We all need to mature as disciples. Not only do we have that need, it should be an undisputed goal of Jesus Christ’s church: creating a culture seeking spiritual maturity. Spiritual, Emotional, & Relational health are the hallmarks of mature disciples of Christ.
Christ’s discipleship is a process that produces maturity. Maturity is the normal process of all creation: plants, animals & people. So if we are to move towards maturity as disciples of Christ, how do we measure that?
The Sermon on The Mount gives us standards for a relationally mature disciple of Christ, a vision of the goals of discipleship. Today’s passage gives us more standards in response to disciples being immature.
You can’t microwave Discipleship! It takes time, there is no other way God does it. Learning from mistakes and redoing lessons until it becomes lifestyle: Discipleship
Our passage today is a series of encounters between Jesus & His established disciples as well as those just becoming His disciples. In all these encounters Jesus points out their immaturity & leads them to maturity.
Here & now Christ uses His Body & Leaders to identify immaturity & to help the immature grow. This is how Jesus Christ’s church is supposed to work! Spiritual / Relational maturity is not a luxury for Christ’s Body, it is absolutely essential!
Ask God’s Spirit to open your eyes to your own immaturity, and for Him to change you!
37 The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. 38 A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. 39 An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone. 40 I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
- Always crowds! What a thing it must have been to see Him while incarnated
- Only Child (seems to be a theme)
- Dealing with Demonization / Possession is serious spiritual business
- This Guy had heard of Jesus’ disciples casting out demons
One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority
to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. (Luke 9:1) 3 weeks ago
- The 12 had experience, but could not do it! ‘dem knew it, but them can’t do it’ B.Boys
41 Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.”
- God calls us what we are: faithless & corrupt (be honest about who you are)
- They had cast out demons weeks ago at the most
- The disciples did not apply what they knew and had seen God do (Need Practice)
- How long until you are transformed? Some of that depends on you
42 As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father.
- The evil spirit gave everyone a display of his possession
- Jesus rebuked the demon, cast it out
- He healed the boy of the damage done by the demon
- Returned him to his previous state (reconciliation)
43 Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power. While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” 45 But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
- No other explanation, so it has to be God
- While the display of power was still fresh in their minds, He taught them
- He had noticed how they forgot previous lessons (God knows we are not perfect)
- We all need repetitive schooling from Jesus! Get used to it and make it lifestyle
- We all need to take lessons from Jesus and wait for them to fully make sense
46 Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. 48 Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”
- God has far less trouble noticing our pride than we do ourselves (false humility)
- This is a direct call to be humble, not act humble!
- True humility begins with how you approach God (we need outside evaluation)
- We are not to aspire to be greatest but rather to be the least…180 difference
- This sort of thing never happens in the church today, right? HA!
49 John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” 50 But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”
- Our shared goal as Christ’s followers is more important than any group / sect
- The opposition will be clear; worry about them, no need to go looking for enemies
- Recognize we are on the same team
- The spiritually immature will see false enemies and judge other people’s callings
- I was regularly like this 15 years ago, can still be in my worst moments.
51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem.
- Luke lays the ground work for Jesus’ mission to be understood
- Samaritans only wanted Jesus if He was going to be on their side
- Competition and cultural differences used as excuses for disunity
54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.
- Exercising power for personal reasons while ‘spiritualizing it’ = immaturity
- We learn as we mature that ‘Vengeance Belongs to The Lord’…Him alone
- I used to put a lot of energy into attempting to enact my idea of ‘Justice’
- Jesus will use others to rebuke the immature, these guys accepted it, will you?
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
- Immature disciples over-promise; Jesus wants us deal with reality.
- The message: ‘Count the Cost’ Christ’s disciples are guaranteed NOTHING here
- A realistic view of discipleship as a long hard process is the start of maturity
- Making choices that involve sacrifice of comfort, acceptance &status = Maturity
59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
- Meaning is: ‘let me inherit my father’s estate’
- Priority is worldly things 1st, then heavenly things after. There never is an after…
- Same message as the third soil in the parable of the soils from Luke 8
“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” ~ Jesus @ Luke 8:14
61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
- Being Christ’s disciple is not about being detached from you old life but living the same life in a totally new way. Don’t look back, look forward.
- To be part of The Kingdom of God you must be ‘Undivided’ in your loyalties
- Mature disciples will prioritize The Kingdom over EVERYTHING else
Mature Disciples recognize their flaws and need for Christ’s Spirit
Mature Disciples trust God even when things don’t make sense
Mature Disciples are humble having been humbled by God
Mature Disciples recognize how God calls us all to serve Him differently
Mature Disciples accept that Justice belongs to The Lord
Mature Disciples consistently prioritize The Kingdom over things in this world
To grow in maturity, how can you allow God to stretch you spiritually / emotionally / relationally?
How well do you recognize your ‘Spiritual Pride’? How can you intentionally pursue greater humility?
How do you avoid judging other’s practices, callings and ministry practices?
What may be the costs you have to consider to go to the next phase of your discipleship?