A disciple will remain salty by (1) making disciples (2) bring-ing people a more abundant life (3) ministering to the sick and the sinners (4) save the world by not condemning it and (5) a disciple will bring division.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Scriptures: Luke 14:26-35; Luke 14:26-35; Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:10; Matthew 9:12-13; John 3:17; Matthew 10:34-38
(Video) We are doing this series on DISCIPLE. I fear that I am getting way too serious about thisDISCIPLE/Christian thing, so I think I will back off. In fact, I think I have upset some people. I have been way too heavy. To show how sorry I am about it, I think we should change the name of our church. I think we should change one letter in our name. That’s not much. I think we should change the ‘f” in L I F E to a ‘t.’ The name should be “Lite” like the beer… “Lite Gate Church.” I think that would work better. Also, our mission statement has been for years “Life Gate Church, reaching people and making them devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” I think we will change that too. From now on, it will be “Lite Gate Church making people partially devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” I think that will be better. That will be more “user friendly” and “seeker sensitive.” To go along with our new name and new mission statement, I’ve got a whole new marketing campaign.
Welcome to Life Gate Church. If you haven’t been here in a while or this is your first time, things are changing. You know, for the past fifteen years, our motto has been “Making people devoted followers of Jesus Christ,” but now, we are changing it to “Making people PARTIALLY devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” Also, we are changing our name from Life Gate Church to Lite Gate Church, like the beer. Most churches ask you to come once or twice a week, tithe ten percent of your income, and even DO something. But not here at Lite Gate Church. We are all about entertaining you. At Lite Gate Church, just show up every once in a while. We want you to feel good about you.
Church will be great. It’s all about you. You know, come after worship, and leave before the offering. Or, just come for the music. We want you to be happy.
Another you-centered feature is our ten commandments. Instead of ten, we will only have five and you can custom choose anyone you want from our menu. If you want to keep number three, don’t misuse the name of the Lord your God, great. Keep that one. Or if you don’t want to keep number seven, the one about not committing adultery, then don’t keep it. It’s all about you and keeping you happy.
At Lite Gate Church, we are slashing commitment in half. Thirty to forty minute sermons, no! Not here, my friend. We will be the home of the fifteen minute sermonette. It’s all about making you feel better about you. Giving? No way. Serving? Don’t even think about it. Just show up. Talk to the person next to you, or don’t. This is the home of less means more. It’s everything you’ve wanted in a church and less. It’s what you need for you.
Yes, I think a name change, mission statement change, and the new marketing campaign will work great. How about you?
So, what do you think? You don’t want a pastor who is radically serious about the Bible, do you? Don’t you want someone who will tickle your ears?
We are doing a series called DISCIPLE. So, just for the fun of it, let’s read the requirements Jesus gave again and include the remainder of his context. I know he wasn’t really serious about this, but we will read it anyway just to see what he said.
Luke 14:26-35 If anyone comes to me and does not  hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes,  even his own life – he cannot be MY DISCIPLE. And anyone who does not  carry his cross and follow me cannot be MY DISCIPLE. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and  estimate the cost… (v33) In the same way, any of you who does not  give up everything he has cannot be MY DISCIPLE. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus must have thought there is something about this that we would not want to hear or understand. How many think we should water down the requirements of being a follower and a disciple of Jesus? Ahhhh, come on… Let’s make it easy. Can’t we just say a short prayer, come to church when we want, arrive late, leave early, never do anything for the kingdom, never catch people, never give anything, and be a “follower/disciple” of Jesus Christ? Isn’t that sort of what we tell people in America today? We have so lowered the standard and diluted the requirements that sometimes I wonder if we do more damage to the kingdom than good.
For the benefit of our guests and those who have recently began coming to Life Gate (not Lite Gate), I have been being facetious in an attempt to cause us to think. I continued reading the context of that passage this week. This is where Jesus talked about being “salt.” If salt loses its saltiness, what good is it? It’s good for nothing if diluted. The meaning is what good is a person who begins following, but waters down or dilutes the requirements. This is the standard. If you change it then it will not change anything. It will not change you, change anyone, or change societies. What good is a preacher who dilutes the Word of God? He or she is good for nothing except to be walked on. Jesus said what good is a person who begins following full of zeal, potential, and excitement to learn and imitate Jesus, but then dilutes it all down? Then Jesus said, “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” Are we listening? Do we understand? A DISCIPLE will remain salty. ADISCIPLE does not simply do the “social religion” and “Christian belief system” thing?
In our first lesson, MY DISCIPLE, we talked about the word disciple (Strong’s #3101 mathetes) means a learner, i.e. pupil, immitator. A follower or DISCIPLE of Christ will learn what Christ did so he or she can do what Christ did. We said a DISCIPLE will touch lepers (those others will not touch),befriend prostitutes (serious sinners), offend Pharisees (overly religious). Last time we talked aboutBECAUSE YOU SAY SO and how a disciple will catch people.Today, let’s talk about REMAINING SALTY by doing the things a DISCIPLE does.
(1) A DISCIPLE WILL MAKE DISCIPLES.
This is not the same as catching people (fishers of men). I have caught a lot of people, but I have only made a few disciples.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING THEM to obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you…
These are people with whom we spend time and teach. We baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not only baptize in water. What do you mean Delbert? We immerse them in who the person of the Father, the person of the Son, and the person of Holy Spirit is. We teach them everything they have said. It’s way more than only catching people.
Please notice that Jesus told his disciples to make disciples, not Christians. We have talked about this over the past few weeks. To me, there is a profound difference between a DISCIPLE and a Christian. Maybe it is more that every DISCIPLE is a Christian, but every Christian is not aDISCIPLE. I simply do not see many Christians attempting to fulfill the requirements Jesus laid out (Luk 14:26-35). We are to make DISCIPLES – people who will love Jesus more than anyone or anything; who will love Jesus more than their own lives; who will take up their cross and follow him; who will count the cost; who will leave everything to follow him. I just do not see much of that in Christianity. I see a belief system where people believe that Jesus died for their sins, but I do not see many DISCIPLES.
Disciples make disciples, which brings up the question, “Who SHOULD you be ‘discipling’?” Not so much “who are you making” as “who SHOULD you make”? That is a different take on discipling. Who should you disciple? Many think that “discipling people” means they have to be capable of quoting scriptures, or have a class, or have a group. When Jesus did his discipling, he didn’t sit them down in a classroom style. He did life with them. They would go on a walk and see a guy sowing seed in a field. He would say, “See that guy? That is like the kingdom of God.” Then he would teach them why and how the kingdom works. Or, he would do something a little strange like curse a fig tree and it would die. He would say, “Now, here’s the lesson behind this. It’s really about prayer.”DISCIPLING IS DOING LIFE WITH A SPIRITUAL AND ETERNAL EMPHASIS.Jesus made the “spiritual” normal everyday life. That is discipling.
Who SHOULD you be discipling? First of all, if you have children, you should be discipling your children. Discipling your children is not the role of the church. It is the church’s job to partner with you and help, but you are the number one discipler in your children’s lives. How are you doing? I am and was a busy father. For many years, I worked at nights, slept during the days, and worked many weekends. However, I found time to disciple my children. Bonnie, Jack, and Max, my daughter and two grandsons, were here this past week. She told us that Jody, her husband, and she had a conversation recently. He told her they had to work into their lives a way to talk to their boys about spiritual things. He was talking about a “devotional” thing. She told him that was not how her dad (me) and mom did it when she was a child. She said that we would talk about spriritual things all the time – in the car riding, simply watching television, or just hanging out. Judy and I didn’t set them down for a “devotional.” We just did life with them with an emphasis on the spiritual and eternal. It’s that simple. Your first discipling obligation is your children. You will REMAIN SALTY if you disciple your children.
You have friends and relationships you do life with (spend time with) also. Do you ever, while doing life, make the spiritual an everyday experience with them? Do you emphasize the eternal with them? A DISCIPLE REMAINS SALTY BY MAKING DISCIPLES. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever made a disciple? I want to tell you that there is no better feeling in the world than to know you impacted someone’s life that deeply for the good.
(2) A DISCIPLE WILL BRING PEOPLE A MORE ABUNDANT LIFE.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.
If you are a disciple, you will help impact lives in a way that people will experience a more abundant life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Who are you, at this moment, helping to have a better life? Maybe it’s that family down the street that needs a little help financially. Maybe it’s that person at work suffering through a divorce. Maybe it’s that friend whose child is in rebellion. There is someone in your world that you can help. Or, is it all about you? A DISCIPLE will REMAIN SALTY by helping people have a more abundant life. How many get a buzz when you do something that helps someone have a better life? It is a great feeling.
(3) A DISCIPLE WILL MINISTER TO THE SICK AND THE SINNERS.
Matthew 9:12-13 On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
If you are a disciple, you will be there for the sick. You will go to hospitals. You will pray for people to be healed. You will take food. You will help in any way you can to get them well physically, mentally, or spritually. When is the last time you layed hands on someone and prayed with them for healing? Isn’t that what Jesus did?
Not only will a disciple be there for the sick, he or she will be there for the serious sinner. There is one in your world somewhere. Take a moment and look around. You might be the one person to keep that serious sinner from an eternity in hell. At least, give it a shot. I had a great phone call from someone last week. She is touching one of these lepers who no one wants to touch and trying to help this person have a more abunant life. She told the person they needed to come hear this guy. He is different and I believe your life will change. A disciple will REMAIN SALTY by finding a way to minister to the sick and the sinners. It’s an amazing thing when you pray for someone and they are healed or delivered. It’s amazing when you reach a serious sinner and watch them come to the Lord.
There was this guy (serious sinner) who I only casually knew. He is related to one of my inlaws. Every time I was around him, I was just real. I didn’t condemn him. I did a few funerals he came to and threw out bait to him. Finally, I heard he received Jesus as Lord. Well, one day there was something going on at our building and he was here. He came up to me afterwards and said, “Delbert, I just want you to know that you are a big reason I got saved. The way you acted around me and the things you said at funerals made me want what you have. I know I don’t come here to church, but who knows, maybe I will one day. I just wanted you to know what you did for me.” I just did life around him with an emphasis on the spiritual and eternal. Who knows how many people I have affected in that way. Those things cause me to REMAIN SALTY.
(4) A DISCIPLE WILL SAVE THE WORLD, NOT CONDEMN IT.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
If you are a disciple, you will not talk about the destruction and end of the world. A disciple will tell people how Jesus will save the world. That’s different from what “Christians” teach today. A disciple will teach about the world being saved and do what he or she can to save it. Are you in a belief system that destroys the world and sends those damed O sinners to hell, or are you about saving the world? I have told you about listening to a preacher on TBN who talked about hoping that the Lord would give him “a little hang time” at the rapture so he could wave bye to those who did not make the rapture. I remember thinking, “There is something very wrong with that.” I talk about saving the world and it keeps me salty. Jesus said he was not sent to condemn the world, but to save it. How about you?
(5) A DISCIPLE WILL BRING DIVISION.
Matthew 10:34-38 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
That’s intense and radical, don’t you think? A DISCIPLE is a radical person and his or her radicalness will separate him or her from lots of things. “American Christianity” doesn’t do that. How much do you honestly love Jesus? That love will divide you. Has his coming into your life divided you, concerning priorities, from everything else important in your life? Though you still love good things – father, daughter, mother, etc, do you love Jesus more? Plus, if you are a disciple, you will tell people that loving Jesus will bring division in their life also. It must. Loving Jesus will keep you salty.
The Lord wants us to have nice things and a great life. We will experience that by being aDISCIPLE. I have learned that the more I give in following him, the more I get in return. My life is at its peak when I am living as a disciple and dividing everything else from that number one priority. It keeps me salty.
A disciple will not dilute what Jesus said. They REMAIN SALTY. A disciple will make disciples. A disciple will bring people to a more abundant life. A disciple will minister to the sick and sinners. A disciple will not condemn the world, but save it. A disciple will bring division in the lives of people. How about you? Have you diluted it down? We all move from being a DISCIPLE to being a Christian. Today the Lord is challenging us. Can you take the sword and move back to being his DISCIPLE? Let’s pray.
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