At our church, we just concluded a series titled The Disciple. We asked the question, how would a disciple of Christ look different than a disciple of the culture, specifically in New York City? As we looked at the scriptures to answer this question aiming to identify the true call of the follower of God in a context that increasingly does not follow God, we discovered that a disciple of Christ instead of culture would look different and point to an alternative way of life.
We narrowed it down to 6 specific characteristics and covered them over the 6 Sundays involved in Lent. It was definitely one of the most profound sermon series I’ve been a part of as it forced anyone listening to be confronted with whether the culture was dictating their life or their beliefs.
We are all disciples, it’s not a question of will we or won’t we be a disciple. The question is who are we disciples of? Our culture produces different disciples than our churches should be producing if the churches are making disciples of Christ. The Christian must consider whether they are following Christ with their life or merely with their words.
Each sermon and the audio is below. I had the honor to preach on the Supernatural Love of Others while the great JR Vassar preached the others. I was blessed by this sermon series and I hope you will be too. You can also download these podcasts from iTunes.
The Call to Rest
A disciple must first decide to follow a certain way of living. The invitation of Jesus is initially to find rest and trust in God rather than to find identity in exhaustive work and trust in our efforts. JR preached from Matthew 11:25-30 on The Call to Rest.
Many think of being a disciple as a duty, but Christ calls those who will follow Him to love Him most. The disciple is someone who loves God so much that his/her love for others looks like hatred in comparison to his/her love for God. JR preached from Matthew 10:34-39 on this type of Incomparable Love.
Renunciation of Self
Just as Christ has chosen to lay down His life for others, to be His disciple we are called to align with God even against ourselves. Instead of pursuing our own ways and our own desires, we are called to deny ourselves for the benefit of others. JR preached on Luke 9:23-27 about the Renunciation of Self.
Abiding in Jesus
The disciple of Jesus Christ is called to agree with, spend time learning about and letting their thoughts and affections be guided towards God. However we spend our thoughts or affections, intentional or not, is ultimately what we become. We all long for success, but the disciple of Christ finds this through abiding in Jesus. JR preached from John 15 on Abiding in Jesus.
Supernatural Love of Others
In John 13:34-35 Jesus issues a new command to His disciples to love others as they have been loved. Christ goes on to show that a loving community is the method of His mission. While the culture calls us to a tolerant love, Christ calls us to a transformative love. I had the privilege to preach on a the Supernatural Love for Others.
Stewardship of Life
All of us have been given certain talents, gifts, abilities, resources, and time that enable us to create a life for ourselves and others. While our culture encourages us to use these things for ourselves and the building of our most successful selves, Christ calls us to use all that has been given to us, much that we could not create in ourselves, for God and for others. It’s a redefining of success as faithfully using these things for God’s purposes and not just our own. JR preached on Matthew 25:14-30 about the Stewardship of Life.