OJT for Disciples

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Series: The Gospel Truth
Text: Matt 8:14-34
Introduction: (What?)
Jesus does not have a workbook (other than the Bible) to use to train disciples. His methodology is to follow the plan of
1. I do it;
2. I do it and they are with Me;
3. They do it and I am with them; and
4. They do it and I’m gone to the Father.
This was OJT or “on the job training”.
Although we won’t see each of those steps in today’s message, we will get a glimpse of what it means to be a Christ follower. It is not for the faint of heart.
In the Hebrew language there is a phrase used by Rabbis; “hevei mitabek b’afar raglehem”, which literally means “cover yourself with the dust of their feet”. It means that a disciple follows his rabbi so closely that the dust of his feet covers their clothes. Jesus didn’t have many formal teaching sessions with His followers. He did, however take them along as He ministered and explained to them either what He was doing or had done. Their observing Him in action frequently raised questions that He would then answer. This is primarily how they were “discipled”.
Examination: (Why?)
1. The needy will always find Jesus (vv14-17;28-34)
Matt 8:14-17 “Jesus went into Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. So he touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve him. When evening came, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.”
(Isa. 53:4 “Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.” )
Peter’s house was only about 75 paces from the synagogue. Jesus and His disciples had been to the synagogue where He had encountered a demon possessed man and delivered him. They were going to Peter’s house for a meal and some rest on the Sabbath. When they arrived they found Peter’s mother-in-law, who lived with Peter and his wife, lying in bed with a fever. No one asked Jesus to do anything, but He touched her hand and she was instantly healed. She got up and became the “hostess with the mostess” and served dinner. Word of mouth got the information out that Jesus was in town and was at Peter’s house. Some who had been in the synagogue that morning were telling what they observed. By evening, Peter’s house was filled with people who were either dealing with illness or demonic oppression or brought someone whom they knew needed healing or deliverance. With the disciples looking on, “He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.” This was the “on the job training” that the disciples would later use when Jesus sent them out on mission.
Matt 8:28-34 “When he had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” A long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. “If you drive us out,” the demons begged him, “send us into the herd of pigs.” “Go!” he told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. Then the men who tended them fled. They went into the city and reported everything, especially what had happened to those who were demon-possessed. At that, the whole town went out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.”
Once again we find those in need who find Jesus. Here Jesus had come from the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were beginning to get the idea that wherever they went (with Jesus) those in need would find them. The lesson for them was that they must always be ready to meet needs. Jesus never set up a “healing meeting” in a tent or in someone’s house. It just happened when those in need chased Him down or encountered Him along the way. The lesson for us is that we must always be ready to share our story with those God brings across our path. Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
You should be able to tell your salvation story in about 90-120 seconds. When you are prepared, you won’t have to go looking for lost people, they will come looking for you. (Jim Holder story)
2. Not many “Perks” for disciples (vv 18-22; Luke 14:25-27)
Another lesson the disciples learned as they followed their Rabbi was that life for a disciple was not bed of roses.
Matt 8:18-22 “When Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave the order to go to the other side of the sea. A scribe approached him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” “Lord,” another of his disciples said, “first let me go bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.””
There are many who claim that they want to follow Jesus as this scribe did, but they want to do it without giving up the comforts of home. They are not interested in an itinerant ministry, which is what Jesus was referring to here. There are others who want for follow, but on their own timetable. Jesus’s response made it clear that nothing, not even the death of a loved one, should hinder the ministry. Truly there are not many “perks” for disciples.
In Luke 14:25-27 Jesus underscored the difficult life of a disciple. “Now great crowds were traveling with him. So he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
3. Stormy Weather (vv23-27)
Matt 8:23-27 “As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves—but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!””
Once again the disciples learned a valuable lesson by experience rather than classroom instruction. After a taxing time of healing and delivering those who were demonized, Jesus was exhausted. They got in the boat and He immediately went to sleep, lying on the floor of the boat with His head on a cushion. Storms often came down from the northern end of the Sea of Galilee and gales could arise quite unexpectedly. However, this storm was so violent that even those followers of Jesus who had spent their lives on this lake, making their living by fishing, were afraid for their lives. The lesson they learned by experience this time was that in the life of a disciple there would arise unexpected dangers that required faith to overcome. If you want to follow Jesus, it will not always be smooth sailing. There will be stormy weather that will require faith for you to navigate through.
Application: (How should I respond to this message?)
Surrender to Christ means that you go where He goes, do what He does and live by faith. Are you ready for such a surrender?
In the hymn “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go” there is a line that says, “It may be through the shadows dim, or o’er the stormy sea. I take my cross and follow Him, wherever He leadeth me.” Are you ready to follow Jesus and learn “on the job”?
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