Completely Committed To Christ: A Biblical View of Discipleship
· A common misunderstanding is that Matthew, Mark and Luke record the same call to the four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
· At first glance, Matthew and Mark’s account might seem parallel with Luke’s account, but there are several differences that show Matthew and Mark’s account is a different call than Luke’s.
· In Matthew and Mark’s account, Jesus is walking alone by the beach and calls out to Peter and Andrew who were casting a net – in the act of fishing and tells them to follow Him. He goes a little further and sees James and John mending nets in their boats and tells them to follow Him, and they do.
· In Luke’s account, Jesus is teaching a crowd that is pressing against him. The fishermen finished an all nighter of fishing. They were out of their boats,washing their nets and the boats were on the shore. Jesus then asks Peter to take him out in the boat and begins to preach.
· So its important to understand that Jesus calls these four men on several occasions. In fact, this isn’t the first time he has had contact with them.
Jesus’ First meeting with several disciples including Peter
· The first time Peter, Andrew, James and John meet up with Jesus is recorded in John 1. Andrew and most likely John were following John the Baptist when they meet Jesus. They actually stay the night where Jesus was sleeping. The next day, Andrew goes and gets Peter. It is during this time that Jesus also calls Philip and Nathanael. They go to a wedding at Cana where Jesus turns water into wine.
Jesus’ first call to the disciples
· After spending some time with Jesus, they make their way back to their homes, in Galilee.
· Here, Jesus goes to his hometown where he is rejected, goes to Capernaum, a town near the sea of Galilee and this is where he calls the four fishermen the first time. This is where he tells them to follow him and he will make them fishers of men, and they left their nets and followed.
· But when he calls them, they think that he means, come to Capernaum to do ministry for a few days.
· They follow Jesus to Capernaum again where he teaches and heals. In fact, He heals Peter’s mother-in-law during this time.
· Now they go back to fishing and Jesus goes to them again and calls them.
· He is not looking for a few days commitment, but a lifelong commitment. He is looking for them to be completely committed to him.
Jesus’ second call to the disciples
· Here in this second call, Jesus has healed many people, including Peter’s mother-in-law and was teaching everywhere he went.
· Luke 4:37 says that the report about Him was spreading everywhere. Verse 42, the crowds were searching for Jesus and tried to keep Jesus from leaving them.
· Jesus states that he needs to go to other cities to preach God’s word, that this was his purpose and so he kept on preaching – vv 43-44
· This is where we find the second call to the disciples. They had meet Jesus early on and seen many spectacular things. He called them to follow him and so they did, for a time.
· Now they are back fishing and Jesus shows up with a crowd.
· Today, we are going to look at what it means to be totally and completely committed to Christ.
· There are some good principles that come out of this second call recorded in Luke.
· These four men and particularly Peter learns many lessons in these 11 verses and there is so much here that we couldn’t unpack all of its treasures in our time today.
· But we will be looking at four principles that will help us to be completely committed to Christ.
Committed Discipleship is seen in:
1. The Priority of God’s Word in your life (5:1-3)
· After having healed many people and teaching in many places, and after a considerable amount of people start following after Jesus, Jesus goes to the shore of Galilee.
· Luke calls it the Lake of Genesaret, which is another name for Galilee.
· Remember, there is a huge crowd that are seeking Jesus, wanting to be healed or interested in getting a glimps of him.
· In chapter 5, Luke records some significant details that might get overlooked on the first initial reading.
· The crowd is pressing in and are eager to hear him teach the word of God.
· You can picture the scene. Jesus is down by the shore. The fishermen have fished all night and are cleaning up, out of their boats and washing their nets for the next fishing trip.
· A crowd is so excited and eager to hear Jesus that they are pressing against him. It could be compared to a mob scene. People are all around him, not just in nice neat rows of chairs waiting to hear God’s word, but pressing up against him from all sides.
· Jesus does something that shows his wisdom, he sees two boats on the shore and asks Peter to take him out a little bit.
· So Peter does and Jesus uses this fishing boat as a pulpit. Instead of having people on all sides of him, unable to hear God’s Word, he now has a natural ampitheater.
· He is out in the boat, the people are on the shore and his voice can now bounce off the water up the shoreline for people to hear. It is tough for us to imagine this, but when I went to Israel several years ago, we went to a place that could have been this spot and I stood on the shoreline and spoke in a normal voice and those on the trip could hear all the way up the shore.
· The interesting footnote here is that Jesus sat down in the boat to teach, which was the normal teaching position at that time. Imagine me sitting here in a chair while you all stood around the stage…you’re probably glad that we do it this way now.
One of the principles that we can take away from this introductory part of the verses is Christ’s emphasis on God’s Word.
· The crowds were eager to hear, the disciples, well they were washing their nets.
· Jesus states that his purpose is to preach…what did he preach…the kingdom of God, the gospel, ultimately Luke states, God’s Word.
· One of the principles of being a disciple is to have God’s Word as a priority in your life.
· Peter realizes this in several instances. Later on, when Jesus is teaching some difficult things, those who were following him, those who John calls disciples in John 6, leave Jesus because his words were too difficult for them to accept.
· John states that many disciples stopped following Jesus.
· John 6:66-69, Jesus looks at the twelve and says, you don’t want to leave also do you?
· Interesting that Peter answers. He says to Jesus, “Where could we go? You have words of eternal life”
· Peter realized the importance of Jesus’ words, the very words of God.
· Later on, in 1 Peter, toward the end of his life, Peter commands believers to long for the word of God like newborn babies long for milk. He states this because it is through God’s word that disciples grow.
· In fact, the word for disciple maqhth,j means “learner” and is a total attachment to someone in discipleship.
· A disciple is one who learns from a teacher and as Christians, we are to learn, to grow in knowing God’s Word.
· It needs to be a priority in our lives. We don’t come on Sunday mornings to hear the opinions of man, especially not my opinions. We come to hear the word of God preached.
· Something that was a priority for Jesus. Something that the disciples learned was a priority, and something that we must keep as our priority.
· Our lives must constantly be exposed to the teaching of God. We must learn from the one whom we follow.
· The key to being completely committed to Christ is to focus upon and have as a priority the things he has said.
· Unfortunately, we are like fisherman, near the word so many times but busy with our other duties.
· Even as a young preacher, I can often be too busy doing other things than spending time alone with God in His Word and I am sure I am not the only one.
· We all struggle to have his word as a priority in our lives, but it is so important. However this isn’t limited to just a few moments a day in quiet times.
· God’s word should have a priority in how we make decisions, in what we choose to do, in how we live, in what counsel we give.
· The first question out of our mouths for anything should be…what does the Lord say. The first answer should be…thus says the Lord.
· We all need to grow in this area, that is why Peter commands it of us in 1 Peter 2:2, we need to long for God’s word.
2. The Practice of Obedience in your life (5:4-7)
· After Jesus finishes teaching, he asks Peter to do something out of the normal for Peter.
· In fact, he asks Peter to do something that even Peter can’t understand completely.
· Verse 4, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch”
· Here we have the carpenter telling the expert fisherman how to fish.
· Has that ever happened to you? Someone who has no practical experience in an area or field tell you how you should be doing something that you have spent years doing?
· You can just imagine Peter’s frustration.
· But there’s more. Verse 5, Peter tells Jesus that they have worked hard all night and have caught nothing.
· The word for worked means a hard, toilsome labor. It’s that sweat producing hard labor. And it resulted in nothing.
· To understand Jesus request, it’s important to note that fishing on the sea of Galilee was best at night because the fish would come up to eat the insects but in the middle of the day (during this time) they would be deep in the sea.
· Besides that, remember the context. They had just finished washing their nets, up all night and Jesus asks them to do this.
· When I worked night shifts at TMC’s security and then would have to go to school the next day and often times I worked Sat night and came to church having worked all night, the last thing I would want to do is something I didn’t think would be a benefit for my time.
· Here is a carpenter telling a fisherman how to fish after the fisherman has been up all night and caught nothing and just finished cleaning up.
· I wonder if in Peter’s mind the only thing that he was going to have was to clean up his dirty empty nets again!
· Yet Peter’s response was literally, “but on the basis of your word, I will lower the nets”
· Even though he hesitates, maybe even thinks its worthless to do it, he still obeys.
· That is what a disciple, a maqhth,j is, a learner that does what the Master says.
· A disciple is one that hears the word of God and does it. Yet how many of us are self willed and doing our own thing.
· When it comes to life, we think we know it all, or we think we know what’s best in our lives.
· Often times, we have selective obedience. Jesus, I’ll obey you here and here, but not here.
· If I obey what God says, it will cost me. It will cost me in my business, in my schooling, in my life.
· You can almost hear Peter under his breath, “Well, I did this all last night and caught nothing, but I’ll do it…and I ain’t gonna catch anything!”
· But Peter is an example, even in his reluctant. At your Word Jesus. I have my doubts, I have my reservations, but at your word, I’ll do it.
· If you say it, I’ll do it, even if I am unsure, doubtful and reluctant. What a great start.
· Often times, I am too busy giving the excuses of why I’m not going to obey here that I don’t get to the….”at your word, I’ll do it.”
· It’s an issue of trusting Jesus and moving into obedience. It’s the old, trust and obey, for there is no other way.
· Peter needed to learn this and so do we.
· What is the driving force behind committed disciples, those who practice obedience out of a trust in Christ.
· Jesus isn’t just Lord of our salvation, but Lord of our lives…it goes hand in hand.
· Jesus is showing Peter that He is Lord even of the fish.
· Jesus is also showing Peter that he can trust him, that he will provide for Peter.
· It isn’t a coincident that Peter spent all night catching nothing but dirty nets. Jesus is showing Peter that a life sold out to Christ will be a life that God will also provide for.
· Imagine Peter’s wife. Wifey, I am going to be giving up the fishing business to follow after Christ. What do you think her response would be? What about Peter’s concerns? Jesus was showing Peter that when you follow him, he will provide what is necessary and often times above and beyond.
· To be completely commited to Christ you need to practice obedience.
3. The Pondering of Humility in your life (5:8-10)
· After Peter and his crew struggle to pull in this miraculous catch which has the boats sinking because it was so full, Peter responds to Jesus in a different way than we would think.
· If it were me, I might be tempted to hand one of my fishing buddies a camera and pose with Jesus and the fish.
· But Peter falls down at Jesus feet and declares that he is a sinner.
· Verse 9 says that amazement had seized him.
· For most of us, the miracle is cool but for a fisherman, it was spectacular. A farmer might say, wow, that’s a lot of fish. But a fisherman who spent all night fishing and catching nothing the “expert” way now has caught more fish doing it the wrong way than he probably has his entire life.
· Peter understands that he is not with just an ordinary man, not just a master, not just a teacher, but God in the flesh. He is in the boat with the Lord.
· Peter sees Christ for who he is, Lord. He quickly sees his own sinfulness, his need to be holy for he is before a holy God.
· Previously, people have marveled at Jesus’ teaching and healings. But at this moment, Peter understands who he is and who God is.
· That is the essence of humility. It is a proper understanding of who you are before God.
· Yet most of us are proud people. If your life is all about you, if your life is focused on you, then you don’t have a right understanding of who you are before a holy God.
· It is easy to see other people as sinful, but fail to see our own sinful state.
· This miracle deeply impacted Peter and gave him a proper understanding of himself. He was sinful and Jesus was Holy and Jesus is not just master, but Lord.
· But I love Christ’s response. Peter knew he couldn’t be in the presence of a holy God. Peter, just like those who got a glimpse of God, fell and worshiped. Isaiah, Ezekiel, John. But Christ responds for him not to fear, but from now on he will catch men.
· That is the essence of grace. Peter realized his sinfulness and Christ says, from now on. Christianity is a story of “from now on”
· Today might be a day of “from now on” but it starts with true humility, realizing how sinful we are and how awesome our Lord is.
· If we are too concerned with our own lives, if we are proud and self centered, we will never be completely committed to Christ and he will never use us.
· Unless God can humble us, he won’t use us. Peter knew this. He wrote about it in 1 Peter 5, that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
· We tend to be like the Pharisee, thankful we are not like other sinners yet not realizing that we are just that, like every other sinner.
· You will never be completely committed to Christ if you think your life as more important, if you have a wrong view of yourself, if you don’t realize that if you are a Christian, a sinner saved by grace but still a sinner that belongs to God.
· As Christians, the bible tells us that we are no longer ourselves, but belong to God. We have been bought with a price, we are “slaves of righteousness”, we are God’s possession, we are His.
4. The Pursuit of Christ completely in your life (5:11)
· This last verse is the apex, the culmination of all that has followed.
· Jesus is looking for a lifelong commitment, not just a few days and a close association, but a total giving of the life.
· Peter and company see this, they understand now that they will follow Jesus for the rest of their lives, completely and wholly.
· That is the essence of discipleship. That is the very heart of being a Christian. It is total attachment to Christ.
· Guess what they left behind. Not just the boats, but the biggest catch of their lives.
· I could just see myself saying, Jesus could we sell these first? But here we see that a true disciple is one who gives up the old for the new.
· They left everything….they got it this time.
· This is a common theme that runs through Jesus’ call for people to follow him.
· In Matt 19, Jesus is talking with the rich young ruler and tells him he needs to leave all his possessions and follow him. The ruler went away sad because he had lots of money. Seeing this, Peter says in 19:27, we have left everything to follow you.
· When Christ calls Matthew, he leaves his lucrative tax business to follow Christ.
· So, should we all quit our jobs to follow Christ? That’s not what I am saying nor what the Bible says.
· In Luke 14:26, Jesus states that unless you hate your own father or mother, wife and children, brother and sister, and even your own life, you cannot be his disciple.
· Is Jesus promoting hate? No, but he is stating that we need to love Christ above all of these.
· Our loyalty to Jesus must come before our loyalty to our family and even ourselves.
· What we need to understand is that we must pursue Christ completely no matter where we find ourselves, in our jobs, in our families, in our hobbies, even in sports.
· Following Jesus everywhere and anywhere. What are you doing tomorrow? Following Jesus. Where are you going? I’m going back to Philly, what are you doing…following Jesus. I am also going to see family, but I’ll be following Jesus.
· What are you up to tomorrow? Doing laundry and when I am doing laundry, I’ll be following Jesus. I’m playing football, but I’m following Jesus. We cannot compartmentalize or section off our lives. A completely committed disciple follows Christ no matter where we are or what we are doing.
· Also, as Christians, we have spiritual gifts for the purpose of building up the body. If you are a Christian, you have gifts.
· Part of following Jesus, giving priority to his word, practicing obedience and pondering humility is serving His body.
· God calls us to salvation, then calls us to serve the body with the gifts we have. We need to completely pursue Christ, loving him and serving his body.
1. We need to know what God says – have His word as a priority in our lives.
2. We need to do what God says – Obey in everything, not just in areas we want to or that are easy to.
3. We need to view ourselves as God views us – We need to have a right view of God and a proper view of ourselves.
4. We need to live for Christ in everything, not just selectively but completely.