Sermon: Making Disciples (Luke 6:17-19)

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Making Disciples

Luke 6:17-19

The fame of the Son of God has spread to the entire region surrounding Capernaum.  In a few short months, Jesus has become known by multitudes.  He is famous as a great teacher of the Word of God.  He is famous as a great preacher.  He is famous as a healer of various diseases.  He has become known for His ability to cast out demons.

The ministry of Christ has been set at high speed.  He barely has time to rest.  He rarely has time alone.  In fact, He is rarely even in a small group.  The people for the most part love Him and flock around Him constantly.  They have traveled all over the entire region to hear His Words and be healed of disease.  Probably the reason Jesus gets up so early to pray was that the people were still sleeping.

Remember from last week that the Trinity fellowshipped in close communion all night and then the next day Jesus, God’s Son selected His apostles.  He showed much authority in the choosing of the twelve.

The twelve Apostles were mainly to be preachers.  They spoke the words of the Kingdom of God, proclaiming the Kingdom as they traveled.  Because they were uneducated men, they needed to be trained.  Jesus is now beginning their training.

Luke has been a very faithful reporter to the events surrounding Jesus and His ministry.  So far we’ve seen with accuracy what Jesus has been doing.  Here in our text today, Luke pauses and summarizes the events surrounding Jesus.

Luke 6:17-19 (ESV) 

    And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon,  [18] who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.  [19] And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

1. The Gathered Congregation (6:17)

It’s important to see the various groups of people who are present around Jesus.  Some people have a real and lasting interest and others have a superficial non-committed interest.  Some are there because Jesus has the Words of the Kingdom and others want to see another miracle.

A. The Twelve Apostles

And he came down with them and stood on a level place

Jesus had been up all night with the Father and the Holy Spirit praying.  Morning comes and He calls from the number of disciples twelve which He calls Apostles.  These will be the ones that Jesus pours the rest of His life into.  These are the ones who are trained for Kingdom advancement.  These are the preachers who would carry the message after Jesus was gone.  These are the ones who walk down the mountain with Him.

The title Apostle in a strict sense means messenger.  An Apostle is sent to represent someone else.  They are delegates.  Here, the twelve Apostles are uniquely called and gifted by their Teacher to take the Gospel to the far reaches of the known world.  History shows that they did just that.  Jesus, Himself was even considered an Apostle sent to represent God on earth and to speak the words that He was given.

*The twelve had the task of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and demonstrating it’s presence by performing signs and miracles.

Here at the beginning, Jesus takes these fishermen and other uneducated men and begins their training.  Their first classroom lesson is what has been called the Sermon on the Plain.

This sermon was first preached to Jesus’ closest disciples.  These were the ones in training.  They needed to understand what a Christian is to believe and how a Christian is to behave if they are to be His ambassadors.  By giving them this teaching, Jesus is showing those closest to Him what Kingdom life is like.

When a preacher brings a message today, his first target group must be those who are converted.  He must be teaching them what Kingdom life is like.  The first concern for a preacher is the church.  We should not be seeker friendly we must be focused on God’s elect.

After the selection of the twelve Jesus leads them down the mountain and then stops on a level spot where they are seated closest to Him so they can hear and remember what He is about to teach.  These are the first NT preachers in training.  These twelve men will be the focus of Christ’s ministry from here on out.

It’s so important for us at Grace to be about raising up young men for the ministry.  This was Christ’s focus and this must be our focus.  That’s why we spend time training that’s why we have seminary scholarships, that’s why we do the second service once a month to train preachers.  It’s why after ever sermon the one who preached sits in the Elder’s meeting and has his sermon critiqued.  He endures all this because we believe it is the pattern Jesus set in place for us.  The church must be raising up men to be the next generation leaders.

B. The Great Number of Disciples

with a great crowd of his disciples

There were also disciples in the crowd who were probably seated in the circle just outside the Apostles.  The term disciple is equivalent to today’s title student.  These were those who were interested in listening and learning from Jesus.  They came for the right reasons.  Many probably had been traveling with Jesus and the others listening and applying what Jesus had to say.  It’s so important that we see the main aspect of Jesus’ ministry was teaching.

There are some today who call themselves Christians who have no desire to learn.  They don’t take advantage of the opportunities given to them.  Jesus is still teaching today through His Word and we must learn.  Many today don’t see the importance of learning from the Word of God.  Many think that being a Christian is some emotional experience and that you will always be happy and no trouble will come your way.  However, we must follow the model Jesus sets forth in His ministry.  Jesus’ primary focus was on teaching God’s truth to God’s people.

I spoke with a man one time who had the false idea that the preacher was the only one in the congregation who needed to study God’s Word.  In his opinion he didn’t need to, he would simply rely on the preacher to tell him what the Bible said.  This man had a terribly mistaken view of Scripture plus he was lazy.  We must begin to understand the Scriptures for ourselves.

There is a battle that is raging between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.  This battle is over the minds of people.  This battle has always been the battle over truth.  Just like Jesus taught His disciples truth, we must be taught truth.  Truth is not something we have within us.  It is something that must come from an outside source.  Even before the Fall and before sin entered the world, truth was still something outside of man.  God walked with Adam and taught him.

Where do you get knowledge?  What source do you rely on?  God’s Word is the only reliable source of truth.  We must be students of the Word of God.

*I want to also say this extremely clear today.  Please make no mistake…there is no such thing as a Christian who is not a disciple.  Often, people get the impression that the disciples are either just the people in the Bible or just the so called elite of the church.  This is not a biblical view.  The church is called to go and make disciples…not Go and make converts.  You are not a Christian if you’re not a disciple.

Matthew 10:42 (ESV) 

    And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

I’m sure many of you can attest to the fact that prior to your conversion; you didn’t have much of an interest in reading the Bible, studying etc.  Once the Holy Spirit saved you, reading God’s Word became a craving.  This is a mark of true conversion.  A new believer cannot get enough of the truth from God’s Word and enough of Jesus.  Things begin to click and make sense.

Please understand that the model of Jesus and His disciples is the model we must follow as a church.  We must be about making disciples.  Discipleship must be a priority in the life of a church and the life of a believer.  Jesus is about making disciples and so must we be about that exact same thing.  That’s why we have Disciple Hour every Lord’s Day.  That’s why we have Home Groups through the week.  Sunday mornings are about taking in truth and Home Groups are about assimilating that truth.

Please understand there are people who are a various levels of discipleship.  If you’ve only been a Christian for a month, you’re not going to know Christ like someone who has been a Christian for 50 years.  However, the learning process must be starting.

Are you a disciple of Christ?  Are you a Christian?  You cannot answer yes to one and not to the other.  Either you answer yes to both or no to both.

The text is clear that there were a huge number of these students/disciples.  It is impossible to estimate other than to say the Scriptures call this group a great crowd, probably hundreds or even more.

C. The Great Multitude of People

and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon,

This group were those who were not really that committed.  Some perhaps were new and were just recently exposed to Jesus and His teaching.  Perhaps, in time, some of this group would become committed followers and disciples themselves.  Most from this group, however, were just there for what they could get from Jesus.

Do you come to church for what you can get?  A good feeling, a sense of duty, perhaps you think God is going to do you good if you come.  Are you a taker?  These people were takers.  They wanted anything Jesus would give, a free meal, a good show, a healing.

The biblical reason to come to Church is to give.

They wanted to be healed or just watch a good show.  Some traveled to be seen by others.  They were not necessarily true followers.

On one occasion this crowd was numbered and the Gospel writer tells us it was made up of 5,000 men.  This number of men would mean there were probably about as many women and then there were probably children as well.  Some estimates are over 20,000 people in this Great Multitude.

Once after teaching a difficult truth most everyone left.  They didn’t want to hear the truth, they wanted to be spectators.  It was so bad, Jesus turned to His disciples and asked them if they were planning on leaving also.

These same groups exist today in the church.  You have those who are true disciples/Christians.  Then you have others who are sort of interested and sort of not.  They come when nothing better is going on and any excuse whatsoever is good enough to cause them to stay home.

It’s important that you ask yourself, what does my commitment level say about the sincerity of my walk with Christ?

Jesus expects commitment from His followers and not a take-Him-or-leave-Him mentality.

This great multitude was the ones for the most part still under God’s judgment.  Jesus would speak in parables often to hide truth from unbelieving hearts so that they would not suffer even more of God’s judgment.  After speaking a parable, He would gather His disciples together and explain what He meant in the parable.

If you could look around this group, you would have seen Apostles, Disciples and the Half-hearted.  We must consider which group we fit into today.  Please realize that the Apostles are a group to themselves.  Of the other two, which group do you fit into?  Because you are sitting here today, you fit into one or the other.  Are you a disciple or one half-hearted?  Are you a committed learner or one who wants the preacher to tell him everything?

2. The Power of Christ (6:19)

[19] And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

It’s important that we understand the fact that Jesus conducted much of His ministry in the midst of a great crowd of people.  Much of the time they were trying to push and shove to get to see and touch Jesus.  Here is a good picture of this.  Luke reports that all the crowd sought to touch him. 

This would be enough to wear anyone out.  Our Lord had compassion on all.  The people were not a bother.  They were not annoying.  Jesus cared for them and healed all that came to Him.  He spoke the Gospel to them and many were brought into the Kingdom of God.  Isn’t it good to know that our Lord is compassionate and caring?

Luke 8:43-48 (ESV) 

    And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.  [44] She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.  [45] And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”  [46] But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”  [47] And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.  [48] And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

The crowd sought to touch Jesus because with the touch, healing came.  His power to heal was amazing.  This power was what accompanied His teaching.

Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God and His healing was proof that His words were true.

Jesus was about reversing the effects of the curse.  When He taught He was removing lies and untruth many had held as true for years and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word.  Minds were being remade with the truth.  Jesus spoke with the authority of God.  He was also restoring the physical realm as He healed sickness and disease He was reversing the effects of sin.  The Kingdom of God is a place where there is no sin and no effects of sin.  It is a place of perfect truth.

The text tells us that power went out from Jesus as people touched Him

du,namij dunamis {doo’-nam-is}

Meaning:  1) strength power, ability 1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth 1b) power for performing miracles—BibleWorks

A few things we need to remember…

This power of Jesus to heal is an unending power.  It never ran out.  for power came out from him and healed them all.   This power is not like a battery that gets weaker and weaker with use.  The Divine power of Christ is the power that heals, casts out demons, forgives sin, and raised the dead.  This power is proof that Jesus is God.  Only God could do what Jesus did.  Only God can do what Jesus does today.

Who better to follow than the Lord Jesus Christ?

Are you a follower, a disciple, a Christian?

I pray you are all the above because you cannot be a Christian without being a follower and a disciple.

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