Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lay Aside the Weight of Self-Indulgence - Jon Bloom

We are all self-indulgers. The whole lot of us. Let’s just admit it upfront and help each other fight.

Biblical self-indulgence is feeding the “passions of the flesh” (1 Peter 2:11). It’s indulging ourselves in any pleasure that is harmful to our souls, that does not spring from faith (Romans 14:23).
Recognize the Danger
Self-indulgence is spiritually dangerous to us because it’s a form of idolatry. It’s something we turn to instead of God for happiness. It dulls our spiritual tastes and curbs our spiritual appetites (Proverbs 27:7). If we don’t take it seriously, it can, like Solomon’s wives (1 Kings 11:1–3), turn our hearts away from God.

Self-indulgence comes in all shapes and sizes. We can all name obvious or “gross” kinds (like those listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10). But perhaps for most of us the more dangerous indulgences are those that appear outwardly respectable. These are insidious because it is not the actions themselves that are sinful but our heart motives in doing them. So we may appear to do good while secretly indulging in pride (pursuing self-glory), greed or gluttony (too much of a good thing), negligence (should be doing something else), or lack of love (failing to serve someone else). This is what Jesus was talking about when he said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25)
Feel the Weight
But whether gross or “respectable,” self-indulgence is a hard sin for us to fight because it’s hard for us to want to fight it.

At the moment of indulging, it doesn’t feel like an enemy. It feels like a reward that makes us happy. And it feels like a relief from a craving that insistently begs for satisfaction. But after indulging, defeat hangs like a heavy yoke around the neck of our souls. This makes running our race of faith difficult (Hebrews 12:1).
If an indulgence has become a habit, then we live with this heavy weight of defeat. And though we may repent and confess our sin each time and know that the Father forgives us in Christ (1 John 1:9), the demoralizing effect of repeat defeat is still heavy.
Jesus doesn’t want us to live with this weight of defeat but in the freedom he purchased for us (Galatians 5:1). He wants us to lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). It’s a matter of obedience — and joy!
What Fuels Self-Indulgence
To fight self-indulgence, we need to know that what fuels it is a promise we believe.
If you ask yourself what promise you’re believing that’s fueling your indulgent behavior, you might not be able to articulate it right away. In fact, you might be tempted to think, “It’s not about believing a promise. It’s not rational at all. It’s an instinct, a craving. It’s about just saying ‘no.’” Well, just saying “no” has a place in the fight. But it will never get to the heart of indulgence. Often our governing beliefs are so much a part of us that we aren’t consciously aware of them. They reside at a deeper heart (or subconscious) level and it can take some probing to bring them to light.
Not only that, but our Adversary doesn’t want us to consciously experience temptation as a process of promise — belief — action. Too much thinking on our part might tip his hand. He wants us to experience it simply as a pleasurable invitation to happiness.
And that’s what fuels self-indulgence: the promise of happiness, however brief. And though we typically experience this promise as a strong, visceral craving, it’s the promise that gives the craving its power.
The Real Power for Change
So, wherever we have a persistent pattern of self-indulgence that we just can’t seem to conquer, what we are dealing with is our own unwillingness to let go of a promised happiness. If we simply try to address our craving we likely won’t see long-term change. Because it’s not our craving that’s so strong. What’s strong is our belief that we will be less happy if we pass up the indulgence. Belief governs cravings.
Let me illustrate.
What enables a 25-year smoker to finally give up smoking? Or what enables someone who has indulged bad eating habits and has been overweight for 30 years to finally change those habits and lose the weight? It isn’t that they finally found the magic program (though some programs may be more effective than others). What happened is that their beliefs finally changed. They went from believing one promise of happiness to believing another. That belief fueled their behavioral change and they went from self-indulgence to self-denial — but a denial for the sake of a better happiness.
Replace the Paltry Promise
The power to change self-indulgent behavior is in believing a different promise for happiness. That’s what Jesus meant in Luke 9:23–25:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
“The power to change self-indulgent behavior is in believing a different promise for happiness.”Tweet
Jesus never requires you to deny yourself happiness. He only requires you to deny pursuing happiness in paltry, idol pleasures in order that you may have a better happiness.
The way we lay aside the weight of self-indulgence is through believing a better promise. The new belief will conquer the old craving.
What promise is that? Ah, that’s part of the race training. You must mine the promise jewels from the Bible yourself (2 Peter 1:4). Self-indulgence takes as many forms as there are people and pleasures. But there is a promise that will help you escape any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and lay aside every sin-weight (Hebrews 12:1).
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Because there is a great Prize awaiting you (Philippians 3:14).

God is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1-11                 August 31, 2014             Link for audio/video/manuscript

Much of what we see and hear about our world today is reflective of violence, pain, suffering and death - and much of what we personally experience even in our own lives is often that of affliction, loss and tragedy. It is at such times we can take heart in that God’s Word tells us that anything and everything that happens in life is all is under the control of and for the sovereign purpose of God. Psalm 46 tells us that in the midst of trouble we can trust in the goodness and greatness and glory of God’s providence because of His protection, His presence and His position. When we are still before God in times of world catastrophe and personal tragedy - He will be exalted among the nations!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blessings Beyond Our Dreams - Jonathan Parnell

We live in the land of dreamers.
You’ve seen this before: The biggest impact, as the spiel goes, comes from the biggest dreams, and therefore, if you want your life to really count, you need to broaden the horizons in your mind. Our deficiencies are mainly in our expectations, not our competencies. Think bigger. Invest your best in what yields the maximum payoff. And then, if really true to form, there will come a string of words like “greatness,” “leadership,” and “influence” — all focused on you and the good you could be doing.
When it’s sincere and given the right qualifications, big-dream messages like this are wonderfully inspiring. We shouldn’t shun the practical wisdom of good old-fashioned industry; we should seek to listen, to learn, to grow. And at the same time, when advice like this is at its worst, and when we are at our most na├»ve, we’ll digest faux-Christian precepts as if they were Scripture and mistake the favor of God to be in all that’s new and flashy. Implicit in it all — if our hearts are dark enough to hear it (and they are) — is not so much an encouragement that we strive to make the world a better place, but that we strive to be rock stars. That’s the Kool-Aid. That’s the dark side.
 And if we’re not careful, we’ll think that God mainly cares about us gaining followers and doing action, that mainly he just doesn’t want you to sell yourself short, or waste your energy on low-impact drivel. We’ll think that God’s real blessing is found in our giftedness, in what we’re able to build and where we’re able to go.
But that’s not true.
Getting to the Great
Undeniably, God wants us to do great things in his name, except it really matters how we define “great,” and what we’re actually looking for in it.
“Great” probably isn’t as glorious as you imagine, and rest assured, you won’t be the more blessed having arrived there. In fact, for those men who want to change the world, what you might need most is a wife who wants you home for dinner.
Somewhere in the stuff like that is where you’ll find God’s blessing.
 Like in an infant whose diaper needs changing, and a toddler who lives for your attention — a toddler, not an audience. The real blessing isn’t found behind shiny platforms, but in the garbage bag that must be taken out, the one that has a little hole in the bottom, that leaks a trail of some unidentified substance from the kitchen to the front door, demanding an extra five minutes of your time to retrace your steps on hands and knees with a paper towel, wiping up the mess, leaving the living room a better place.
 There is God’s favor, there in the mundane, when we’re stuck between two worlds, seated with Jesus in the heavenly places and bent down here cleaning floors. There is where God smiles on his children.
When You Know
The greatest blessings in life aren’t found in being a great leader, or a great communicator, or a great pastor. The greatest blessings are found in being human before the face of God — a human forgiven and righteous in Christ. Didn’t he say that to us? “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
 This kind of blessing is much more quiet than the glitz we think we crave, indeed so quiet that we usually miss it, and we’d only long for it if it were gone. It’s the deep blessing that too easily evades us, the blessing that knows what it feels like to be woken up before sunrise by the sounds of a summer thunderstorm — thunder so loud that it makes you stretch your hand over your heart to feel how fast it’s beating, and then look beside you at a woman more precious than jewels, and then hear, from the doorway of your bedroom, in the froggy voice of a frightened four-year-old, “Daddy, I’m scale’wd.” So you pull back the covers and let him listen to the thunder with you for a while, thinking, as he buries his head in the pillow, here is a soul — a soul! God, make him a great man.
And you know in that moment that the greatness you’re asking for is some semblance of the emotion you feel right then. No one else might get it, but you know. Here, where you never expected it, here is greatness, here is leadership, here is influence.
Then you whisper, praying in this land of dreamers: Bless him like this.
“The greatest blessings are found in being human before the face of God.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hope in the Lord!

Psalm 130:1-8                August 24, 2014                Link for audio/video/manuscript

In Psalm 130 the psalmist confesses his struggle with and against the sinful nature that lies deep within his own heart. After confessing the desperateness of his sin and his need for God, and declaring the amazing grace of God’s forgiveness, and singing praises for the hope God has promised him in the future, the psalmist passionately proclaims the glory of the gospel of God that can be found in promised Savior of the world in Jesus Christ. Psalm 130 does speak of the greatest battle we have in life, but when we “Hope in the Lord” we know that the war is won!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When Grace is in the Pulpit - David Mathis

Few practices will energize and affect your Christian life as much as sitting attentively under faithful preaching.
While corporate worship as a whole may be the single most important means of God’s grace, hearing the fresh preaching of the gospel from the Scriptures is the climactic grace of that gathering. It is that moment among the assembled church when God speaks in monologue most clearly and completely. The other elements of the gathering follow the rhythm of receiving from him and responding back to him, but in preaching we move into the posture of simply receiving, whether it’s a full half hour or just 15–20 minutes.
The weekly priority of preaching in worship points to the importance of our not just interacting with God as friends, but also submitting to his word in the message of his servant, our pastor. Time abounds to ask questions and respond, and seasons multiply to converse and dialogue. But preaching is that one half hour each week when the assembly of the redeemed closes her collective mouth, opens her ears and heart, and hears the uninterrupted voice of her husband, through his appointed mouthpiece, fallible though the messenger be.

The Discipline of Listening

But even when we have another 112 or so waking hours each week to do and discuss and dialogue and debate, it’s still easy to be restless for these thirty minutes. We love equality, and we’re very accustomed to listening on our own terms. We prize conversations; we adore dialogue. And dialogue is essential in disciplemaking. The Great Commission goes forward through great conversations. There are times to interact with our Groom, and times for us to speak at length in prayer and song. But there are also times for us to sit and listen quietly and intently.
When we put ourselves under the preaching of God’s word, it is one of the precious few moments in life today when we close our mouths, and confront the temptation of responding right away, and focus our energy and attention to hearing with faith.

The Pulpit’s Picture of God’s Love

The act of preaching itself is a picture of the gospel. As the preacher stands behind the Book, doing his level best to re-reveal Jesus to his people, our Lord is put on display, not for give-and-take and the mingling of our efforts together in some mutual enterprise. Rather, we sit in the seat of weakness and desperation. What we need is not some boost from a trusted fellow to get us over the wall, but the rescue of the Savior for the utterly helpless.
This is why when God’s own Son took human flesh and dwelt among us, he came preaching. The greatness of God and the gravity of our sin come together to give preaching its essential place. Endless dialogue, without a pause for preaching, betrays both the direness of our situation and the depth of God’s mercy.
And so Jesus was sent not only to die as the remedy, but to preach (Luke 4:43). Jesus himself is the person the Scriptures most often refer to as preaching. And he sent out his disciples to preach (Mark 3:14). Jesus was the consummate preacher, but after his ascension, the preaching doesn’t disappear. When we turn to Acts, it’s as alive and well as ever. The preaching of the Groom extends into the life of the church.

A Preoccupation with Jesus

But Jesus didn’t just display the importance of preaching in his life. He is the focal point of all faithful preaching in the church. Just as our focus together in the whole of corporate worship is the crucified and risen Christ, and the incomparable excellencies of his person and work, so also is the focus of our preaching.
The best of preaching serves the worshiper in the joy of self-forgetfulness, and preacher-forgetfulness. Preaching that goes on and on about the preacher himself, or is always angling at how the hearer should apply this or that to daily life, does so at the expense of tapping into the very power of preaching, namely, a preoccupation with Jesus. True Christian preaching swallows up the listener again and again, not with self or the speaker, but with Jesus and his manifold perfections.
There is a place for the preacher’s self-disclosure and for making the plain connections to practical application, but not at the expense of Jesus and his gospel as the sermon’s crescendo and culmination. The waters of good preaching are always running downhill to the stream of Christ, who he is, and how he has loved us.

Present to His Church

But preaching is not just about Jesus; it is his way of being personally present with his church. Good preaching brings the church into an encounter with her Groom by the Holy Spirit. As Jason Meyer summarizes it, “The ministry of the word in Scripture is stewarding and heralding God’s word in such a way that people encounter God through his word” (21). In faithful Christian preaching, we not only hear about Jesus, but we meet him.
Preaching not only communicates truths about God, but serves the function of “conveying the very presence of God.” It is to be valued not merely for the exegetical insights, but “for its role as a means through which God truly speaks and in which Christ is really present” (Marcus Peter Johnson, One with Christ, 220). While preaching is not technically called an “ordinance” or “sacrament” (like baptism and the Lord’s Supper), it’s power is sacramental. It is a God-appointed means of communicating his grace to the church through the channel of faith, with the chief benefit being an encounter with Jesus himself.

Experience the Joy

The point of preaching, as John Calvin captures it, is “to offer and set forth Christ to us, and in him the treasures of heavenly grace.” In the preaching of God’s word, says Johnson, “God himself speaks and is present to us through his Son in the power of the Spirit to bless and nourish us” (221).
The great goal of preaching, as well as the sacraments and the various other spiritual disciplines, is this: knowing and enjoying Jesus. The greatest incentive for attentive listening as we gather for corporate worship and sit under the preaching of God’s word is that we may know him (Philippians 3:10).
Here we taste eternal life for thirty minutes a week in the highest aim of Christian preaching: that we know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 17:3).

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 145:1-21                    August 10, 2014              Link for audio/video/manuscript

Is it possible to build a temple to honor the one we love the most and forget why we built it? Yes we can build a building and gather together on Sunday morning and become so preoccupied with ourselves and our issues that we forget about God. But Psalm 145 tells us that if ours heart are right with God we will captivated by God and passionately fanatical about praising God – because God is worthy of all praise! When we truly worship God we will share Jesus with others!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Incalculable Wonder of Being a Christian - John Piper

Being a Christian means experiencing the supernatural every day. Living as new creatures in Christ is amazing beyond calculation (Galatians 6:15).
The fact that many believers do not know this, and do not feel as if it were true, does not surprise us, because Paul prayed for believers that we “may know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Evidently he thought the Ephesian believers needed God to teach them the wonders of what they had experienced. He was praying for God to show them who they were. God must show us, by his word, who we are by his work.
It may seem strange, but we have to be taught that we are walking miracles. “You were dead in trespasses and sins. . . . But God made you alive” (Ephesians 2:1,5). You may not feel like a walking resurrection, but you are.

The Acts of Christ

The reason I said that this is amazing beyond calculation is that our life and its affections are not merely gifts of Christ but acts of Christ. That is, our love and joy and peace and strength are not merely gifts from Christ. They are the very love and joy and peace and strength of Christ himself.
Consider joy first. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
Don’t miss this: His joy is in us. We don’t just have new joy as a gift from him. We have new joy because our new joy is Christ rejoicing in us. We are rejoicing withhis joy.
When Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you,” he meant all those instructions in the preceding verses about abiding in Christ like a branch in a vine. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
The sap-joy of the branch is the sap-joy of the vine. They are not different joys. New creatures in Christ no longer experience joy simply with their own joy. We now have Christ’s joy in us, and our enjoying is his enjoying.

Abide in His Love

Similarly we love with his love. In the same passage, Jesus says,
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9–10)
What is the Father’s commandment? Verse 12: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” All the Father’s commandments are summed up in this: Love each other.
So Jesus is saying, “If you love each other, you are abiding in my love.” And what is that — that abiding in his love? It’s the same as abiding in his joyKeep on loving with my love. Welcome my love as your love. To abide in the love of Jesus and of the Father is to keep on enjoying being loved and loving with their love.

His Peace, His Strength

And what about peace? Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
Peace is not a gift that passes from Christ the giver to us the receivers. His peace is ours because he is ours, and the peace he is experiencing we are experiencing. Our experience of peace is his peace in us because he is in us.
Similarly his strength. Paul says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10). Being “in the Lord” is the same as the branch being in the vine. The strength of the Lord is not merely a gift from him to us. When we are strong against the devil and sin, our strength is his strength. He is being strong in us. We are being strong “in the strength of his might.”

Jesus Lives in Us

All this miraculous experience of Christ’s supernatural joy and peace and love and strength is rooted (grafted!) in the reality that the life of Christ in us. That is, the living Christ in us. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3–4).
Christ is our life — not only the guarantee of it in heaven, but the downpayment of it by the Spirit now, as he lives in us. His joy our joy, his love our love, his peace our peace, his strength our strength. These are not gifts moving from him to us. They are his life experienced as our life.
The closest Paul comes to giving us an explanation how this happens hour by hour is Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Profoundly, miraculously, amazingly beyond calculation, “It is no longer I who live.” Rather, Christ is doing my living. Christ is rejoicing. Christ is loving. Christ is being peaceful, and strong. Not I.

Trust Him

And I? What do I do? “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” Faith. That is what I do. Don’t be vague here. Be specific. This means: When I am moved to rejoice, I trust that it is Christ rejoicing. When I am moved to love, I trust that it is Christ loving. When I am moved to peace and strength, I trust that this is Christ’s own peace and strength welling up in me.
So now, as you leave this article, say to the Lord Jesus, “Thank you for saving me. Thank you for making me a new creation. Thank you for becoming my life. Thank you for rejoicing, and loving, and being peaceful and strong in me. I trust you now to shape my emotions more and more after your image, for they are yours. And you are my life.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Lord is Our Keeper

Psalm 121:1-6                   August 3, 2014              Link for audio/video/manuscript

God is our keeper. He will not let our feet be shaken. He will not grow tired or fall asleep. He protects and empowers us. God really is capable of helping us. In fact, God is the only one that really can help us. Everyone and everything else has limitations and will fail us at some point. But God is sovereign over all things. God will keep us when look to Him for His help - that is our hope in Jesus Christ!

Friday, August 1, 2014

What is a Disciple? - Jonathan Parnell

When Jesus speaks we listen.
That makes sense, right? Jesus is the one to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given (Matthew 28:18). Jesus is the one of whom it will be said, forever, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12). He’s the one to whom every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10) — the one by whom all the tribes of the earth will wail (Revelation 1:7), and from whom the fury of God’s wrath will be executed (Revelation 19:15).
Jesus has that kind of supremacy — so what he says matters.
And beyond that, we’ve been united to Jesus by faith (Romans 6:5), made alive in him by grace (Ephesians 2:4–5), counted righteous in him because of his work (Galatians 2:16). Jesus, in all of his supremacy, is also our shepherd — so we know his voice (John 10:27).
Therefore, by virtue of his power and grace, because he is the Sovereign and ourSavior, when he tells his church to make disciples of all nations, we really want to do that.

Toward a Definition

Jesus commissions us to “go” — because of his authority — “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
This raises a fundamental question, though — one that even takes priority over the how-to’s of discipleship. What does it actually mean to be a “disciple” of Jesus? If we are going to make disciples, we need to know what that is.
The standard definition of “disciple” (noun) is someone who adheres to the teachings of another. It is a follower or a learner. It refers to someone who takes up the ways of someone else. Applied to Jesus, a disciple is someone who learns from him to live like him — someone who, because of God’s awakening grace, conforms his or her words and ways to the words and ways of Jesus. Or, you might say, as others have put it in the past, disciples of Jesus are themselves “little Christs” (Acts 26:282 Corinthians 1:21).
The four Gospels give us the definitive portrait of Jesus in his life on earth, and if we really want to know what it means to be his disciple, the Gospels are likely where we start. In particular, John’s Gospel shows us three complementary perspectives on what it means to follow Jesus, each patterned after Jesus himself. Building off of John’s profile, we could say that a disciple of Jesus is aworshiper, a servant, and a witness.

Disciple Means Worshiper

Most fundamentally, to follow Jesus means to worship him exclusively. This is at the heart of Jesus’s ministry on earth. As he told the woman at the well, the Father is seeking true worshipers — not faux worshipers, but true worshipers — those who worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). Which means, as it did in her case, we shouldn’t be so quick to change the subject. If we will follow Jesus, we must worship God — through Jesus, because he is our Mediator (John 14:61 Timothy 2:5), and Jesus himself, because he is God (John 10:3020:28–29).
This is the fundamental perspective of a disciple because it is more ultimate than anything else we are or do, and most distinctive in our context. As far asultimate, worshiping Jesus — gladly reflecting back to him the radiance of his worth — is the greatest act for any creature. As far as context, nothing will irritate our pluralistic society more than being an exclusive worshiper of Jesus. Lots of people are cool with Jesus (at least their notion of him), and even following the “ways” of Jesus, when it leaves out the exclusivity part. Jesus the Moral Teacher, the Nice Guy, the Judge-Not-Lest-You-Be-Judged Motivational Speaker — that Jesus is everybody’s homeboy. But that is not the real Jesus. That’s a manmade figure — a far cry from the portrait Jesus gives of himself.
To follow Jesus, to be his disciple, doesn’t mean community involvement and the veneer of tolerance. It means, mainly, first and central, to worship him — withjoy at the heart. Making disciples of Jesus means gathering his worshipers.

Disciple Means Servant

John shows another picture of the Jesus we’re to worship, and this time he is kneeling before his disciples to wash their feet (John 13:5). I know, it doesn’t sound right, especially when we think of him as the object of our exclusive praise. It didn’t sound right to Peter either, until Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me” (John 13:8). But Jesus is a servant. He came to earth not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as the rescue for sinners (Mark 10:45).
And as a servant, Jesus says of his disciples, to his disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15). In one sense, the posture of servant should characterize Jesus’s disciples on all fronts. But in another sense, being a servant like Jesus has a particular focus on disciples serving disciples. It’s a family thing. “Let us do good to everyone,” Paul said, “and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
This one-another angle is where Jesus takes us in giving “a new commandment,” just after he washed the Twelve’s feet: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:341 John 3:23). In fact, it is this love that disciples have for one another that identifies us as disciples of Jesus to a watching world (John 13:35), and even assures us of saving faith (1 John 3:14).
To be a disciple of Jesus means to serve like him. It means to serve, primarily, by looking at your brothers and sisters and going low in acts of love, even when it’s an inconvenience to yourself, even when it flip-flops the world’s social order and expectations. Making disciples of Jesus means making servants who love one another.

Disciple Means Witness

John gives us another helpful picture of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This time it comes in the commission of Jesus, when he says of his disciples, to his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21;John 17:18). This means that Jesus’s disciples are on a mission. It means, in the broadest sense, that they are missionaries, that they are envisioned and empowered to step into this world (not of it, but sent into it) as his witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Jesus was sent for a purpose — to reveal God and redeem sinners (John 1:1412) — and he set his face like flint to see it accomplished (Luke 9:51Isaiah 50:7). We too, as his disciples, filled by his Spirit, are sent for a purpose — to tell his good news (Romans 10:14–17).
To be a disciple of Jesus means to point people to him. It means to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love so that others would know him and worship him. It means, in other words, that we gladly seek more worshipers-servants-missionaries. Which is to say, a disciple of Jesus makes disciples of Jesus, as Jesus tells us to (Matthew 28:18–20).
And, of course, when Jesus speaks we listen.