A Series on Discipleship
The Demands of Discipleship
The Cross, Towel & Yoke
SERIES OVERVIEW: A series of messages on what it means to be a serious follower of Jesus Christ. A true disciple, one who follows Jesus as a way of life, will carry a cross, wear a towel and bear a yoke. I got this idea for 3 sermons on discipleship from a sermon I heard from Ron Dunn over 30 years ago.
SERMON #1. The Demands of Discipleship: Cross
TEXT: Luke 14:25-33
OVERVIEW: This sermon helps believers to understand the demands of being a serious follower of Jesus Christ. Being a serious follower of Jesus requires total commitment. This passage is the most valuable teaching about discipleship in the NT. In my opinion, verse 33 contains the most essential statement that Jesus ever made to believers.
In this passage Jesus used the phrase “cannot be my disciple” three times: in verses 26, 27, 33. The word "cannot" is a compound word in the Greek. It is the words ouk(ouk) dunamai (dunmai). The Greek word ouk means “not” and the word dunamai means “power” or “ability.” In other words Jesus said that those who try to come after Him with less that total commitment do not have the power or ability to become His serious followers or disciples.
OUTLINE: Three marks of a serious follower of Jesus:
#1. In the life of a serious follower of Jesus there can be NO RIVALS (v.26). This means we must love Jesus more than any earthly relationship including mother, father, wife and children.
#2. In the life of a serious follower of Jesus there can be NO REFUSAL (verse 27) We must “take up a cross.” What is the cross in the life of a believer? Troubles? Adversity? Hardships? NO!! Non-Christians have all of these. Whatever my cross is, it is mine because I am a serious follower of Jesus Christ. A cross in the Roman world had only one purpose: it was a place to die. Serious followers of Jesus must DIE to SELF. Paul said, “I die daily.”
How? (1) I accept Jesus death as mine. (2) I assign myself to the place of death and die to my selfish nature and desires.
See Romans 6:6, 11; Galatians 2:20, 5:24
#3. In the life of a serious follower of Jesus there can be NO RETREAT. (v.33) The song I sang as a youth says it all, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back.”
Only when there has been NO RIVALS, NO REFUSAL, NO RETREAT in the Christian’s life can he come to the end with NO REGRETS.
SERMON #2. The Demands of Discipleship: Towel
TEXT: John 13:1-17
OVERVIEW: This passagehelps us to understand that a serious follower of Jesus Christ will possess a servant’s heart. Jesus is in the shadow of the cross and He teaches a valuable lesson about the heart of a servant. He said “I came not to be served but to serve.”
OUTLINE: #1. The Awareness of Jesus (13:1-3) Note, “Jesus knew that the time had come.” He knew something. What did He know? (1) The timing of the Father had come, v.1. (2) He would “depart” = die. (3) He had authority over all things, v.3. He was NOT a victim but a Victor! (4) He knew what was in the heart of man, v. 11.
Understanding what Jesus “knew” is essential to understanding what He did.
#2. The Activity of Jesus (13:4-8) 4 verbs (for great preaching points always look for action verbs!) describe His activity: He got up, took off, wrapped a towel, wash the feet, returned to His place (v. 12). These PRESENT tense actions describe His entire life: He got up from His throne in glory, took off the robe of deity, wrapped Himself in the flesh of humanity and washed away our sins with His blood, and then returned (via a resurrection) to His heavenly throne. WOW!
#3. The AIM of Jesus (13:12) He taught something valuable about following Him. (1) Lesson on hypocrisy; don’t be like Judas (vv. 10-11). (2) Lesson on holiness (vv. 8-9) At salvation we receive a bath (see Exodus 29:4), still we need many cleansings (see Exodus 30:17-21, the laver) Followers of Jesus must be continually cleansed. (3) Lesson of humility. Luke 22:24-27 tells us the disciples argued over the issue of “greatness.” They were far from the ministry of the towel. According to 1 Peter 5:5-6 the apostle learned the lesson of Jesus that night.
To be a serious follower of Jesus I must gird myself and become a servant to others because my Master did.
SERMON #3. The Demands of Discipleship: Yoke
TEXT: Matthew 11:28-30
OVERVIEW: This message is designed to teach followers what it means to be yoked to Jesus. There are 3 commands in our text: Come. Take. Learn
OUTLINE: (1) The Invitation into PARTNERSHP: “come.” We partner with the inexhaustible One who knows our hurts, pains, failures. We are to be yoked to Jesus, not an organization, denomination or church. HIM! It is NOT an invitation to bondage but one to liberty.
(2) The PURPOSE of the Yoke: “take.” Irony, we find freedom in responsibility. An empty ship, not a loaded one, is blown ashore in a storm. When you are yoked to Jesus you are anchored to the One who cannot be blown and tossed by the storms and demands of life. To be yoked with Jesus requires submission and surrender.
(3) The POWER of the Yoke: “learn.” What do we learn? The art of lifting and pulling in partnership with Jesus; the importance of being on a team; the supernatural power of synergy! There is no other joy like being in yoke with Jesus!