What is a Disciple?

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The term “disciple” is a pretty church-y term; you don’t really hear the term outside of when someone mentions it at church.
But, a disciple really just means a follower or a student of a teacher. However, that means that to be a “disciple” means something different for different circumstances.
I was a disciple of Tim Allen, my theology professor, because he was my teacher and I followed his teaching. All that meant though is that I did my homework and participated in class.
You’re a disciple of your parents (hopefully) in that you follow what they tell you to do.
But, when we talk about following God, it means something different. So, let’s talk about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
John 1:35–51 ESV
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

A Disciple is Someone who Follows Jesus.

Throughout this section, Jesus calls His disciples to “follow Him.”
He says it (essentially) in v. 39 and in v. 43.
If you want to be a disciple, you have to follow Jesus!
Being a follower of Jesus does not mean thoughtlessly following a person named Jesus. It does not mean having an experience that is void of theological content. Discipleship is a necessary commitment to content as well as conversion; it is a form of persuasion that includes both the heart and the mind - NIVAC
When we say “follow Jesus,” we’re not just making up words to sound cute, or asking you to do something that isn’t concrete. Just like the disciples in Jesus’ day, when we follow Jesus, it means we act in the way that Jesus did and pattern our lives after Him.
Come and see
Box that looks terrifying
Maybe have some dry ice and make it look dangerous
Ask if someone wants to put their hand in the box.
Have a gift card or candy bar in the box.
The only way that you can ever actually follow Jesus is if you allow yourself to “come and see” what in the world we’re talking about.
You will have no idea as to what it means to follow Jesus if you keep Him on the outside.
Maybe you can believe that Jesus is real, and maybe you could even believe that He’s God, but you will never be a disciple, you’ll never be a follower of Jesus if you don’t jump in and actually follow Him.
Don’t be afraid, don’t talk yourself out of it, come and see what we’re talking about!

A Disciple is Someone who Knows Jesus.

If we just love a God who we don’t know, then we can go into all the wrong areas.
The disciples knew Jesus, and learned more about Jesus.
The disciples called Jesus a variety of different names that showed that they had some idea of who it was they were following.
Messiah (41)
Him of whom Moses… and the Prophets wrote (45)
Rabbi (49)
Son of God (49)
King of Israel (49)
Then they spent their time learning more about Him.
Maybe you’ve given your life to Christ and you can say that you love God, but do you really know God?
If you don’t know the God you’re following, can you love them well?
When you get your friend a birthday gift, ideally you think about what they like, and what would be the best gift for them.
For someone who doesn’t know your friend, they might not get the same thing that you got them, because they don’t know them. They don’t have a real relationship with them.
In the same way, how can you say that you have a relationship with God if you just know the bare minimum about Him and say that you love Him?
Love God enough to learn about Him.
Read your Bible
Read other books about God
Talk to others about God

A Disciple is Someone who Invites Others.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you should want others to follow Him.
The disciples figured this out immediately
Vs. 41 and vs 45.
They’ve followed Jesus for a total of a day (maybe?) and they’re already evangelizing and telling people about Jesus!
So, what are you doing to tell people about Jesus?
Or, why aren’t you telling other people about Jesus?
Fear of rejection
Fear of being called out
Feeling like you don’t know enough?
The disciples didn’t have any clue what they were getting into, but they knew that this Jesus guy was worth telling people about, and so should you.
What has been the best game we’ve ever played at youth group? Why?
In what ways is God calling you to “come and see?”
How will you learn about Jesus this week? (call to action)
Read vs. 41. How can you invite people to learn about Jesus this week?
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