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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Discipling Ministry Of Jesus (4:18-22)

INTRODUCTION

1. We saw where the public ministry of Jesus involved "preaching"...
   a. Proclaiming the need to repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at
      hand - Mt 4:17
   b. Taking this message to synagogues throughout the land - Mt 4:23

2. His ministry was not limited to preaching; it also involved
   "discipling"...
   a. In which He called select individuals to follow Him
   b. Creating His own group of "disciples"
      1) Just as John had his disciples - Mt 9:14
      2) Even the Pharisees had their disciples - Mt 22:15-16

3. We read of Jesus calling His first disciples in our text...
   a. The call of Peter and Andrew - Mt 4:18-20
   b. The call of James and John - Mt 4:21-22

4. Throughout His public ministry...
   a. Jesus would call others to become His disciples - cf. Mt 9:9
   b. Jesus would spend much time with His disciples
   c. Jesus would end His time on earth with a command for them to make
      more disciples - Mt 28:19-20

[Such an important subject to our Lord naturally raises some questions.
For example...]

I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. THE WORD "DISCIPLE"...
      1. The word "disciple" literally means a learner
      2. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New Testament
         Words, it denotes "one who follows another's teaching"
      3. But a disciple was not only a learner, he was also an adherent
      4. For this reason disciples were spoken of as imitators of their
         teachers
      -- When Jesus told Peter, Andrew, James, and John to "Follow Me"
         (Mt 4:19), it meant more than to just physically follow Him!
 
   B. THE GOAL IN BECOMING HIS DISCIPLE...
      1. Stated by Jesus on this occasion:  "I will make you fishers of
         men"
         a. Just as they had worked in going after fish, now they would
            be going after men!
         b. As indicated in the Great Commission, they would be making
            more disciples - Mt 28:19
      2. Stated by Jesus on another occasion:  to be like their teacher
         a. Those perfectly trained will be like their teacher - Lk 6:
            40
         b. Just as Christ sought to save men and make them disciples,
            so His disciples were to seek and save the lost

[A disciple of Jesus, then, is one who desires to imitate Jesus.  Since
He was concerned for the lost, His disciples would be also!  Another
question...]

II. HOW DOES ONE BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. JESUS SAID "FOLLOW ME"...
      1. This command He gave to His future disciples - Mt 4:19; 9:9
         a. They would spend three years following Jesus around 
            Palestine
         b. During that time they would listen to what He said, observe
            what He did
         c. Eventually they would be told to carry on His work - Mt 28:
            19-20
         d. Their success was related to this time spent with Jesus 
            - cf. Ac 4:13
      2. To be a disciple of Jesus, then, requires that one:
         a. Follow Him
         b. Spend time with Him
         c. Carry on His work
      -- But how can we do this when He is no longer with us on earth?
   
   B. JESUS SAID "ABIDE IN MY WORD"...
      1. This He said to those who believed in Him - Jn 8:31
         a. By learning and observing what He taught, they would truly
            be His disciples
         b. As Jesus would say later, future disciples would be made as
            they were taught "to observe all things that I have
            commanded you" - Mt 28:20
         c. It would begin with baptism, for He had just commanded His
            disciples to make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19;
            cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38
      2. To be a disciple of Jesus, then, requires that one:
         a. Be baptized (having repented and confessed one's faith in
            Jesus)
         b. Follow Jesus by doing what He taught His first disciples
            (the apostles)
      -- By continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (i.e., 
         their gospels and epistles), we can be Jesus' disciples today!
         - cf. Ac 2:41-42

[To follow Jesus by abiding in His word implies some degree of effort
and cost.  This leads to our next question...]
   
III. WHAT DOES IT COST TO BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. HIS FIRST DISCIPLES LEFT "ALL" TO FOLLOW JESUS...
      1. They left their business and family - Mt 4:20-22
      2. As Peter would say later:  "we have left all and followed You"
         - Mt 19:27

   B. JESUS EXPECTED THE SAME OF OTHER DISCIPLES...
      1. That He must come before family - Mt 10:37; Lk 9:59-62; 14:
         25-26
      2. That one must be willing to suffer hardship - Mt 10:38; Lk 9:
         57-58; 14:27
      3. Simply put, to forsake all to follow Him - Lk 14:33

   C. JESUS EXPECTS THE SAME OF HIS DISCIPLES TODAY...
      1. To seek first the kingdom of God - Mt 6:33
      2. As illustrated in The Parable Of The Great Supper, family and
         business cannot come before accepting the call of the gospel!
         - Lk 14:15-24

CONCLUSION

1. In calling people to repent, Jesus was also calling people to become
   His disciples...
   a. But like John the Baptist before Him, Jesus expected that people
      "bear fruits worthy of repentance" - cf. Mt 3:8
   b. As He would say later, "By this My Father is glorified, that you
      bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." - Jn 15:8

2. For those willing to accept His call, along with the cost, there is
   promise of great blessings...
   a. As Jesus told Peter - Mk 10:28-30
   b. As Paul would encourage the Christians at Corinth - 1Co 15:58

3. Have we accepted the call and responsibility of discipleship, or do
   we just "go to church"?
   a. Which comes first, our families, our businesses, or Jesus Christ
      and His kingdom?
   b. Are we busy building our lives, enjoying our retirement, while
      the Lord's church suffers?
   c. Do we spend more time on fishing and other forms of recreation,
      than we do on fishing for men?
   -- How we answer such questions reveals much as to whether we are
      truly the disciples of Jesus!

May we all be open to the call of Jesus:

           "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
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