TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | Becoming Disciples

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey, 3trees. Man, what an honor to get to be with you this evening. I appreciate you making time to spend a few minutes with us while we dive into the word and take a look at some Scripture. You know, December is a special time of the year around our house. First of all, on December the first, Mandy and I always celebrate our wedding anniversary. So yesterday, we celebrated 20 years together. And that's a miracle that anybody would put up with me that long. So I'm really, really grateful that we've had the chance to celebrate that. And then also it's Christmas season, and I don't know, I love Christmas. I love everything that goes with the music, and the decor, and the atmosphere, and the exchanging of gifts. And also just the fact that if we allow it to be, it's a moment when we can really put some focus on the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season. And tonight, I'm not going to share with you necessarily a Christmas message, but I do want to reflect a little bit on why it was that Jesus came to the earth. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I just want to read two or three passages of text and lay a little bit of foundation and then we're gonna look at some things. Luke 19:10, we actually hear Jesus Himself say why it was that he came to the earth, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost. But the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. That's the reason he came to the earth. That's what he came to do. He came to seek and to save the lost. But we also learn through 1 John 3:8, that this verse says, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.” Another translation says that this way, that “The purpose for which the Son of Man came, was to destroy the works of the devil.” And so we see that when Jesus came to the earth, he came to seek and to save the lost, and He also came to destroy the works of the devil. Well, one of the works of the devil is to keep people lost, to keep people in their sin, to keep people away from the salvation experience. And so what we know is one of the things that Jesus wanted to do was to destroy the works of the devil by saving the lost, allowing them to be found in His grace. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And another passage of text John 14:12, decrees this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things than these because I'm going to my father.” So what Jesus tells us is that He desires for those of us who follow Him, those of us who are in relationship with Him, to become a part of His mission on earth, to become a part of seeking and saving the lost, and to become a part of destroying the works of the devil that people would be able to overcome their sin. So it's important that Jesus told us that one of the things that we're supposed to do is to make disciples. In fact, He said, go into all nations and make disciples. Teach them the truth of His word and make disciples. You know, in the timeframe that Jesus used that word disciple, it meant something different than what it probably means to most of us. You know, the word disciple in that day, it didn't mean like a pupil or student that sits in school and learns from a notebook as he's being taught by some accredited teacher. In that day, a disciple really more so meant an apprentice, or somebody that learned a skill or a way of life from a teacher. And think about that term, a way of life from a teacher. Well, the way of Jesus’ life was to seek and save the lost. The way of Jesus’ life was to destroy the works of the devil. And so when Jesus was inviting people to be disciples and to follow Him, He was inviting them to be a part of seeking and saving the lost In fact, He sent them out two by two, to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick, and to cast out devils to destroy the works of the devil. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so if we're going to be in this day, and in this hour, a disciple of Jesus Christ, listen, we got to understand something. It's more than just taking out a Bible and taking out a notebook and writing down a few notes when somebody's teaching. It's actually even more than just having a daily devotional life. It's more than just having a morning and evening prayer time. All those things are great. If you're doing those things. You are probably actually ahead of the game because a lot of people aren't. But to really be a disciple of Jesus means that we are doing what Jesus did in the earth, that we are seeking and saving the lost. So I just wonder, like when's the last time that you really looked at somebody and you thought are they saved, and that you didn't do it in a judgmental way, you didn't do it in a spiritually egotistical way, or in some kind of self- righteous way, but you did it with like a heart that says, like, man, if they're lost, I want them to be found in God's grace. How can I be a part of that? The Bible says that he that winneth souls is wise. And it's not just that it's a wise thing to win souls, but I think it takes wisdom to win souls. And so if we're going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I think we got to become increasingly intentional about sharing our faith. I think we got to become increasingly intentional about being able to tell our story and share our testimony, and let people know that there is a Jesus who can save them, and set them free, and give them a born again experience, encourage them then to go public with that experience that their faith through baptism, etc, etc, etc. But I just wonder like, do you really consider that you are to be a part of seeking and saving the lost, and that in that you're to become a part of destroying the works of the devil. That God wants to use you to drive out demons out of your community, and to drive out demons out of your house that's trying to attack your teenagers, and trying to attack your marriage, and trying to come against even your health, etc, etc, etc. Like, there's so many things that we could use to fill in the blanks in those situations. But I just wonder, like, do we really get what it means to be a disciple of Jesus? You know, in that day, when Jesus was on the earth, the student picked his master. He picked his teacher. He picked his rabbai. But remember what Jesus said, He said, you did not choose me, but I chose you when He was talking to His disciples, He reversed it. I think one of the things He was trying to get across to them is that as He was becoming the most prominent teacher in all of Israel, in that timeframe. The people that He picked, would have probably thought that they couldn't pick Him, because they wouldn't have been qualified. They wouldn't have measured up. They wouldn't have met any proposed standards that would have been associated. Because, honestly, even when you picked your master, or you picked your rabbi, the rabbi then had to be willing to allow you to follow him. And maybe he doesn't have any seats left. Maybe all the reservations have been taken. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But Jesus, like He went and sought out these young men who were in their mid-teens. They think maybe the oldest of them would have been Peter, who was probably about 18, because we do know he was married, and he had evidently started a family. So Jesus is going and picking out a bunch of teenagers most likely. And when you look at the list of the teenagers, they were for fishermen; there was one tax man; there were a couple of freedom fighters, the zealots who were a part of a resistance against the Roman Empire. And then there was a significant number that was actually transferred, they'd been following John the Baptist, and then they transferred over to following Jesus. That's the reason John the Baptist at one point said, let him increase, even if I have to decrease. And so it really is, especially five or six these guys, like they're just a ragtag bunch, man. They're not a group of guys that you would expect to ever be selected by the Son of God, if he were to be on earth. And he was going to teach somebody a specific way of life. But when he began to teach them his way of life of you're going to, we're going to be a part of seeking and saving the last we're going to be a part of destroying the works of the devil in the earth. He begins to give them a path to follow in order to see that happen. It was something more than just sending them out two by two to preach and to go to the cities. Like, He began to teach them things like the way we're going to do this is we're going to turn the other cheek. We're going to give away the second coat. We're going to go the extra mile. We're going to take up the cross. And He wouldn't even allow them to argue about who was the greatest. He even rebuked a mother for trying to posture her sons into a position of greatness in eternity. And then He teaches them that the goal is really not even to become a master in their own right, or to become a teacher in their own right, or a leader in their own right, but that the goal is to become a servant. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so I want to, I want to just make sure everybody's on the same page. I want you to really get this with me. The reason that God sent His Son to the earth was to seek and to save the lost; I think we've established that. But as a part of Jesus coming to seek to save the lost, He came to destroy the works of the devil; I think we've established that. But then Jesus, like looks at His disciples, this ragtag bunch that we just described, this bunch of teenagers, he looks at them and he says, even greater works are you going to do in the earth than I myself am doing. And so from there, we begin to learn that we get to be a part of seeking and saving the lost and destroying the works of the devil. And as you follow what Jesus was teaching these guys, you begin to realize that it's important for us to exemplify the way of life, the way of life that Jesus exemplified in the earth, to be people who turn the other cheek, and to be people who give away the second coat, and to be people who go the extra mile and take up our cross. And we don't argue about who's the greatest, instead, we realize that the greatest is the one who is willing to serve the others. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, it's intriguing to me that when people in that day would become a disciple of a rabbi, or a disciple of a master, the way that would unfold is that the master, the rabbi, would teach them the Torah, he would teach them the law. It’s what we would typically know is the first five books of the Bible. And in really, in the Hebrew language, the closest words that you can find to truly define Law, or even Torah, if you will, is really the path. Like, when we think about law, we think about legalities. But in Hebrew culture, the way that they really viewed the law is that it was a path. And so what those rabbi's and those masters were trying to teach their disciples was a path, and the path and boundaries. That's what the law was all about. It was boundaries to the path. Like, you don't go this way, and you don't go that way, you go this way. And that's the reason Jesus made a statement to them. His audience, He told them, He said, broad is the path that leads to destruction. narrow is the path that leads to life. He was actually referencing the law that if you can live it, it could lead to life. But the problem is the path so narrow, no man can ever walk it out on his own without the help of grace. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But when Jesus came on the scene, He didn't just teach them to follow the law. Instead, what He said is, I came to fulfill the law and the prophets. In other words, He’s saying, I came to give you the rest of the path. And what Jesus really taught them was follow me, don't just follow the law, follow me, be in relationship with me, walk this thing out with me, do life with me, experience what it is to take steps with me. And so when you think about, that, we get to be a part of seeking and saving the lost, introducing people to Jesus, we get to be a part of destroying the works of the devil. We get to be a part of doing great works in the earth. The way we're going to do that is by following Jesus, by walking out the path with Jesus, and taking the steps that He leads us into. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to understand something, it is extremely important that the Church in this modern era, begin to truly be disciples, and exemplify the life of Jesus. There are some statistics that are coming in right now, that are really troubling to consider. And I'll share a few of them with you, and not from not from a point of negativity, but from a point of trying to create some conviction in us and some prayer points for us. You know, in the last 10 years, those that identify as Protestant Christians in America, the percentage has declined from 51% of the population to 43% of the population. That right now, in the last 10 years, there has been an 8% decline in the percentage of America's population that would be Protestant Christians. Meanwhile, the people who claim to believe nothing in particular has risen from 12% to 17%. And what happens is those numbers actually get more staggering when you begin to break it down generationally. There is something that is happening in America, generationally, that has to be reversed. If we're going to see a move of God in these last days. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Look at this, or consider this with me, more than eight in 10, members of the silent generation, and that’s the generation that was born between 1928 and 1945, describe themselves as Christians. So, 84% of that generation identified as Christians. Three quarters, 75% of baby boomers identify as Christians. So, those born from 1928, to 1945, 84%; the baby boomers 76%. But in stark contrast, only half of the millennials describe themselves as Christians. That's people that would have been born from like, some say 1982, 1983, and moving forward. And when you think about that generation, 49%. So, we've seen it go from 84%, to 76%, to 49%. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Like if you watch what's happening on that line graph, that tells us a lot about what we could potentially predict about this next generation. That doesn't have to be the case, but it looks to be at least the way that things are trending. And right now, 40% of the millennials say that they believe nothing, 40% said that they believe nothing, and then 10% just identify with faith that identifies other than Christian. Roughly 2/3 of millennials, 64%, attend worship services a few times a year or less. So, only 49% claimed to be Christians, and then out of that 49%, 64% of those are saying, well, I'm a Christian, but I only go to church a couple of times a year. So, what we desperately need is an awakening. And I think when we consider the need for that awakening, we can be really judgmental about this generation, or that generation, or this one needs to change or that one needs to change, they should be different, or we could just decide it starts with us. And we could really begin to exemplify discipleship. And we're going to keep studying the Word and we're going to keep praying, and we're going to keep going to church, and we're going to do the practical things that a disciple does. But we're also going to do what Jesus did. And that is to become active in seeking and saving the lost, introducing people to Jesus, that we can be a part of destroying the works of the devil in the earth. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

What we have to do is to become a part of seeing the Kingdom of Heaven made manifest in the earth. More than we need a political movement, more than we need to see this transpire in our government, or that transpire in our preferred political party. Listen, all that all that's great if it can happen, but at the end of the day, that thing we got to have is the Kingdom of Heaven made manifest in the earth. And the only way that happens is if you and I decide that we are going to follow Jesus with our whole heart, and that we're going to truly and completely exemplify, seek and save the lost, destroy the works of the devil, and do even greater works as Jesus promised that we could do. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so I just want to pray with you. And maybe you're watching with a group tonight, maybe you're there with your family, maybe it's just you and your spouse, however you guys are situated. Maybe it's a time for you just to have some discussion, and to talk about this, and pray about this. But either way, I want to pray with you. I want to pray for you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, God, I thank you for those that have been intentional about even tonight, just leaning into this moment. I pray Father, that they're not discouraged, but rather that they are encouraged. I pray Father God, that you provoke them to take their next step in you, whatever that might be. And I just ask you, Lord, that as you are ministering through your Holy Spirit to their life, that they're going to see why it was that you came to the earth, that you came to seek and to save the lost, and that we will be provoked in our heart, in our life, to be a part of seeking and saving the lost. That when we look at a family member, that we will consider whether or not they are lost. When we look at a co-worker, we will consider whether or not they are lost. When we engage with somebody in the public forums of society, we will consider whether or not they're lost. And then God, we will ask you what you want us to do about it, how we can be a part of wisely leading that person into a salvation experience, or at least sowing some seeds of grace into their life. Father, we want to be a part of destroying the works of the devil in our community, in our nation, in our family, in our life. And we just ask you, Father, that in the coming days, that you will reveal to us how we can be a part of the greater works. God, in moments in our life, where that we need to be a part of turning the other cheek, or giving away the second coat, or going the extra mile, or taking up our cross, or becoming a servant unto all, God did let us have the courage to follow that path and to first and foremost, God, just have a relationship with Jesus. We thank you for it. We bless you, in Jesus name, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, maybe you've been tuned in tonight, joining us, and you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus. Like, it's as simple as ABC. Ask Him to come into your heart, forgive you of your sins, believe that He's willing to do it, and then confess that to somebody. It might even be that tonight in the comment sections you just want to confess I made Jesus the Lord of my life, I've accepted his salvation. And then contact us, go to 3trees.com. There's a link there, you can let us know what's happened in your life, and you can even sign up for baptism and go public with your faith. We want to celebrate with you. This has been a privilege to be with you tonight. Can't wait to be with you again next Wednesday night at 6:30pm.