Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

February 11, 2018 Sermon

“A Disciple is…”
John 15:1 - 8
Ted Jansen  February 11, 2018 Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        How do you know who a person is?  Is it by what they wear, by their attitudes, their actions or by their goals or results of effort?  What do I mean by this? 
            Let’s start with what they wear.  What can you tell about a person by the uniform or colors that they wear?    
            If someone has an all brown uniform on where do you think they work?  UPS.  If a person has Red and White on who are they cheering for?   (IU).  If someone has a blue uniform on who might they be with?   (Cub Scouts)  If someone has a green uniform on who might they be with?  (Boy Scouts)   So you can recognize a Scout by their uniform.  That is good. 
 
2.)        What about the attitudes and actions of people?  Does that give you insights to who they are?  Can a Scout have any attitude or do any actions they want to?  What attitude is reflected as a Scout? 
There is a law that Scouts, who wear the uniform, are to aim for in attitude and action.  The Scout Law says, “A Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” 
            What if a person was in a Scout uniform and they were rude, angry, disrespectful, mocking, mean, could not be trusted, wasted money and had a foul mouth?  Does that sound like a Scout to you?  These attitudes and actions are opposite of what the Scout Law described.     
 
 3.)       What can you learn about a person by what they wear, their attitudes and actions in life, and their goals and results of their life?    
If we met a woman who looked like and talked like a homebuilder what would give you evidence that she really is who she appears to be?  If you would see a home that she built this would tell you that she is a builder.   You have evidence based on the goals and results of her time.   
            What is the result of the time a Scout, or a teacher, or an engineer, or an artist who lives their life?  What results are evident to you?    
 
4.)        Let’s look at the areas and consider them in the context of the Christian faith.  What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?   Let me ask three questions.  
*What should disciples of Jesus Christ wear that would give evidence of who they are? 
            *What types of attitudes and actions should a disciple of Jesus Christ express to give others evidence of their faith? 
            *What goals and results should be evident if a person is a disciple of Jesus Christ?    
 
            Each of us could describe our ideas of the statement, “A disciple is…”     
 
5.)        When I was a new Christian, a new disciple, I thought I had to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, have a certain attitude, or have results exhibited in my faith.    
            A pastor shared with me that God created me as I am and God wanted to use me, as I am.  That gave me freedom to grow.  I would focus on the relationship I have with Christ and all the other things would get worked out according to God’s plan.  I didn’t have to focus on what I would wear, what my attitude should be, what my actions were and the results or goals of my life.     
 
6.)        In John 15 we read about Jesus who is speaking to the disciples.  Jesus does not tell them about a type of uniform that they need to wear, or give them a list of character traits, or tell them what they need to do as result of their lives. 
Listen to His voice in these two verses. 
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”   (verse 4) 
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  (verse 8) 
            These verses are simple, yet challenging.  As I hear Jesus speaking it shifts the focus from what I need to do, to what God will do in me. 
           
7.)        *We are to remain in Jesus.  We are not to wander off and away from Jesus.  We are to stay with Him.  Each and every day.  We must remain.  When we do that God will remain with us.  That promise is vital for our lives as disciples.  We place ourselves at His side and wherever His presence is worshipped, shared, studied, and lifted up we are there.  We sit, we pause, we ponder.  We remain.       
 
            *We are to bear fruit.  Fruit will give people evidence that we are disciples.  I understand fruit in two ways.   Inner fruit and outer fruit.  There is fruit that grows inside of us and fruit that is shared with others.     
            Inner fruit is what Paul talked about when he wrote his letter to the Galatians.  When the Holy Spirit is alive in us the fruit of the Spirit grows inside of us.  According to Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” 
            We have this inner character of God that is growing inside of us.  We have more peace, more joy, more love, more kindness as the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  
Outer fruit is what people experience in our relationships with them.  We love people, we share joy, we are kind in the ways we interact, we seek the good of others, etc. 
People are thankful that we interact with them.  They are blessed because of what we share.  People know that they are loved. That outer fruit of love is what has grown inside of us.      
 
8.)        As we think of love have you decided what you are going to do for Valentine’s Day?  I have to admit that I feel the pressure to do something each year.  It is a good thing to express our love for those around us but why on this date?  Is it love or is it obligation and duty?    Do we “have” to do something or do we “want” to do something?    
            The brief history of Valentine’s Day is that a few men named Valentine died for their faith. The church wanted to remember them and designated Feb 14 as the day to do this.  There are different traditions in the world of the day.  In the last several hundred years this idea of Valentine’s day was marketed to sell cards, candy, flowers, fruit, jewelry, chocolate or other things.  It became a more romantic expression of love in recent years.       
            How do you express and share love?  Is it an expectation that it has to be in a card, candy, or flower on a certain day?   What about doing the laundry, or caring for the cars, or cleaning the floors, or making sure the toilets are clean?  What about cooking a meal, or cleaning up the dishes after a meal? 
            What if we do something wonderful and spectacular for Valentine’s Day for those we love, but we don’t do anything else all year?  What will that communicate?  What evidence will that give of love? 
 
9.)        Who are the people that come to mind who live or have lived as a disciple?  What types of fruit have they produced in their heart that know is real and lasting? 
            I saw a video clip of the character, Jack, in the show This is Us.  He was being interviewed and was asked how he can powerfully act in his role as a loving father.  He said, as he was getting choked up that it was because of his dad and mother, who happened to be sitting in the audience.  He said, he saw his Dad loving his Mom, and vice versa every day and that impacted his heart and life.   
            Who comes to mind as you think of a disciple living and producing fruit in personal and powerful ways?  
 
10.)      I thought of a man name Henri Nouwen and how he expressed love and gave evidence to others of love and being a disciples of Jesus.  He was a priest, a pastor, an author, a speaker, a theologian, and a professor.  He has written a number of books and has helped many in the faith. 
            He had been at Yale and had tenure, meaning he could stay there the rest of his life.  He also taught at Notre Dame and Harvard. 
            He did something radical in his life and faith because he believed that God was leading him to do it.  He walked away from his tenured teaching life and a guaranteed place of honor.  He choose to work at Daybreak Community in Toronto.  This was a place for developmentally disabled adults.  Henri Nouwen’s new job was to care for Adam, a 25 year old epileptic.  In that place Henri loved and let God produce fruit in his heart as a faithful disciple.  He spent the last years of his life there producing fruit showing the glory of God to others as a disciple.   
           
 
11.)      Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you... This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  (John 15:4, 8)