Summary of the Sermon by Senior Pastor Djohan Handojo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 15 October 2017.
What is a mark of a Christian? Without Christ, Christianity is another religion. Christianity means to live like Jesus and to develop a relationship with God based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the focal point of Christianity. We are the followers of Christ and we represent Christ in this world.
Testimony of a young man, who joined our church and followed Jesus wholeheartedly – it was a decision that changed his life and his family. His parents saw the impact and decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
What are the myths of a true disciple?
1. Those who have Bible knowledge
a. “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1, NASB)
b. Having knowledge is important, but we must be practising Christians who follow the examples of Christ. Discipleship must start at home. Be an open Bible that others may see. Be mindful of becoming a hurdle for others to believe in Christ. When Mahatma Gandhi was prevented from entering a church because of the colour of his skin, he became discouraged. He lost the desire to follow Christ because of unwise Christians. We can become a stumbling block to others if we don’t become a true disciple of Christ.
2. Those who are busy with service/ministry
a. "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1, NASB)
b. Christianity is not about religious activities and we must be careful not to practice our righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.
3. Those who are successful
a. “But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (2 Chronicles 26:16, NASB)
b. Success in life does not equate to being a true disciple.
c. Christianity is not about prosperity. After he became successful, King Uzziah, started to puff up. After having achieved many successes during his reign, he became proud, which led to his eventual downfall. We can easily be proud of our own achievements, forgetting that God is the source of all good things.
4. Those who are born Christians
a. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:1, NASB)
b. Being born into a Christian family does not make us a true disciple. The mark of a mature Christian is winning souls and making disciples.
5. Those who operate in Spiritual Gifts
a. “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NASB)
b. Having or operating spiritual gifts is not a true mark of a disciple.
Three important aspects of true service – prayer, fasting and giving.
What are the marks of a true disciple?
1. Love (John 14:34-35)
a. Jesus prepared breakfast for His disciples.
b. Jesus put His hands on Peter and asked Peter if he loved Him. He did not accused Peter, despite Peter denying Jesus three times.
c. Love is not demanding and is always forgiving.
2. Be like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29)
a. God wants us to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
3. Make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)
a. God calls us to preach the Good News and to make disciples.
4. Be Spirit-filled believers (Isaiah 32:15-17)
a. In order to serve God effectively, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be led by Him. Without the Holy Spirit, our spiritual life will be dry.