The Hard Path of Discipleship

The Hard Path of Discipleship

Sermon Notes


Key Thought:
Jesus made some poignant claims about what it means to be a disciple of His. This information was not easily understood by his twelve disciples; especially Peter. Today, we will examine a heated exchange between Jesus and Peter that gives us a clearer picture of what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be a true follower of Jesus.

Two Big Interrupters to Discipleship: Obvious Addictions and Not-so Obvious Addictions

Obvious Addictions:

  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.
  • Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990.
  • From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from overdosing on a drug.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year.
  • In 2017, 34.2 million Americans committed DUI, 21.4 million under the influence of alcohol and 12.8 million under the influence of drugs.
  •  About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.

Not-so Obvisous Addictions

  •  Ease 
  • Convenience 
  • Personal comfort

Key Quote:
“We have been led to believe that the self is sacrosanct; just as in an earlier time it was thought never fitting to deny God, now it feels never right to deny self.” – Robert C. Roberts

1. The hard path of discipleship does not require worldly power or success – Matthew 16:21-23, 26:50-53, 26:62-65, John 18:35-36

  • Two words that confused Peter about Jesus larger plan: Kingdom // Messiah
  • Many Jews of Jesus day had been swayed to join political uprisings for religious purposes. The most successful campaign was the Maccabean Revolt. This movement became a template for the many uprisings that followed: Here is an important quote from one of the leaders of Jewish uprising:
  • “Let everyone who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me” -Mattathias, the Priest in Modein, 167 B.C.

Key Thought:
We have never needed worldly power to be godly followers.

2. The hard path of discipleship does require individual sacrifice – Matthew 16:24

  • “Whoever..” – The scope of the call
  • “…disciples…” – the nature of the call
  • “…deny…” – The first step of the call
  • “…take up their cross…” – the individuality of the call
  • “… and follow me…” – the direction of the call

Key questions:
Are you curious about Jesus?
Are you an admirer of Jesus?
Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Key Observation:
Generous people are usually happy.
Selfish people are usually unhappy.
Discipleship = Cross bearing (Self Denial)

Application:
What is the size, shape, color, name or address of your cross?
What does it look like to follow Jesus on that path?

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Rusty began the message by saying Jesus’ message was about what it means and doesn’t mean to be a follower of Jesus. What do you think it means to be a follower of Jesus? What do you think it doesn’t mean? 
  2. Between 1999 and 2017 more than 700,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose. Robert C. Roberts said, “We have been led to believe that the self is sacrosanct; just as in an earlier time it was thought never fitting to deny God, now it feels never right to deny self.” How might this attitude contribute to addiction?
  3. Pastor Rusty says, “The hard path of discipleship doesn’t require worldly power or success.” This idea comes from Jesus’ statement that he had to go to Jerusalem to suffer and would be killed. Like Peter, we are sometimes resistant to “the hard path of discipleship.” Why do many confuse worldly power with Jesus’ kingdom?
  4. Many Jews in Jesus’ day joined political uprisings for religious purposes. Some believers fall into the trap of being more committed to a political party than they are to Jesus. How can we guard against making that mistake?
  5. It is easier to admire Jesus than it is to be his disciple. What is the practical difference between admiring Jesus and being his disciple?
  6. Why do many who think Jesus was a great man never follow him as a disciple?
  7. If we are going to come after Jesus we must, “take up our cross and follow him.” Pastor Rusty says being Jesus’ disciple means we are to deny ourselves. Why is denying ourselves so difficult for us? 

LIVE IT OUT:

  • How do you think God wants you to deny yourself to serve him and others?
  • What are some specific ways you think Jesus wants you to deny yourself?
  • How does denying yourself relate specifically to loving your neighbors?
  • Make a list of specific ways you are going to deny yourself and serve others this week.
  • Ask God to help you act on your list this week.
  • Ask God to help you better understand how he wants you to deny yourself and follow him.