We have studied the twelve Apostles. We have also studied Matthias, James and Paul. What was it that made these men special? What was it that made these men different? What was it that made these men succeed?
What about you? Is it possible for you to be like these men we have studied? Can you be
a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? Even today the Lord Jesus calls out to men and women,
boys and girls with the words, "FOLLOW ME!" (compare Luke 5:27). Have you decided
to do this? What does it mean to follow Christ?
The men whom we have studied in these pages were ordinary people just like you. They did not possess special and unusual powers. They were not born into noble or wealthy families. They were not highly educated. They were just common people, and yet these men became great in God's sight and great in the sight of men.
Here is an example of the greatness of these men. In Luke 3:1 we are told the name of the Roman emperor who ruled the world during the days when the Lord Jesus Christ walked this earth. His name is T_______________________ Caesar (Luke 3:1). This man ruled the Roman empire for more than 20 years. He was probably the most powerful man on earth for all these years.
How much do you know about Tiberias? Do you know what he did and what he said? Do you know anything about his life; do you know anything about his death? How much do you know about Peter and Paul? Do you know more about these two men than you know about the emperor Tiberias? Even people who are not Christians usually know certain things about Peter and Paul, but they probably know very little about Tiberias. Do you know boys or men who are named Peter or Paul or John or Thomas or James (Jim)? How many people do you know with the name Tiberias?
There was a special kind of greatness that the disciples had. They were common and ordinary men, but God made them great. What was their secret? What made these men so very special and different?
Read Acts 4:13. Peter and John were in the presence of their enemies. They had been arrested for preaching the gospel (see verses 2-3). The Jewish leaders who had arrested them knew that Peter and John were "unlearned and ____________________ men" (Acts 4:13). This means that Peter and John were just common, ordinary men. They had never been educated in the great schools of that day, but even their enemies knew that there was something very special about Peter and John. These men had "been with ______________" (see the end of Acts 4:13)! Jesus made the difference. Jesus made these two men very special. If you take two ordinary men (Peter and John) and put them with Jesus, then you end up with two very extraordinary men!
Did you know that the Lord Jesus can make the difference in your life too? You may not be a very special person. You may not have great abilities. You may not be the most intelligent person in your class at school. You may be a very ordinary person, but there is a very special and extraordinary Saviour who wants to make a difference in your life.
Are you letting the Lord do a work in your life? When God looks for people through whom He can do a great work, He is not looking for your ability. The ability belongs to God, not man. God is looking for your availability. God is looking for the person who is usable. He wants you to be accessible so that He can have access to you and do a work in your life and in your heart. The man who is available says, "Lord, here I am. I love You and I want to serve You, and I want to do whatever You want me to do. I cannot do it on my own, but with Your help and power, I can be a Your useful servant."
Think of a surgeon's glove. Does the glove have the ability to perform the operation by itself? _____ Is the surgeon able to use a glove and work through a glove if the glove is available to him? ___________ Do you think the surgeon would want to use a glove that is all dirty? _____ Does the Saviour want His disciples to keep themselves clean so that He can use them (John 13:8)? ____
When God looks for men, He does not look for those who are wealthy and powerful and special and well educated. These are not the things that God is most concerned about. When God looks for men, He looks for those who are available. When the Lord Jesus chose His disciples, He selected several fishermen, one tax collector, and one zealot! These were just common, ordinary men who made themselves available to a very wonderful and extraordinary Saviour!
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26. God does not call many __________________ men or many
_________________ men or many ____________________________ men. He calls very
men: "But God hath _____________________ the ______________ things of the world
Peter and John and Matthew] to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the
__________________ things of the world to confound the things which are
___________________ (1 Cor. 1:27). It is not man's wisdom and might that count. God can
take foolish and weak men and make them very wise and powerful! And, who gets all the glory
for doing this (1 Cor. 1:28-31)? ____________
Anything that is worth something usually costs something. That which costs very little is usually worth very little. You can buy a ring for your finger by putting coins in the "gum machines" at a supermarket, or you can buy a ring at a good jewelry store. Which ring is more valuable? Which ring would you rather have? Which ring costs more?
The saying, "You get what you pay for!" is usually true. If you buy a bicycle for only $25.00, this will probably not be a very good bicycle. It will certainly not be brand new! Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus costs something, and it is worth a great deal. It is worth paying a price for.
Think of the twelve disciples that we have studied in this set of notes. These men paid a price. They left their families; they left their occupations; they left their possessions; and they followed Christ. Many of these men even paid the price of martyrdom. As Peter once said, "Lo, we have ___________ ______ and have ___________________ thee" (Mark 10:28).
Was following Christ worth leaving all things? Peter and the other disciples paid a price, but did they end up losers or gainers (see Matthew 10:39)? _____________________ Remember, anything valuable costs something. Those who give nothing usually gain nothing. Those who give a large amount usually gain much.
Consider carefully the words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:29-30. Did Jesus promise the disciples that they would receive or gain anything? ______ What would they gain now, in this life? What would they gain in the future, in the life to come?
Think about being a believer today. Does it cost anything to be a faithful believer
today? Are there some things that a believer should "leave" or give up? Is
worth the gain? What are some things that a believer gains in this life? Why is it worth being a
believer in this life? What do believers have in this life that unsaved people do not
have? Why is it worth being a believer in the next life? What will believers have in the
next life that unsaved people will not have?
The disciples whom we have studied were not men of great wealth. They did not hang on to earthly possessions. Several of them left their fishing business so that they could follow the Lord. Later Peter did not even have enough money to pay his taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). Paul had to make tents to help support himself (Acts 18:3). According to Acts 3:6, did Peter have much money? ______
Paul once gave this amazing description of the followers of Christ : "as ____________, yet making many__________ " (2 Cor. 6:10). These men were poor, but they were able to make many people rich. How can this be? How can a poor person make other people rich? What did these disciples have and what were they able to share with others that was more valuable than anything money could ever buy (Romans 6:23) ___________________________________________________________________
Notice the second thing we learn in 2 Corinthians 6:10, Disciples are described as "as having ____________________, and yet _____________________ all things." How can this be? How can a person have nothing and yet possess everything? How can a person's hands be empty and yet full? The answer is very simple. As far as material possessions were concerned, the disciples were not rich, but they had everything that they needed. God met their every need (see Matthew 6:28-33), but as far as their spiritual possessions (eternal possessions) were concerned, they were spiritual billionaires! They possessed "______ spiritual blessings" (Eph. 1:3). What are some of the things which believers have which the unsaved people do not have and which money can never buy? (Some of these things are listed in Ephesians chapter one)
When a person dies, how much money can he take with him? How many possessions? How many houses or boats or cars or swimming pools or television sets? When a believer dies, is there anything that will remain in his possessions even into the next life? Is there a big difference between temporal possessions (those things that only last a lifetime) and eternal possessions (those things that last forever)?
A true disciple must forsake and say goodbye to all that he has and all
that he possesses (Luke 14:33). His farewell does not mean that he must give away all his
possessions and all his money and all his clothes. It does mean though, that the believer
should be able to say, "I do not have any possessions. All that I have belongs
to the Lord Jesus Christ. I belong to Him, and all that I have belongs to Him (1 Cor.
6:19-20); therefore, I want to be very careful how I use my possessions and my money because
all that I have
really belongs to Him!" Can you say this? If Christ does not have your possessions, it
is probably because He does not have
Suppose someone had come up to Peter or John or Paul and said, "Who is the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON to you?" What answer do you think these men would have given? Would they have said, "My wife" or "My brother'' or "My Dad" or ''My Mom" or "my best friend"? No, everyone of these men would have answered in the same way: The most important person to me is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Carefully read Matthew 10:37. Is the Lord saying that it is wrong to love your father and your mother? _____ He is saying that it is wrong to love anyone ___________ than Him! He must come first! He must have our first and greatest devotion. Have you ever heard of a V.I.P.? This means VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. The Lord Jesus is not a V.I.P. He is much more than that. He should be called the M.I.P. THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON. Is He your most important Person?
If the Lord has first place in our hearts, then we will be able to reach out and love
other people as we really should. The Lord will help us to be the son or daughter, brother
or sister, friend that we should be our loved ones.
According to John 15:18-20, what did the Lord teach His disciples to expect from the world? ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________
Being a disciple means being God's man in the devil's world. The unsaved world does not appreciate those people who really follow the Lord and serve Him. Think about the disciples whom we studied in these chapters. All of them were persecuted, and most of them were martyred for their faith in Christ. They were not popular with the world. Instead they were hated and persecuted, just as Christ had predicted.
In 1 Corinthians 4:13 Paul described how the world thinks of true believers: "We are made as the ______________________ of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." His meaning is, "The world considers us as the worst kind of people. They think of us like the scum or garbage or rubbish of humanity. People like to get rid of trash because it is filthy and of no use, and this is how the world thinks of us!"
These brave and courageous disciples were hated by the world but loved by Christ. What
about you? What is more important to you--what the world thinks of you or what the
Lord thinks of you? Do you want to be a part of Satan's world system, or Christ's glorious
kingdom? Do you want the world's applause, or do you want the Lord's applause? Do you want
to follow the Saviour down the straight path of blessedness, or do you want to follow the
world down the crooked path which leads to misery and destruction? The choice is yours.
To be a true disciple, a person must "continue in My ___________" (John 8:31).
So said the Lord Jesus. The word "disciple" means "student, pupil."
Are you a student of Christ? Is He your Teacher? Is the Bible your textbook? Do you carry
your Bible to church with you? Why? Why not? Do you open your Bible during the week? When?
Why? What does the Book of Books mean to you? Has the Lord taught you anything from His
Word this past week?
Jesus once said, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do ________ the things which I say" (Luke 6:46). A person who says that he is following the Lord but who does not obey the Lord is only fooling himself. How can a disciple show his love for the Lord (John 14:15,21,23)? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
It is one thing to say that you believe or that you are a disciple. It is quite another
thing to show that you believe by your obedience. Obedience is faith in action! It is a
wonderful thing to obey the Lord. Are you enjoying the blessings of obedience? How can you
obey the Lord at home? At school? In church? In the neighborhood?
If any one desires to come after Christ and follow Him, then he must _________ himself (Luke 9:23). This means he must say "NO" to self, and he must say "YES" to Christ. He must say, "Not what I want but only what my Saviour wants!" The surgeon cannot use the glove that is hanging onto the door knob and refusing to let the surgeon get his hand in. Of course, gloves do not really resist like this, but people do. He can only use the glove that says, "Surgeon, fill me and use me. I'll do whatever you want me to do."
Have you ever seen a wild horse that is bucking wildly and insisting on having its own
way? Such a horse must be broken and tamed so that it is controlled by its master. The
wild horse is not usable; it does not have a working relationship with its
master. It must be broken and brought to the place where it yields to its master and
begins to enjoy a working relationship with him. The horse can then enjoy all of the
benefits that come from such a relationship (such as daily care, food, shelter). In
the same way we must yield to the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and be usable to Him. The
believer's will must be broken so that he is able to say "Not I, but
Christ" (see Galatians 2:20). Having this kind of relationship with the Lord, the
believer can then enjoy all the blessings and benefits of the love and care of God.
All the men whom we studied in this set of notes have one thing in common. They all had a message of good news and went forth preaching the gospel of Christ.
Do you have a message of good news to share with others? What is this message? Why is it good news? Do people whom you know need to hear this message? Why? Can God use an ordinary, common person like you to share this good news with others? How can He use you? When can He use you?
As one person has said, "I'm just a NOBODY telling ANYBODY about SOMEBODY who can save ANYBODY!"
The first disciples of the Lord loved this good news, and nothing could stop them from preaching it and sharing it with others. Many of them died because of their love for the gospel message and their refusal to keep silent.
The world has little good news to talk about. The news media report a lot of bad news but little good news. God has wonderful good news for this world (John 3:16). Have you believed this good news? Will you join the others who are proclaiming this good news. Remember, God is not looking for your ability. What is He looking for? __________________________________________