Greg Laurie - Are You His Disciple?
We're starting a brand new series this morning and the title of this series is Discipleship: The Road Less Taken and I'm gonna have you turn to two passages today, Luke chapter 14 and Matthew chapter 28. Again, Luke chapter 14 and Matthew chapter 28. And why don't we start with a word of prayer.
Father, today our president has asked for a national day of prayer. So again, we pray for our nation and we pray in particular for the folks there in Texas especially in Houston and the surrounding areas that have been hit most directly by this hurricane. Many have lost their homes, some have even lost hope, so we pray now as relief efforts are underway, especially those wonderful Christian relief organizations that are helping people that not only will people find their homes rebuilt and things restored again, but more importantly, that many will come into a relationship with You. So bless those efforts, help the people there in the greater Houston area. And Lord, right now, as we've just heard news about North Korea detonating a hydrogen bomb and again continuing threats against our nation, we pray for a shield of protection around the United States. And I pray that You'll use these events that are happening today in our country to wake people up. To wake up the nation, to wake up the church. Lord, to wake us up. This is not a game, this is real. And Lord, we want to be following You as You've called us to follow You. So speak to us now as we start this new series and help us learn what it means to be real disciples of Jesus Christ. And we ask this in Your name, amen.
All right. Well we're still rejoicing at some 10,000 people that made a profession of faith at Angel Stadium. You probably notice we use very intentional verbage there. We call them professions of faith. We don't say 10,000 people were saved because we don't know if they were saved. We hope they're saved. We pray they're saved. But only time will tell if they're saved. How can you tell if a person is saved? Because they say they're a Christian or because they go to church? Of course not. The only way we can tell is by seeing the results in their life. The Bible says by their fruits you shall know them. And it also says faith without works is dead.
So time will tell if those are real conversions, but we pray that they are. Because that's not enough to just come forward. We need to go forward as Christians. And really, that is the key to the Christian life. We come to Christ and then we continue to grow spiritually. The Christian life is a lifetime of spiritual growth or as one person defined it, it's long obedience in the same direction. I was at our church, Harvest Kumulani last Sunday and one of the things that we did while we were there was we had a few board meetings. Board meetings as in surfboards in the water. Now I'm not a very good surfer. I've never been good, I don't know why I'm perpetually bad at it. And by the way, this is a service that our church watches over in Hawaii, so aloha to all y'all there. But so but I've been told by my friends there, you need to learn how to do stand-up paddling. You know what I'm talking about, stand-up paddling?
And so I've tried it and I keep falling off 'cause I get up on the stand-up paddle board and I'm just not stable. As McGregor said, I'm a bit woobly, you know, I'm a bit woob, that's the thing, I just. I keep falling off. And so they said, keep at it Greg. Keep paddling. So basically you paddle into this wave and then you take off. And I always fall when I come back in. You know, so as I'm getting ready to paddle out, the board kinda slows down and I fall off the board. And so you gotta keep paddling. So I discovered this great secret. I have to paddle really hard once the wave is done because if you stall, you'll fall. Stall, you fall, okay? That's the great takeaway truth I've learned since I've been gone. Stall, you fall. You can take that same principle and apply it to the Christian life. Stall, you fall. You need to keep moving forward as a follower of Jesus. And the moment you stop moving forward is in reality the moment you're starting to reverse your direction.
And this is so important for us all to understand. Because being a Christian, as we all know, is not just simply praying a prayer and getting fire insurance, if you will. It's not only knowing Christ as your friend, but it's also knowing Him as your Lord. It's not just knowing Him as your Savior. It's also knowing Him as your God. But here's the problem. Some people don't quite get that. They're perpetually in a baby-like state as a Christian. You know, I love babies, don't you? Babies are so cute. And you know, they need help with everything, especially when they're newborns, oh my goodness. You have to change them and you have to feed them and you have to watch over them constantly. And then, as they get older, they start fending for themself, and then they hit the years when they can walk, they're little toddlers and that's where a lot of trouble begins, you know. You can hardly wait till your child starts walking. Then once they start walking, you're like terrified of the problems they face and the situations they get themselves into. But it's cute when a baby is a baby, but it's not cute when someone is much older and they're still behaving like a baby.
This is a problem with some Christians. They've known the Lord for five years, 10 years, and they're still acting in effect like baby Christians. Look, when we become a believer, we are dependent on others for our spiritual growth in many ways. 1 Peter 2:2 says as newborn babies desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby. And there's no shame in that, by the way. Your very hunger for the Word of God is an indication of your spiritual health because hungry people are healthy people and healthy people are hungry people. Sometimes when you go to see the doctor, if you're not feeling well, he'll ask you, how is your appetite? Then he'll ask you, oh, then why are you so fat? That's not a good thing to hear. But you know, because if you're really healthy, you're hungry. So if you've come today, hungry for the Word of God, that is an indicator that you're strong spiritually. In contrast, if you have the attitude, well I really know the Word of God so well and I've heard it for so many years and I know so much I don't need to hear it anymore. That's actually a bad indicator.
So the idea is, if you're really hungry spiritually, that shows that you're on the right track. But here's the thing. We need to grow up and not always be dependent on what others give us. See, what I'm doing is effectively cutting your sermon up into bite-sized pieces, cutting the Word up so you can sorta grab it for yourself. I do this for my grandkids. Papa, cut my food. Or Papa, cut the nectarine up, which I'm really perplexed by, how to cut a nectarine. I don't know why. But my granddaughter, Allie, she's lost a few of her teeth now, couple of the front teeth are gone. And so she can't really bite into a nectarine, okay, so we have to cut it in slices for her. So that's effectively what you do when you prepare a message. You're giving them bite-sized pieces and that's fine. But we need to grow up to the point where I can open up the Word of God and read it and process it and apply it in my life. So I'm not always dependent on others doing all the work for me.
In fact, Hebrews 6 says, let's stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't want to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. It's calling growing up spiritually. When I was a kid in school, I heard this phrase a lot. Greg Laurie, will you just grow up? In fact, my wife said this to me the other day. Which is sad, 'cause I'm 64 years old. She said, Greg, you need to grow up. And I'll tell you, I don't even want to reveal why she said it. Do you want to hear why? No, okay. Okay we're, there was this store. We had dinner and there was this store and it was closed. And there was still people inside, 'cause they'd closed their doors. They'd been closed for four minutes.
So Cathe's looking in the window, and my grandkids are looking in the window. And I looked on the window and walked off. So the salesperson turns over and my wife's standing there. She says Greg, stop acting like a sixth grader. Then one of my granddaughters, Riley said, yeah Papa, stop acting like a sixth grader. You're a pastor. Oh gee. They were right. But it was fun. But I heard that a lot, grow up, grow up and it's something we need to do. Obviously I need to work on that a little bit more. But this is the thing. You need to grow spiritually. And the Bible says that God has given us pastor, teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles for the building up the faith for the work of the ministry that we might grow up and no longer by like little children, tossed back and forth with every different kind of teaching. We need to grow up and learn to feed ourselves and learn how to live and think biblically.
And by the way, the best kind of growth in a church is the growth of people coming to Christ. You know, some churches grow by church transfer growth, meaning that other people come from other churches and then join their church. But the best kind of growth is when people come to Christ and then come into the church. Okay, so that brings us now to the theme of what we're going to be talking about. I'm calling this series Discipleship: The Road Less Taken. I want to talk about going to that next level, if you will, growing up spiritually and becoming the mature man or woman of God that we are called to be. So we are no longer little children, always having to be taken care of.
So I want to go to our first text, Matthew 28, very familiar text. But I want to break it down and think very carefully about it, because this is one of those verses we quote. Some of us have even memorized it, but I wonder if we understand what it's saying when Jesus tells us to go and make disciples. I want to define what discipleship is and then ask you the question, are you a disciple? By the way, the words we're about to read are the last words of Jesus while He was leaving Earth. He was saying these things as He was ascending to Heaven. As you know, last words are important, right? If someone's on their death bed, and they give their last statement, you're interested in what they have to say. There's an emphasis on last words and so there should be. These are, in effect, the last words of Christ on this earth. Here's what He says to us. They're a charge, they're a commission. That's why we call it the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16. The 11 disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some of them doubted. And Jesus said to His disciples, I've been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I've given you, and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Very important words. Go and make disciples. We say that's right. I need to go and make disciples. So what does it mean to make a disciple? I have no idea but I'm gonna go do it. Listen to this. Before I can make one, I have to be one. It takes one to make one. I can't take a person any further than I myself have first gone. Sort of like when you're on the plane and they're going through the drill of what to do in case there's an emergency landing. They talk about the masks dropping down and they always tell you put it on yourself first and then on your child. It almost is counter-intuitive. You would think, no, get oxygen to the child first, then to yourself. No, get it to yourself first, then to the child, because if you're blacking out, you can't do anything for the kid, right?
So the idea is, I need to be a disciple, then I can go and make a disciple and maybe one of the reasons I'm not making disciples is because I don't even know what a disciple actually is. Listen to this. While it is true that not every Christian that makes a profession of faith is a Christian, it is equally true that not every Christian is a disciple. Write this down. Every disciple is a Christian, but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple. Think about that. Every disciple is a Christian, but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple. They're actually not interchangeable words. There's a distinction. C.S. Lewis said, "All who are called to salvation are called to discipleship, no exceptions, no excuses".
So what is discipleship? You know, it's an interesting thing. Someone brought this to my attention recently. If you type the word "discipleship" in the Google search engine, the number one site that comes up is us, Harvest. And I thought wow, that's fantastic, 'cause you know, you can't buy something like that. I thought, I don't know how that happened exactly but I went and looked at our site and we have one of our pages on our website that breaks discipleship down very understandably, and so I thought that was a great thing that people could see it explained. Because I think sometimes people mystify discipleship and I want to break it down so we can understand it, demystify it, if you will. Discipleship, listen, is simply living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. Simply living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived.
New Testament discipleship is really living like a believer, the believers that changed the world. The believers of the First Century. They were disciples, they got it, they understood it. If we want to be a disciple, we need to be as much like them as we possibly can. But some don't want to do that, and that's why I call this series Discipleship: The Road Less Taken. You see, some people want to avoid any kind of hardship or difficulty. They want to take the path of least resistance instead of Discipleship Road. But Discipleship Road, if you will, is challenging, yes, but fulfilling. It's hard but it's more than worth it, because it's the road to the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. In fact, it's the very road to life. In fact, anything short of this is disobedience to what God wants us to do. So no, we're not all being disciples as we ought to be, and then as a part of that, we're not discipling others as we ought to.
Listen, it comes down to this. You ought to either be being discipled or you should be discipling someone else. Does that make sense? You should be being discipled, growing and learning what it means to be a disciple, or you should be in the process of discipling someone else. In other words, you should have a new believer under your wing that you're helping to grow spiritually as you teach and model for them what a Christian looks like. Or you should be being discipled by someone more mature than you spiritually. When I first became a Christian, I hung around older godly people. The first person was the guy who took me to church. He was, I don't think he was a year older than me but more mature spiritually for sure. Then I started making friends with godly people, men and women. One of the first ones was a guy named Pastor Romaine. He used to be down at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Some of you may remember him. And then there was Pastor Chuck Smith, of course.
Then later on in my life, I became friends with Alan Redpath, a great Bible teacher. And then after that, I became friends with Billy Graham and spent time with him. I wanted to learn from that. My feeling was, why do I want to hang around with people my own age? They don't know any more than I know. I want to be around older people who've walked with the Lord for a while, so I can glean from their experiences and learn from their knowledge. That's a great thing for you to have in your life and I hope if you know anyone who accepted Christ at the crusade, that you are personally engaged in helping them grow spiritually. Because it will not only be a blessing to them, but it will also be a great blessing to you. I can assure you of that. No we're not all disciples, and that's because maybe we don't actually understand what it means. You know when Jesus walked this earth, He spent a lot of time with His disciples. You know, we think of the Sermon on the Mount, and we imagine Christ standing there and giving it to the multitudes who gathered, right? Actually that's not what the Bible says.
Read in Matthew chapter 5. One day as the crowds were gathering, Jesus went up to the mountainside with His disciples and sat down to teach them. This is what He taught them. And what followed was the Sermon on the Mount. So in other words, Christ wanted to reach the multitudes and instead of giving a loud sermon to the gathered crowds, He took time to invest in His disciples. And really, that word sums it up because it is a word that means "a learner". They were sitting at the Master's feet and learning. And by the way, it says He sat down to teach them. And that was the custom of that day. The teacher would sit and the people would often stand. So I'm thinking next Sunday, we're gonna start that. I'm sitting and you're standing, do you like that? I guarantee you wouldn't fall asleep. No, we'll leave it as it is. But you get the idea. He was spending time with His disciples and they were learning and growing as a result.
If you were a disciple, there'd be a receptivity to His Word, because Jesus said in John 8:31, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciple. There's an excellent book I came across. It's been in my library for years. It's called Designed For Discipleship by Dwight Pentecost. And he pointed out three phases that we go through in life as a Christian. We go from curious to convinced to committed. Curious, convinced, committed. You know, we start with curious. And this is not really a believer at all, necessarily. You're just curious. The multitudes were curious. Wherever Christ went, crowds would gather. They were curious, what's He gonna do today? What interesting things will He say? What miracles might He perform? Of course they really loved them when He turned, when He took the fish and the bread and multiplied it. I mean, raising people from the dead and giving sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, that's awesome. But free lunch, now we're talking, right? His most popular miracle today.
So they would gather. They were curious, but that's all they were, curious. Then when Jesus was done, they would go back home. It had no real impact in their life. Then they were convinced. Those that were curious, some were convinced and had great admiration for Christ. And so they started to follow Him. But they didn't fully understand who He was yet, but they were following Him. So now they're convinced. And here's an interesting passage. In John chapter 2, when Jesus performed His first miracle, the sign in Cana of Galilee where He turned water into wine, we read the miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was Jesus' first display of His glory. And His disciples believed in Him. Wait, what? His disciples believed in Him? That's right. They were going now from convinced to committed.
So it's possible some of you are here today or you're watching today or wherever you are right now. You're curious, you're just here, checking in. In fact, maybe you've mentally checked out already. You're updating social media, you're looking at tweets, you're just, you know, looking around, whatever you're doing, playing a video game, trying to find Pokemon, I don't know what you're doing. You're curious, but you're not that curious. And then some of you are convinced. You're saying I believe everything you're saying. I think this is all so true, and I love the fact that this is all true. But you've never really acted on it. I mean, you might even come and say, that was a nice sermon. I really liked that, but it will have no impact on your life. Here's what I'm hoping, that some of you will go from curious to convinced and even more, that you'll go from convinced to committed. Where you'll say I'm not gonna just hear this and say oh that was nice. I'm gonna be committed and I'm gonna do something about it. More specifically, I want to personally be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
So what does it mean? How do you go from convinced to committed? The answer is right here in Luke chapter 14. We're gonna come back to this again but let's just read the first part of it, verse 26. Jesus says if any man comes after Me, and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Wow, pretty amazing words. If you come after Him and you don't hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and your own life, you can't be His disciple. And if you don't bear the cross, you can't be His disciple. Two times, He says if you don't do this, you can't be My disciple. These are absolute prerequisites to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I think that we must understand that these are not optional things. See, a lot of people are sort of like fair-weather followers of Christ. They'll follow Him when it suits them. They'll follow Him when it appeals to them.
For instance, if there's a crisis in our country, I'm just telling you right now, if North Korea, I don't know if you followed the news this morning, but now they've developed what they think is a hydrogen bomb that's three to four times more powerful than the bomb we dropped on World War II in Nagasaki. And now they're saying they may have a way to deliver this device, this small weapon in the tip of a ballistic missile. So this, it's gone to the next level. And I've always said it would. I may have always thought it would. I think that the leader of North Korea has been very clear about this.
So let's just say, God forbid, but let's just say for the sake of an example that we found out they were launching a weapon. Do you think anyone would come to church on Sunday? We'd have people overflowing everywhere. We'd all be here and that's good. What a good place to be. Let's pray, let's call on the Lord. That's what we do in times of crisis. But then when the crisis is gone, we say, thanks God, see You next crisis. I remember what the church looked like the Sunday after 9/11, do you? Oh we couldn't accommodate all the people. It almost looked like a revival because a terrorist group hit us and the World Trade Center came crashing to the ground, the Twin Towers of it, and we just said oh we need God. There were prayer vigils on street corners. Congress stood on the steps and spontaneously broke into "God Bless America". It was amazing in many ways. But then when the crisis passes, and there's no more terrorist attacks, at least for a while, we just go back to our old ways.
So my point is simply this. There's a lot of people that say I'll follow Jesus when I need help. It's sort of like Facebook friends. I don't understand these people on Facebook, okay? I have a Facebook page, you can go check it out. But I use all social media. Well not all, but I use three kinds mainly. I use Twitter, I use Facebook, and I use Instagram. And it's interesting when I post something on Instagram and post the same thing on Facebook and look at the different reaction. Like Instagram is more image-driven. You know, just flip through pictures and things like that.
So I'll post spiritual things, quotes from messages, things that will inspire people, and every now and then, I'll throw in something personal. Picture of me and my wife or the grandkids or maybe a cup of coffee. Like here's a classic thing. I just had this coffee, I'll put it on Instagram. Comments, awesome, looks really good, where is that coffee place? I put it on Facebook, same picture. Here's my comments. Must be nice to have a cup of coffee like that when people are starving. It's like what? What is with these people? Is Facebook the place where people that like to just be critical and argue? No, there's a lot of affirmation there too, but just some strange people that hang out in Facebookland, just all pining away and everything. And I'll be honest with you, I probably shouldn't admit this. Like I shouldn't have admitted banging on the window. But I block people every now and then. And you know what, I like it.
And you want to know something else? I wish I could do it with real people in real life. It's okay if someone comes and disagrees with me or has a counterpoint. I don't have a problem with that. When someone comes in attack mode and they're hypercritical, or they're pushing some weird agenda, I might delete them and they'll come back and they're even more angry. Block, poof, gone. I think Jesus has a lot of Facebook friends, you know. They're just like that. And by the way, He knows when we unfollow Him. You know, you can find out when someone unfollows you. That's almost like an insult. Why did you unfollow me? Well there's a lot of people that unfollow the Lord after they supposedly were following the Lord but the reality is, they were never followers to begin with. So anyway, here's what it comes down to and here's my main point. Number one, the disciple must love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. If you're a disciple, and if you in turn are gonna go and make disciples of others, prerequisite number one, according to Christ Himself, you must love God more than anyone or anything else.
Let's look at verse 26 again and explain it. Jesus says if anyone comes after Me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brother, sisters and yes, his own life, he cannot be My disciple. I know that freaks some people out. And this is a translation issue we're dealing with here. Hate, it's a harsh word. Oh great, so Jesus is asking me to hate my family members? Now some of you having marital problems are saying, well I actually do hate my spouse. So I think I've got this goin'. No, that's not what it means. There's a very specific thing Jesus is saying here because let's compare this with other scripture. Does not the Bible tell us in Ephesians 5 as husbands to love our wives as Christ loves the church? So how can I love my wife as Christ loves the church and then hate her? And am I not told even to love my enemies? So how can I love my enemies if I'm hating them? How does this work, what does this mean?
Jesus was using the method of sharp contrast, and here's what He's saying, listen now. Your love for God must be so strong and so intense that all other loves would be like hatred in comparison. Does that make sense? Listen again. Your love for God must be so strong and so intense that your love for others would be like hatred in comparison. Here's what Christ is saying. If you really want to be My disciple and live the Christian life to its fullest, you must love Me more than anyone or anything else. So a better way to translate it, instead of saying you must hate brothers and sisters and so forth, you would say, you must love Me more than brothers and sisters. If you want to be His disciple, you need to love Christ more than you love your husband or your wife. If you want to be His disciple, you must love Christ more than you love your children. If you want to be His disciple, you must love Christ even more than your own life. That's what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Here's an example.
In Luke chapter 9, Jesus said to a guy, follow Me. The guy, well, let me go bury my mother and father. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead. Come and follow Me. And you read that and go, so heartless. Here's a guy's mom and dad are laying dead in the street. Hey follow Me. Can I just like bury my parents first? No, leave them there and let 'em rot, let's go. Is that what happened? No. If you understand the culture of the day, it was a commonly used phrase. Let me bury my mother and father. What it meant was wait, let me wait until my parents grow old and eventually die, and then when I bury them, I'll do it. So it's another way of saying I'll do it later. And really it's another way of saying, I don't want conflict, 'cause you have to understand that in some Jewish homes, if you go and say I'm a follower of Jesus now, they won't recognize you as a member of their family. This is true in Muslim homes, it's true in some Buddhist homes depending, but a family will literally disown you if you become a follower of Christ.
And so you're saying, I don't want friction with my family. I don't want friction with my husband or my wife or my kids, and if I come out as a follower of Jesus, they won't want to have anything to do with me. So Jesus is saying, listen, if you want to be My disciple, that's a price you're gonna have to pay. Because if you're a real disciple of Christ, people will hate you. Sometimes they'll try to hurt you. Sometimes they'll even try to kill you. I know a little bit about this personally. And this is the way it goes. But consider this, don't worry when you're persecuted. Worry when you're not persecuted. Think about it. Don't worry when you're persecuted. Oh why am I being persecuted? No, worry when you're not persecuted, because the Bible says all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Listen, that very friction you want to avoid with family members or friends could ultimately bring conversion to your family. Jesus said, you think that I've come to bring peace. No, I tell you, rather a sword. A brother will be divided against brother, husband against wife, et cetera. A man's enemies will be those of his own household, he said. So you become a Christian and a sword comes. You go, this doesn't make sense because you used to have a family and you're one big gigantic non-believing, drunken, cussing, sinful family, and you'd have a family reunion, everyone just partying away, and then you have to go and spoil it all by becoming a Christian. So here you come walking in, they're going oh brother, here we go. You have become the Debbie Downer and the Bobby Buzzkill of your family. Because you want to do strange things like before dinner, let's pray. That's how you sound to them.
I hope you don't say that in real life. Let's pray. But you know, you are that way. Why, 'cause you're a Christian, that's why. Well let's get drunk. No, I don't do that anymore. Whatever. Pray. And so people bow their heads and they can't stand it. And you're wreckin' the family. We used to have so much fun. Yeah, well you know what, that's the division that comes from being a follower of Christ. But listen to this, from the division can come harmony. Because then one member of the family comes to Christ because of your testimony. Then two, then three, then four. I've seen entire families come to Christ, and now it's a whole new paradigm when you get together for a family meeting. There's no more drunkenness, there's no more dirty jokes, there's none of that.
Now it's, let's pray for our meal and give thanks and talk about the Lord, and that's a glorious thing when that happens. Now let's pray that happens in all of our families. But this is a result of loving God more than anyone or anything else. Listen to this. You're either gonna have friction with people and harmony with God, or you're gonna have harmony with God and friction with people. Make your choice. If you're a friend of the world, you'll be the enemy of God. But if you're the friend of God, you'll be the enemy of the world. I choose to be a friend of God. I choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. What about you? Now I have another few pages of sermon, but I'm gonna save it for next Sunday, 'cause I don't want to go long. But here's what I do want to do.
I want to close with a prayer. In fact, this is kind of a two-fold invitation I'm gonna end with right now. First of all, I'm gonna end with an invitation for people to believe in Jesus, just like I do every Sunday. By the way, are you sick of me inviting people to believe in Jesus? 'Kay, 'cause I'm gonna keep doing it even if you are, all right, so. So you know. Gonna keep doing it. But I'm gonna give a second invitation. I'm gonna invite some of you who may, well, maybe you're curious, maybe you classify yourself as convinced, but you're not really sure if you would say that you are committed. I'm gonna ask some of you who would be honest enough to say, you know, after hearing what you've said about discipleship, not only am I not making disciples of others, not only am I taking, not taking nonbelievers under, or excuse me, new believers under my wing and helping them grow spiritually, I'm not even sure if I'm a disciple myself. Hey, I applaud you for acknowledging that. Why don't you become a disciple? You say, well, what do I do?
Well first of all, we'll talk about more later, but love God more than anyone or anything else. Can you commit to that? And say, Lord, I'm willing to do that. So I'm gonna number one invite people to believe in Jesus. 'Cause it's not enough to just admire Jesus or think good thoughts about Jesus. You need to know Jesus and He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and says if you'll hear His voice and open the door, He'll come in. I want you to leave here believing in Jesus. But then, my second invitation will be to those who are believers, maybe even classifying yourself as convinced, but you're not committed. And you would say today, I'm putting a stake in the ground and I'm gonna say to God, I want to be a disciple and I want to be a discipler, and I'm ready to get in that road less taken, if you're not on it already. So you think about what you're going to do as we pray.
Now Father, I pray for anyone that's joined us here who doesn't know You yet. Help them to see their need for You and help them to believe in You so they can be forgiven of all their sins. And while our heads are bowed, and our eyes are closed, and we're praying, if you've never asked Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sin, if you don't have the certainty that you will go to heaven when you die, but you want it, you want to know God in a personal way, just pray this prayer right where you sit after me. Just pray Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I know You're the Savior. I turn from that sin and I choose to follow You now, from this moment forward. In Jesus' name.
And now Father, I pray for any here that feel it's time to take that next step, to be a disciple, to love You more than anyone or anything else, to be a disciple and then to be a disciple maker, to go from convinced to committed. Help them to do that. So now as we close in this last prayer, if you want to be a disciple of Jesus today, maybe you don't feel like you are, and you want to make this commitment, I'm gonna lead you in a prayer that I'm gonna ask you to pray out loud. And some of you that already are disciples but say you know, I just want to recommit myself to this 'cause I've kinda fallen short of it. Or I've always tried to do this, but I want to do it even more. You pray this prayer out loud after me. But let me warn you, this is a dangerous prayer. If you pray it, not only will God hear it, God will take you up on it, so don't pray it if you don't mean it. But if you do, by all means, pray this prayer out loud after me.
If you want to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just pray this prayer. Lord Jesus, You've called me to go into all the world and make disciples of others. But Lord, I want to be a disciple. I want to love You more than anyone or anything else. I'm committing myself to You on this day to be Your disciple and to help others grow in their faith. So use me, Lord, for Your glory. I commit myself to You now. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. God bless each one of you that prayed that prayer. God bless you.