Sermon Series: ‘Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Kingdom Living’ pt.1 Text: Luke 6:12-49
Introduction: A rather pompous-looking Sunday School teacher was trying to impress upon his class the importance of living the Christian life. “Why do people call me a Christian?” the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.”
Now, to be fair, I’m sure the boy wasn’t commenting on the Sunday School teachers Christian character. Perhaps he was thinking that the people just didn’t know his name.
- But, the thought that someone looking into our lives, and not know that we’re a Christian, is, well, disturbing.
There should be something that distinguishes us from the rest of the world. And the longer we walk with Jesus, it should be more evident, that not only are we a Christian, but we’re a disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Now, Scripture doesn’t make a distinction between the two. But all too often, we do.
And the reason we do, is because we fail to acknowledge our calling, and all that goes with it, as followers of Jesus Christ.
- Rather than striving to be like Jesus through obedience to His Word, from the time we are saved…
- Instead, we get the idea that discipleship is something we can put off till we get that promotion, till the kids are grown, till we’re retired, till we… you fill in the blank.
But that’s just not found in the Bible. Listen to what Jesus says to His 11 Apostles just before He ascended into Heaven.
- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a)
Do you see it? Jesus didn’t tell us to just lead people to salvation, He told us to make them disciples, who obey God’s Word.
The word disciple means student. It’s someone who learns from a teacher and follows (obeys) what they say.
- In the trades it’s called being an apprentice. A person learns how to be a plumber or electrician by working under an experienced plumber or electrician.
- In medicine it’s called residency. A medical student who has completed medical school, goes to a hospital to learn from an experienced medical doctor in a particular field.
In both cases, the medical student and apprentice is expected to do what they’re told. And that’s also true in the church for Christians.
Our text, Luke 6:12-49 will help us learn what it means to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We’ll see Jesus say that kingdom living, which is what disciples of Jesus Christ do, is about
- no longer living according to the worlds standards but to the standards set by God in His Word, and more specifically, by Jesus in here.
So, how does this journey to kingdom living start?
It starts with our calling.
- Luke 6:12-16 Being set apart for God
Read: Luke 6:12-16
Jesus had a big decision to make. He had many disciples, people who traveled with Him, listening to Him speak.
The text tells us that Jesus went to a mountain to pull an all-nighter… He probably prayed from sundown to sunrise the next morning.
We can assume from the text, the content of His season of prayer, was the choosing of the 12 Apostles. But, we can’t rule out that’s all He prayed for.
- Considering what Jesus will teach the next day, I’m certain He and the Father spoke a lot about that.
- As well as, the rising conflict with the Jewish religious leaders.
So, when the light of day appeared, Jesus gathered His 84 or so followers/disciples and called out, chose, 12 of them, to be His Apostles.
- The word Apostle means one sent out.
Later, these 12 Apostles (minus Judas and plus Paul)
- Would be Jesus’ representatives, sent out to carry the Gospel to the known world.
- They would be sent out to make disciples of all nations.
- They would be sent out to organize and lead the church Jesus was forming.
They didn’t understand all that at that time. What they knew was that they were now in Jesus’ close circle of students, where they would receive much more intense and intimate training on kingdom living by the Master.
OK, Why did Jesus choose 12 Apostles? I have no idea, because we’re not told.
- Some say it’s because Israel had 12 tribes and Jesus was now calling a new spiritual nation to be His people and He modeled it after what they were familiar with.
Who are these 12 Apostles Jesus chose to send out as His representatives to the world?
- They had no special training.
- They weren’t highly educated, and some lacked what would be called ‘social graces.’
- They weren’t wealthy, or prominent.
- They were just ordinary people, like you and me.
Not only were the Apostles ordinary men, they were also very different men; socially, economically, vocationally, educationally.
Here are some interesting facts about the 12 Apostles:
Peter/Andrew, John/James were brothers. And since Matthew/the other James are called sons of Alphaeus, perhaps they too were brothers.
At least 4 were fishermen who may have been in business together.
Matthew was a Tax Collector, making him a traitor to the Jews. Simon was a Zealot, a fanatic nationalist, had sworn to kill every traitor to Israel. I wonder if Jesus ever had to separate them?
Many of the Apostles were called by different names;
- Simon was called Peter.
- Nathaniel was called Bartholomew.
- James the son of Alphaeus was called James the Less.
- Judas, the brother of James, was also called Thaddeus.
- The other Simon in the group was also called The Zealot.
- Mathew was called Levi.
- Thomas was called The Twin.
- James and his brother John were called Sons of Thunder.
Jesus had an inner circle of 3 Apostles; Peter, John and James.
Judas Iscariot was the only Apostle not from Galilee.
Transition: Jesus picks His 12 Apostles. What happens next will be their first more intense and intimate lesson from Jesus.
- Luke 6:17-19 Three groups in the crowd
Read: Luke 6:17-19
As Jesus comes down from the mountain, it’s important to interpreting Luke 6:20-49, that we see there are 3 distinct groups around Jesus:
- His 12 newly appointed Apostles.
- A great crowd of His disciples.
- And a great multitude of people who came to hear Him and be healed by Him.
Those three groups represent the same people in our churches today:
- Those who are committed disciples / followers of Jesus.
- Those who follow Jesus, but at a distance.
- Those who are just looking to get something from Jesus, some temporal fix, some need met and then it’s back to their own agendas.
Next Sunday, we’ll see that Jesus speaks to the first two groups in the rest of chapter 6:
- In verses 20-49, Jesus will teach His Apostles and Disciples with His words, about kingdom living.
- Here, He teaches them by His actions.
Combine the two, and I believe Jesus wants us to know is:
- That kingdom living not only requires we teach others about Jesus and how to live in His kingdom,
- But also, that kingdom living must include a heart of compassion for the needy, the hurting, the broken, and those in bondage.
If I can take an aside here, this is the hope of most who go on short term mission trips.
- They hope to be able to care for peoples’ needs, to show compassion and love, demonstrated in how they interact with those they came to serve.
- And, they hope that God will provide the opportunity to share the Good News of forgiveness and life in Jesus.
5 members of our Youth Group and 3 leaders have committed to go to Altoona, Pa. the first week of July on a short term missions trip.
We’ll join at least one other youth group, to serve individuals, families and churches in that area.
Would be willing to commit us to prayer?
- That we’ll demonstrate, at all times, the love of Jesus, in our physical acts of compassion.
- And that when God presents opportunities to share our life in Christ with someone, that the Holy Spirit will fill us with boldness and the necessary words to speak truth and life into the hearts of those who are lost and headed for a Christ-less eternity.
Conclusion: In closing, a few points of application from our text.
- Since Jesus found it necessary to spend time alone in the fellowship prayer with the Father offers, then shouldn’t we do the same?
- How many important decisions do we make only to leave God out them?
- How many times are we so driven by the activities in our lives, that we fail to get away to spend time with God in prayer?
- How many times have we been faithful to do what God has called us to do, but, not bathe it in prayer before or while we do it?
Remember Jesus said I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Prayer is certainly time spent abiding in Jesus!
- Since Jesus uses ordinary people to serve Him we must remember what the Apostle Paul wrote: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
ILL: Oswald Chambers wrote: God can achieve His purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or the abandonment of reliance upon them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on Him make possible the unique display of His power and grace. He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources. (From R. Kent Hughes)
We serve God rightly when we serve God in the power that He alone provides. We need to live and serve in light of the fact that we’re just…clay.
- Jesus chose men with great differences to serve Him as Apostles. Yet, this eclectic team shows that when it comes to serving God, there’s no one ‘cookie cutter’ mold.
- As different as we might be, God has a place of service, for all of us.
- When you see people in need, people hurting, people who are broken and lost, does your heart beat a little stronger, a little faster for them?
- And do you act upon what your heart is telling you?
When we encounter Jesus, He calls us to Kingdom living.