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The Blueprint for Discipleship

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The essence of discipleship is to be with Jesus, proclaim his message, and bless those around us

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The Blueprint for Discipleship

How many of you have had the opportunity to work with blueprints for something in your life? Maybe you haven’t dealt with blueprints yourself, but you know what blueprints are and how they function. A blueprint is a design, a pattern, a plan that if followed, will give you the desired result, whether that’s a house, or parking garage, or a car, or something else., provided of course the blueprints are accurate and good.
Now, assuming you do have accurate blueprints, what happens when someone deviates from the blueprint? The results can be disastrous. Depending on the deviation, you could have an unstable structure, or an non-functioning machine. It is critical that the blueprints be followed.
Imagine if you had a perfect set of blueprints, a set without any flaws.
Today we are going to look at Jesus’ design for discipleship. He set forth a blueprint and wants us to follow it.
Mark 3:13–19 CSB
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons. He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, he gave the name Peter; and to James the son of Zebedee, and to his brother John, he gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”); Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
We have just come out of a section where we see various groups rejecting Jesus on various levels. The religious leaders rejected Jesus and his claims outright and began to plot to kill Jesus. The crowds seemed to accept Jesus, but it was only because He was doing cool things and they wanted part of the action. They couldn’t see past the miracles to who Jesus really was, which is ironic because it was those same miracles that were intended to reveal who Jesus was. They didn’t want Jesus, they wanted to see something cool or to have Jesus fix their physical issues.
As we move into our passage this morning, we again see a contrast. The crowd just wants what Jesus can do instead of Jesus Himself. Jesus does not give himself to them, but rather selects twelve men to be with him.

As we look at this today, we have here a very important model. Jesus calls and commissions twelve men to do specific work, and that work is something that actually translates down to us as well.
Here Jesus calls twelve men to be his Apostles. Though we are not apostles and there are no apostles today since that was an office limited to the first century, these men were to serve as the blueprint for what it looks like to follow Jesus. The things that Jesus commissioned them to do, they were to pass those things on to others. And others did carry out the work and passed it on to others who passed it on and so forth. We are the fruit of that today.
So we are going to look at this blueprint and see what we find.
Before we get into the blueprint, there are a few observations that I would like to make.
First notice that
First, notice that Jesus is the one making the selection here. There are crowds of people following Jesus wherever he goes, but Jesus selects twelve men to form his inner circle. While it might not be that surprising to see that it is Jesus taking the initiative and making the selection, it is surprising who he has selected to form this core.
Jesus did not select a single person from the dominant religious community. There are no pharisees, no scribes, no members of the sanhedrin among the group that Jesus selects. Instead, He selects people like Peter, a common fisherman, who is consistently painted in less than flattering light throughout this gospel, James and John, the “Sons of Thunder” a nickname that likely refers to their boisterous personalities. We will find James and John making the presumptuous request of Jesus to sit at his right hand, a very self-serving request. Matthew is a hated tax collector who is viewed as a sellout and traitor to the Jewish people since he worked for the Romans; Simon the zealot belongs to a subversive political party that wants to overthrow the Roman government. Matthew and Simon likely would not have gotten along if they weren’t united under the call of Jesus. Judas is eventually going to abandon and betray Jesus. And then we have a handful of other men about whom we know next to nothing.
This is hardly a collection of super saints. This is a ragtag group of individuals that are going to carry out Jesus’ purposes and be an extension of His ministry. And that should be an encouragement to us. If God can work through these men, then there is hope for us. This blueprint wasn’t made based on some outstanding individuals. It was made with people like us in mind.
Second, It says that Jesus appointed twelve men, or ordained twelve men. This word actually literally means “to make” or “to create.” Jesus made twelve men to be his Apostles. This is significant because is shows us that Jesus took men who weren’t something and made them into something. He did something new with them. I liked how one commentator (James Edwards) put it:

Discipleship does not consist in what disciples can do for Christ, but in what Christ can make of disciples.

This also calls to mind
2 Corinthians 5:17 CSB
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:16 CSB
From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.
1 Corinthians 5:10 CSB
I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world.
Jesus made something new when he called these men out to be his Apostles, just like he makes something new of us when we come to faith in Him as well. Perhaps you’ve heard this saying before: Jesus doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. That’s true and it is on display with the selection and the making of these men to be His disciples. Again, that should encourage us. Do we feel inadequate sometimes? I know I do! But Jesus consistently works through inadequate people.
1 Corinthians 5:16
1 Cor 5:16
So what then is the blueprint? What does Jesus want from his disciples?
There are three things Jesus calls them to do: he appoints them to
Be with Him
Be sent
to preach
to cast out demons
That’s the blueprint. That’s the model that Jesus sets up, a model not based on model men, but based on the model leader, Jesus Christ. Those who follow him are to be with him and are to be sent out to do his work. Let’s look at the components of the blueprint.

Be With Jesus

When Jesus called these men to be his Apostles, He first and foremost was called them to be with him. We cannot miss the significance of this. The terminology of being “with” Jesus immediately should cause us to think in discipleship terms, but this makes us take a step back and realize that discipleship is a relationship before it is a task, a who before it a what.

Discipleship is a relationship before it is a task, a “who” before a “what.”

Jesus wasn’t looking for a group of guys to be part of his fan club, or some bros to hang out with. He was calling them to live their lives with him, learn from Him, and emulate Him. They were to go with him wherever he want, do whatever he did, experience whatever he experienced. This meant seeing some incredible things. Blind eyes opened, deaf ears unstopped, mute tongues speaking, lepers healed, demons driven out, storms quelled, food multiplied and more! But this also mean experiencing all the hardships with Jesus as well. They too were ridiculed, harassed, and ultimately suffered greatly at the hands of those who reject the Lord.
Jesus wasn’t just inviting these men to hang out. He was calling them to live their life with him, learn from Him, and emulate Him.
Being with Jesus leaves an unmistakable mark. We see that Peter was recognized as having been “with” Jesus—but he denied it: . Later Peter and John were recognized as having been with Jesus when they were teaching in
Acts 4:13 CSB
When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
. The more time that is spent with Jesus, the more recognizable that mark becomes.
The more time that is spent with Jesus, the more recognizable that mark becomes.
Peter was recognized as having been “with” Jesus—but denied it:
Check out
2 Corinthians 2:15–16a CSB
For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things?
2 Corinthians 2:15–17 CSB
For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things? For we do not market the word of God for profit like so many. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.
Peter and John were recognized as having been with Jesus
This is what being with Jesus does. It leaves an unmistakeable mark on us that is like a fragrance. People can just tell. They smell it. To some it is pleasing and leads to life. To others it leads to death because they reject the source of that fragrance--Jesus Christ--and thus the aroma is repugnant to them.
But it comes from being with Jesus. Jesus is the teacher: he instructs us on how to live. He is the King: he has authority over us. He is Wisdom personified, in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he will willingly impart those treasures to us if we are willing to invest the time necessary, if we are willing to be with him.
There are many that would
Jesus called the Apostles to be with him, and they spent 3 years physically by his side during his earthly ministry. Jesus calls us to be with him as well. What does it look like now? Obviously he isn’t physically here, we can’t walk the streets with him and hold face to face conversations with him. But there are other ways we can be with him.
In fact, I suspect that you already know how to be with him. How much time do you spend in the Scriptures? Do you read His Words? Do you take time to study the Scriptures for yourselves? Do you linger over the text, allowing it to nourish you? Do you take delight the words of God so that you can say with the David in Psalm 19 “your Words are sweeter than honey and more desirable than the finest gold”?
How much time do you spend in prayer? We occasionally sing the song “Sweet hour of prayer” here. Listen to some of the lyrics:
Sweet hour of prayer Sweet hour of prayer That calls me from a world of care And bids me at my Father's throne Make all my wants and wishes known In seasons of distress and grief My soul has often found relief And oft escaped the tempter's snare By Thy return, sweet hour of prayer
Sweet hour of prayer Sweet hour of prayer The joys I feel, the bliss I share Of those whose anxious spirits burn With strong desires for Thy return With such I hasten to the place Where God my Savior shows His face And gladly take my station there And wait for Thee, sweet hour of prayer
Do those words resonate with you? Do they reflect how you approach times of prayer? There is a longing for prayer in these words, and the time is described and joy and bliss. Do you spend this kind of time in prayer? Or do you pray just at meals, or just in times of crisis?
Just at meals? Just in times of crisis?
Do any of you have people you know that you only hear from when they need or want something? They never want to just hang out, they never want to invest in the relationship, but when they need something there they are, calling you up, messaging you on Facebook, knocking on your door. Nobody likes people like that, and yet that’s exactly how we can act toward the Lord. We only seek him when we are in crisis. That’s a tragedy. Jesus wants more than that.
Jesus calls his disciples to spend time with him. This is the first aspect of the blueprint, and the rest of the blueprint depends on this. If we aren’t doing this, we either aren’t his disciples or we are very poor ones. Both scenarios should bother us incredibly. If we aren’t doing this, we are deviating from God’s perfect blueprint for who he wants his disciples to be.
Maybe you do spend much time in study of the Scriptures and prayer. If that’s the case I’m glad to hear it. What you need to know is that spending time with Jesus is not an end in itself. Jesus calls us to spend time with him so that we would be equipped to extend the ministry of Jesus to those around us. That is the next component on the blueprint

He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles,,bv to be with him, to send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to drive out demons

He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles,,bv to be with him, to send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to drive out demons

Be Sent...

We were never called to be Jesus’ disciples so we could keep to ourselves this message of Christ. Christ called us in to send us out. Jesus’ desire is for the nations to trust him, and we are his instruments through which that will happen. Disciples spend time with Jesus in order to be sent out to do two things: 1. Proclaim Him, and 2. Serve.

Be Sent…To Proclaim Jesus’ Message

…To Proclaim

In case you aren’t aware, these are all purpose clauses in the text. We could translate it as “He appointed twelve to be with him, to send them out in order to, or for the purpose of preaching.
Something that has been explained here many times, but is something I am going to explain again, is that this word for preach simply means to proclaim, to herald, to announce, or publish. We hear this term “preach” and think of people like pastor Larry or myself standing in front of a group of people and talking, but that doesn’t do justice to what is going on. If you were to look up the word for preach and find everywhere it is used in the NT, you would find that it is almost always used in connection with the Gospel. This is about the proclamation of the Gospel, and that proclamation takes place in a variety of contexts.
Jesus’ blueprint for discipleship not only has his disciples spending time with him and learning from him, but it necessarily involves us going out and sharing the things we have learned with others. This is what Christ did with the Apostles. Then spent so much time with Jesus, but then were sent out to preach. Their time with Him was designed to lead to a time of serving others. They were to be an extension of Jesus’ ministry in places where he did not go.
We too share in this responsibility. We are called to proclaim the name of Christ. When is comes to a life of discipleship, this only makes sense. Being a disciple means we follow after the teacher, learning to think how he thinks so we can speak how he speaks. When a Rabbi taught a learner, he did not expect that learner to remain in his physical presence for forever, but intended that learner to go out and teach others. That is Jesus’ expectation for us as well. We spend time with Jesus in Prayer and Bible study, but then go out and teach others.
This is so important that Jesus not only commissioned the Apostles here for this task, but when he first called his disciples he called them to be fishers of men back in chapter one, and calls us all to the great commission of making disciples of all nations and teaching them all things he has commanded. Jesus’ entire ministry has an outward focus. We learn and we go we learn and we go. This pattern is followed in the gospels as well. The disciples spend some time learning from Jesus, they go out preaching in various places, then they report back to Jesus what happened, and they are sent out again. We learn this from the book of Matthew in particular. This is the pattern. Learn and go.
Now, you might be thinking “yeah, but I don’t know enough. I’m not eloquent enough. I have too much to learn”
And you’re absolutely right. You don’t know enough. You’re not eloquent enough. You do have more to learn. And I don’t know enough, am not eloquent enough and have more to learn. We all do! But remember with me who Jesus chose as his initial crop of disciples. Not exactly an all-star cast of characters. Jesus has to continually correct their understanding of his teachings. We are going to run into that in the next couple of chapters of Mark. But did that stop Jesus from choosing these men for the task? No.
But this is why spending time with hi is so very crucial. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we understand his word and are able to communicate it to others. There are many that would try to preach without having spent time with Jesus, and some manage to be quite successful at it from the worldly point of view. But hell will be full of people who said “Lord, Lord” and Jesus will say “I never knew you”
They might have been out doing the things, but they never spent time with Jesus, they never actually knew him. That’s a sobering thought. But once that time is spent, we go out and share with others. It’s part of the blueprint. If we aren’t doing this, we are deviating from the blueprint and are not being the disciples Christ intended us to be, but become stagnate disciples.
Objection: I don’t know enough. I’m not eloquent. I have more to learn
In the land of Israel there are two seas, two large bodies of water. The first is the sea of Galilee, the second is the dead sea. The sea of Galilee is teaming with life. 27 different species of fish, vibrant colors, lush shores with vegetation. The dead sea on the other hand has no fish whatsoever. It does not support animal life, plant life, or human life. The water is considered toxic to drink. Both of these seas are fed by the same river; the Jordan river flows into both. Why are they so different? Here is the difference: The Sea of Galilee has an input and an output. The Jordan river flows in, and the Jordan river flows out. This keeps the water fresh and provides the rich environment for vibrant life. The dead sea has an input, but no output. The Jordan river flows in, but there is nothing that flows out. The water stagnates and simply evaporates, leaving behind a high concentration of salt and minerals.
Response: it didn’t stop these guys. Throughout this book they constantly fail to understand Jesus, yet they are the ones chosen to herald his message. This is why it is important to be with Jesus in the first place.
If we have input through time in God’s word, but never go out and share that with others, we will be like the dead sea. Stagnate. The input eventually evaporates and isn’t put to good use. But if we receive and then give, there is life! We must share with others what we learn. Another way to produce output is through serving others.
He sent the disciples out to proclaim, but that’s not all they did. They also were sent to serve others.

Serve The Needy/confront evil?

…To Serve

Serve The Needy/confront evil?

He appointed twelve to be with him, to send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Now, are y’all ready to cast out some demons? Yeah? Hold on. There are a few things to understand here.
When Jesus gives the Apostles here authority to cast out demons, but we know from the parallel passage in Matthew that he also gave them authority to heal sickness and diseases. So Mark is using the idea of “driving out demons” as a summary term of all aspects of ministry that Jesus had been doing. Jesus was going around preaching and healing and driving out demons. He passes this on to the Apostles but Mark summarizes all that various ministry activity in one phrase: driving out demons.
Let’s try to understand this together. First of all, we know that this is not all that
Again, disciples are to emulate the teacher in every way possible. Jesus preached and healed and drove out demons. His disciples were to do the same. And later on we will have accounts of the disciples doing exactly that. They preach, they heal, they drive out demons.
These miracles served two purposes in the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of Jesus’ apostles. First and foremost, they authenticated the message. Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh. The Apostles proclaimed that entrance into the Kingdom was through repentance and faith in Jesus as the Messiah. To authenticate that message there were signs of authority that were done to demonstrate that this message was true.
The second purpose is that is puts the love and compassion of Jesus on display. Many times Jesus is said to have compassion on the crowds and the Scriptures speak of how Jesus loved and cared for those he served. Part of how this love and compassion was demonstrated was through alleviating people of their pain and suffering by performing these miracles.
Now, here we are today and we are called to be disciples of Christ. Be with him, we can do that. Prayer and Bible Study. Proclaim the message of Christ, that is doable as well. What are we to do about the miracles? Here at JBC we believe that the sign gifts have ceased, so what are to do with that?
Though we may not have been granted authority to perform miracles and cast out demons, we are still called to emulate Jesus and follow his example. The signs and miracles are no longer necessary because the message has already been authenticated, but we can still have compassion for those around us. We can still love, care, and serve those around us.
Not only can we do these things but we must do these things. Jesus gives a summary of his ministry later in the book, take a look:
Mark 10:32 CSB
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him.
Mark 10:45 CSB
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:17 CSB
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus came to serve. If we are his disciples we too must serve. This is why the theme for this year is that of service. This is what we were created for, this is what we are called to, this is what we must choose to do. Serve others.
This service can take a variety of form, but we must be engaged in this activity. Jesus specifically set this up as part of the blueprint for discipleship. Are you going to deviate from that?
Those are the three essential components to true discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus’ blueprint and be the disciple He wants you to be, then you will be engaged in all three things. If you leave something out, you deviate from the blueprint, and frankly, that makes a sub-par, stagnate, dead-Sea disciple.
If you spent time with Jesus and do good works, but fail to preach the gospel, you may be doing a lot of good, you may feed hungry people, clothe people, and help them be little happier in this life, but without the gospel you are just sending warm, full, and slightly happier people to hell.
If you read God’s word and preach, but fail to serve those around you, you risk the world viewing you as disingenuous because you claim to care but not enough to help them where they are in the here and now.
If you spent time with Jesus and do good works, but fail to preach the gospel, you may be doing a lot of good, you may feed hungry people, clothe people, and help them be little happier in this life, but without the gospel you are just sending warm, full, and slightly happier people to hell.
All three components are absolutely vital and necessary for the Christian life. If we are follow Jesus and be his disciples, we must be engaged in all aspects, or we are deviating from the blueprint and are failing to become the disciples He would have us to be.]]]
If you read God’s word and preach, but fail to serve those around you, you risk the world viewing you as disingenuous because you claim to care but not enough to help them where they are in the here and now.
All three components are absolutely vital and necessary for the Christian life. If we are follow Jesus and be his disciples, we must be engaged in all aspects, or we are deviating from the blueprint and are failing to become the disciples He would have us to be.]]]
So spend time with Jesus. Read His Word, spend time in prayer. Proclaim the gospel. Even if you feel like you don’t know enough you can start with what you do know and share that. And serve others. Help those in need.
This is Jesus’ blueprint for discipleship.

A Tale of Two Seas

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