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by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 6, 2019

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect [mature, complete] shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40; p. 1081 Scofield).

Jesus had twelve Disciples. The Disciples were young men who followed Jesus. One of them, Judas, betrayed Christ for money and then hanged himself. The other eleven became mighty servants of their Lord.

What is a disciple? The Greek word translated “disciple” is mathētēs. Webster’s Dictionary says that a disciple is “One who receives instruction from another; a scholar; a learner.” When you hear that, you think of a student in a school sitting down while his teacher speaks. We’ve all been to school and done that.

But a disciple is much more than a student. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, “The person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but he is also in practice an adherent.” To “adhere” means “to stick to.” A disciple doesn’t just believe what his master teaches. He sticks to it in his life. He sticks with his master as a person. He follows his master and sticks to him so that he can become like him. That’s what our text says,

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect [mature, complete] shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40; p. 1081 Scofield).

A modern translation of this verse says,

“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (NIV).

When you have been discipled, you will be like your teacher.

Jesus was not the only person who had disciples. The Apostle Paul called people to be his disciples. He said,

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1; p. 1221).

The Greek word translated “followers” means “imitators.” Paul said, “Imitate me, even as I imitate Christ. Do what I do, as I do what Christ did. Be like me, even as I seek to be like Christ.”

In the local church, you are called to follow Jesus. You are also called to follow and imitate your pastor, even as he follows and imitates Christ. In the church, you are your pastor’s disciple. Today I want to talk about how you can follow your pastor as a disciple.

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I. First, follow him in his reading.

Is reading important? It is if you want to be a good Christian! The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,

“When thou comest, bring with thee...the books, but especially the parchments”
       (II Timothy 4:13; p. 1282).

Paul asked Timothy to come to him and bring him books and parchments. Where was Paul when he wrote this? In a Roman prison! He was about to die under the persecution of the Emperor Nero. As he said a few verses earlier,

“I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (II Timothy 4:6; p. 1281).

You might think that a man who is near death would not ask for books. But Paul did! He was always interested in reading and learning.

Dr. Hymers reads the Bible every day. He often sees something new, as God shows him. Many times he has told me about a verse that God illuminated to him.

Dr. Hymers is always reading Christian books. He reads books about how to start a church and how to make a church grow. He reads the essays of A. W. Tozer. That’s why he can tell you about what Tozer wrote. He reads Christian biographies and secular biographies. That’s why he can tell you about Winston Churchill and other great men.

I too am a reader. I grew up reading as a child and I never stopped reading. If you want to be a strong Christian, read books!

II. Second, follow him in his hearing.

Jesus said,

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15; p. 1010).

Everyone has physical ears. Of course you can hear things like people talking, and what’s on the radio or the television. But Jesus meant more than that. He spoke of “ears to hear.” What does that mean?

It means that you hear something and it goes into your head. You don’t forget it. It changes what you know. It changes what you think. It does something to you.

Dr. Hymers had an “ear to hear” the sermons of his pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin. Many years later, he can tell me what Dr. Lin said. Dr. Lin said, “Less is better than more,” and “Don’t teach the Bible. Teach the people,” and many other spiritual things. What Dr. Lin said helped Dr. Hymers with his ministry. Yet there were other men in that church who sat under Dr. Lin’s preaching and it did not affect them much at all. They did not listen with ears to hear.

I can still remember things Dr. Hymers said many years ago. He preached, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3; p. 1280). That was the first Bible verse I heard him preach, and I still remember it. When I was 25 years old Dr. Hymers said in a sermon, “You’re going to burn out for something. Why not burn out for Christ?” I knew about burning out, and I still remember what he said.

You have heard many sermons. But did you have “ears to hear” them? People sit in church year after year. They hear hundreds of sermons, but they forget them as soon as they walk out of the room. Therefore, they receive no help from them.

Some of you have heard Gospel sermons many times, but you still will not trust Christ. You do not have “ears to hear.” You don’t want that kind of ear, so you don’t have it.

In our church we have heard sermons and Bible verses about discipleship and the local church, but some people walked away anyway. The apostate Chan and his followers heard those things, and repeated the Bible verses, but they did not have “ears to hear.” They didn’t have “ears to hear” because they didn’t want to hear.

I hope you will have “ears to hear.” Pay attention to the sermons. Listen to what the pastors say. You won’t remember everything, but you will receive enough to make you a good Christian and change your life.

III. Third, follow him in his self-denial.

Jesus said,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”
        (Luke 9:23; p. 1086).

If you deny something, you say “no.” Self-denial means you say “no” to yourself. You don’t do what you feel. It can mean not doing what your non-Christian friends and relatives do. It can mean coming to church when you feel like staying home, or when you have something else to do. It can mean the sacrifice of money. It can mean lots of things, but it’s always saying “no” to yourself.

This is the opposite of what new-evangelicals do. They believe in self-fulfillment, not self-denial. They believe that Jesus and the church are there to give you a happier life. They never want to do anything they don’t feel like doing. Feeling like doing something is – to them – the Holy Spirit leading them to do it. Not feeling good about it is – to them – a sign from God not to do it. Almost always it’s the other way round!

I know Dr. Hymers better than anyone outside his own family. He practices a life of self-denial. As a young man, he worked full time during the day, went to college at night, and worked in the church all weekend. He took only one vacation all those years. It was not a life of pleasure. It was a life of self-denial. Now that he is older, I have seen him deny himself to save our church and make it live again, even under physical illnesses and emotional pressure. Other men would have quit, but Dr. Hymers did not. At 78 years old he keeps going on for Christ.

If you are a disciple, practice self-denial. Jesus did. He wasn’t rich. He didn’t have a nice place to live and lots of money and good food. He said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58; p. 1087). Again, Jesus said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10:45; p. 1060). He came not to be served, but to serve. If Jesus lived that way, why not you?

Self-denial may hurt. It may be inconvenient. It may cost you something. But it is the right way. An old hymn says,

Go, labor on; spend, and be spent;
   Thy joy to do the Father’s will;
It is the way the Master went;
   Should not the servant tread it still?
(“Go, Labor On, Spend and Be Spent” by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889).

The hymn says, “It is the way the Master went.” Isn’t it? Then why not make it your way too? The Bible says,

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40).

Are you a disciple? Why not go the way the Master went?

IV. Fourth, follow him in his hunger for souls.

Jesus said,

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; p. 1102).

Jesus came to seek people. He went after them and He found them. Even as He was dying on the Cross, Jesus reached out to the thief dying beside him and said, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43; p. 1111).

Jesus was always in search of souls to save. The Pharisees complained, saying, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luke 15:2; p. 1096). Jesus answered,

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Luke 15:4; p. 1096).

Jesus was always after souls.

Dr. Hymers follows his Master Jesus in that way. He’s always asking about this person and that one. He’s always thinking about who to win and how to win them. To him, the work of the church is first and foremost the winning of souls. Many times I have heard him say, “But how does that bring anybody in?” Bringing someone in is number one for him!

Why not make it number one for you? Why not bring one person to church, and into the church? It will take time. It will take work. You’ll have to go to the San Gabriel Valley and talk to someone. You’ll have to bring him to church. That’s self-denial. It’s not easy. But it is the way of Christ. Follow Jesus. Be a disciple of your pastor. Bring one person into the church!

Some of you have not trusted Jesus. You don’t have ears to hear because you don’t want them. If you want to stay as you are without listening, you can. You hear that Jesus died for you on the Cross and shed His Blood for you. You hear that, but “hearing [you] hear not” (Matthew 13:13; p. 1014). I pray that, by God’s grace, you will listen with ears to hear. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please come to the front of the room now. Amen.



by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect [mature, complete] shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40; p. 1081 Scofield).

(I Corinthians 11:1)

I.    First, follow him in his reading, II Timothy 4:13, 6.

II.   Second, follow him in his hearing, Matthew 11:15;
II Timothy 2:3.

III.  Third, follow him in his self-denial, Luke 9:23, 58; Mark 10:45.

IV.  Fourth, follow him in his hunger for souls, Luke 19:30; 23:43;
Luke 15:2, 4; Matthew 13:13.