Faithlife Sermons

Are We Fans or Disciples?

Single  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

John 1:19–42 ESV
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Scripture: John 1:19-42
Text: John 1:37-42
Sermon Title: Are We Fans or Disciples?
           Brothers and sisters in Christ, one of things you should know about me is that I love sports. If you see a car with a Chicago White Sox decal on the back window, that’s mine. When it comes hockey season, if the Blackhawks are on TV, I will probably be watching them. When college basketball’s March Madness is going on, I keep track of as many games as I possibly can. If you ever went to a Dordt basketball game between 2007 and 2011, and saw a big guy with face paint on that was me. God may not have gifted me with the ability to play sports at high levels, but he certainly gave me the ability to cheer loudly as a fan. 
Maybe some of you feel the same way about your sports’ teams. Maybe for others of you, it is a certain singer or actress, author or maybe even a brand that you find excitement in—you would consider yourself a fan of. Being a fan can involve a healthy appreciation and enjoyment of whatever the object of our cheering is. But certainly, there also those who take being a fan to unhealthy levels; they become obsessed over, even idolizing certain people—success, fame, celebrity status can drive people to ridiculous behaviors. 
When you stop and think about being the fan of something, it is quite intriguing. Being a fan, no matter how much stress it may involve, is a leisure activity, something we do for fun or recreation—yet we are fans of someone else’s job performance. It is late September, the baseball season is winding down and football season is gearing up—and for most of us, if we were to play those sports, it would be for fun, but for professionals, it is their career, their work, how they use their gifts.
It is easy to not think much of what being a fan of involves—whether as a fan of an athlete, a musical group, a movie star, or an author. But we exalt these people, we become passionate about what they do—often times because we ourselves cannot do what they do. We cannot get in the game or get on stage or act in a way that would impress, excite, or move people the way they do. With all of this thinking about what being a fan means, we also will be considering what it means to be a disciple as we go forward this morning, and with our text consider the difference between fans of Jesus and disciples of him.
Let’s begin again by spending some time walking through the context of this passage. John had developed quite a following; he was a bit famous in the Jewish community of this area. But he knew who he was and what his calling was. “He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Christ.’” His work, declaring, “Repent, believe, be baptized,” was not that they would come to see him and him alone, but rather they would see the one whose way he was preparing. When he saw Jesus and baptized him, John the Baptist drew great attention to him. “This,” he says, “is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Spirit came down from heaven and remained on. He is the Son of God.” This is who the Jews, the Israelites, had been expecting and praying to come for hundreds of years.  When Jesus showed up 2 days in a row in his region, John made sure to make it clear that this is who he has been talking about.
So they followed him. That alone is quite remarkable, because it is likely that not many people were following Jesus yet; he probably did not have great crowds like he did later in his ministry. They trusted John’s identification of Jesus; they had a bit of excitement about this man who they had never come into contact with before.  There is a bit of faith in the potential that Jesus was really the Lamb of God. But with that faith, their first steps appear to be timid ones. Our text does not tell us that they speedily chased after him, shouting for him to stop, but they merely followed behind, seeing what he might do and where he might go. Andrew and the other disciple, who may have been the author John, were not reckless, but they followed to see where this might lead.  All of a sudden, Jesus turned around, asking, “What do you want?” 
Imagine the disciples tripping over their feet; he knew they were following him. Likely they also stumbled and stammered in asking, “Rabbi, umm, where are you staying?” Notice, the difference in how they identified him compared to John; they call him Teacher, whereas John had called him Lord, Lamb of God, Son of God. They were right, he was a teacher, but they were not as bold as their mentor; they were a bit more reserved in their identification. They responded by wanting to know where he was staying. They were tired of tracking him; they wanted to meet the man John had made such high claims about. Rather than simply giving them his lodging info or where he was going to minister, Jesus invited them, “Come and you will see.” 
Jesus set the tone that becoming a disciple is based on seeing who God is, what he’s about, and what he’s doing. So the two men went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed that day with him. We don’t know what happened that day, what the experience of Andrew and the other disciple was like, but I can promise you that their day with Jesus was not spent in a luxurious apartment or hotel where they received celebrity or VIP treatment. Maybe other people gathered around him, but what it meant to stay with him was not like how we might imagine spending a day with our favorite actress or singer or someone else that you are a fan of.
Whatever Jesus showed to them and whatever he might have told them about who he was and what he was doing, consider the impact it had on Andrew. Verses 41 and 42 tell us, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus.” This young man, who had been following John the Baptist just a day or two before, had been turned to this other teacher, spent less than 24 hours with him, and he was so convicted that this was the one that all of Scripture, all of his upbringing was pointing to, that the first thing he did was went, told his brother, and brought him with. The picture of Andrew is clearly that of disciple of Jesus.
Let’s think through how one gets to that point of being much more than a fan, becoming a disciple. The first thing we can notice is that both fans and disciples have a similar starting point. In both cases, you begin with a trusted person drawing your attention to something that you might want to pay attention to. When you think about what got you started as a fan of a particular team or artist or celebrity, I am guessing there was a parent, a friend, a teacher, or someone else close to you that already was a fan. Accompanying that source, there also needs to be an excitement or an attraction factor that draws you in. In sports, that might be the tradition of the team, the thrill of being at a game, or the nearness in location to the team’s home.    
In our passage, John the Baptist was the beginning trusted source, and at the other end, Andrew became a trusted source. The exciting factor throughout is what Jesus revealed to them. Whatever happened that day was attractive enough to make Andrew want to stick around. The attraction factor for Simon was being given a new name, a new meaning to who he was. Seeds were planted and started to grow. We know that these two grew up into disciples, but certainly with others, the same beginning might bear the result of only becoming fans. 
Many of us who have been around faith and been Christians for a while can probably think back to family members, friends, pastors, Sunday school and catechism teachers, program leaders who helped you to see the Savior. They were able to show you because they had seen and followed him already. Those trusted people discipled you—helping form a foundation with the work of the Holy Spirit; they taught you what is needed to believe. They took time and energy, and they invested in you. They were not hoping for you to just see that Jesus as a good guy who can take care of all your problems or God as some big person in the sky who sees everything we do. Their work was not to get you to just cheer on Jesus. They desired for you to see and believe in him. 
This is where the split happens, where we separate fan from disciple. A fan has low personal involvement; some fans get really stressed, agitated as well as enthusiastic based on the performance of their team or their actor—but they do not actually do anything. As a fan myself, I know a crowd can influence the pace of a game and how players perform, but athletes could do just as well without us. A disciple on the other hand, gets to be in the game; their role requires quite a bit of involvement. The beliefs they have been introduced to make such an impact on their lives that they are completely changed and transformed for how they live. They recognize that they get to play a role in leading others to what matters most in life. When someone discipled you, they took seriously not just that God exists and works and deserves praise, but that God redeems and also invites us to join him in his work.
           When Jesus turned around, he asked these two men, “What do you want?” That’s really the question that gets at the heart of what is before us today, “Do we want to be fans or disciples?” To put it bluntly, Jesus was asking, “Do you want to just follow me around, watch and maybe even hang out some time? Do you want to be seen with me because it seems like I’m a big deal? Or do you think that the teacher you’ve left behind is on to something, in which case, you following me means much more?” The question that Jesus asked them, and I would say, he asks each and every person, is one that he expects an answer to, “What do you want?”  
The lifestyle that disciples are involved in is not simply one that tries to show off our walking with Jesus when it works out for us. It is a life through which God beckons us to come and see, and stay with Jesus. When the two disciples of our passage found the Lamb of God, everything changed. Their mentorship under John the Baptist had paved a way, and the way was to this man, God in the flesh, and what he was bringing about. Last week we jumped ahead into Jesus’ ministry, and we saw the vision that he gives to his disciples—the kingdom of God and what it means to rule. As a fan, you can have a vision as well—the success of whomever you are cheering for. But a disciple, takes that vision, and does what they can all the time to bring about that vision. Being a Christian, a disciple of Christ, is not simply saying, “I know Jesus. I believe he lived, and I believe he is God.”—those are ways to identify him, but a disciple comes around to say, “He is the Messiah, and he is my Savior and Lord.” Those are truths that only a disciple can confess. Christ rules over all things, and he saved you like nothing else can. He calls you and me to be much more than fans; he calls us to see him as our God. 
Maybe you can guess the next step. We are called to not let it stop with us becoming disciples, but we get to go and bring others to the one we have found that they might become disciples. If we take this seriously, then like Andrew, we must be willing to tell others. Again, this impacted him so much that the first thing he did was go and tell and get his brother. A disciple remembers the relationships that formed them, and in turn, seeks to develop new relationships to share the change that happens because of Christ. If you have trusted and you have committed yourself to Jesus, you have seen and you want to remain, then you should also desire to bring others along.
For those of you who are young and still in the early stages of learning about what it means that Jesus saved you; for those you who might be wondering if what you have been living is more of a fan of Jesus and you want to grow into a disciple; for any of you who are hearing this for the first time, I know it can all sound like a bit much. If God has invited you to be a disciple, it that does not mean you have to have all the answers to all the theological and doctrinal questions. It does not mean if you have horrible things in your past, that you do not have an opportunity. The opportunity to be disciples comes in realizing that by believing Jesus died on the cross for you, he will give you grace. You can be cleansed and welcomed by God as his son and his daughter. If that fits you this morning or any other time, please talk to me, or another pastor or someone around you. Discipleship’s journey is amazing, but we need help along the way; we do not do it alone. 
The question I want to go back to as we conclude this morning is the one spoken by Jesus, “What do you want?” The disciples’ answer at this time and as they grew, and I hope we might join them is, “We want to come and see, and also stay.” As disciples, we have to want to remain with Jesus. As active a role in this as we have the opportunity to play, God’s role is always greater. He is offering to show you what he has done—he was there in the creation of the world, he came as the only one who can save a world that has been broken by sin, and he has gone to prepare a place where all who repent and believe will join him when he comes again. He calls you to be more than a fan; to join for more than just riding the successes and benefits of his victory. In making this kind of commitment to Christ, being a disciple means that you love him because he loved you first, and has shown you his grace and his glory as all that you need and desire.
As we think about the kick-off of the Sunday school season, we are focused and excited about the programs we have for discipleship. For those of you that are going to be teaching this year, I hope thinking about your role in the lives of our children and little ones gets you excited. God has given you the opportunity to not just teach facts, but to help show others the way to him and nurture their faith with the Holy Spirit. What an amazing opportunity! But for the rest of us, too, as we consider this challenge this morning, I hope what we see is that our answer to Jesus’ question is where faith begins and lives. Once the ball is rolling, faith grows and enables us to delight more and more in what Christ has done and what he offers.  We can join with other disciples, investing in one another. We get on the lookout for where Christ gives us opportunities, and where he calls us to play a vital role in encouraging others to become disciples themselves. Brothers and sisters, do you just want to be seen with Jesus and be a fan of him or do you want to come and see what he has done and what he is still doing, and remain living with him as a disciple? Amen.  
Related Media
Related Sermons