Sermon delivered February 6, 1999

by Dr. Philip G. Samaan, Southern Adventist University

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Like Master Like Disciple

There's something I got from a friend, it's a prayer, that goes this way: Tell us about our needs for Jesus, and how to follow His example from day to day. It says: "So far today, God, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, and I haven't lost my temper, I haven't been greedy or grumpy. I haven't been nasty or self-centered. Lord, I'm really pleased with myself. I'm glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed and then I'm going to need a lot of help. Thank you." And indeed, we all need a lot of help from the Lord. Not only the minute we get out of bed, but in the real world. When we go to work Monday morning. Not just right now, but in the real world where the rubber meets the road, we need the Lord. People, today, need the Lord.

Our text for this sermon is found in Luke 6:40. These are the words of Jesus. I love the words of Jesus. I love the words of the Bible. They give us life. They energize our lives. In my Bible these words are red, indicating the words of Jesus. You know, in research as you ask students to do research, and you look at their footnotes to see what authorities they have cited. In this situation here, the authority is Jesus. This is a reference: Jesus, the words of Jesus. He knows what He's talking about. And in this verse He's telling us how much we need Him, how much we need the Lord, teaching us how to become like Him, in being alive spiritually, in making an impact on people's lives as we reach out to them from day to day.

Here are the words of Christ, Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will become like his teacher. Jesus is basically making three main points in this verse.

  1. He's establishing the wonderful reality that He is the leader to be followed. Students follow the teacher. They learn from the teacher. Parents guide their children. Sometimes in this society, unfortunately, we have a reversal of roles. Sometimes kids act like their parents, and their parents act like kids. This text tells us that Jesus is the teacher. He's the expert. He acts like a teacher. And we as students act like students by coming to Him, willing to learn. Submitting ourselves to Him. Opening our hearts to Him so we may receive willingly the instructions. Only by beholding Him, He says, will we become changed in His image.

    This first point we establish the fact that Jesus is the leader. He is the expert. He is the trainer of all of us.

  2. Everyone, anyone, who is fully trained by Him. My friends, the great blessing we have is each one of us, if he or she, is submissive to Christ, is qualified to enter the school of Christ. And the school of Christ is much, much better than Harvard, than Yale, than even Southern Adventist University. Now, for these schools, you really have to prove that you're qualified to be accepted. But with Jesus, our greatest qualification is not a high Grade Point Average. It's not a great work of research. Our greatest recommendation, a qualification, to be accepted by Jesus as His students is simply sense our need for Him, and open our hearts to Him, and say, "Lord, I'm submissive to you. Please train me. I really want to be a trainee. I don't want to go ahead of you. I don't want to be above you. I want you to be above all. I want you to be in charge. I want you to train me. And I'm simply the trainee." A disciple is not above his teacher. The teacher is the leader. Jesus is the expert. Aren't you glad that Jesus knows what He's doing? He knows what he's doing and in this confusing world. Jesus know what He's doing, and we feel safe and confident to follow Him. We don't feel this confidence to follow human leaders. That's what He says in the previous verse. Very interesting to look at the verse before verse forty: verse 39 and this really clinches the point, and this really helps us appreciate the value of having the right leader. Of having the expert teacher. Of having the One Who knows what he's doing. I'm so glad in this world Somebody know what He's doing because so many people today are still floundering. They don't know what they're doing. Some of them think they do. How much we need Jesus to guide us, to lead us.

    It says in verse thirty-nine: And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?" Of course. There's so much blindness in this world. There are people who are blind and don't know it. But Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the light of the universe. There is no darkness in Him at all. And He know what He is doing. He knows where he's going. He knows the way because He's the Way and the Truth and the Light. My friends, we'll never fall in the ditch when we follow Him. And that's why verse forty makes so much sense as after He paints a picture of darkness, of blindness, of falling into ditches on either side of the road. He says, "Now I am the teacher. I want to train you. I want to fully train you gradually. Work with me. Open your heart to me. Be a trainee. You could qualify simply by opening your heart to Me."

  3. As a result of Jesus' training we become like Him. Let's read it again and see as we read it these three points Jesus was to convey to us in these words. A disciple is not above his teacher, In other words, Jesus is above all, He's the leader, He's the Trainer. Number 2. Everyone, anyone, you and I who open our hearts to Him become the trainees and He will fully train us. As a result of that... The result of what? These two components of cooperation between Jesus and us, between the divine and the human... this is the cooperation: He's the trainer. He's more than anxious to work with us and train us. We are trainees who open ourselves to Him. What happens with this combination is dynamic. This combination is dynamite. There is no limit to usefulness to one who put self aside, unites himself with the power of God. What the result? We will be like the teacher.

I tell you my friends, and I know you agree with me, that the greatest spiritual product we can have in McDonald Church, the greatest spiritual accomplishment is to help people by the grace of God to become like Jesus. Can you think of a greater goal? Can you think of a greater purpose while we exist in this world but to become like Jesus and to help other people to become like Jesus? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will become like his teacher.

A boy wanted to spend some time with his father, when his father came home from work. His father was tired and stretched out, and for relaxation his father watched the news on television and read the newspaper. It was all news about crime and wars. That's certainly one way people use to relax. This boy wanted to spend some time with him. But the father was giving him different projects to keep him occupied. He finish those projects and came to his father because he wanted to spend some time with his father. Finally his father knew his son took a long time putting jigsaw puzzles together. So he took a map of the world and he cut this map into pieces like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and he mixed them together. And not knowing that his boy knew about this map, but knew in the back of this map there is the beautiful face of Jesus. The boy was familiar with that face. He was familiar with the colors, with the lines. And so as his father gave him the pieces of the world, he said, "Son, put the broken pieces of the world together." It was a formidable for the little boy and the father thought now he could relax for an hour or two by himself. Well, his son took these pieces and instead of being preoccupied with the broken pieces of the world, beheld the face of Jesus. And he looked at the pieces that compose the face of Jesus and he put the pieces of the face of Jesus together, and glued it together. Then he went to his father and said, "Father, there it is." The father said, "How could you have done this in such a short time? How could you have put the pieces of the broken map together so soon?" "Daddy, I didn't look at the broken world. I looked at the face of Jesus. When I put the face of Jesus together the world came together."

What I am saying to you here as we focus this Sabbath on following the model of Jesus is when we focus on Jesus and follow His example the broken pieces of our lives are put together. Please, let's not focus on the brokenness we have but let's focus on the face of Jesus. When we focus on the face of Jesus then the brokenness takes care of itself because Jesus is there, and Jesus is center. This statement is a powerful statement.

From the book Education by EG White, page 297 which says, "When once the gaze is fixed upon Jesus, life finds its center." Does your life have a center at this moment? Does my life have a center? Do our lives have a focal point where we can see our lives integrated around this focal point, around this center. What is our center? What is our focal point today? Even at this moment the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. Is it Jesus? My friends, only Jesus, only the face of Jesus can put the broken pieces together. Nothing else, nobody else can do that. If you think anything else, anybody else can do that, please give up right now. I doesn't work. Only the face of Jesus works as far as putting our lives together.

The late Frank Sinatra was known for a song, I Did it My Way. That seems to describe our culture as a people. Independence, we're self- sufficient. We want to do things our own way. And that also is a reason why this nation is so great. Because we take initiative. We work hard. We're creative. And this is wonderful. When it come to the spiritual realm we need to do it Christ's way. We need to give up doing it our way and do it Christ's way. That's why Ellen White (EG White) says in the book, Ministry of Healing page 143, "Christ's method (Christ's way) alone will give true success in reaching people."

There's another song I learned when I first came to this country years ago. It goes... "Oh what a wonderful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I've got this wonderful feeling. Everything's going my way." Sometimes we find happiness by things going our way. My friends, I submit to you that real joy that come from an inner being results from things going Christ's way. So I invite you to follow Christ who's the Way and the Truth and the Life. Let's do it Christ's way! Let's go it Christ's way. Because real fulfillment, real joy come from submitting our selves to the training of Jesus and then becoming like Jesus. He knows the way. He is the way. He knows what he is doing.

I'd like you to look up one more text. That is found in Acts 4:13. This is the fulfillment of the prediction of Jesus in Luke 6:40. He said, "if you submit yourselves to me, if you allow Me to fully train you, you will become like Me." Let's find out if the disciples actually became like Jesus. Acts 4:13 gives us the answer. There it says that the Jewish leaders as they looked upon John and Peter ministering, reaching out to people, making an impact on people around them, they took notice of them, they recognized them for something. My friends. let me ask you a question. Are you recognized for something? What are you recognized for? What am I recognized for? When people hear my name. What do they think of when the hear the name, "Adventist," what do they think of? What do people recognize you for? Let me ask in a different way. What would you like to be recognized for?

People today are craving recognition. Some would do anything to be recognized. Do you know that? We have this innate need to be recognized, but my friends, there is something that can happen to us as we submit ourselves to Christ, as we sit at His feet, that will take care to this craving for recognition. Why? Because when we experience that the King of the universe, Jesus Christ, recognizes us we need no other recognition. There is peace, there is contentment in the heart because when Jesus recognizes us, what more recognition do we need? And here we have these Jewish leaders recognizing Peter and John for something special. It says that they took notice of them, they recognized them as having been with Jesus.

My friends, if we are recognized as having been with Jesus, we must be like Jesus. They did not arrive yet. They're still growing. Because we'll always grow to be more and more like Jesus. But obviously, it was working in their lives and people recognized them as having been with Jesus. I tell you, the greatest recognition we can have, the greatest recognition this church can have is to be recognized as having been with Jesus.

Another word I'd like to share with you is the word, "Position." Not only recognition, but position. Also, as human beings, we crave high position. We want people to recognize that as important. But the highest position we can reach is sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning from Jesus. In the biblical culture, sitting at the feet of a teacher, meaning, "you are submissive." You want to be teachable. It's just the opposite of being so willing to stand up on our feet and speak than to sit down and listen. When Jesus speaks, when Jesus teaches we listen. When Jesus comes to share with us His expertise, we allow this wisdom and knowledge to infiltrate our life.

There's a statement in the book Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings EG White, I'd just like to summarize quickly: We were told that human nature is always restless. Our nature is ready to express itself always. But when we submit ourselves to Christ, the statement says, there is silence in the soul, there is peace in the soul. We're not anxious anymore to reach the highest place. We're not anxious any more to elbow ourselves and to notice why, because sitting at the feet of Jesus we find our highest position. So again, what's our highest position we can reach? Sitting at the feet of Jesus. My friends, if you have the need or the craving to have a high position, right now, this very second, if we open ourselves to Christ, if we sit at His feet to learn from Him we have already reached the highest position.

And if we want recognition in this world, the greatest recognition we can have is to be recognized as having been with Jesus because we are like Jesus.

One way to be recognized as having been with Jesus is to diffuse the sweet fragrance of the gospel. When we spend time with Jesus, learning from Jesus, sitting at His feet, then His fragrance is diffused into us.

A story is told, in conclusion, that a little girl wanted to give her mother a little gift to please her because when loved her. My friends, witnessing, reaching out to people, must always bring forth our love and devotions to Jesus. So, this little girl wanted to express her love and devotion to her mother. As she was searching for the right gift she thought of giving her mother a flower. So as she walked the fields, she found a beautiful dainty little wild rose. She picked the wild rose. She held it tight in her little hand. She ran to her mother. With excitement she opened her hand to give her mother this beautiful rose. Then she noticed that the rose was crushed. "Mommy, I'm sorry! The rose is broken." But her mother said, "Sweetheart, it's beautiful. It's wonderful. Give me that rose because roses smell much better when they're broken."

My friend, let your heart be broken in reaching out to others. Let our hearts be broken like a broken rose, and being humble to sit at the feet of Jesus and say, "Lord Jesus. Forgive me. Finally I'm realizing I'm sitting at your feet in the highest position I can reach. And Lord Jesus, help me to be broken and to know that I don't need any more. To crave recognition in this world because being recognized by you, being recognized by others as having been with you is the greatest recognition."

My friends, another rose. The Rose of Sharon was broken on the cross of Calvary. And because of that the sweet fragrance of the good news filled the whole world. The Lord Jesus wants us to join Him. He wants us to learn more about His ways, how to diffuse His fragrance. He wants us to join Him, learn His ways, learn His message, and He invites us to take up little wild roses and allow them to be broken as the Rose of Sharon was broken and so that our lives can be fragrant by His fragrance. And then we can diffuse that fragrance in our lives and our hopes. We will work the church so everyone would smell the sweet fragrance of the Rose of Sharon and give glory to God.

As the apostle, Paul, said that in II Corinthians 2:14 and 15, becomes a reality but thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in this triumphal procession with Jesus our victorious general. And through us he diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge everywhere, so we are the aroma of Christ. May the aroma of the broken Rose of Sharon diffuse your life, and may His fragrance fill your life and my life so that people who see us talk to us, rub shoulder with us, recognize us as indeed having been with Jesus.

Opening Hymn: 12  Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Scripture: Luke 4:40
Closing Hymn: 492  Like Jesus

Transcribed from an audio tape for the second service for February 6, 1999

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