statement: developing passionate followers of Christ. Calvary exists to develop passionate followers of Christ. I took the liberty of breaking this down into three segments: Worship, Discipleship, and Ministry. Worship: One Passion; Discipleship: One Mission; Ministry: One Body. This philosophy of ministry states that we exist as a church to fulfill three priorities. We exist:
- To reflect the grace of God upward in Worship,
- To apply the grace of God inward through Discipleship (evangelism and training)
- To extend the grace of God outward through ministry and mission.
This is why I ask you as members to participate in the Body through 1+2. 1 is Worship. Every week you should be involved in worship. it’s the only time we meet together. If you miss a week, it’s 14 days since you were last with the body. Then I ask you to participate in Discipleship and Ministry. If your ministry is being a Bible Study leader and discipling others, then find another time when you’re being fed – when you’re being discipled.
The truth is that this isn’t new. I know a lot of folks think that Rick Warren invented it (or at least they act like he did), but listen to Hezekiah Harvey in his book The Church.
Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant. These objects are three:
- The social, united worship of God . . .
- The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel . . .
- The sanctification of its own members . . .
The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design. Upward, inward, outward…
- One Passion: Worship
- One Mission: The Great Commission – Discipleship
- One Body: Serving through ministry and mission.
The Church was written in 1879. So, where does this come from? Truth is I could pick one of a dozen passages to preach from. This topic flows from and indeed, I have preached, from many similar passages. Today, I’m going to the OT in Deuteronomy. Turn there with me. Deut. 6.1-9
Here is the flow of the passage.
- 1-3: Introduction – statement of purpose/goal
- 4: A statement
- 5-9: multiple commands; let’s begin with v. 1;
6 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you (Knowing), that you may do (Doing) them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it(Being),
A great introduction: knowing, doing, and being. I like what Moses is doing here. For many, there is an assumption that knowledge is the key. But the truth is that many know what they should do, but don’t. The Bible calls this foolishness. Think about this: when you and I do what you and I know is wrong – we are fools. Period. The key here is to not miss any of these three:
- Foolishness: Knowing and not doing.
- Pharisee: Knows and does, but it never becomes part of his being.
- The wise man: Knows and does because of his who he is – being.
2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Now, from this introduction, Moses issues a statement. This statement is rudimentary in Jewish Theology, but is magnified for us in the New Testament: rd v 4, where the famous Shema statement is made:
4: Statement: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This is the foundation. This is what everything else rest upon. There is no other person, place or thing in all of creation that deserves our devotion. Who is this God – known as Yahweh?
- He is our teacher (5)
- He is to be feared (13)
- He is to be followed (10)
- He is our provider (10)
- He alone is God – there is no other. (14)
- He is to be preeminent in our lives. (13)
- He is to be served (13)
- He is to be shared with others (20)
- He is Jealous for his people (16)
- He makes us righteous through our obedience to his commands (25)
5: Command #1: Love the LORD your God – with all of your:
These three represent the totality of the human. There is no part of our being that isn’t committed to Him. From who we are branching out to all we do and all we have – it all is surrendered to Him. Our families, Our finances, Our futures, Our Health, Our Homes, Our smallest worries, Our children, Our church, fill in the blank – it’s his! Command #2
6.6f: Commands: These words shall be on your heart. – that is the cognitive part of our lives.
- You Shall Think (6)
- You Shall Teach (7)
- You Shall Talk (7)
- When you sit
- When you walk
- When you lie down
- When you rise; Command #3
6.8f: Command: Bind them as a sign
- On your hand
- On your forehead
- On your doorposts
- On your gates
God wants there to be external reminders of Him in our lives. It’s amazing what we can do when we serve what or who we love. That could be God – or – that could be someone else – or – even something else.
ill.: Have you heard about seventy-eight-year-old Aleida Huissen of Rotterdam, who had been smoking for the better part of fifty years. For most of that time she had been trying to give up the habit, and at last at the age of 78 she succeeded. The secret? Seventy-nine-year-old Leo Jansen proposed marriage but refused to go through with the wedding until Aleida gave up smoking. Aleida said, “Will power never was enough to get me off the habit. Love made me do it.”
ill: A statement my kids will make about their father: He loved God. He loved my momma. He loved me. What or who do you love more than God? Because, 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Transition: In this passage, we learn of God’s commands to us concerning our relationship with him. This is another great passage to use for our mission statement – developing passionate followers of Christ. Let’s look closer at our statement, one word at a time.
I. Developing (5-9)
exp.: Some people ask why evangelism isn’t listed here among this trilogy. That’s a good question. My answer is that I’ve felt for some years now that evangelism is the 1st step in discipleship. Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – One verb, three participles telling how.
So, how do you make disciples:
- In the process of life – While or as you are going. Having Gone: aorist pass ptc
- By Genuine Conversion – That’s the baptism part. A person who claims to be a Christian and hasn’t been baptized is walking in disobedience. And, how can you claim Jesus is your Lord, when he commands you to be baptized as a public confession on your faith and you refuse because of your pride? Baptism is our first step in obedience.
- By Studying God’s Word – By Learning about all of Christ’s Commands. If you’re a Christian, and if you’ve been baptized, but you’re not in a discipleship program of some sort – you’re living in disobedience. If you’re a Christian and you’re not getting into God’s Word daily, then I would venture to guess you’re living in disobedience. There should be some systematic, regular and routine practice to getting in God’s Word and being discipled.
Transition: You should be developing… 2nd word:
II. Passionate (4-5)
exp.: rd v 4-5; This past week I was reading in my daily readings Isaiah 43-45 (Selected Readings). He is God! He deserves our passion – our following him as closely as possible – to worship him with our lives. How can I describe God to you? He’s indescribable. He is worthy of the worship he commands of us. He is good and he is kind. He is patient and loving toward us. He always wants what is best for us – He always knows what is best for us. His glory is his own and it is to be shared with no one. “Play recording of Dr. Lockridge”
His love for us is expressed in the cross of Calvary, where he sent his own son to die in our place. And his desire is that none should perish, but that all might come to repentance and find forgiveness.
His promise is to cleanse the sinner at the moment of repentance. Confession brings a cleansed soul and a purified heart. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
App.: Our passion is expressed in and through our worship. It is expressed in our discipleship. It is expressed in our ministry and mission.
Transition: Developing, Passionate – and last…
III. Followers of Christ (3)
exp.: What does it mean to follow? Jesus says to “follow him”
|English Standard Version 56 results in 25 verses|
|Matt 4:19||And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”|
|Matt 8:22||And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”|
|Matt 9:9||As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.|
|Matt 10:38||And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.|
|Matt 16:24||Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.|
|Matt 19:21||Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”|
|Mark 1:17||And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”|
|Mark 2:14||And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.|
|Mark 8:34||And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.|
|Mark 10:21||And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”|
|Luke 5:27||After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”|
|Luke 9:23||And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.|
|Luke 9:59||To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”|
|Luke 18:22||When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”|
|John 1:43||The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”|
|John 8:12||Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”|
|John 10:27||My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.|
|John 12:26||If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.|
|John 21:19||(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”|
|John 21:22||Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”|
In his most recent address to some missionaries being Commissioned by the IMB of the SBC, David Platt said to follow Christ means:
- To live with radical abandonment for His glory. “Leaving behind, laying down, abandoning everything in your life doesn’t make sense until you realize who Jesus is,” Platt said. “But when you realize who He is, when you realize who Christ the King is — laying, leaving, abandoning all these things is the only thing that makes sense.”
- To live with total dependence on Him.“Who among us wants our lives to be summed up by what we can accomplish on our own?” he asked. “Don’t we want to be used by our King to do things that we could never do on our own?”
- To live with faithful adherence to His person.“Followers of Jesus are those for whom Christ is their life.” Your job is not your life. Your children are not your life. Your life is in Christ.
- To be “fishers of men.”To be a disciple is to be disciple-maker. All Christians are called to tell people how they can know Jesus as Savior. “This is not an extraordinary picture, this is an ordinary Christian picture — to say ‘I’ll go wherever You want me to go,’” Platt said.
With 4.5 billion people in the world without Christ and several billion who have never even heard how they can go to heaven, “we don’t have time to waste living out a nice comfortable, Christian spin on the American dream. It makes no sense whatsoever,” Platt said.
“To follow this King in this world, it means total abandonment, dependence on His grace, adherence to His person and urgent obedience to His mission.”
This isn’t just for missionaries! This is for everyone who calls Christ his Lord!
This is the God who deserves our total abandonment to what’s here on earth and total allegiance to him!