"…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" Jude 3.

Study 4 – THE CONVERSION AND THE CALLING OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES

Gleans from Monday Bible Study with Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

DLBC Gbagada HQ

25th February 2019

Study 4 – THE CONVERSION AND THE CALLING OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES

Text – Mark 1:14-20; Matthew 4:17-22; Luke 5:4-11

These verses talk about the call and conversion of the first disciples. When Jesus first saw them they were ordinary sinners, like every other man, at their work, and He called them to Himself. They were called and saved outside the Temple. As you look at the New Testament, you will see a lot of people that were converted outside the temple. So anywhere we go outside the church, we should reach out to sinners and they will be saved in Jesus Name. Another thing we learn is that they were not idle, they were engaged in their secular work before the higher call to greater service of the Kingdom of God and fellowship with Christ. So we learn that when people are coming to the Lord for salvation, we need to make it clear to them that there is a purpose for their salvation; to fellowship with the Lord, with the people of God and to serve the Lord with their talents and skills and all they have now. Matthew amplified the Call – “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matthew 4:17-20). They responded immediately, without delay hearing the Word from the Word Personified, the Lord Jesus Christ. What an example and encouragement for us that as the word of God comes to us, we should respond immediately and without any delay. James and John were also busy at their profession, mending their nets ready for the next day’s work, when Jesus called them. What an example we have from these first disciples, that immediately they heard the call of the Lord, they promptly responded and followed after Him. The Gospel of Luke gives more detailed information missing in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. That was why that these three Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke, are called the Synoptic Gospels, so that as you read all the various stories in the Gospels, you will have a clearer picture of the story of the Lord Jesus Christ and any particular event in the Bible. “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5b). You can see the response and the attitude of these first disciples here even from the very beginning of their call. You will see their confidence in Christ as the Lord and Master. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). You will see that all these details were missing in Matthew and Mark; and everything is true. That is why to get the complete story, you should read all the passages relevant to that event all together in the Synoptic Gospels. Peter realized his sinfulness, knowing the great catch was not by merit but by the mercies and the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why were they called the first disciples? Wherever the names of Christ’s disciples were mentioned, these four, Simon Peter, James, John and Andrew were mentioned before the other eight.

3 points:

Point 1.  THE CALL BY CHRIST THE SAVIOUR

Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 9:35-36; Luke 4:42-44; 8:1

Jesus Christ came as Saviour; to call people out of their sins into repentance; out of their unworthiness and into the Kingdom. “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14). What preceded their call was the preaching by Christ. Christ talked about God, His Power and sovereignty and that He is in charge of a Kingdom, and when you come into that Kingdom through repentance, life becomes different. He preached the good news of grace, power and open door into that Kingdom of God for any to come in. This is what we should do when we are preaching about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of power, truth, light and that the door is open for anyone to come. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). He never changed the message, it was always about the Kingdom, the power, authority and rulership of God in His Kingdom; the gospel of grace, righteousness and truth, and he met the need of the people. “And he said unto them, I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43). “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him” (Luke 8:1). The people wanted him to stay with them in one location, but see the attitude, priority, focus, and the passion of Christ Jesus to fulfil the purpose for which He came. He went literally everywhere to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, everyone must hear, know and understand that the Kingdom of God has open door for everyone. As He thus preached the people came under the rulership of God as they were converted.

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). As He preached about the Kingdom, He wanted them to enter and showed them how.

(1)      Repent ye – turn around – Luke 5:32; 13:3,5; Ezekiel 18:30-33; Luke 24:45-48; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9. He came to call sinners to repentance. The way into the Kingdom is through the gateway of repentance. To repent implies turning away from all your transgressions and iniquities, away from the wrong direction. “….Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions” (Ezekiel 18:30b). And then there is a new heart, spirit, life and you begin to walk in way of righteousness. That word of repentance is so clear both in the Old and New Testaments and this is what we are to emphasis in all the nations of the world; the gospel of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls. “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). This is the very central part of the gospel, glad tidings of the Kingdom, which we preach as ministers and Christians. This repentance is for everyone who will be partaker and possessor of the salvation, promises and provisions of the Kingdom. This is why Christ has given us the mandate to go and tell every man to repent (Acts 17:30). The Lord wants everyone into the Kingdom, and thank God you will come in, and if you are already in, may He take you to higher ground (2 Peter 3:9).

(2)      Believe the Gospel – Acts 20:20,21; 11:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10. Repent and believe the glad tidings; both go together. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). You must believe the gospel. As you turn away from sin, then you must turn to the Saviour; you turn away from darkness and turn to the Light. You cannot just hop into the Kingdom with one leg, the two legs of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are necessary to come into the Kingdom. There is a turning and believing.

You will see that before Christ came specifically to Peter, James, John and Andrew, He spread wide the net to everyone, calling them to repentance by preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, announcing the coming of the Kingdom and giving the conditions to enter – repent and believe.

Point 2.  THEIR CONVERSION TO CHRIST FROM SIN

Mark 1:16-20

They were in darkness, He called them from sin into the Light; they were ignorant, He brought them into knowledge; they were going the way of perdition, He brought them to the way of heaven. They were converted, born again and their lives were changed because of the grace of God that came to them.  “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers” (Mark 1:16). What we read in verses 14 and 15 of Mark chapter 1 was like the general preaching of the gospel, but what we are coming to now is personalizing and targeting individuals directly and inviting them into the Kingdom. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). This is another way of telling them to repent, to forsake and leave their past behind them and start in a new direction; to turn from their weakness into His strength, from darkness into His Light, from the habits you have been used since you were born and I will convert, train and teach you and your life will be different. “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him” (Mark 1:18). They followed him because they believed in Him. “And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him” (Mark 1:20). If you are going to follow Christ, you must leave something behind; what has been part of your life, what you have been used to, things that will hinder your calling, things you cannot match with your new calling and life, you must leave them behind to follow the Lord. Three things to note:

(1)      The Call – ‘Come ye after Me’ – Mark 1:17; Matthew 16:24-26; John 8:11-12; 10:27

He called them, and they had to deny themselves of what they loved to do, their profession which was fishing, to follow the Lord and start a new life. Now when the Lord calls, you have to forsake all those things and walk in this new direction with the Lord. This should happen to everyone who has tasted of the grace of God, repented of their sins and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. There might be activities that you have enjoyed in the past like night clubbing, and now He calls you, you have to deny yourself of them. You cannot take past things you like to do and what the flesh is used to and Christ together. You deny yourself of them or you lose life eternal (Mathew 16:24-26). When He called the disciples, He was calling them out of sin. “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Sin was her career, lifestyle, daily pleasure, a part of you; but now, go and sin no more: you must part with that sin if you are going to follow the Lord. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). They were not goats and wild animals anymore but sheep, their heart, nature, condition and direction of life were changed.

(2)      The Confession – Luke 5:8; Job 31:33; Proverbs 28:13

“Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8b). Some people don’t come that far with the Lord. They cover and hide their sins while others give excuses for your sins, or laying the blame on other people. See the result of that, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Peter exposed himself and confessed that he was a sinful man not worthy to be with Christ, and Jesus had mercy and forgave him. You will receive mercy too. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It is not the sins of others, society or the nation that we should confess but your own personal sins before the Lord to obtain His mercy and forgiveness.

(3)      The Conversion – Luke 5:10; Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19,26; James 5:19-20

You will see the call, confession and conversion taking place in the life of an individual that is born again. You may not find the same words at the same time in the single passage, but these will definitely happen in one way or the other in an individual’s life when he repents and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. He is called, he responds by confessing his sins and then there will be the conversion. Nobody can follow Christ without conversion. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). If any man will enter into the Kingdom, it is through conversion. Peter from his conversion experience said same to sinners in Acts 3:19. At conversion, all the sins ever committed, small or big, common or uncommon, habitual or occasional, are blotted away from the God’s records, your own records, heart and life. The Kingdom of God is a time of renewal and refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and all the weariness and confusion of the past are gone.

We are talking about Peter, Andrew, James and John who all understood and experienced conversion. Hear James, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him” (James 5:19). If somebody has gone away from the truth and righteousness, and gone into error, darkness and iniquity, departed from the Lord, and one converts him that is, brings him to repentance, forgiveness and freedom from sin, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, having salvation and a new life, that is conversion. That soul is saved from eternal death and all their sins since they were born are taken away.

So if you are not in the Kingdom yet, it is very simple. The first step – Repent, turn away from your sins, darkness, and past and now have faith in Christ and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour, Then salvation, conversion and grace of God will be yours in Jesus Name.

Point 3. THEIR CONSECRATION IN CHRIST WITH STEADFASTNESS

Mark 1:17-20

You have to be in Christ through conversion, salvation and identification with the Lord before you talk about Consecration. “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him” (Mark 1:18). Those disciples did something, so you have to do something as well to follow the Lord. Christ died on the Cross at Calvary, He wants to save you, give you eternal life, a place in the Kingdom of God, but you have to do something like these disciples did. “And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him” (Mark 1:20). They left somebody – their father and forsook their net; they left something and went after Him. You have to leave something. There are three things here –

(1)      They forsook all – Mark 10:28-30; Luke 14:33; Philippians 3:7-8; Hebrews 11:27

Anything that will hinder the Kingdom participant, progress, pleasure and the call that the Lord has given you; you have to forsake. For you it may not be a net or tool. It could be a business partnership, shady deals, sin-partner, worldly occupation, pleasure, places or relationship. Everyone has to leave something to follow the Lord. Anything that will contradict or is not compatible with the call of God upon your life, you have to leave behind. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). All that will cancel the call of God upon your life, contradict holiness, make you remember those things of the past and contradict your walk with God you must forsake. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7). Understand that Paul had a religion in the past as a Pharisee, but since the Lord called him, anything that would impede his progress with Christ and slow him down, he forsook. There are things that are peculiar to you and you have to give them up so that you can make progress in the Kingdom. You will make progress in Jesus Name. “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). You cannot be in Egypt and Canaan at the same time. The Lord called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan land. By faith he forsook Egypt with all the prospects there for him for staying would contradict his calling. What’s your calling? God calls us to eternal life and to bring people out of sin into the Kingdom of God. What can hinder you? Forsake them.

(2)      They followed Him – Mark 1:18; John 10:4,5; 1 Peter 2:21; revelations 14:4

What was the implication of them following the Lord? They forsook all, but that was not the end of that. {There are people that would forsake anything that serves as a hinderance to their career progress, family prosperity and business growth.} Follow the Shepherd. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4). You must follow the Shepherd if you have taken Him as your Lord and Saviour. You will not follow false doctrine, traditions, strange worship, fire and doctrine, with Christ at the same time. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Christ is not presently physically on earth, but His story, direction, character, attitude and lifestyle have been recorded in the Bible, and we are to follow the examples He has laid down. Before you do anything ask yourself what Jesus will do or say in that situation. I pray you will follow the Lord’s steps. “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth….. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelations 14:4). Christ went everywhere doing good. Follow His steps and no guile, deception will be found in your mouth.

(3)      They fed on His word – John 6:67-69; 17:8,14; Colossians 3:16-17

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69). So you forsake all, anything that will hinder your progress in the Kingdom and you follow Him, walking in His footsteps, anything He will do that is what you will do, and lastly, you will feed on His word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). Christ’s words are still with us, they were written down; words that bring salvation, lead to sanctification, power in the Holy Ghost, on marriage, evangelism, on the Rapture; words that will encourage us and enable us to live a clean life. Let your word and life give glory and praise unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17). “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Those words of Christ shall not pass away.

What are we to do with the words of Christ today? Hear the Call of Christ, the Saviour and let there be a clear evidence of your conversion. All the things that are hindering your progress you forsake to follow the Lord. Stay in the Kingdom and bring others in. Feed on His word and you will be strong, and He will give you the heavenly manna on the last day. May God’s Word have its effect in our life.

Ponder on this! When people are coming to the Lord for salvation, we need to make it clear to them that there is a purpose for their salvation; to fellowship with the Lord, with the people of God and to serve the Lord with their talents and skills and all they have now. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi. 

Ponder on this! When you are converted, all the sins you ever committed, small or big, common or uncommon, habitual or occasional sins are blotted away from God’s records, your own records, heart and life. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Hard Sayings – If you are going to follow Christ, you must leave something behind. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Reflection – Anything that will hinder the Kingdom participation, progress, pleasure and the call that the Lord has given you, you have to forsake. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

Words on the Marble – If you repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are converted.  Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.

 

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