take a series of tests at the end of Junior High.
If your grades are passing, you get to advance to
the High School level.
But if your grades are not passing, you bow out
of the academic world and begin training in the
One friend of mine, for example, became an
apprentice under an auto mechanic.
Today, he is a certified mechanic working at a
dealership making good pay.
You see, the Italians
have two methods for training—the academic and the
Which of those two methods is the older?
Yes, the vocational training.
The Jewish father in the Old Testament would
teach his son a trade.
Some of the prophets had those who apprenticed
under them as well; Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah all had
Those people in training were called disciples.
By the time of Jesus, there was another
interesting apprentice program which took place between
a rabbi and his disciples.
This training program was very interesting.
Why even have a rabbi?
Wasn’t the law of Moses a sufficient guide in and
The law was complete, but when the Jews were carried off
into captivity, a problem developed.
We’ve been studying Deuteronomy in our Sunday
morning class, and we’ve seen many covenant stipulations
that were to be applied when the Jews had captured the
But what happens when you no longer live in the
How are you to apply the some of the law’s
stipulations in that situation?
Out of this context is where the oral traditions
of the Jews began to be formulated.
Rabbis knew the Law of Moses, but their real
strength and their real service was in helping the
average Jew to apply the Law to their daily living.
These rabbis were the ones who wrestled with
questions like, “How far could one walk on the Sabbath,
and it not be called work?”
Various rabbis might have different answers to
such a question.
Some rabbis had very strict and limited
interpretations while others had more lenient and
In our lessons on Paul’s
life, we saw that if you were a Jewish boy, you would be
educated at the synagogue and you would memorize much of
the Law of Moses before your thirteenth birthday.
If you were a promising student, you could seek
to have an apprenticeship under a rabbi so that you too
could learn to be an interpreter of the Law.
How exactly did this work?
Well, you would ask a rabbi if you could do your
apprenticeship under him.
If you were accepted, you agreed to submit
yourself to whatever the rabbi demanded.
He was the master, and you were the apprentice.
You began your training at the bottom of steps
outdoors where he often taught, and as the years went by
and you progressed, you would work your way up the steps
getting to sit closer to the rabbi.
Little teaching, however, was done in that way.
More teaching was done while you were on the road
traveling to help someone, or while you discussed a
passage over a meal, or while you worked around the
You were expected to memorize the rabbi's
proverbs and interpretations.
You were expected to imitate his behavior.
You were expected to take on his character.
You “caught” all of this on a daily basis.
Just like my friend earlier who worked as an
apprentice under a mechanic.
He learned the tools, the problems, and the
solutions by working day after day over several years
with the mechanic.
There would comes those times when the mechanic
would turn certain jobs over to this apprentice.
The rabbis also let their disciples tackle some
problems of interpretation when people would ask for
Slowly, daily, methodically, and gradually, the
apprentice got to the point where he was ready to launch
out on his own.
The rabbi would let you know when that time had
come, and then you were expected to be the rabbi and
start training your disciples.
Now that’s a rather
lengthy introduction, but some things are very important
see, being a disciple meant not only learning the law,
but it meant learning how to apply the law to life.
It meant there was a very close relationship
between you and the rabbi.
It meant learning from him daily.
It meant learning thoroughly so that you one day
could train others.
Now what did our reading say this morning in Mt.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All
authority had been given Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to observe all things that I have
commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the
end of the age.” Jesus
is saying in essence: “My disciples, your time has come.
You must now be rabbis; your work is to train new
It’s time for others to watch, and to follow, and to
learn from you.
Form close relationships with others, let others
scrutinize you daily, let them see how you apply God’s
teachings to your life, let them take on your character,
help them to ‘catch’ what you’ve caught from Me!”
Brothers and sisters, this passage says that our
primary focus should also be to train disciples, and I
hope you see, this process involves more than just
coming to services 3 times a week, it’s more than
showing 5 film strips, it’s more than 2 gospel meetings
and 6 potlucks per year!
Making disciples is like pouring your life into
Do we have the stamina that it takes for us to
become those Christian rabbis that Jesus wants to see us
Let’s probe deeper
into discipleship this morning.
What else in involved in helping others to become
Jesus did not leave us in the dark.
If you are not a disciple of Jesus this morning,
please listen carefully to the passages that we’ll
Jesus was a noble rabbi who demands and expects much
We’re going to look at four actions of those who would
become His disciples in this lesson, and then we’ll
consider four more in our next lesson.
First of all, we must
submit under Jesus.
Let’s read Matthew 10:24-25: “A disciple is
not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
It is enough for a disciple that he be like his
teacher, and a servant like his master.”
places himself under his teacher.
“This was a cultural given for all observant
Jewish young men—it was something that each truly wanted
to do” (Greenwold).
They were admitting that they were apprentices,
and they needed to learn from someone wiser and more
They knew that the rabbi would be asking them
often: “Why did you do that action?”
They knew that the rabbi had the right to say,
“No, that interpretation is shallow.
Let me explain why.”
We don’t like the idea of the being questioned
We like to make our own rules and do our own
thing, but how can we ever learn to be a Christian rabbi
if we don’t take the advice and instruction of Jesus?
Go back to my mechanic friend.
How many times might he have heard the mechanic
say, “No, son, you we’re not to repair it that way.
You should have done it this way.”
Was the mechanic being sinister and trying to
hurt my friend’s ego?
No, he was showing him the right way to get the
When you submit to Jesus, He’ll teach you the right way
to get through life.
He’ll expose your weaknesses, but only because He
has our best interest at heart.
And did you know that Jesus also delegated this
same type of instruction and reproof to those church
leaders called elders?
Listen to Hebrews 13:17: “Obey those who rule
over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your
souls, as those who must give an account.”
Our elders are here to help train us; their
instructions and reproof are for our benefit.
Your elders realize that they must give an
account before Christ for how they’ve worked with the
flock here, and they don’t take that responsibility
Don’t try to live life without Jesus’ help!
Don’t keep singing like Sinatra, “I’ll do it my
think: “I’m strong.
I don’t’ need anybody else.
I don’t need to share my life with our elders or
you think like that, you’re like the Leaning Tower of
old building was developing too much lean and was
destined to topple if some help wasn't forthcoming.
Architects came up with plans to help it get
There are now cables attached to the tower so it
Ground on the north side was slowly taken out so
the tower would lean towards being more upright on its
own, and new concrete supports were poured at the
All this worked!
It doesn’t stand perfectly straight, but it will
be safe for the future.
You see, by yourself, your life is destined to
topple as well (Jesus compared it to a house
falling in during
But Jesus wants to be your support cable, the elders
want to help you move out the dirt, and other members
want to help you have a stronger foundation.
None us as Christians here this morning stands
perfectly straight, we all still lean some.
But with Jesus’ and each other’s help, we know
that we are safe and can endure life’s storms.
“A disciple is not above his teacher.”
Let Jesus guide you.
That’s the first step.
He is the good Shepherd who wants to bless you,
but will you be a good lamb and let Him work with you in
any way that He sees fit?
Listen to His voice above all the other voices
Submit under Jesus!
learn from Jesus.
Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus is inviting us into that rabbi-disciple
One commentator puts it this way: “The Law had
become a burden, and a new yoke was needed to lighten
Jesus' yoke is easy, not because it makes lighter
demands, but because it represents entering into a
disciple relationship (learn from Me) with one who is
gentle and lowly in heart ... [this] is also the
character [that] Jesus expects and creates in His
Jesus says in essence: “The Law's 600+
stipulations and all the rabbi's traditions will weight
you down, but My yoke is easy.”
His righteousness is more demanding, but He did
make it much simpler for us.
Remember His Sermon on the Mount: interpret the
Scriptures according to their original intention, give
God the number one position, and put your neighbor in
the number two position.
Now those three concepts are much easier to apply
in daily living.
My gospel of grace will help you to become a
person who is both sensitive and humble.
We who are Christians always realize this truth:
compared to Jesus' life, we continually fall so short.
Compared to all the rules, ritualism, and
legalism which the Pharisees preached, Jesus' close
relationship as our daily Rabbi and Model helps us to go
deeper into God's heart!
“Don't just learn about Me, but learn
from Me: watch and imitate My actions, memorize and
apply My teachings, take on My character, handle
situations with My wisdom, see others with My grace—so
many are spiritually sick, oppressed, and captive!”
Learn from Me.
A recent hymn states it this way: “Jesus, let us
come to know You.
Let us see You face to face.
Touch us, hold us, use us, mold us.
Only let us live in You.
Jesus, draw us ever nearer; Hold us in Your
Wrap us in Your gentle presence, When the end
comes, bring us home” (Michael Card).
Learn from Me.
Listen to this disciple's prayer: “I am no longer
my own, but Yours.
Put me to what You desire, and rank me with
whomever You wish.
Put me to doing, or put me to suffering.
Let me be exalted for You or abased for You.
Let me be full or let me be empty.
I freely and heartily yield all things to Your
pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious blessed God—Father, Son, and
Spirit—You are mine, and I am Yours.
So be it.
The covenant which I have made on earth, let it
be ratified in heaven.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.
Submit under Me and learn from Me.
Look now at Luke 9:23-25: “Then, He said to
them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me [to be My
disciple], let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow Me.
For whoever desires to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the
whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
Let's notice a few ideas here.
The ultimate test for our lives as Christians is
not what we know, but what we do with what we know.
Jesus doesn't tell us to rattle off a bunch of
gospel truths (even the Pharisees could talk a good
game), but Jesus wants us to do something daily.
What Jesus wants us to do is to practice a
certain attitude and lifestyle, the same attitude and
lifestyle that He Himself put into practice when He
lived on this earth.
Why did Jesus have to suffer the cross?
It was God's will or purpose that He be the
sacrificial Lamb to atone for mankind's sins.
As someone has well said, “The cross is God's
Emancipation Proclamation signed in blood” (Sanny)
Listen to Jesus: “Your kingdom come, Your will
be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
“For whoever does the will of My Father in
heaven, this is My brother and sister and mother”
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent
Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
“I do not seek My own will but the will of the
Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).
“Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be
done” (Luke 22:42).
For Jesus, God's will was supreme.
The disciple denies himself; he measures his
success by asking himself at the end of the day: “How
did I perform God's will today?
Did I put His desires above my own?”
“Deny himself, and take up his cross daily.”
Did the cross come from man or from God?
It was man's invention wasn't it?
It was ugly, brutal, cruel, and humiliating.
Jesus transformed it into an asset: “And as
Moses lifted up
the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of
Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have eternal life” (John
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw
all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the
law having become a curse for us (for it is written,
'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'), that the
blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in
Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the
Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14).
Our crosses are not our aches and pains that our
bodies suffer, our crosses are the worst social abuses
that others will cast upon us.
It might be their ridicule, it might be their
isolation of us, it might be their attempts to discredit
us, it might be their torture of us.
But despite what others may do to us, what do we
pray each day, “Lord, may I do Your will this day, may I
follow after Your Son.
When I am crucified by others, let me act as My
Lord and say, 'Father, forgive them, because they don't
understand what they are doing.'
When they attempt to discredit me, may Your truth
set them free!
May my suffering for Christ ultimately bring
about their salvation.”
Submit under Me, learn from Me, follow after Me!
Look at what Jesus says in the next verse in Luke
9:26: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of
him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His
own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.”
Jesus says in essence: “If you are ashamed of Me,
I will be ashamed of you.
Disciple, stand for Me!”
One commentator puts it this way: “The disciples
were to know, when it became difficult to confess Jesus
and His words, that their actions would have eternal
Whatever might happen to them, there would be a
victorious culmination for those who persevered” (Ash).
Disciple, stand for Me!
Look back now at the passage we began with in
Matthew at 10:26 where Jesus tells it straight: “If
they called the master of the house, Beelzebub [or the
prince of demons], how much more will they call those of
Therefore, do not fear them.
For there is nothing covered that will not be
revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
they call Me the prince of demons, then get ready—they
will be attacking and insulting you as well!
Becoming a disciple will probably not win you any
popularity contest from those in your world.
Jesus admonishes us, however, not to be afraid of
Disciple, stand for Me!
Committing yourself to follow Christ, especially
in our secular culture, will take some backbone.
Becoming and being His disciple daily is not for
the fainthearted or for those who give up easily.
Jesus warns us that we should carefully count the
cost that may involved in becoming His disciple, lest we
begin and not remain loyal to Him until death (Luke
Jesus said that if we put our hand to the plow [if we
become His disciple], but then look back [meaning to
abandon His lordship and return to worldly living], then
we are not fit to be in or to inherit the kingdom of God
Disciple, stand for Jesus!
At an open-air meeting in Liverpool, a skeptic
gave a strong address against Christianity to a large
audience and at the close said, “If any man here can say
a word in favor of Jesus Christ, let him come out and
Not a man moved.
The silence became oppressive.
Then, two young girls arose, walked hand in hand,
as if moved by the Holy Spirit, up to the speaker and
said, “We can't speak, but we will sing for Christ,” and
they sang with great power, “Stand up, stand up for
When the song ceased, every head was uncovered, all were
deeply moved, some were sobbing, and the crowd quietly
went away, apparently with no thought of following the
Disciple, stand for Me!
This next story took place in the late 60s in
China under the Red Guard (it's rather shocking): “A
Chinese Christian knew God had strengthened him to
endure the unbearable.
His [communist] captors had tied his hands behind
his back and emptied a bucket of human waste on his
left him like that for days, never giving him a chance
to clean himself.
He was given food, but with his hands tied behind
his back, he had to lie on the floor and lick it up like
The food had to pass through soiled lips.
He still did not deny his faith. ... The
authorities eventually gave up, and he was released”
(Jesus Freaks). “If you are ashamed of Me, I will be
ashamed of you.
Disciple, stand for Me!”
There is a cost, but there is a strength as well.
Won’t you become
Christ’s apprentice today?
Won’t you submit under Him?
Won’t you learn from Him?
Won’t you follow after Him?
Won’t you stand for Him?
May your confession be that of another disciple:
a part of the following of the unashamed.
I have Holy Spirit power.
The dye has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made.
I’m a disciple of His.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away,
or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my
future is secure.
I’m finished and done with low living, sight
walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
tamed visions, ordinary talking, leftover giving, and
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity,
position, promotion, praises, or popularity.
I don’t have to be … recognized, regarded, or
now live by presence, learn by faith, walk by patience,
lift by prayer, and labor by power” (Jerry Jones quoting
“Come unto me, submit under Me, learn from Me,
follow after Me, stand for Me!”
His invitation to be your Rabbi is clear!
He greatly desires for you to be His apprentice.
Slowly, daily, methodically, gradually, He wants
you to catch His lifestyle.
Will you become His disciple right now as …