Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Disciples

January 26th, 2013 by Ryan

Today we are going to try and wrap up chapter one of the Gospel of John. At this rate it will take us one year and nine months to finish out this book. That would be with just powering through during Easter and Christmas. There is a lot in this book and each time I read there is things I didn’t catch.

 

Let’s recap since it has been a Sunday since we have studied together.

 

Two Sundays ago we studied about John the Baptizer. We learned a little about his backstory and his role in the more important Jesus story. We read about how the Jews had sent some people to figure out what this John the Baptizer guy was all about. We ended with John bearing witness to his disciples that Jesus is the Son of God and is the Savior that was sent by God to redeem humankind from sin.

 

Today as we continue and conclude in this chapter we are going to take a look at Disciples.  In the message i preached here about Discipleship we dissected the word and its meaning in the english language. To get us on the same page today we are going to rehash some of that to put it in the forefront as we walk through the scriptures.

When one is wanting to find out a basic idea of what a word is the best place to start is the dictionary. Here is Mr. Webster’s definition of “Disciple”.

…one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: 

as a : one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ’s followers according to the Gospel accounts

 b : a convinced adherent of a school or individual

To add some background here is the etymology of the word at Wikipedia:

The term disciple is derived from the New Testament Greek word “μαθητής“. (mathetes), coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning “a learner”.

Boiling it down we see that “Disciple” is not a very passive word. Three aspects of a Disciple are:

 

  1. Learning
  2. Loyalty
  3. Leading

Learning means that you are actively studying the word of God and applying it to your life. This is crucial in establishing and maturing in your walk with God.

Loyalty means that you have dedicated your life to Jesus and to the teachings. It means you are not ashamed of being a Christian.

Leading means you are actively living the Great Commission.

 

Our goal should be to become Disciples of Christ. To do this we need to apply the three “L’s” to our lives. The first two “L’s” are more straight forward for most people. The last “L” gets people stuck.

 

A lot of times when people think of “Leading” or evangelism they think of someone preaching to massive amounts of people in a official setting. Like a pastor. Jesus did preach to crowds of people, but a lot of the lasting life changes that are talked about in scriptures happened in one on one interactions with Jesus. In other words you don’t have to become a televangelist to fulfill the “Leading” aspect of a Disciple. It is not the strangers  in our lives that are most affected by us living the Bible. It is our close social-web of family, friends and co-workers. This web is far-reaching and has strong influence.

 

We see hundreds of advertisements about different products everyday. Companies pay millions of dollars every year to have these put in front of us. They must have some influence. You know what has 100 times more influence? Someone you love and trust letting you know that this product is good. Being “Christ-Like” in our close relationships are more impactful than laying out the salvation story to some dude you just met on the street. I am not saying that spreading God’s love to strangers is not worth trying, I am just saying that there is more success in spreading the Truth of Christ in your close relationships.

 

Right now the most important thing in my life is ensuring that I raise my daughters to be Godly women. This is my most important personal Great Commission.

Let’s open up the Word of God to the first chapter of John. We will be starting at John 1:35.

 

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. (John 1:35-37 ESV)

 

So verse 35 starts off similarly to where we left off last week. John the Baptizer sees Jesus and points him out to his followers and declares him the Son of God. As soon and John announced this, two of his disciples immediately left and followed Jesus. This speaks to the massive amount of humility John had. He knew it wasn’t about him and he embraced that. He understood that the ministry he had built up was for the purpose of preparing hearts for Jesus. He readily handed over his “Followers” to the one who he knew was the true one to follow. Another thing to note is that there was no hesitation in these two, at this point, unnamed disciples to immediately start following Christ. Later in this chapter we find that one of the disciples is Andrew the other is never named. Some scholars think it was Thomas or John. I feel More evidence points to it being John as the author’s writing style is to conceal his own name when writing about his role in the story.

 

Let’s continue:

 

38 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?” 39 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. (John 1:38-39)

 

So the first two disciples start following Jesus, and Jesus notices them following him. Jesus says:

 

What are you seeking?

 

This question is the very first red letters in John’s Gospel. This is the first thing John records Jesus as saying. God is asking them, “What do you want?” This is an important question. This is something we as Christians should ask ourselves. Why are we Christians? What are we looking for in this relationship with God? This question can help center our walk with Christ.

 

The two disciples respond to this question by addressing Jesus as “Teacher”. By addressing Jesus in this manner they revel their intention is to learn from Him. The second part of their response is:

 

“Where are you staying?”

 

This may sound like a random response to the question Jesus asked them, but in Jesus’ time this phrase basically implied you were inviting yourself to dinner. It was a term of asking for friendship. So basically when Jesus asked them what they wanted they replied:

 

To learn from you and develop a relationship.

 

They wanted to be disciples.

 

Jesus responded to there response with open arms.

 

Come and see.

 

Jesus is inviting them to walk with him. He didn’t just give them an address. He invited them to walk with Him that very second. He invited them to fellowship. This was the start of the church. Jesus invites two guys to dinner and now here we are all today at The Evangelical Community Chapel. It wasn’t a elaborate advertising scheme with talking points.

 

It was dinner. It was relationships.

 

When we are living our Christian faith and talking about it with our loved ones we are creating a legacy. We need to take this seriously.

 

Let’s continue:

 

40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:35-42 ESV)

 

The first thing Andrew does is find his brother. Family is important. Having family that know Christ is crucial. Andrew understood this. He knew that Jesus was the savior of the world and that his brother needed to be part of this. He was affecting his social-web. He was Leading.

 

Jesus looks at Andrew’s brother Simon and says, “Simon son of John, your name is now Stone” What is funny to note is that Simon means “Obedient”. This is not Peter’s personality at all. He is written about having a red hot temper. God knows us better than our parents. This shows the deep connection we have with God.

 

By Jesus giving Simon a new name it has the symbolism of him being adopted into the family of Christ. Jesus has invited him into the family.

 

So the first three disciples are Andrew, John and Peter. Are they just random people? No. They are connected. Obviously Peter and Andrew are brothers. But John is also connected with Peter because they fish together. God is working through the little relationships of trust we have formed with our loved ones. This is powerful stuff.

 

Pull up your bibles again as we continue:

 

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

 

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  (John 1:43 ESV)

 

Normally students would come to the teacher. They would teach and the students would come to him. Philip has a different experience. God sought him out and called him personally. Paul had a similar experience although Philip’s is way less dramatic. Jesus stops by and says, “Follow me.” God has many different ways of drawing you to Himself.

 

Let’s continue:

 

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:44-46 ESV)

 

We see that Philip was connected to the other disciples by being from the same hometown. When you are someplace foreign and you run across someone from your neck of the woods it connects you. Some of my friends just moved from Portland, Oregon to Kearney, Nebraska. They met someone at church that was also from Portland. This connection formed a bond and  created a friendship. Philip, although he was called directly by Jesus, probably found connection through being from the same hometown as the other disciples.

 

Philip goes out and finds his friend Nathanael. Again we see this social-web working again.

 

Philip knows that Jesus is the one Moses and the prophets wrote about. He tells Nathanael that he has found the Savior of the world and that Jesus is from Nazareth. Now, every town has a smaller town they like to make fun of. Nazareth was this town for Nathanael. I don’t want to call out any town specifically, but you know what I am talking about.

 

Philip responds to Nathanael the same way Jesus responded to Andrew and John. Come and see. It is all about relationships.

 

Let’s continue:

 

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47 ESV)

 

Jesus was speaking to the character of Nathanael. Calling him an “Israelite indeed” he was confirming that he was not just connected to Israel through physical heritage, but through spirit as well. Jesus also speaks about Nathanael’s sincerity. Nathanael does not try to pretend he is something other than what he truly is. He is real.

 

 

 

48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, “I saw you under the fig tree,” do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” (John 1:48-50 ESV)

 

At first Nathanael is skeptical or embarrassed at the high praise he received from Jesus. He asks, “How do you know me?” Jesus gives Nathanael a glimpse of the omniscience of God. Jesus says, “I saw you under the fig tree”. In that day a lot of people would study and pray about the scriptures during the heat of the day under fig trees. This became a slang term for reading the bible. Jesus saw Nathanael when he was seeking God alone, before Philip came to him.

 

This was enough to convince Nathanael that Jesus was God. Jesus was impressed by his faith. Because Nathanael had faith in the small things, Jesus was going to show him the larger things. Nathanael had let go of his skepticism, and his prejudices of Nazareth, and fully embraced God.

 

Let’s read the last verse of this chapter.

 

 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51 ESV)

 

Jesus is the intercessor for us to God in Heaven. He is the bridge between us and God. He is the savior who repairs the gap that sin and the fall of man had created.

 

That is the end of John Chapter 1. We end with Jesus calling the first five disciples: Andrew, John, Peter, Philip and Nathanael.

 

All of these men were connected. They chose to use their social webs to spread the truth of the gospel. We develop these relationships every day. As we cultivate these relationship are we acting in a way that points to Christ? Are we being a Disciple of Jesus?

 

 

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