Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Great Commission Part2 :The Mark of a Disciple - Genuine or a fake!

Part 2 - Genuine or fake?

The Mark of a disciple

How many have seen this (lifts up a Rs 500 note). Do you know whether this is fake or genuine? According to the government there are 169 crore counterfeit currency notes in circulation in the country. The most embarrassing thing is when you give a 500 rupee note to a shop keeper and he lifts it to view it against the light to check if it’s a fake and he turns to tell you he can’t accept the note. You thought it was a good note! 

Just as there are fake notes to be discerned there can be fake disciples in the church. 

How do we distinguish between the two ?  The Reserve bank of India has come out with 5-6 checks to find out if a 500 rupee note is fake or genuine. In the same way Jesus has given us some indicators. Let’s look at some scriptures this morning.

We can look at Mr X, Y or Z to see if they are fake or genuine but the question is am I a true disciple of Jesus?The RBI is the authority on whether a currency note is a fake or a genuine. Jesus is the authority on whether a person is a fake disciple or a genuine one.

The bible gives us three indicators.
TEXT: John8:31-31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

1. The first indicator is that we hold onto the teachings of Jesus. Verse 30 Even as He spoke some put their faith in Him/ the Jews believed in Him. But that was not good enough. We have to hold onto the teaching. James says show me your faith and works. Works must accompany faith. The works prove the genuiness of the conversion, of the faith. The works do not save you but prove you. It’s not physically holding onto the Bible. Other translations use the word ‘abide’. Does the person highly value the Bible and Jesus teaching? i.e. the sum of everything Jesus taught. Knowing is not enough. It’s putting it into practice.
James 1:22 warns us not to be merely listeners of the word but rather does of the word. You can come to church week after week and be completely deceived because we do not put it into practice. So let’s be doers of the word. The Word of God is tightly linked to the WORD OF GOD i.e. Jesus (John1:1). So how do we do this?
i.                 We hold onto the teachings and person of Jesus. John15. We need to be rightly related to both. Are we a people of the word? Are we devoted to it? We need to read, meditate, study, journalize, and memorize the word. A woman asked her pastor to visit her at home and pray for her. When the pastor arrived, the woman turned to her daughter and said, "Honey, would you bring mommy’s favorite book." A minute later, the little girl brought in a T.V. Guide.
              When the Word is first in your life it will show in your conduct, words and attitude.

ii.                 Spend time with Jesus himself. We need to learn to abide in him. We should be in love with Jesus. No matter how busy you are spend a few minutes with Jesus.  When he walked on this earth Jesus spent time with the Father daily.

2. John13:34-35-“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
True disciples love each other. John 15:12 -My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.How did Jesus Love His disciples – he laid down his life for us. Can we refuse His commands? This is not a convenient love – it’s sacrificial. This love is outworked in relationships – reaching out to new people at the meeting, having people in your home. We love by not gossiping about each others, or back biting. Lets not devour one another or discuss one another in a negative way. Sort out your problems between the two of you. If you can’t resolve it, take a mature Christian along or bring the matter to your pastor. What about discrimination – “he/she is not my type, not my caste, community, doesn’t speak my language” What about the little children? Jesus blessed the children. Are we willing to make sacrifices by laying down our won preferences? Through the week call each other up – don’t just stick with familiar friendships.
Most of the bitterness within the visible church has nothing to do with doctrinal differences. It can be traced instead to a fundamental lack of love, and an unwillingness to accept the humility that love demands. One way to show love is by forgiving those who have wronged us--whether we are asked or not. No matter how serious the wrong you have suffered may be, love demands that you forgive it. Christ forgave those who had mocked Him, spit on Him, and then crucified Him. The wrongs we generally suffer seem insignificant compared to what He suffered, and yet He was immediately willing to forgive.

3. A true disciple bears fruit. John15:8 this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. You know a tree by its fruit. Without fruit it’s hard to tell what tree it is unless you are a botanist. What fruit is Jesus looking for?

i. Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." The fruit of the Spirit – Christ like  character. This ought to be manifested in the disciples life. You will not be perfect but you will be growing. You may not be very patient but you are changing.

ii. Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. We should be thankful people. A Christian is one who gives thanks in His name. Do we see how much we should be thankful for?

iii.                Rom 15:26-28 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. A disciple is one who gives. Our attitude toward money determines our Christianity. We can’t say “Lord you can have all of me but don’t touch my purse/cheque book”

iv.               People being saved 1Cor 16:15You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters.. First fruit- a disciple is involved in making other disciples. We are concerned about people going to hell. Who because of you is going to heaven? Who is following Jesus today, because of what you have done?  As true disciples we should be constantly reaching out.

Jesus died for us and we should be involved in having a right relationship with his word and person. We should love one another and we should bear fruit in our lives. God will allow the fruit to develop in your life. Let’s examine our hearts. Am I a true disciple of Jesus? Am I living for myself or for Jesus?

Remember His great sacrifice that was motivated by great love for us. Let us respond to this with great love and obedience showing ourselves to be true disciple of Jesus.

Colin D Cruz
Nov 2011

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