What Does It Mean To Be A Disciple?
James K. Dew | College Retreat 2022 | Friday Evening
What does it mean to be a disciple?
During the 2022 College Retreat, Jamie Dew answered this question using Mark 10:35-42. Sometimes we have a false idea of what a true disciple of the Lord should look like. Jesus makes it clear that discipleship is about submitting to him—not personal gain for us. To be a faithful disciple of the Lord, we have to die to ourselves daily. It’s not always about comfort and peace, but sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect example of discipleship because he came to serve, not to be served.
View Transcript: What Does It Mean To Be Disciple?
Hey guys, how are you doing? Good to be with you tonight. If you have a Bible turn with me, if you will, please, to Mark Chapter 10 is where we’re gonna be tonight. We’re gonna talk for just a few moments about what it means to be a disciple. My name is Jamie Dew. I am, believe it or not, the president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, and I’m actually a North Carolina boy by upbringing. So it’s good to be back in the home state tonight. Thank you guys for having me. Zack, man, it means the world to me to come and partner with you all and just be a part of your life for a few moments here tonight. You encourage me tonight just about watching you sing, watching you worship…
I’ve studied apologetics and philosophy for most of my professional career, and when people ask me because of that, what it is that causes me to believe all of this stuff, I think they expect sometimes that I’m gonna give them one of these fancy whiz-bang arguments or something like that, but if the truth were to be told about why I actually believe this stuff, there’s a couple of reasons, but one of them is that in moments like we just had when I watch you, my brothers and sisters, love Jesus, there’s just something that happens to me, and I find myself caught up in belief, so thank you for ministering to me tonight. It’s a pleasure and a joy to be with you.
If you wonder what we do at a school like New Orleans, we have a booth back in the back along with Southeastern’s booth back there, both two incredibly great schools, but what we do, especially in the city of New Orleans, we train up men and women to go into the darkest places in the entire world, and there in the darkness, shine the light of Jesus Christ, that’s who we are, and that’s what we do. And so we are looking for just those handful of young men and those young women who wanna give their life to the cause of Christ and go take their life into the darkness and in the brokenness and share Christ with people. So come by the booth, come see us, come talk to us, we’ll be around some tomorrow as well, we’d love to talk with you about how we can help you or serve you in some capacity.
Alright, enough commercials of stuff like that. They didn’t bring me here tonight to talk about those things, we came together tonight, as brothers and sisters in Christ, you’re at this awesome age, you’ve got your whole life in front of you, you’ve got all your education in front of you, you got your marriage and your family and all the things that God’s gonna do in and through you, and you’re at this stage because you’re at a place like this where you clearly are taking your faith seriously. And that’s an encouraging thing. So tonight, as brothers and sisters, we open the word simply to let the Lord speak to us, to shape us, to mold us and to conform us to his image.
Mark Chapter 10, Verse number 35, the question tonight is, what does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to be a disciple? Mark 10, Verse 35, “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him saying to Him, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever it is that we ask.” And He said to them, “You don’t know, or what do you want me to do for you?” And they said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit one on your right hand and one on your left hand in your glory.” And Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I drink? And are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized with?” And they said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink of the cup that I drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized. But to sit on my right or on my left is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
And when the 10 heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and with John, but Jesus called them to himself and he said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles, they lord it over them and their great ones exercise authority over them, and yet it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Let’s pray. Lord, still I need you to teach me what it means to be your disciple, that whatever may come in this life, that when it is all said and done, that it would be true of me that I followed you, that I walked with you, that I was your disciple. Lord, as I seek to learn that, as I seek to know that and live that out, I pray God, the same for my brothers and sisters in this room, that whatever false ideas, superficial thoughts or even half-hearted measures may have been what we thought discipleship was all about. That God, you would break those ideas tonight even, that your spirit might fall among us, that your word might go forward and that your children, your sons and daughters, even in this room, would be made strong. So Lord, have your way in my life. Have your way in our lives. Teach us, we pray. The precious name of your son. Amen.
What does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to be a disciple? We probably have all kinds of words that come to our minds, our thoughts that come to our minds when we hear that word “disciple”, right? You might think, for example, something like discipleship, something that we do, or programs that we participate in, understand that tonight I’m not against any of those types of things, but I do want to break the idea that perhaps discipleship or being a disciple is simply about some kind of program that you go through in your church that perhaps has a little workbook or something like that, certainly, things like that are needed and have a place in the life of the Christian and of the church, I’m not against those, that’s not the point of this at all tonight, but that certainly doesn’t help us get to the root of the matter of what it actually means to be a disciple.
This is after all what Jesus called you and me into, He called the disciples and all who would come after them over the span of the thousands of years, he calls any and everyone who does in fact follow on the name of Jesus Christ and give themselves to Him to be a disciple. So we should want to know exactly what that is. I fear sometimes we have, without ever really saying it, we have some false ideas about in fact, what it does mean to be a disciple. Perhaps it is, we think that being a disciple is about having God on our side, such that our lives are made easier.
I’m a Christian, I’m obedient, and therefore God is somehow obliged to me or to you to make sure that my life is padded in the right kinds of ways with comforts and gains and prestige and all of those types of things. We might just think that being a disciple means that God’s on our side and things are supposed to work out. You see, and then things go wrong in life, things go the way we don’t expect them to go, and we get mad at God. What does that mean to be a disciple? Perhaps that anger towards God or that frustration towards God actually is rooted not in God short-changing us, but rather it’s rooted in our faulty conceptions in the first place, of what it means to be a disciple.
Maybe sometimes we think, “Man, if I’m a disciple, if I’m obedient to Him and I’m following Him, then what that means is not just that my life is supposed to be padded with comforts and luxuries and things like that, but man, I’m even supposed to be able to rise up in certain ways, and God’s gonna platform me, and God’s going to use me and I’m gonna be the guy on this stage or something like that.” Look, the fact of the matter of it is, we all inadvertently, unintentionally perhaps, end up letting faulty ideas about what it means to be a disciple to creep into our minds. Here’s what I wanna say to us tonight, we’re not alone in this, we’re not the first ones to ever have those faulty ideas, in fact, the tendencies that you and I have are identical to the tendencies that the 12 disciples themselves actually seemed to have.
James and John, our own display for us tonight, and then all of a sudden the other 10 are gonna join them and we’re gonna see as we look at their lives, because by the way, this is often how we see things the most clearly. We learn the most, it seems, most easily by looking at the faults in other people, we watch them make their mistakes, and we say, “Man, that’s bad, right?” And we have to do that tonight with James and John and then the other 10, but understand that the mistakes that they’re making, the faulty ideas that they have embraced ultimately are the same kinds of ideas that you and I can and often do embrace. So as we look at James and John and then the other 10, ultimately, I’m gonna try all night long to flip it back around and put a mirror up in front of all of us as we ask this question, looking at their lives, what does it mean to be a disciple?
James and John come to Jesus with a couple of bright ideas about what it means to be a disciple, and Jesus absolutely obliterate those ideas. So that’s the question tonight. What does it mean to be a disciple? Number one, in verse number 35, through verse number 38, Jesus makes it clear to James and John that discipleship is about submission, it is not about personal gain. In other words, James and John, when they come to Jesus, they clearly have ideas of grandeur for themselves in mind, and that’s what they’re in it for, they come to Jesus with a request, essentially, make them great, and Jesus has to flip it upside down on them and make it abundantly clear to them that ultimately being his disciple is not about them gaining anything, but rather it is about them submitting their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ himself.
James and John, verse number 35, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee… ” Stop right there. Sons of Zebedee… Zebedee was known as The Man of Thunder. These were the sons of thunder. What does that mean? Evidently, Zebedee had a quick temper, a hot hand, and these were his sons, meaning they have the same disposition. James and John, the sons of thunder, the sons of Zebedee, they came to Jesus… And I want you to just grab for a minute, how foolish and how self-centered and how profoundly arrogant their request actually is. James and John come to the Lord Jesus himself, the one who spoke and brought it all into existence.
John Chapter 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And all things were made through Him, and by Him all things came into existence, and without Him, nothing else came.” That God. They come to him and notice what they say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever it is that we ask.” Jesus amazingly humors them in this moment. I would expect thunder to strike at this moment, I would expect him to rebuke them in this moment, like, “How dare you come to the Lord of the universe with that request? You’ve got it backwards. You’ve got it upside down.” But watch what Jesus does, Verse 36, He actually humors them for just a moment, He looks at ’em, I don’t know if he rolls his eyes, I don’t know if he sighs, I don’t know what he does, but he humors them.
In Verse number 36, he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And here’s the request, verse 37, “Grant us.” It’s not just, folks, that they have asked, they’ve misunderstood the order. This is Lord, this is servant, and they flipped it, “You are servant and I am Lord.” Clearly, for them to be a follower of Jesus meant that God owed them something: Specifically, comfort, ease, power, fame, prestige, and all that would come with sitting at the right and the left of the king himself. They think it’s about them. And now it gets worse. Verse 37, He said to them, “Grant us that we may sit one on your right and one on your left when you come into glory.” The audacity of what it is that they have a request for. Now, let me just point out one other thing from this, that’s just amazingly selfish and unconcerned for the things of the Kingdom.
If you flip backwards, maybe in your Bible, you have to go a page, maybe you don’t, it’s just the next paragraph right before this, but look back in verse number 32, notice this, “A third time now, Jesus has just taught his disciples about His death, His burial, and His resurrection.” Let me put it to you this way. Imagine that I… I have four kids. They’re ages 14 and 11. You wonder, four kids, only two ages, that’s because I have two sets of twins. And so we have this really big family, really rich family, it’s awesome, but imagine how I might feel as Dad. If I were to walk into the house and sit down with the kids and say to them something like this, and to my wife, “I have some really bad news, I’m gonna die. I’ve got a terminal illness, and the doctors have done what they can do, but they can’t do anything more. I’m going to die.”
And now imagine how I might feel in that moment if my kids’ response to that was not just not only, “Oh dad, we love you, no,” or something like that, but no, they don’t respond that way. Instead, they simply say,” Dad, look, okay, enough of that. Can you make sure that when you die, the inheritance is set up and structured a certain way?” This is how heartless, how selfish… And look, here’s the other thing that’s outstanding about this, Jesus is talking to them about big eschatological things, you say, “What’s that big word about?” Eschatology is the study of end time stuff. Jesus is talking to his disciples in this moment about the big unfolding of the Eschaton that’s running through his, not just incarnation, but His death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus is talking to them about big kingdom kind of stuff, and all they can think about is their own personal gain. It’s ugly, isn’t it? Let’s flip the mirror around for a second. Why are you in this? Why are you in this? This Christianity thing? Now, don’t keep mishear me, I’m super grateful that you’re here, we’re all grateful that you’re here, but I know our tendencies, I know our hearts, our hearts are always bent towards self. At the end of the day, for most of us, we worship at the idol of our own names, we sit at the center of our universes, and we expect it all to revolve around us, and yet the Gospel bids us not just come and live through Christ, but it also bids us come and die to self. “No longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians Chapter 2, verse 20. Is this not the call on my life? Yes, that I received life in Him and joy in Him and redemption in Him. Listen, I was that guy, 1.6 GPA in high school, arrested twice in high school. Drugs, alcohol, sex, the whole nine yards. I was that kid, broken, squandered life, and when I came to Him, yes, He gave me life, but He also called me into death to die to myself and take up my cross now and follow Him. What does it mean to be a disciple? It does not mean it’s about you, it doesn’t mean that it’s about me, this is not about my comfort or my ease or being known or any such things, it is about submission to the living Christ himself.
God is at work, just like the disciples, Jesus is talking to them about big kingdom things, and he’s wanting to use them and call them into that work, and yet all they can see and all they can care about is what is their own passion and their own desires and their names and their power and their luxuries, and their… All those things. “Lord, when we come into your kingdom, let me sit on the right and let him sit on the left, because it needs to be about us.” And Christ says to them, watch what He says to ’em. Verse number 38, “And Jesus said to them, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking for.'” Point number one tonight, discipleship is about submission, it is not about personal gain. Point number two, it gets harder. Discipleship is not only about submission, not personal gain; secondly, discipleship is about death. And sacrifice. Not comfort and ease.
Discipleship is about death and sacrifice, not comfort and ease. Now, I am stunned by what Jesus says next and clearly in the moment, they have absolutely no clue what he means by this. Verse 38, and He said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking for.” And then Jesus begins to ask the questions himself to the disciples, Jesus, the master teacher, like other master teachers, often talk by asking questions, questions are powerful things. You’ve asked somebody a question that they’ve got a poorly-formed idea about, and they will begin answering that question and there the poorly formed idea that they have will become very evident to even them. Jesus now asks questions. Watch this, listen to his questions. Are you James and John? Because you know they wanna be his disciples, right? Are you James and John able to drink of the cup that I drink? And are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I’m baptized? What in the world is Jesus talking about? Watch their response. They clearly don’t get it. Verse 39, and they said to him, “Yeah, sounds good. We’re able.” What fools, they clearly don’t understand where following him, being a disciple, is going to take them.
He asked them, “Can you drink my cup? Can you be baptized with my baptism?” What does he mean by this? Do you remember in the Garden of Gethsemane? Jesus had asked his disciples, “Stay up with me and watch and pray,” he knew he was about to be betrayed. He knew that he would be tried six times from midnight until 6:00 in the morning. He knew that he would be beaten, he knew that he would be scourged with a cat of nine tails, big hooks that would go into the flesh and rip chunks off of the back, he knew of the agony he was about to endure, he knew of the cross and the nails in his hands and in his feet, he knew of his shoulders popping out of socket, he knew of the crown of thorns, and he knew of the spear on the side. And there in the garden as he anticipates and waits for all of those things, Luke’s Gospel tells us in chapter 22 that he’s so overwhelmed with agony in that moment that he’s literally dripping drops of blood from his forehead. And in that moment, Jesus prays a prayer to the Father, Father, if it is possible…
What does he mean by the that? It what’s possible? If it’s possible for you, and you, and you and you, and you and me and all of us, if it’s possible for atonement of sin to be accomplished in some other way than making me do that right there, pause right there before we finish his prayer. Notice how the Father answers him. If you’re ever wondering if there’s some other way for us to get to heaven, notice how the Father answers him. Jesus has just prayed to the Father, Lord, if there’s some other way for salvation to be achieved other than me going through all of that, and the Father answers with silence. Christ is in fact betrayed, arrested, tried, beaten, flogged, scourged, nailed, jolted, crowned and speared. And he would cry out with his last breath, “Eli Eli, Lama Sabachthani,” which is to say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Is there another way? There can’t be, the Father, let him die there on the cross, here’s his prayer. Knowing all this is about to come and transpire, here’s his prayer, Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. It is a reference to the suffering, he’s about to endure, Christ himself drank that bitter cup.
And now, in this moment, when James and John have these full-hearted ideas of grandeur, and that’s what it means to be a disciple, Jesus asks them, “Can you drink my cup?” What does it mean to be a disciple? Being a disciple is about death and sacrifice, or death and suffering, it’s not about your comfort, and it’s not about your ease. Listen, God has never promised me or you or anybody else that everything is gonna work out the way we want it to. We’ve watched way too many movies. We’re not promised that we won’t have to face hardship, that we won’t have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. In fact, the Bible predicts that those who are faithful to Him may indeed have to endure through such.
And the question for James and John, and this is the same question is for us, can you drink that cup?
Can you be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized? Now, I’m a Baptist, I’m the President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, we mean it so much, we put it in our name, Baptist. And we dunk ’em. We put those bad boys all the way under, kabloosh, and we pull them right back up. Why? Why no sprinkles here? Why not? Well, because there’s deep, deep, deep, rich, profound symbolism in the submersion and the coming up three times over. Watch this, when someone’s in the water and they’re standing up in front of people and they’re about to be baptized, they are actually professing what it is that they believe. They believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, that he was dead, that he was buried, and that he was raised to walk again, right? And when we stand in the waters, we symbolize that by going down, Christ himself would be baptized such.
But there’s two other death, burial, and resurrections as well, not just Jesus’s, but mine, both of the next two belong to me and they belong to you. One of them is spiritual, it’s what Paul is referencing in Galatians 2:20, for I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, and you remember the passage, what’s he talking about? He’s not saying that you quit living in that moment, he’s saying that the old you, one oriented toward self, self, self, self, like James and John right here.
That that one died. And now the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. So it symbolizes Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection. It also symbolizes a statement of my intent to live my life and obedience to him, not for my own personal pleasures and gains. There’s one more death, burial and resurrection, and at this time it’s ours too, and it’s physical, one day you, my friend, will die, your heart will stop, your brain will cease sending out wave functions and your flesh will give up the ghost, and the Bible says in those moments, the body goes back into the ground where it came from, and the spirit goes back to God where it came from, Ecclesiastes 12:6-7. And then 1 Thessalonians 4, when Christ returns, the dead in Christ shall be raised. That’s right, the graveyard where we mourn today is the place where the party begins, when we stand in those waters, we are announcing that all of that to say, friends, baptism is significant to the believer because it symbolizes death, burial and resurrection. Now, Jesus asks James and John, are you able to drink of the cup? Can you suffer with me? What does it mean to be a disciple? Can you suffer with me? And can you die, with me?
Listen to what Jesus says. Matthew 16:24-25, and Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. And whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Listen to this, Luke 9:58, Jesus said this, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man does not have anywhere to lay his head.” What’s Jesus saying in all that? He’s saying, if you’re following me, expect the same kind of treatment that I have had. Discipleship is number one about submission, not personal gain, discipleship is number two about death and sacrifice, it is not about comfort and ease. Verse number nine, before we go into third and final point, they said to him, verse 39, yeah, we’re able. We can do it. Morons. Listen, Jesus said to them, you will. You will indeed drink of the cup that I drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized. Sitting at the right and the left, that’s not yours to decide, or even mine, but you will suffer and you will die.
Third and final point. Discipleship is number one, about submission, not personal gain. Discipleship is number two, about death and sacrifice, not comfort and ease. Discipleship is number three, about servanthood, not Lordship. Discipleship is about servanthood, not Lordship. Now, why am I, why am pointing this out, because, well, number one, Jesus does, I’ll talk about that in a minute. Let me tell you the tendency. Let me start with this, here’s my hope. Here’s the urge and the call of my life is to call out the called, I have a passion to encourage the saints to be the saints, and then to help equip them and power them to go give their life for his kingdom. Some of you in this room are called with me and others, into the dark places, to go into those places where you might not make a lot of money, you might not ever be known, you might be mistreated or hurt or abused or other such things, but you are called, my friend, and there is a kingdom coming, and God seeks you to use you to help bring that kingdom. But here’s what happens, ministry can actually become an idol to those who do it.
You see, when you do ministry, you’re kinda special, you might find yourself sitting up on stage like this with a bunch of light bulbs shining on you. And even if you don’t speak at camps and other things like that, man, you probably serving some local church somewhere and man, let me tell you that those little sweet old blue-haired ladies and those men who are deacons, you are special to them, and they’ll brag on you, and they’ll boast on you, and man, you’ll be a big deal to them, and you’ll never mean it to happen, but you’ll become a big deal to yourself. The next thing you know, you have power, you have a recognition, you have all these other things, and all of a sudden your little idol of your name, you are bowing down to and you think everybody else is too. And you become a Lord and a master, and you get a position, and I remember a mentor of mine told me one time, the fastest way to see a man’s real character is give him a title. Watch what happens once he’s pastor so and so, director thus and such, president this or vice president that, watch what happens to someone when you give them a title. Now, all of a sudden they think that people are disposable, they think that people exist to meet their needs or to serve their purposes, and once again, we have to remind ourselves, it’s not about us.
Being a disciple, is about being a servant, not a Lord. Watch what Jesus says, verse 41, then the 10 heard it. So the other 10 disciples, remember I said tonight we’re gonna look at James and John, and then we’re gonna look at these other 10 because they come right along with them. And the other 10, they heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. Now, why were they mad? Were they mad because James and John were just being profoundly inappropriate and selfish? Nope, we actually know from lots of other passages in the Gospels that they had the same egos and aspirations. What they’re frustrated about is that James and John beat them to the punch in getting to ask the question, and so they’re all frustrated. We also know that’s what’s going on, because notice here that Jesus brings all 12 of them together and has a little heart-to-heart uncle daddy conversation with them.
Look here, let me tell you something. Watch this, when the 10 heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John, and Jesus called them to himself and he said to them, watch this, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles… ” Pause right there for a minute. Let’s make sure we understand. Jesus regularly encourages his disciples to believe a certain way or act in a certain way in comparison to the Gentiles, he’s doing it here. Matthew Chapter 6, same thing, we’re prone to worry, worry, worry, and Jesus says, “That’s what Gentiles do,” that Jesus will constantly encourage us to act away or believe in a certain way that’s contrary to what Gentiles do. Why does he hold up the Gentiles. These were lost, pagan, ungodly people, in other words, what Jesus is saying here is that this is how lost people behave. Okay, watch, you know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles, so in our terms, their presidents, their governors, their officials and teachers and all those types of things, those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles, they lord it over them. In other words, they use their power, their positions and their privilege for their own personal gain, and they use it to hurt other people.
Can I just pause right here to say a word to us. You know what human tendency is, lost tendency is… Please hear me on this. We have a tendency to tear other people down, matter of fact, just pause before I finish this. If you’re hearing people, even in your little circles, tear people down, you got one guy, or that one girl that’s just constantly pick, pick, pick, tear, tear, tear, criticize, criticize, criticize. You know why people do that? It’s because they themselves are about this big, and the only way they can feel bigger is by trying to make other people feel small and not just… If you’re doing that, please stop. Watch this, those who are Gentiles, they lord it over others, they love to puff themselves up over other people. Jesus is saying, “That’s what Gentiles do. That’s what lost people do, their great ones exercise authority over them.” Now listen to Verse 43, he’s speaking to James and John and the 10 disciples, and he’s speaking to you, and he’s speaking to me. That’s what Gentiles do, that’s what lost people do, that’s what pagans do, that’s what people that don’t know the grace, the mercy and the love of Jesus Christ do.
Verse 43, yet it shall not be so among you, it shall not be so among you. You’re supposed to be different. When people see you, when they interact with you, when they watch you, and rest assured, brother or sister, they are. When they watch you and how you love and how you care, and how you show grace, and how you utilize your position or your privilege or your platform or your power or whatever else you got for the good of other people, for the blessing of other people, for the edification of other people, for the well-being of other people, and for the salvation of other people, it shall not be so among you. But listen to this, but whoever desires to become great among you, whoever desires to become great among us shall be your servant. Whoever deserves to be first shall be slave to all. Now, you want a good example of this? Verse 45, even the Son of Man, Christ himself, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for many. You know what a follower is? That’s what we are. We’re followers of Jesus Christ.
JD: Followers go where he goes. Followers are about what he’s about. Followers do what he does. Followers love what he loves. Followers affirm and teach what he taught. Followers do what he does. You know what Jesus did? He, the God man, the Son condescends into this earth, taking on flesh, Philippians chapter 2, who though being in the form of God, meaning he possessed the divine nature, he’s one with the Father and the Spirit, by virtue of divinity. Him, he humbled himself, coming in the likeness of a man, Jesus or the Son, condescends and takes on human flesh. And that he’s not done, he not only humbles himself and comes in the likeness of men, but he becomes obedient. Obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Christ himself, the God man, would stoop in a towel and a basin taking the most vile and disgusting job that there was, and he would wash his disciples feet in John Chapter 13. And he said to his disciples, “If I being your teacher, have done this for you,” listen to him, how much more should you do this for each other?
What does it mean? What does it mean to be a disciple? It doesn’t mean that things are always gonna go the way you want them to or I want them to. And just so that you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to make much of myself bowing and worshipping at the idol of the name, Jamie Dew. It’s not about me though. It’s not about you, you want to a sound sad at first, but you all know of a desperately, wonderfully, liberating thought, this world is gonna forget my name real quick as soon as I’m done. I’ll die, my wife and my children will cry, they’ll bury me, and then they’ll go eat potato salad, ’cause that’s what you do, and then move on my life. And there’ll be pictures of me and they’ll talk about me from time to time and things like that, and they’ll live and they’ll flourish and I delight knowing that they’ll flourish when I’m gone. Then they’ll have kids, and they’ll move on and seldom will they think about me and those children will hardly think of me, or next generation will come and that generation will not even know my name. Friend, this world’s gonna forget you. I know that sounds sad, I know that sounds blue and melancholy, but it’s actually liberating, because what it means is that you’re free now, you’re free from chasing this idol that the Book of Ecclesiastes calls nothing but vanity. The fame and the power and the people knowing who you are and the constant popularity contest, the world’s going to forget you.
So don’t live for that junk, there is a kingdom coming. And there’s a king coming with it. Live for that kingdom. And in the here and now, be a disciple, a follower, someone who’s willing to say, “You know what, I submit my life.” Some of you in this room, you are struggling with perhaps a sense that God’s wanting you to surrender over to him in some profound significant way, but you’re hesitant to do it because you have aspirations and goals and things of that nature. I was the same way. And every person who’s ever surrendered to Christ and given their life to him that way, struggle with that too.
What I can tell you is my life did not take the form I thought that it would take, but 27 years of walking with Jesus now, looking back across that span, I can tell you, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. My life as I submit and walk and live, maybe sure I didn’t gain what I thought I would gain, but I have Christ, and that’s enough. Being a disciple is about submission, it’s not about personal gain, it’s about dying and sacrificing, not about comfort needs, and being a disciple is about being a servant. Not a master or Lord. There’s a kingdom coming. And a king coming with it. Spend it well, my friends. Be a disciple.
January 6-8, 2023
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