The text for this sermon comes from 1 John 3:4-10
After doing a lot of reading on underground churches and persecuted Christians, I am convinced that we can learn a lot from them.
These people are not ashamed of the gospel. They know that because they profess that they love Jesus; their very lives are at stake. At the risk of losing their lives, they still seek to make disciples. They are hunted and thrown in prison or are killed if caught. Yet, they still are hungry for the Bible and to learn it and have it change their lives.
Contrast that with the church in America. we come across as fat, selfish, and lazy. I am not hating on the churches in America. I believe we have opportunity for change and growth. Churches in America are known for being hypocritical, judgmental, closed off, sheltered, and political. That doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t sound like Jesus at all.
We have to stop fighting over every little detail that doesn’t match up with our personal preferences. When we stop making church about us and start making it all about Jesus, change happens.
The Kingdom of God is made up of people who have been redeemed by Jesus and their lives have been actively transformed.
Transformation is the end goal. The whole process of sanctification is to conform you to the image of Jesus.
How do you know if someone is conforming to the image of Jesus? By the fruit that they are bearing.
1 John 3:4-10
If you look at any concordance or expository dictionary of the Bible, the words Christian, believer and follower are all nouns. Guess what: because disciple is synonymous with those words, disciple is a noun. We have to stop treating the word disciple like a verb.
In Matthew 28, Jesus says, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
The word, make is the verb, not disciple. This is huge when we get it.
Disciple is not a verb. Therefore, disciple is not what you do, a disciple is WHO YOU ARE.
Disciples desire to be like their master. We want to be like Jesus.
However, John gives us a defining way to tell whether or not a person is a disciple. A disciple does not make a habit of sinning. Habitual sinning is not the mark of a disciple.
A disciple makes a habit of pursuing Jesus and practicing righteousness. Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, (the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead) no disciple makes a practice of sinning. You can’t keep habitually sinning because you have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. You have been given a new life. You are being transformed and conformed to the image of Jesus because of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.
Disciples are renegades.
Renegade disciples despise average and mediocrity. The status quo is not good enough. Renegade disciples take risks. They will not settle for being just another statistic. They will not fail in their finances, they will fight for their marriage, they will live out and share the message of the gospel, they will be hospitable and inviting, they will push for change and creativity, there is not time to settle for “this is the way it has always been done.”
Renegade disciples are passionate about pursuing Jesus and conforming to his image.
Renegade disciples are responsible for their own growth.
They do not wait for someone to come to them. If they cannot find a mentor, they will find a pastor. They desire to learn and grow.
There comes a time in the life of a renegade disciple where baby bottles and being spoonfed just don’t cut it anymore. They want to feed themselves.
In a gospel-centered environment, renegade disciples believe that the sermon is to equip them and then they diligently seek how to apply the Scripture to all of their life. To learn from someone else and learn how the gospel affects every area of your life, you have to want to learn. You have to be an active participant in your own sanctification process.
Your spiritual growth does not fall on the shoulders of your pastor or community group leader. Your spiritual growth rests on your shoulders. You have to want to grow.
v 10. By this it is evident who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil.
Righteousness = Progressing in Sanctification = Conforming to the Image of Jesus
Practicing righteousness, as John says, sets you apart.
The righteous live by faith not by sight. You have to have faith that God created you for his purposes and that he has called you and equipped you to accomplish what he created you to accomplish. Part of that means you have to continue to grow.
When you decide to grow you will:
become more generous
become more loving and compassionate
become hospitable and inviting
become more joyful
become a person of peace
become more patient
become more gentle
become more faithful
develop more self control
In essence, you will become more like Jesus.
Do not be ashamed of who you are or who God has called you to be. Do not be ashamed or afraid of the work that he has called you to accomplish. He will equip you for that.
Disciple is not a verb.
Disciple is who you are.
Do not settle for average.
Be a renegade.
Be like Jesus.