Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

Mark 3:13-19

I. Introduction.

We can come to Jesus just as we are, and by encouraging others to come just as they are. But the truth is that we cannot come to Jesus and remain exactly as we are.

His transforming power is demonstrated most dramatically in the changes that came about in the disciples, who later became apostles. In the days following the ascension of our Lord, we find them as brave and courageous proclaimers of a message that brought upon them the hostility of both political and religious leaders, see Acts 4:13.

Before one can become an apostle, he must be a disciple. Not all disciples become apostles. A disciple is a learner, a follower, a listener, a hearer.

The word translated apostle means "one sent forth." An apostle was a representative of another who went on a mission. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of apostles as being the gifts of the Spirit to the church. We cannot limit this term to the original twelve. Anyone who goes forth on a mission being led by the Holy Spirit is in reality an apostle.

If we would become the servants, the apostles, the helpers of Jesus Christ, we must "be with him."

These men were originally receivers but because of being with Him, they were changed into givers.

Jesus Christ calls us to be with Him before He sends us out to be His blessing to others.

II. Jesus issues a call to all to come.

A. He invites us to come to Him that we might experience the cleansing of forgiveness.

B. Jesus invites us to enter into a family relationship with God (John 1:11-12). He wants everyone to experience the sense of belonging that comes to those who are members of God's family.

C. Jesus invites us to come to Him for fullness of life (John 10:10).

III. Jesus issues a call to companionship.

We are to respond to Him as Lord and teacher and shepherd and friend.

Before the original disciples could become apostles, it was necessary that they "be with Him."

A. Only by being with Jesus could they really get acquainted with God. John 14:9. Jesus came to manifest the character and the purpose of God.

1. It takes time to really get acquainted with someone.
2. We must really listen to someone to get acquainted with him.
3. We must carefully observe and watch someone if we are to become deeply acquainted with him.
4. We must take the risk of getting hurt in order to really get acquainted with someone.

B. Only by being with Jesus can we learn how to live by faith.

1. We have to learn to trust God.
2. Most of us want to trust in ourselves or in circumstances.
3. Many of us want to plot our own course and then let God okay it. We want to jump off the cliff and depend upon God to rescue us if this is not good for us.
4. Jesus would teach us that God is good and wise.
5. Jesus would help us know that God will always show us what is right.

C. Only by being with Jesus can we really learn the way of love. Jesus wanted to teach His disciples to love God supremely and to love others by the same measure that they loved themselves.

1. Most of us live self-centered, selfish lives.
2. The security and the development of others was always uppermost in the mind of Jesus Christ.

D. Only by being with Him could His disciples learn the importance of being absolutely obedient. Jesus was obedient to His Father. He sought to instill within His disciples the desire to so love God that they would always be obedient to the commands of God. Jesus knew that the evangelization of the world would be dependent upon the obedience of His disciples. When one dies to self, he will be raised back to life again.

IV. Conclusion

It was after considerable teaching and growth that "the disciples were for the first time called Christians." In Antioch they became Christians as they let Him change them into His own image. God needs you; others need what God can do through you. Determine that you will be with Him so that He can make an apostle out of a disciple, using your life as the raw material.

V. Illustration: Call of the apostles Why choose me?

A Sunday School teacher was teaching a group of teenage boys one Sunday about Christ's disciples; about their abilities, their attributes, and why Jesus might have chosen them. Toward the end of the lesson a teen-aged boy who was particularly enthralled about the whole concept of calling, chosen by God, said, Teacher, why did Jesus choose Judas?" To which the Sunday school teacher replied, "Son, I don't know. But I have a harder question. Why did Jesus choose me?"