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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 1
Michael Youssef - Whose Disciple? - Part 1
TOPICS: Discipleship

Hello, my friends, I'm gonna start a short series of messages, "Whose Disciple"? Because right now, at least in my lifetime, we're seeing so many people of followers of great gurus and great celebrity pastors, and they are followers of this one, and they're followers of this one, and the Apostle Paul in the 1 Corinthians passage absolutely frowned upon this. Why? Because we are all disciples of Jesus. Not the pastor, not the bishop, not the pope, nobody. We're only disciples of Jesus, and we need the strength of God to be disciples of Jesus because we cannot do it in our own strength. The Holy Spirit is the only power that can truly make us to be faithful disciples of Jesus, so I want you to listen very carefully and to take to heart the very heart of this message. It's all about Jesus. Thank you for watching.

I think most of us know that Jesus's command to his disciples to make more disciples is very familiar to most of you, I know that. From time to time, we call this the Great Commission, but their call was to make disciples. You notice he didn't ask them to make Christians, he said to make disciples. He didn't say go and make some believers, he said to make disciples. And so, we only endeavor, and the only true call of the church of Jesus Christ, is to make disciples for Jesus. Not the apostle's disciples, not this church's disciples, not pastor's disciples, not church leader's disciples, only disciples of Jesus. Sadly, many Christian cults have produced disciples around the personality cult of the leader, and those are abounding these days. But we must always, always, always reject and shun anyone, knowingly or unknowingly, sometimes it's unknowingly, trains personal disciples.

So, the question, whose disciple, whose disciple? Whose disciple are you? God bless you. Now, turn with me to the Word of God, Matthew 28 verses 19 and 20. Don't ever forget that before Jesus commanded the disciples with what we call the Great Commission to make disciples, he declared his sovereignty over all. He said, "All authority in heaven and in earth," not just in heaven, because this is very important. Not just in heaven, but on earth as well. All authority. How many of that authority? All authority has been given to me. Without the authority of Jesus, without the power of Jesus, we cannot make disciples for Jesus. Without a total submission to the authority of Jesus, we cannot truly make disciples for Jesus. And that is why when he said, "Therefore go and make disciples," it is only possible by leaning on his authority. It's only by leaning on his power. We cannot do it on our own.

Now, the word "disciple" in Greek, "mathetes," carries a marvelous combination of meanings. It means placing your whole trust in the Master, Jesus. It means wholeheartedly following Jesus. But here it comes, this is really the most important part, it means a life of continuously imitating Jesus, imitating Jesus and obeying Jesus. There's so many people who say I'm a follower of Jesus, but they never reflect or imitate Jesus's love, Jesus's mercy, Jesus's grace, and Jesus's forgiveness, and that is why Jesus, in the Gospel of John chapter 8 verse 31, he said, "If you abide in my word," and only if you abide in my word, then and only then you can be called my disciples.

There are some people who teach that you come to Jesus and you receive him as your Savior. That's called hell insurance policy. Then sometime, somewhere down the road, you receive him as Lord. And then sometime, somewhere down the road, you become a disciple. Now beloved, listen to me, that is not biblical. That is not biblical. When a person genuinely confesses Christ to be his or her only Savior and Lord, immediately that person receives the Holy Spirit, because it's the Holy Spirit that opened their eyes anyway. They immediately become a disciple. Now, to be sure, they may not have all the biblical knowledge, they don't have all the biblical training, they don't have all, they're not even aware of some biblical issues, but they must become disciples nonetheless. It's the start of the journey.

Listen to me, taking Jesus piece meal, or treat it like a dinner where you start with the starter, then you go on the main course, then you have dessert, no, no, no, no, no, that is not biblical. That is not biblical. In fact, a disciple is far more than a learner, is far more than a learner. It's far more than just filling your head with some information, with some knowledge. A disciple is an imitator of the teacher and the master. I have a hunch that the reason so many people do not take seriously Jesus's Commission of discipling others is because they feel inadequate, or they feel ill-equipped, or they do not comprehend that making disciples is for Jesus, not for themselves, or they feel that they have to do it depending on their own knowledge, on their own abilities, on their own know how, or in their own learning, or their own steam, and so they never attempt to make disciples.

In reality, if you are a parent, you are making disciples, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are a disciple maker. But when you understand that the very secret of making disciples is pointing to Jesus not to ourselves, it takes the pressure off. In my second year in seminary, there was a guest speaker in the chapel, and he was preaching on the Apostle Paul's words, 1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16. "I urge you to be imitators of me as I am an imitator of Christ". And not only I panicked, but I began to wonder for some time, how can a flawed guy like me can tell somebody imitate me? It was a very, very testing time for me, but that was really because of my ignorance. Ignorance on my part has nothing to do with the text. Because now, 50 years later, I can say to someone, "Imitate me".

Imitate my absolute fidelity to the Word of God. Imitate my unwavering commitment to seeking and obeying Jesus. Imitate my loving and adoring Jesus. Imitate my trusting completely in the words of Jesus, in the Word of God. Imitate my refusal to compromise the gospel. But you have to understand also that some of you have already heard me say this several times. And also according to the Apostle Paul, that there is nothing good dwells in me, in my flesh, other than Jesus. And that is why in the Thessalonians and to the Thessalonians, Paul says something different. He says to the Corinthians be imitators of me. Now remember, he spent a lot of time in Corinth. He spent a lot of time in Ephesus. He spent three weeks in Thessalonica, three weeks, and yet he could say to them after three weeks, you became imitators of us.

What are they, fast learners and the Corinthians are dull, they're dumb? No, he said you have become imitators how? He he gives us the answer, thank God I don't have to bring the answer. "You welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with joy". And so, I don't want anyone at the sound of my voice, anyone who would say, "Oh, I cannot disciple another person. Oh, no, no, I can't possibly impact the life of another, or I cannot do this. I can't pull my life into somebody else's". Now to be sure, there are some young believers who need somebody to walk with them, and that's very understandable, and that is why I often say you are either discipling someone or someone is discipling you.

If you have been a disciple of Jesus and been walking with Jesus, then you need to make a conscious decision to disciple another person. That is why all biblical discipleship must be founded upon the Word of God. Remember this, from the very beginning, from the very beginning, and this is one thing I don't understand, I will when I go to heaven. God chose to communicate with human beings with the voice of other humans. I don't understand it. I don't understand it. I really don't, because I know how flawed I am, and God uses flawed human beings, yes, he uses imperfect human beings, yes, yes, he uses inadequate human beings, but it is not the messenger but the message. It is not the mouthpiece, but the Master, what? "All authority on earth and heaven given to me. And therefore go," that's the anchor. This is the core. This is the heart of discipleship.

You and I can only disciple others by the authority, not ours. We have none. We have none...of Jesus we are all serving under his authority. Something else we all need to know, there is a historic reason as to why the resurrected Jesus, before his ascension, that he spent time with the disciples emphasizing this point over, and over, and over. We have it only five times in the four Gospels and in the Book of Acts. I am personally convinced he must have said that to them 500 times. In the 40 days, every time he was with them, he emphasized the necessity for them to take the initiative and disciple others, not to sit on their blessed assurance and wait 'til people come to them. Five times, "Be my witnesses. As the Father sent me, I send you".

Be my disciples, make disciples, why? Because when God chose Israel of old, he chose it for only one purpose, one purpose, as to be light to the nations. To be what? He chose them to disciple the nations. He chose them, so that they may reveal the one true Yahweh to the pagan world. That is the reason for the choice of Israel. But what did Israel do? They became inward looking. They were enamored with themselves. It must be something really special about us that made God call us and choose us. They began to think of themselves as cut above, and they began to look down their noses of other people. Moses tried to disabuse them of this fallacy, but they wouldn't listen.

Not only they become inward looking, they became naval gazers. They formed a "Bless Me" club, and at best they forgot why God had chosen them. They forgot that the gospel actually is in Genesis chapter 12 when God chose Abraham and he said, "In you all the nations and the families of the earth shall be blessed," how? By coming to know the God of Abraham. That is the very reason why God called them. Then you hear the message of the prophets. Prophet, after prophet, after prophet, I mean, it's ad nauseam, kept appealing to them. Get out of your self-worship. Get out of your self-centeredness. Serve Yahweh, make Yahweh known. Time and time again, Israel refused until they found themselves in Babylon in exile.

One of the best examples was Jonah. Jonah actually is a microcosm of Israel's refusal to obey the Commission of God to be light to the nations. He's a microcosm. And finally, God sent the seed of Abraham in the singular, the seed of Abraham. In fact, Galatians and Romans both, Paul spells it out. It's not seeds in the plural, it's seed. That is the Lord Jesus Christ. God sent his one and only Son, the descendant of Abraham, to disciple the nations and make him known. And that is why all of Jesus's disciples are the spiritual descendants of Abraham. There can be no doubt in anybody's mind that we in the West, Christians, believers, disciples of Jesus in the West, they're feeling they are under siege.

So, the question is: What do we do? What do the disciples of Jesus do under these circumstances? God's people have a choice. One choice is to get bogged down with all these problems, real problems, and forget our high calling of discipling others. Others get into feeling victimized and they pull their head in, "I'm a victim, I'm a victim, I'm a victim". Listen to me, some are getting and developing what I call a siege mentality, and they're living behind a prison bar of their own making. Sadly, this is the choice that many people are getting into now. But beloved, please, I'll plead with you, listen to me, that is not the choice of God our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is expecting of his faithful children, his faithful disciples. This is not the response that God's expecting from his bride, the church, the one who said, "All authority in heaven and on earth, given to me, therefore go".

Please listen to me. Based on Jesus's Commission, God's people must fearlessly invade the enemy's territories. God's people must courageously disciple the nations, regardless of the circumstances. God's people, who love God with all their hearts, must occupy, and that's what Jesus said, occupy till I come. That is, to occupy every aspect of life until he comes. People who fear not Satan and his emissaries, people who fear not insult or degradation, people who fear not persecution or intimidation, people who fear not losing their reputation or even life itself. People who must never forget that when Jesus gave that Commission to the five hundreds, none of them were professional or priests or rabbi.

None of them were occupying prominent place in the synagogues, maybe with the exception of Nicodemus. None of them had high degrees in philosophy, or science, or religion, but they saw that his power is enough. They saw that his authority is enough. They saw that his presence is enough. They saw that his strength is enough, and it was said of them, they've turned their world upside down, and here we're hiding in our basements. And we see even knowing from history and before our own eyes, when one generation gets comfortable and refuses to obey the Great Commission, the next generation gives it up altogether. Gives it up altogether.

In Jerusalem, a generation after the ones who have heard with their own ears from the mouth of Jesus, they got comfortable and become inward looking. The Holy Spirit of God moved the center of discipleship to Antioch, and Antioch became the center of discipling of the nations in obedience to the Commission of God. But when believers in Antioch got so comfortable and they ceased to make disciples, God moved the center to Alexandria, and it was in Alexandria for 200 years. Read the early Christian fathers from Alexandria school. And then, 200 years later, that vision was lost in the church of Alexandria, and God moved it to Rome, and there in Rome, immorality and sensuality has gripped the nation.

In the Vatican itself, there were some Popes had so many children, they did not know how many. Immorality captured Rome. God moved the center of discipling to Germany, and when the Germans become under the siege of self-importance, God moved that center to England, and from there the message of discipling of nations echoed throughout the world. But some of those saw that the English church has become so self-absorbed, self-protecting of their bureaucracy, they were spiritually dead, and they were more interested in the institution than making disciples.

Some of those got on a boat called the Mayflower, and they came to the new world with the sole purpose of making Christ known to the natives, and the United States today has been the center of disciple making for over 150 years. They saw the importance of the Great Commission. Now that American churches have become so self-focused, and self-serving, and self-seeking, God is moving on. It breaks my heart in two. Now we stand at the precipice, at the edge of disobedience to the Great Commission altogether. Will we obey and be blessed? Will we obey and be blessed?

The greatest mistake anybody in this sanctuary or watching around the world would make is to say all this message is just not for me. The biggest, biggest mistake you'll be making. And you'll say this is for the ministers, and this is for the missionaries, this is for other people. No, no, no, no, it's for every single believing disciple of Jesus. Beloved, there is no limit. There is no limit to what God can do with an obedient disciple, man or woman. If I had the time, I would have given you hundreds of examples from history, from history, unknown men and unknown women who impacted the world for Jesus in their obedience. So, let's impact our world one soul at a time.
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