South Sydney Anglican Church
14 February 2021

A True Disciple is forever a student of Jesus

Speaker: Matt Johnson

Bible Passage: Matthew 10: 16-33

Matt.10:5 Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Big Idea:       A True Disciple is forever a student of Jesus

Matt.10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (probably into his Fathers glory – cf Dan.7:13-14)….

Point 1:          A True Disciple is a Student learning under Jesus            

24 “The student (mathrtrs – disciple, student, pupil, learner; Lk.6:40; ) is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.

Point 2:          A True Disciple is a student learning to be like Jesus

25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

Point 3:          A True Disciple learns to share what Jesus shares with them

26 So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Trust in God’s Sovereignty).

Mary and Martha story Lk.10:38-42

Mt 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Mt 24:32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:

1Co 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.

1Th 4:4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

Tit 3:14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.

Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. Heb 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Heb 5:13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Big Idea:       A True Disciple is forever a student of Jesus

Intro:              Well morning friends and visitors. My name is Matt Johnson and today we are continuing to think about Making Christian Diciples. So far we have considered 1) Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples and 2)we’ve also looked at God’s ultimate plan to have many disciples in heaven. So there is good biblical warrant for making disciples. But today (and next week) we are thinking about what is a Christian disciple?

PRAYER

                        Well what is a disciple? Let me say that the root word for disciple is actually STUDENT or LEARNER. A Christian disciple is one who learns from Jesus or studies under Jesus. So thinking today about the importance of learning – I’ve asked my daughter Sienna to come and answer a few questions – because she has been learning to drive.  So I just want us to think for a moment about learning (and the nature of learning).

So please put your hands together for Sienna as she comes and answers a few questions. Well Sienna thank you for helping me today.

  • Can you begin by telling us what it takes to get a driving license?
  • How do you think learning about driving and actually driving is different? What do you think was the hardest thing to learn?
  • Here is the question everyone wants to know – was it better learning to drive with Dad or mum (& why)???
  • Do you think that you’ll know everything there is to know about driving when you get your P’s? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think car insurance is so much higher for young learner drivers than older drivers?
  • Do you think there are similarities between learning to drive and learning to be a Christian?
  • Finally, last question: is it true that you are a lead foot who needs to learn to slow down?

Ok friends you get the picture. When you think about Christian disciple I want you to think learner driver – with both theoretical learning and practical learning taking place. So today I want to think about what that means for us being disciples and making disciples as a Church.

Point 1:         A True Disciple is a Student learning from Jesus

Show:                        Matt.10:24 (READ)

Explain:        Now in context THE TEACHER is Jesus and THE MASTER is Jesus. So the word student and the word servant are descriptions of what Jesus thinks a disciple should be. If someone asked me what is a Christian disciple: these are probably the two key words I’d use. A Christian disciple is 1) a student of Jesus and a servant of Jesus. Now this week we are going to think about what it means to be a student and next week what it means to be a servant.

Now this section of Scripture is basically a Jewish version of the Great Commision. Two weeks ago we saw Jesus say to the 11 disciples (Slide 3 – Matt.28::18-20). This is called the Great Commission. It’s what Jesus told the church to do. We are to make disciples of all people. But Matthew 10 is like A JEWISH VERSION of the great commission. If you look down to Matt.10:5 you’ll see that it says; (READ; Matt.10:5-7).  You see, early in Jesus ministry the 12 disciples were sent out to make just Jewish disciples. At this point it is only the Jews because Jesus has not yet died for the sins of the world. So this is like a Jewish version of the Great Commission. Of course, once Jesus died on the cross and rose again – he was no longer just the Jewish Messiah, he was now also the Lord and Saviour of all the world. So after his death and resurrection – the command changed to making disciples of all nations. But this passage is like the forerunner to the great commission.

Now Jesus has just explained that making disciples is going to be HARD. He says he is sending the disciples out like SHEEP AMONG WOLVES. Jesus explains that sometimesChristians will be persecuted for obeying Jesus and sometimes we will be persecuted for sharing the good news of Jesus. And then Jesus adds the key verse we are thinking about today (VERSE 24) “remember a student is not above their teacher.”

Illustrate:      Now in an AIRPORT pilots are usually a bit higher up the pecking order than cabin crew? And in A RESTAURANT who usually gets more respect – the waiters or the chefs? Of course, the chefs. And in a hospital setting – who gets the better deal – the doctors or the nurses? Well nomrmally the doctors

Apply:            But it’s IN THIS VEIN that Jesus says “a student in not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.What Jesus is saying is that if he got rough treatement as our teacher, then we the students should expect some rough treatement as well. Basically, Jesus is saying we shouldn’t expect people to treat us any better than they treated him. That’s the main point.

But here in Matthew 10 Jesus does speak of his disciples in terms of a 1) student-teacher relationship AND 2) a servant-master relationship. This shows us how Jesus views his disciples – as students and as servants. In fact the root word for disciple is student or learner. But is this how we view ourselves as Christians? Are you really a student of Jesus? And are you as attentive and studious as when you went to university or TAFE? Of course, when we first become Christians – we usually find ourselves learning all sorts of things about Jesus’ death and resurrection, about loving our neighbor and going to church and tithing etc etc. When we first become Christian’s we are often great learners…

But as many Christians grow just the TINIEST, INCY WINCIEST of bits they start acting like they now know everything Jesus has to teach? I know it all. 1) I know Jesus died for my sins. 2) I know I’m forgiven. 3) I understand God’s grace. And I know 4) the great commandment; “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I’ve got nothing more to learn. But is that all Jesus has to teach us? And even, if that is all Jesus has to teach us – have you really learnt it? It’s one thing to know you are forgiven, it is another thing altogether to forgive. It’s one thing to know the great commandment, but it is another thing altogether to love your neighbor as Jesus loved you.

And even if you think you understand grace – do you know how to show grace when your ex-wife , your dumb boss, or your disobedient children – are screaming in your face.

The question is – are you a real student of Jesus? And as we go out and make disciples for Jesus – how do we make Christians who remain students of Jesus for their entire life? ALWAYS LEARNING, ALWAYS GROWING (Slide 3). The FIRST POINT in our MISSION STATEMENT is live by faith, hope and love. This is the starting point. Basically step 1 is saying don’t be a hypocrite. If you really love Jesus for dying for you – at least do the basics. Be an authentic Christian of faith, hope and love. THE SECOND POINT in our Church Mission statement is GROW in faith, hope and love in Jesus. But the ONLY way to grow as a disciple is by learning and applying more and more of what Jesus taught to your life. Then, we start thinking about step 3 – sharing our Christian faith with others. So where are you now? Step 1, 2 or 3?

Let me truly ask – what are you currently doing TO LEARN from Jesus apart from the once a week sermon? Do you read your Bible daily? Do you read at least one good Christian book a year? Do you ever listen to a Christian podcast? Are you in a Bible study group? Have you done any Christian studies at a more academic level? (PAUSE) If the answer to all these questions is NO, in what sense are you a student of Jesus. And if the answer is “NO”, do you realize how stupid that is? As Christians we believe Jesus loves us enough to die for us. As Christians we believe Jesus is God’s Son in the flesh – WHO KNOWS ALL THINGS. HE KNOWS how the world works. HE KNOWS A) the best way for us to live now and B) the best way for us to store up treasure in heaven (and yet some of us are still so dumb we refuse to stop, listen and learn). A true Christian disciple should be a perpetual learner of Jesus.

Point 2:         A True Disciple is a student learning to be like Jesus

Show:                        Matt.10:25 (READ)

Explain:        Well as Jesus points out – our goal as students is not to be ABOVE Jesus or BETTER than Jesus. That’s crazy. No! OUR GOAL as students and servants of Jesus is to become like Jesus. That is the goal. We are learning in order to be like our teacher and like our master.

But are we learning in order to become like Jesus and please Jesus OR do we have other reasons? Many “Christians” (and I use the word Christian loosely) want to learn bits from the Bible simply as mental stimulation – to hear a good sermon or a bit of Bible history. Others want to learn about Jesus – simply to show off and talk theology. And some “Christians” simply want to learn the wisdom bits of the Bible in order to reap some of the worldly blessings that come from biblical wisdom. But Jesus says “it is enough for the student to be LIKE the master.”

The word ENOUGH means that it is sufficient or it is adequate. The implication is that simply listening to Jesus is NOT enough. What is enough in Jesus’ opinion is if we are becoming like our teacher. Now I don’t think that you MUST become like Jesus in every way in order to get to heaven. (GOSPEL) We know salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. WHEN WE BELIEVE Jesus died for our sins and we ask God to forgive us – we are pardoned and our names are written into heaven. This is God’s free gift to us. And if we are thankful and really believe – God asks us to listen to Jesus and obey Jesus. But many “Christians” just listen without ever obeying. Or to put it another way they learn the road rules of Christianity in theory, but they never put them into practice on the road. There are plenty of warnings in the Bible about such stupid Christians. As the apostle James says – faith without works is dead. Faith that is not actually making us more like Jesus is not saving faith. Or as Jesus says to the church in Laodicaea (in Revelation 3) be earnest and repent for I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The point is what is ENOUGH for salvation is that our faith in Jesus and our following Jesus is gradually, bit by bit, making us more like Jesus. Now thankfully, there is no bar you have to reach – where 65% like Jesus or 77% like Jesus gets you to heaven. But you are meant to becoming more and more like Jesus (otherwise your faith is dead). Yet, there are many Christians sitting in churches who are no more like Jesus today – than 25 years ago when they said a sinner’s prayer. They don’t think like Jesus, speak like Jesus or act like Jesus – and yet they think they are saved because they said some half-hearted, luke-warm prayer 25 years ago. Christians are meant to be like Jesus.

Illustrate:      Now have you ever noticed that you often start to think and speak like the people you hang out with? I have a brother-in-law named Aram who always uses the word EPIC. Everything from a new breakfast cereal, to a new pair of shoes, to Jesus rising from the dead is EPIC. “OH, THAT’S EPIC.” So much so that if I hang around him for more than a day or two – epic starts to slip into my vocabulary. Those we hang out with and listen to repeatedly, tend to shape us – positively & negatively.

Apply:            The same is true of Jesus. So how much time do you actually spend hanging out with Jesus (listening to Jesus) in any given week? As a church our goal is to make disciples who are always growing in faith, hope and love. But if we really want this – our church has to cultivate a culture from the top-down where forever learning is normal Christianity. If we have a churchwhere 1) the LEADERS and 2) SO-CALLED MATURE CHRISTIANS come to church haphazzardly, do not read their Bibles, are always too busy for Bible study, never read Christian books and never attend Christians conferences – guess what sort of disciples our church will produce? (PAUSE) If that is the norm that we accept, then that is the norm we will produce. Some of us – in this church – need to repent, change our priorities and become serious students of Jesus (instead of just giving lip-service to Jesus when he walks by). This is what the book of Hebrews says (SLIDE 5: Heb.5:12-14).

Let me say that if you consider yourself a leader of sorts in this church OR even a mature Christian in this church – WHAT YOU MODEL as a student of Jesus will ultimately SET THE BENCHMARK for how seriously others in our church try to be students of Jesus. If your choices suggest that learning from Jesus and being a student of Jesus is not that important – be assured others are watching – perhaps even your children or grandchildren.

Point 3:         A True Disciple learns in order to teach like Jesus

Show:                        Matt.10:26-31 (READ)

Explain:        Well as you can see – Jesus says what I teach you privately, declare publicly. What I whisper to you through the Holy Spirit in your quiet times shout from the rooftops. Jesus wants us to learn in order to SHARE what we have learnt with others. We live, then we grow, then we can share. There’s an old saying that you know you have really learnt something when you are able to teach it to others. THAT’S THE GOAL. Now maybe your learning in order to pass Christianity on to your children or grandchildren while the world bombards them with every lie of Satan. Have you learnt well enough to save them from all those lies? We are learning with a view to teaching others. But let me say that in education circles there is also a thing called the PROTÉGÉ EFFECT. The protégé effect says that one of the best ways to learn anything, is to teach others. By taking a step of faith – and helping in Sunday school, or leading a Bible study or doing Christianity Explored with another person – you will often find that you learn best by teaching. When you prepare to teach a Bible passage to others – it forces you to medidate on what is the key-point. It forces you to think about how you will explain the idea and how it applies to practical life.

Now we do need to be careful because the Bible says new Christians should not try to teach others too soon, because they will be puffed up with pride and fall into the devils trap. But as we saw in Hebrews there also comes a point where Christians should be teachers. Hebrews says – by this time you ought to be teachers.

Our church’s mission is to live by faith, hope and love, grow in faith, hope and love AND then share our faith, hope and love – because this is how we overflow as church. This is how we make disciples for Jesus. But are we still learning and growng?

  As I’ve been preparing this sermon – my mind kept coming back to the story of MARY AND MARTHA in Luke’s gospel. Jesus comes to Mary and Martha’s house for a meal one day. But Martha is so distracted by all the preparations for the meal – that she has no time to actually stop and listen to Jesus. She is just running around consumed by all the things she has to do to organize for the meal. But the Bible says Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to everything he had to say. Naturally Martha then gets angry that Mary isn’t helping her do all the things that need to be done for lunch. But Jesus says; (SLIDE 6; Luke 10:41-42). What is better. Notice the words “WHAT IS BETTER.” Is your life becoming like Martha’s OR are you choosing what is better – like Mary?

Sadly, I become like Martha a little too easily. Life crowds in and always seems to get busier and busier. So I have to constantly make conscious decisions to unplug from the world and plug back into Jesus. AS A PASTOR AND TEACHER for Jesus – I know I will only ever be as good a teacher as I am a learner. So I’m constantly trying to choose what is better. REPENT when I’m becoming Martha. SPEND MORE time being Mary. But what is true of me as a pastor is also true of you as a parent, or grandparent, a bible study leader or Sunday school teacher. We will only ever be as good a teacher, as we are a learner.

So where are you? Are you still truly learning and growing OR have you been stuck, repeating second class for the last few years? And what sort of student do you want to be? Are you aiming just for a pass into heaven or a High Distinction? Of course, P’s may get you degrees, but only HD’s are fit for heaven. If we are going to make disciples – we need to be learning growing disciples ourselves – who are becoming more and more like Jesus….

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