Sermon:  Christian or Disciple?

Summary:  Being a Christian and being a disciple should be the same.  Every Christian 
is a disciple of Christ, which means he is a follower and imitator of Christ.  In order 
to be followers of Christ, we need to remain in the word, then bear fruit, of which the 
greatest is the fruit of love. 

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  Mk 8:34-36

1.  Most of us are familiar with John 1:14.  What does it say?
	a.  Karl Barth, a theologian from a long time ago, used this verse to make 
	     a point about what he say going on around him
	b.  "And the Word became flesh...and through theologians became words 
	c.  Christianity, if we are not careful, can become an academic exercise
		- Ministers are trained in classrooms
		- We go to Bible classes
		- We hear Bible lectures in the form of sermons
		- Does all of this receiving of knowledge make you a Christian?
	d.  Let me ask some more questions
2.  Are you truly a Christian?  Raise your hand   Are you truly a disciple?
	a.  Why do we hesitate at the second question?
	b.  Perhaps we don't fully understand that Christian is a disciple
	c.  One of the most common designations in scripture for a Christian is a 
3.  What does it mean to be a disciple?
	a.  A disciple is not merely someone who knows scripture and doctrine
		- Just because you can quote scripture not make you a disciple
		- Just because you can articulate Christian doctrine doesn't make 
		   you a disciple
		- Just because you are familiar with various theological issues does 
		  not make you a disciple
	b.  Lk 6:40 - A fully trained disciple will be like his teacher
	c.  A disciple is a student, follower imitator of Christ
4.  This morning we will look at specific traits of discipleship

I.  Bears his cross (Lk 14:25-33)
	A.  Some people misunderstand what bearing your cross means
		1.  Some think it is about difficulty - "It's the cross I have to bear"
		2.  It is much more than just difficulty
	B.  ILL:  Picture yourself in ancient Roman province, look outside window
		1.  See procession going down the street of soldier and officials
		2.  In the midst of it all is a man carrying a cross
		3.  Everyone knows what it happening, the man is on his way to die
		4.  Can't be disciple if we don't die to self and follow Christ
	C.  Look how Jesus describes it
		1.  Redefinition of familial ties
			a.  Hate father, mother, brother, sister, and own life
			b.  We know this is a hyperbole to make a point
			c.  Jesus is before family
		2.  (Lk	9:23:26) - Take up your cross daily, Lose your life for him
			a.  We deny ourselves and say yes to Christ
			b.  If you gain the world and lose soul, you have truly lost
			c.  Jesus is before self
		3.  (Lk 9:57-62) - Don't look back 
			a.  We don't try to put anything ahead of Christ
			b.  Some things sound important, but can become excuses
			c.  Jesus is before everything
	D.  If we not bear our cross and follow him, we can't be his disciple
		1.  The cost of discipleship is everything
		2.  Jesus gave up his life, we are to give up our life daily
		3.  That is trait number one.  There is more...

II.  Abides in the Word  (Jn 8:31-32)
	A.  What does it mean to "abide" in something?
		1.  Dictionary:  To remain, continue, stay / To dwell, reside
		2.  Synonyms:  To dwell, inhabit, lodge, nest, reside, settle
			continue, persevere, persist, remain 
		3.  Noun form:  Abode - Means home, residence, dwelling, habitat
		4.  If you abide in something - You live there, it is your habitat
	B.  Jesus is saying we need to live in His word
		1.  Jn 6:67-68 - Jesus asked disciples if they wanted to leave him
			a.  Peter said there was no place else to go
			b.  Peter said that Jesus has the words of eternal life
			c.  If we are going to have life, we need to live in his word
		2.  (2 Tim 3:16) - All scripture is inspired of God
			a.  Inspired means to breath, scripture is "God breathed"
			b.  It is saying that scripture is the breath of God
			c.  Only the breath of God has given life to us
			d.  We need the breath of God in order to live
	C.  ILL:  I remember a few years ago going to the top of Pike's Peak
		1.  I was light headed and had some difficulty exerting myself
			a.  Had to walk slow, or I felt I would pass out
			b.  I felt dizzy the whole time
		2.  Why?  The air was so thin.
			a.  The higher up you go, the thinner the air becomes
			b.  They had an "oxygen bar" at the gift shop
		3.  Astronauts leave the atmosphere, so what do they do?
			a.  They bring air with them
			b.  If not, they will suffocate
		4.  We cannot survive outside of the air
	D.  Disciple not in the word is like as astronaut without oxygen
		1.  We are not of this world, so we need the breath of God
		2.  You cannot function as a disciple without remaining in the word
		3.  It would be like being at the top of pikes peak without oxygen
			a.  Not able to do much of anything, weak, dizzy
			b.  Need the breath of God, remain in his word
			c.  Disciples need to be full of the word, not gasping of air
		4.  **Only when we remain in the word can we be productive...

III.  Bears Fruit (Jn 15:5-9)
	A.  Bearing fruit is a proof of discipleship
		1.  Notice if his words abide in you, then you can bear fruit?
		2.  When you bear fruit, you prove to be his disciples
		3.  In order words, fruit is evidence, a demonstration of discipleship
	B.  What does it mean to bear fruit?
		1.  We know that fruit is a metaphor to refer to the result/outcome
			a.  We sometimes refer to the "fruit of their labor"
			b.  We sometimes use it to refer to offspring, reproduction
		2.  Used the same way in scripture
			a.  Mt 7:16 - Jesus said you shall know them by their fruit
				- Talking about their actions, teaching, character
			b.  Mt 3:8 - John said bring forth fruits of repentance
				- Talking about changing your life
				- Stop sinning, start serving God
			c.  Rm 1:13; Col 1:6 - Speaks of the fruits of the Gospel
				- Share the Gospel, people respond and are saved
				- Fruit of the Gospel are those who are saved
		3.  When we become branch in the vine, we are to bear much fruit
	C.  Image of the vine is instructive:
		1.  What is the wood of a vine good for?
		2.  Have you ever seen houses, tables, chairs, made of vine?
		3.  No, they have one purpose, to bear fruit
		4.  If not, then they are cut and used for kindling
	D.  When bear much fruit as Christ did, then we prove to be his disciples
		1.  Jesus said, "You shall know them by their fruit"
		2.  What does the fruit in your life say about who you follow?
		3.  **Want to talk about two of these fruits next...

IV.  Love (Jn 13:34-35)
	A.  Love is perhaps the most important fruit of discipleship
	B.  Look at what Jesus says about love here
		1.  It is a new commandment
			a.  How is it new?  Torah said to love neighbor as yourself
			b.  Jesus put a qualifier on it - "Love as I have loved you"
			c.  No longer is it love as you love yourself
			d.  Jesus calls us to love as he loved 
		2.  The love of our Lord is selfless, sacrificial, fiercely devoted love
			a.  Not like saying, "I love apple pie"
				- This really isn't love at all
			b.  It does not say, "I love you because..."
				- You can't help love someone if you have a reason
				- Maybe they are kind, beautiful, love you back, etc.
			c.  It says, "I love you" period
				- It is a conscious decision
				- It is love given "in spite of" being unlovable
			d.  Want to know what love of God is like, look at Christ
		3.  Bible puts walking in the light and love together (2 Jn 2:9-11)
			a.  Part of what it means to walk in the light is to love
			b.  If you do not love, then you are walking in the darkness
			c.  1 Jn 3:14 - If not love, then you abide in death
	C.  ILL:  Have you ever been in the darkness before?
		1.  Remember ice storm in Murray, but we were safe at home, 
		     warm, happy, playing games
		2.  All the transformers in town blew, it went pitch black
			a.  Laughter stopped, talking stopped
			b.  My sister started crying, it was so dark
		3.  Everything the same as before, but no light.  
			a.  No more laughing, no more games
			b.  Even though other people in the room, feel isolated
		4.  That is how it is without love
	D.  When you love, that brings the light of God into people's lives
		1.  Some people may have been in darkness all their lives
		2.  But when we love as Christ did, then we bring the light with all 
		     its joy, light, and life
			a.  When we show patience, compassion, selflessness
			b.  When we extend a kindness to someone
			c.  When we love as Christ did, we are shining the light of life
		3.  A true disciple of Christ loves as Christ did 

V.  Reproduces (Mt 28:18-20)
	A.  At inherent part of fruit is the seed in the middle
		1.  Fruit naturally reproduces
		2.  So a fruit of discipleship is more disciples
	B.  Jesus intended for his ministry to continue to bear fruit after he left
		1.  He preached the "Gospel of the Kingdom"
		2.  Gospel means "Good News"
		3.  News is meant to be passed on right?
	C.  ILL:
		1.  There are those whose profession is to pass on news
			a.  These reporters and journalists go about it with a passion
			b.  Sometimes they will put themselves into danger
			c.  They are devoted to getting the news out
		2.  I met another kind of "reporter" in Rolla, MO
			a.  Angelica was converted in Bellevue
			b.  A couple days later, she would talking to people about the 
			c.  I've worked together with her several times on campaigns
			d.  She told me that she can't imagine keeping the Gospel to 
	D.  As disciples of Christ, are God's "reporters"
		1.  We have fantastic news to share
		2.  When we heed the commission, then we will see fruit

1.  Yes, there is good news to be told (inv)
2.  If you have already responded, you are a Christian AND a disciple
3.  This means you now
	a) Bear your cross daily
	b) Abide in the word
	c) Love as Christ loves
	d) Reproduce by passing on the news
3.  Are you a disciple of Christ?  If not, then make the decision to be one today