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#squadgoals
Luke 6:12-16
Skip Heitzig

Luke 6 (NKJV™)
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;
15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot;
16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Hashtag

One of the most popular hashtags used in today’s social media platforms is #squadgoals, used typically as an inspirational term for what we want our own group or generation to accomplish or be like. Did you know that Jesus has squad goals for His followers? His plans for those who believe in Him and have become part of His church are too many to enumerate in one lesson, but we examine four squad goals in today’s message.

We live in a culture obsessed with social media. But how can anyone find anything of spiritual significance in something as frivolous as a hashtag? Millions of people add their voice to a sea of opinions through social media every day. In this series, Skip Heitzig presents God's thoughts on today's trending topics.

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Outline

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  1. Radiate Loyalty (v. 12)

  2. Cultivate Maturity (v. 13)

  3. Appreciate Variety (vv. 14-15)

  4. Anticipate Casualty (v. 16)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: July 10, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "#squadgoals"
Text: Luke 6:12-16

Path

One of the most popular hashtags used in today's social media platforms is #squadgoals, used typically as an inspirational term for what we want our own group or generation to accomplish or be like. Did you know that Jesus has squad goals for His followers? God designed us for community, to be a squad. Pastor Skip examined four goals for our squad that can be found in Luke 6:12-16:
  1. Radiate Loyalty (v. 12)
  2. Cultivate Maturity (v. 13)
  3. Appreciate Variety (vv. 14-15)
  4. Anticipate Casualty (v. 16)
Points

Radiate Loyalty
  • The calling of the disciples is listed four times in the New Testament. These lists share certain characteristics. For example, Peter is always listed first, James is listed before John, and Judas is listed last.
  • A disciple is a follower or learner—one who submits to being trained by their leader. A disciple of Christ is one who forsakes all and makes following Jesus their personal goal (see Luke 5:11).
  • In ancient times, students selected their teacher, but Jesus chose His followers. He called His disciples to Himself and developed a personal relationship with them, allowing them to join His school of salvation—His squad.
  • When we are called to be disciples, we are to radiate loyalty to Jesus' person, purposes, and plan.
  • Probe: Read Luke 14:27; John 8:31; John 13:35. Discuss the characteristics of a disciple of Christ.
Cultivate Maturity
  • An apostle is someone who goes from being a learner to an ambassador—a messenger of God sent into the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Ambassadors go from being saved to being sent.
  • When followers of the Messiah become fishers of men, it is a mark of maturity as disciples.
  • Churches die:
    • When converts do not become disciples (learners)
    • When disciples do not become apostles (messengers)
  • Followers must become fishermen or they will fizzle.
  • Probe: Discuss the differences between a disciple (see Mark 2:18; Luke 6:13) and an apostle (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-7; Acts 2:12-24; Acts 14:4).
Appreciate Variety
  • From the world's viewpoint, Jesus chose the wrong men; they were uneducated, poor, and ill-equipped (they lacked people skills).
  • Think of the men Jesus called:
    • Peter—impulsive; had "foot-in-mouth disease"
    • Andrew—reluctant; did not see Jesus' larger vision
    • James and John—unkind; wanted God to destroy and judge
    • Philip—calculating; did not trust in God's purposes
    • Bartholomew—jaded; "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)
    • Matthew—materialistic; sought material gain as a tax collector
    • Thomas—pessimistic, skeptical; only saw the dark side of things
    • James, the son of Alphaeus—silent type, largely unknown; worked behind the scenes
    • Simon—a zealot, a terrorist of sorts; hated Rome
  • Jesus worked through these various disciples to change the world.
  • Probe: Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-19; Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:1-6. Discuss how God uses variety to bring about His vision.
Anticipate Casualty
  • Judas appeared to be the ideal member of a religious organization. He gave the impression of helping the poor and cutting costs. Though the world would hire him, Jesus would fire him.
  • Interestingly, the name Judas means praise. His name means one thing, but his actions were disloyal and hypocritical.
  • Yet God used Judas to fulfill His purposes—he played a key part in Jesus' death and ultimately His resurrection.
  • There is attrition in every group; anticipate the casualties, and understand that only God knows who will stay and leave—and for what reasons and purposes.
  • Probe: Sometimes God uses addition by subtraction—making His squad stronger by removing certain people, either because they aren't loyal to Jesus or because He has other works planned for them. Discuss moments where God used a casualty in your life to bring about change.
Practice

Connect Up: Loyalty and maturity not only characterize your walk as a disciple, they also relate to your daily relationship with God. Read Proverbs 3:1-3 and Hebrews 6:1-3. Discuss how loyalty and maturity result in worship and obedience, representing dedication to the Lord.

Connect In: How do loyalty, maturity, variety, and casualty relate to the body of Christ? Ideally, how are these truths supposed to be manifested in the church?

Connect Out: How can loyalty, maturity, variety, and casualty help you reach out to nonbelievers? What are some moments when you have found yourself going from being a disciple to an apostle? How can these qualities represent a biblical expression of character seldom found in the world today?

Transcript

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Hello. And welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses these messages to strengthen your faith. If he does, we'd love to hear about it. E-mail us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.
One of the most popular hashtags used in social media is #squadgoals, used typically as an inspirational term for what we want our own group to accomplish or to be like. As we continue our series Hashtag, we learn that God has squad goals for those who have become part of his church. Now turn in the Bible to Luke chapter 6, as Skip begins the message, #squadgoals.
Father, we pray that you would heal our land. Lord, I think of the prayer of Daniel, when he said, to you belongs righteousness. To us belongs shame of face, as it is this day. Forgive us Lord, as a nation.
And Father, we pray that through the love of Jesus Christ that our lives would be different and we would help make others' lives different and better by telling them truth, by speaking the truth in love, by living out lives that reach out.
We pray, Father, for comfort for those who have lost relatives and friends in Dallas, Texas. And pray, Father, that we, as the body of Christ, would be your hands, your feet, and represent your heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thank you. Have a seat, please. Would you turn in your Bibles to Luke's Gospel this morning, chapter 6? Luke, chapter 6. Got a question for you. Can you be a Christian without joining a church? How would you answer that? Can you be a Christian without joining a church?
Well, the answer, technically, is yes, you can. Because you're not saved by works, right? But by grace, through faith, that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. So yes, you can be a Christian without joining a church.
But you know, that's sort of like saying, can you be a soldier without having a platoon or an army? Can you be a tuba player without an orchestra? Well, yeah, but how boring would that be? Sitting around playing tuba, what, to yourself? Or could you be a baseball player without a team? Yeah, you could. But how lame would that be just to throw the ball up and catch it all day long?
You work best when you are in team, in concert with other believers. And one of the plans of Jesus Christ is to build a community, to make us a part of the squad, His squad, the God Squad, if you will.
In the first book of the Bible, the second chapter, we are told that is not good for man to be what? Alone. That is not God's purpose, to make us just individuals but to integrate us with other individuals. And one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 68, verse 6, says God sets the solitary in families. I love that.
Sociologically, we know, we understand that we gravitate toward a group of like-minded people that share like passions and desires. And so some will join a science club or a debate team or the Elks Lodge or even in recovery circles Alcoholics- S, plural-- Anonymous, saying we need others around us to help us in this process.
But did you know that the church is the only institution Jesus ever promised he would build? He said, I will build my church. I would say if you are not aiming for that goal, then you're actually fighting against what He is trying to accomplish.
Squad goals, as you have heard, is a hashtag used in social media, used some 2,300,000 times in Instagram alone, besides other platforms. And the idea is these are our goals, either personally or for my group, that I want to accomplish.
Did you know that Jesus has squad goals? He has goals for His team. Were going to read here in Luke chapter 6, Jesus calling His men, His followers to Himself. And usually, when we think of the life of Jesus, we sort of think of Jesus preaching to the crowd or teaching a multitude or healing the sick. But did you know that the lion's share, the bulk of Jesus' ministry, was training this group of men that we call the disciples?
So let's look at this first calling of Jesus in Luke chapter 6. It's not the first calling, but it's the first time we read it in this book, Luke 6, verse 12.
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself. And from them, He chose 12, whom He also named apostles, Simon, whom He also named Peter, Andrew, his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the Zealot, Judas, the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also became a traitor.
There are four times that list appears in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and the book of Acts. And there are certain differences. But there are some similarities. For example, Peter is always named first. Judas is always named last. You always read of James first and then John. They were brothers, but James is listed first, never John and James. It's always James and John, presumably because James was the oldest. Just a little bit of trivia.
Out of this calling and selecting these men, we get four goals that are presented to us. There are many more, by the way. If we were to tell you all the goals that Jesus has for His followers, we would have to do a whole series on that. But we want to just look at four.
And the first is to radiate loyalty. To radiate loyalty. I want to zero in on a particular word. Look at verse 12 once again. It came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God. So after a time of prayer with His father alone, now He picks His team.
And when it was day, He called His-- here's the word-- His disciples. He called His disciples. A disciple is a learner. That's what the word mathetes means, a learner, one who submits himself to a mentor, one who follows another.
In the old days, in the rabbinic model, students or learners, disciples, would choose their rabbi, sort of like people going to a church today. Nah, I like this. Nah, I don't like that. I'm going to go here. In those days, disciples chose what rabbis they wanted to sit under. Ah, but that's where this is different. Because it wasn't so much them choosing Jesus as much as Jesus, the rabbi, choosing them.
Jesus will say in John, chapter 15, you didn't choose me. I chose you and ordained you to bring forth fruit. It will be Jesus who says, follow me. He didn't mean on Instagram. He meant follow me. It will be Jesus who will say, take my yoke upon you and learn from me. That's what a disciple is, one who follows, one who learns from, one who submits to. All right.
As we look at Jesus calling these guys, if you were to compare the Gospels, you discover that Jesus calls them not once but about three times, at least twice, but most of us think three separate times He called them. This is interesting.
The first time is mentioned in John, chapter 1. Our Lord Jesus is down by the Jordan River, where John the Baptist is baptizing. A group of men are following John the Baptist as his disciples. Jesus comes along, and John says, look, there's the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
And so some of those disciples go to Jesus, and they say, master, where are you staying? And He says, come and see. So they stayed with Him that evening. And the very next day, Jesus said to them, follow me. That was a calling to believe in Him as Messiah, a calling to his identity as the Jewish Messiah.
The second calling comes later, when they're up at the Sea of Galilee. It's recorded in Matthew, chapter 4. And Jesus says to them, follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men. If the first calling was a calling to salvation, this is a calling to service. Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Now, the third time he brings them into this calling is to repeat Himself, what He said the second time. And why would He do that? Because they didn't do it the second time. They didn't do it the first time.
So look back one chapter, chapter 5 of Luke, for just a moment. I'll take you into just a couple verses. Luke chapter 5, Jesus performs a miracle of a great catch of fish on the Sea of Galilee. Verse 9, for He and all who were with Him were astonished at the great catch of fish which they had taken. And so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, do not be afraid. From now on, you will catch men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
It seems that this third time is when they finally left everything behind to actually follow Jesus, wherever He would take them to become part of his squad. Now, I've made a discovery that with some people, it takes a few times to listen to a message. They've listened to it before, but it takes a few times as they hear God's claim on their life, and they finally go, OK. I'll surrender.
Not everybody, the first time they hear the message, respond favorably. Last week, on Saturday night, we had Freedom Celebration in Isotope Stadium. And it was just so phenomenal. And one of the stories I heard, one of our assistant pastors told us, is he was in the restroom before the event. And he heard a guy in the restroom on his cell phone swearing up a storm.
And so this pastor thought, well, I'd better be praying for him. He's in the right place. But I'm going to be praying for him. So as the event went on, our pastor, one of our pastors, noticed this guy. He sort of standing up on the balcony, arms crossed, sort of watching from the distance, taking it all in, listening, listening.
Time for the Gospel presentations, he's listening. Time for the altar call, he's just watching, listening, not doing anything about it. My friend's praying for him. He said, Skip, the last person to walk down on that field to receive Jesus Christ was that man who came down from the stands.
[APPLAUSE]
The last guy in the field. And he said, looking over at him, it was like he was just sort of standing there going, OK, I'll give in. And he walked down, and he gave in. He forsook all and followed Him.
I've also discovered that God calls all of us in stages, first to salvation but then also to service. Haven't you discovered that in your Christian walk? He not only calls you to believe in Him, but then He calls you deeper and deeper and deeper in that following of Him. Jamie Buckingham wrote, Christianity is more than obstetrics. It's also pediatrics, public health, internal medicine, diagnostic care, surgery, and geriatrics. In short, it's a life of discipleship.
Years after Jesus had gone to be with the father, His followers were still known as disciples. You never outgrow the need to listen, to learn, and to follow.
So look at verse 13. When it was day, He called His disciples to Himself. Mark that. He called them to Himself. Mark's account of this is He appointed 12 that they might be with Him. That's where discipleship begins. He calls you first to be with Him, to establish a relationship, a personal relationship with Him, where you hang out with Him. You listen to what He has to say. You develop a friendship with Him.
You know, after 3 and 1/2 years, these disciples, they were Jesus' friends. Didn't Jesus say, I'm not going to call you servants now. I'm calling you my friends. You know, they camped out with Him. They ate meals with Him. And I believe they had some fun together. I don't know how you picture it. You might still have a little halo thing going on their head, like all the holy cards. But I think they had a lot of fun together.
And I say that Jesus had a sense of humor. My belief, He did. First of all, you couldn't pick the crew He picked unless you had a sense of humor. Number two, He gave them some of the craziest nicknames ever. And number three, He made statements even to the crowd like, you guys, you strained at a gnat, but you swallow a camel. They knew in those days, that was a joke. And in the very least, you got a snicker out of that crowd. Jesus, I believe, had fun with His men.
However, discipleship is far more than just having fun with Jesus. It's far more than just hanging out with Jesus. To be a disciple means you obey Jesus. For it says here, as we read, they forsook all, and they followed Him.
Let's pretend for just a moment. Can we do that? Can we play let's pretend? Let's pretend I'm starting a company, and I have a big vision for this company. I want to hire you as my assistant. So I tell you-- and the company's growing here in the States. We've got an office here. Going great guns. It's very successful.
I want to hire you as my executive assistant. And I tell you I want to expand this company so big, I want offices all around the world. So I'm going to be traveling overseas. I want to keep you here in the States. I'll make sure that I send you letters regularly. You'll get my instructions. But I want you to stay here, build a company, while I go to Europe and put in offices elsewhere.
So you say, I'm game. I'm in it. So I go away for a long time. I come back several months, almost a year later, and as I'm driving up to our corporate offices here, I know something's wrong, because I see the grass has grown pretty tall. There's weeds everywhere. A couple windows shattered and haven't been repaired.
I go in the lobby very sheepishly, only to discover the receptionist has her feet up on the desk, doing her nails, chewing gum, listening to her music. I go, something is not cool in this company. People are slacking off. And so I finally ask for you, and they say, oh, he or she, they're in the back.
I go in the back, and there you are in the conference room, playing chess with your shoes off. You're just having a good old time. And I say, what's up? What's wrong? And you look at me and go, what do you mean, what's wrong? I say, wait a minute. I spelled out my intentions clearly. Didn't you get my letters?
And you say, oh, oh, yeah. We got all your letters. In fact, you'll be happy to know that we had letter study every Friday. We got together in small groups and discussed the meaning of your letters. In fact, some of us have underlined in yellow key words in all your letters. And more than that, we have even committed to memory whole sentences and paragraphs of your letters.
And I would say to you, that's wonderful that you've done that. But did you do what I wrote? And you say, do? Why would we have to do anything? You get my drift, right?
I don't know what your view of discipleship is, but do you know what Jesus' view of discipleship is? He says what it is in verse 46 of chapter 6. But why do you call me Lord, Lord, and you do not do the things which I say? So squad goal number one for Jesus is that you become a disciple, which means you radiate loyalty in listening, following, submitting to.
Second squad goal, cultivate maturity. Go back to verse 13. I wonder if you notice this. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself, followers, and from them He chose 12 whom He also named apostles. Different designation. Disciples, you follow, you listen, you would hear, but now you are apostles. That's his designation.
What's an apostle? A lot of us don't really know. To us, we interchange those terms. You know, there's the 12 disciples, apostles, whatever. It's probably a synonym. They all sound alike-- disciple, apostle, epistle. One kid even said in school, an epistle is just a wife of an apostle.
[LAUGHTER]
So what is an apostle? An apostle means a representative, one sent out to do a task, one sent out on a specific mission to do a specific task. In classical Greek, the word apostle meant a fleet of ships going on an expedition. So Jesus takes disciples, learners, followers, and turns them into apostles, representatives, one sent on a task.
To his disciples He will say in John chapter 20, as the Father has sent me, so I also send you. That's His pattern. God's pattern is to take those who are saved and make them those who are sent, right? Jesus says, I will make you fishers of men. So followers of Messiah need to become fishers of men.
Now listen, here's one reason why this is important. If you want your discipleship to be amped up to a new level, enter into apostleship. Enter into being sent. If you're just sort of experiencing a ho-hum, hum-drum Christian experience-- yeah, I go to church. Yeah, I do my little thing-- you want to see that taken into a turbocharged reality. Take the next step. Cultivate maturity. Be somebody who is sent out. Because being sent out, an apostle, will save you from turning inward, getting closed off, and being secretive about your discipleship.
It was William Barclay who said discipleship kills secrecy. Or secrecy will kill discipleship. And if you want discipleship to be amped up and vibrant and growing, it's called apostleship. It's where you say, Lord, I take this calling seriously. I want to impact my world for your glory.
I've told you about this for years, if you've been here for years. But I still have this book in a prominent position in my library at home. I bought it because of the title, not because I knew anything about it or the author. But the title is Why Churches Die. Now, every pastor would immediately want to buy that book, Why Churches Die.
Hollis Green said churches die for a number of reasons. And he wrote chapters on it. Number one, when converts don't become disciples, that is, people who come into the church, they want to join the church. They don't really become disciples, followers.
Number two, when disciples don't become apostles. They just cut short that natural flow toward maturity. Churches always have a danger of turning inward. Churches always have a danger. It's called the Bless Me Club. We turn in to a Bless Me Club. You've got an hour to bless me. OK, I've been here 30 minutes. You haven't blessed me yet. That song didn't bless me. That message didn't bless me.
Listen, I want you to be blessed. But church is way more than a Bless Me Club where all of the activities are solely for the enjoyment of members. It's been said, well, that the church is the only society that exists for the benefit of non-members. So followers must become fishers or else they will fizzle. It was a missionary who said churches that don't evangelize will eventually fossilize. Don't let it happen.
Let me say on behalf of these 12, best day of their life was the day they became apostles. Because up to that point, yeah, they had a good life. But their whole life was lived around a lake. It was 13 miles long by 7 miles wide, the Sea of Galilee. That's all they knew. OK, a trip to Jerusalem every now and then, take in a feast or two, but that was it. That was their whole existence.
Now, some of you are thinking, well, they got to fish every day. That's pretty good. That gets old real quick. Jesus would take them and send them out. And Peter will throw out the net and catch 3,000 souls on Pentecost in Jerusalem. He'll make it to Rome to bear the Gospel.
John will get sent to Ephesus and become a leader in Ephesus. He'll be exiled on Patmos. You go, that didn't sound like fun. But there on Patmos he'll get a vision. It's called the Book of Revelation. Well, he will be transported into the future and see all that is going to come. Talk about an exciting life. It was an adventurous life.
So radiate loyalty, cultivate maturity. Those are two squad goals. There's a third. Celebrate variety. We have a list of names here. Some of them you're familiar with. But do you realize how different they are from each other, the variety in that group?
I have a friend who wrote a book on leadership. And he said, PR experts, public relations experts, would say that Jesus made several mistakes in His ministry. And one of the mistakes He made, says my friend who wrote this book, was the team He picked.
He didn't go to the best seminaries. He didn't go to the religious leadership at all in Israel. But He went down to Fisherman's Wharf in Galilee, and he picked a bunch of unknowns who smelled like dead fish. And He said, go change the world. And they did.
But they had no social skills. They had no people skills, right? You remember when Jesus was about to feed the 5,000, and all that crowd is gathering around Him? And you know what the disciples said? Get Him out of here. You want those guys on your team? Your team is saying get Him out of here. No, I came for them. Get Him out of here. Or when the parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed and the disciples rebuked the parents for bringing the children.
Let's look at some of these people, one by one, shall we? First on the list, Simon, whom he also named Peter. What do we know about Peter? Well, he was impulsive, for one, right? He wasn't the guy to let things happen. He's a guy to make things happen. And it got him in trouble.
He was a guy who stepped up when Jesus announced that He was going to Jerusalem to die on a cross and be raised the third day. And Peter steps in and says, we're not going to let this happen, Jesus. You know, I'm the protector. Far be it from you, Lord, we're not going to let this happen. And Jesus said, get behind me, Satan. You're not thinking like God thinks, you're thinking like a man thinks.
Peter was the guy who pulls the sword out in the Garden of Gethsemane and gets the ear off of the servant of the high priest. And Jesus had to say, put that back. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Peter was going for his head. He missed, got his ear. That's Peter, impulsive Peter.
And Peter denies Jesus, that he even knew Jesus. He's on the team. He's on the squad. Impulsive Peter.
Look who else, and Andrew, his brother. Now Andrew is a name that means manly, manliness. He was the manly man. He's Peter's brother. He was once a disciple of John the Baptist. He was the first disciple of Jesus. But he was reluctant to trust God.
When those people gathered to be fed by Jesus on that mountain, it was this guy who said, well, we have a few loaves and fish, but-- listen to what he says-- but what are they among so many? He didn't believe anything good was going to come out of that. He's on the team. Put him on the team. He's on the squad.
Look who's next, James and John. We're familiar with James and John. They were in a fishing business with their father, Zebedee. They were known as the sons of Zebedee. Jesus gave them a nickname. Do you remember what it was? Sons of thunder.
I think that was an inside joke, because these were the guys, when they were going through Samaria, and the Samaritans weren't too keen on accepting Jesus or his mission, it's James and John who said, and they were honest, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and nuke them? We'd love to just destroy them. They hated the Samaritans.
You got two racists on Jesus' team. Bring them in. They're on the squad, James and John.
Look who's next. Philip. Philip is mentioned. Philip, a great guy but slow to comprehend spiritual truth and spiritual potential. Again, it's that scene of the feeding of the 5,000. The loaves and the fish are brought to Jesus. And Philip is the CPA of the group. He starts calculating. He's going, 10, 100, divided by-- times-- hey, 200 denarii worth of bread. He had to count to come up with 200 denarii, three quarters of a year of a man's wage. Who's going to foot this bill? Well, that wouldn't even be enough to foot this bill.
He's on the team. The guy who's reluctant, the guy who was kind of like, I'm a numbers guy. He's on the team.
Look who's next. Bartholomew. Now, that sounds apostolic. I am Saint Bartholomew. Bartholomew is also called Nathaniel in the Bible. And he is the first to ditz the idea of Jesus as the Messiah. The first thing he hears and the first thing he says is negative.
So Philip comes in and says, we found the one who is the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. You know what Bart says? Nazareth? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? He's on the team. Put him on. What a motley crew we have so far.
Look who's next. Matthew. What was he? Ah, Matthew was the tax collector, worked for the Roman government. And did you know in Jewish reckoning 2,000 years ago, murderers, robbers, and tax collectors were all classed together. The religious leaders say to the disciples, why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners? Matthew the tax collector.
Next on the list is Thomas. Thomas was the doubter. He's the pessimist of the group. And in fact, his name has become axiomatic for skepticism. We call somebody who doubts, what we call them? A doubting Thomas, based on this guy. Thomas always saw the dark side of every situation. Give him a scenario, he'll see the bleakest side.
So after Lazarus dies, Jesus says, I'm going to Judea. And the disciples go, Judea? They are trying to kill you down in Judea. Thomas says, let us go with Him that we may die with Him. What? You want this guy on your team? By the way, there's one on every team. There's always a Thomas on some team, just sees the darkest, worst side of the situation.
Next on the list, and I'm not going over everyone in depth, but James the son of Alphaeus, now, this is what's interesting. We don't really know much about him. We know his name. And we know his dad's name. He's the son of Alphaeus. But we don't know anything else. And I like that he's on the team, because he's sort of like a wallflower. He's silent. And I think every squad is filled with godly, good, wonderful, hardworking, but the silent types. They don't want to make a whole lot of motion. But they're there. And they're part of the team. And Jesus picks him.
Notice who else is on this list. Simon called the Zealot. Simon called the Zealot. Did you realize that a Zealot was a religious political party? Zelotes. Zealots hated foreign domination. They hated the fact that Rome was the overlord nation over them. And they had a pact. They swore to take every opportunity to assassinate Roman hierarchy if they had the opportunity.
So I want you to think about this. On the same team, you've got a Zealot and a tax collector, who were hated by the Jewish people. That's sort of like having somebody from the Israeli Defense Force and the head of Hamas on the same team.
And all I could infer from this crazy group of guys is Jesus loves variety. He loves variety. And I start to understand what Paul meant when he said, there are differences of operations, diversities of gifts, but it's the same body. It's the same Lord. It's the same spirit who works all things together.
We're different from one another, called by the same Lord, same purpose, same squad. And let me give you a little nugget of knowledge. God reserves the right to use people you don't like, people that you disagree with, people that hold a different position from you theologically.
Well, they're posttribulationists. Really? I'm going to use them anyway. But they disagree with me, and I hold all truth. Watch me. I'm going to use them anyway. He reserves the right to use people powerfully with whom you disagree. Celebrate variety.
I'll close with this. Anticipate casualty. Last on the list is Judas Iscariot. Notice what it says. And Judas Iscariot, always named last, who also became a traitor. I know some of you are thinking, that's a goal? Casualty?
No, the casualty isn't a goal. The anticipation is the goal. I want to ready you to not get surprised when you have attrition, when people fall away. Get used to the idea that there'll be a casualty or two. Even Jesus had that on his squad with Judas Iscariot.
Now, it says he became a traitor. We know he hung himself. But you know what? Judas was the guy that nobody suspected. They didn't think he'd be the traitor. They were surprised to find out he was the traitor. And that's after hanging out with him for a long time. That shows you, you can be a hypocrite really well and go undetected for a long time.
In fact, he was the guy that you thought, I want him on my team. Because he was the guy, when that woman broke that alabaster flask of ointment and poured it on Jesus' feet, it was Judas who said, that ointment could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor. We're going, I want that guy on my team. He's going to save the organization a boatload of money.
You want to say, he's hired. Jesus wants to say he's fired. Because John says he was a thief. And he was using that money for himself. Anticipate casualty.
And you know what Judas means? You know what the name means, Judas? It's a beautiful name. It means praise. What a great name. I'm going to name my son praise. I want him to praise the Lord. Here's a guy who didn't live up to his name. And because of that, now no one wants his name. Have you ever met somebody named Judas? You never will. You won't meet a dog named Judas. It's last on the list of what to name anything or anyone.
And can you imagine, here's a guy who was so close to Jesus, 3 and 1/2 years, heard the sermons, the parables, answering all those crazy questions, all the miracles he saw. And he's a traitor.
Anticipate that not everyone on the squad is loyal and mature. Anticipate there will be spiritual casualties. And I will say one of the hardest things about ministry is to think of those who were once a part of us and walked with us and served the Lord who have turned away from even following Jesus at all. And if there's any comfort at all in Judas, and it's minimal comfort, it's the realization that even Jesus had a Judas on his squad. So anticipate casualty.
Well, this is Jesus' team. It sort of seems like he went out of his way to pick people nobody else would pick. Remember when they picked teams in school and there was always a few people left off? I was one of those people, by the way. I remember those days. And I remember that feeling. Jesus would say, I want those guys.
Yesterday, I was looking at my school annual. I pulled it down. It's really old. And I was looking at the year I graduated. I'm looking at all those pages where on one page, it's the best dressed. Remember those pages? The best dressed. And there is this senior couple. The next one was most athletic. I wasn't on either of those pages, by the way. I was never best dressed. I was never most athletic.
Turned the page. Most likely to succeed. I was not on that page. I wasn't on any of those categorical pages. But you know what? I'm in Jesus' annual. I'm in his book.
[APPLAUSE]
I'm in the Lamb's book of life. And I love the fact that Jesus said, yeah, all those rejects? I want them for my team. Didn't Paul say, look at your calling, brother. Not many mighty, not many noble are called. A few are. I like meeting them from time to time. But Jesus' team, well, he's got us. And you know what He says? Get along, and go change the world. And I'll be with you. And I'll give you the power. Just be my squad.
Father, thank you for these simple but very profound instructions that we get just from a simple reading of our Lord Jesus on this earth, calling men to be learners, disciples, followers, and then transforming the disciple into the sent-out one, the apostle. Then as we mature, we discover, oh, well, the team we have is a crazy group of people who would not get along with each other in the normal world. But you call us together in your world for your glory and your kingdom.
Lord, we just want to pray for those who come to mind right now as we're praying, casualties of the faith. We can see their face in our mind. We pray, Lord, that you would rescue them. You bring them back to you. Lord, the story isn't done yet. We pray that you just redeem them and reconcile them to you and to us, in Jesus' name. Amen.
As followers of Christ, God has a plan and purpose for our lives. How will you live out what you learned in this message? We want to know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/26/2016
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#LOL
Proverbs 14:13
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Have you ever noticed that some people use laughter as a mask to hide the pain they feel inside? This is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that even in laughter, the heart may sorrow. Sometimes the visible disguise is not the invisible reality. This week, we look past the #lol (laugh out loud) and peer into the heart to discover the truth of pain and why we are so scared to be honest. From just one verse, we can make three discoveries.
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7/3/2016
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#nofilter
Psalm 19
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People use filters to change reality and tell a story. Some people use filters for everything. Not satisfied with the way things are, they desire something more than what the lens can capture. But one look at a sunset and you realize that God’s creation doesn’t need any filters. In fact, His created universe tells the story of His existence and His power. But the story would be incomplete if He didn’t give us more. The truth is He did give us more—the unfiltered truth of Scripture.
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7/17/2016
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#YOLO
Hebrews 9:27
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What could be more basic than life and death? There is either one or the other, and one always leads to the other. Yet even today, people live under the impression that life must be lived for the here and now, the temporary thrill, the moment—with no consideration for future consequences or rewards. To defend their choice for momentary fulfillment, they may use the hashtag #YOLO. But one verse of Scripture sheds needed light on this ideology, and from this single verse, we learn four certainties.
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7/24/2016
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#TBT
Deuteronomy 8:1-10
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It’s funny how the past often looks much better than it really was. But it probably looks that way because it isn’t here anymore. The past can be helpful, but only if we learn from it today and use it tomorrow. Before crossing the Jordan River, Moses had his own #TBT with the nation of Israel, first getting them to look backward, then to look around, and finally to look forward and upward. (P.S. This is a good way to live every day.)
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7/31/2016
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#followme
Matthew 16:24-27
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Taking a walk means putting several footsteps together, one after the other, along a pathway. For my two dogs, walking is their favorite part of the day. Their excitement level is off the charts when they hear me coming. But when we walk together, they’re supposed to be following me and surrendering to my lead. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. So what does it mean to follow Jesus? Let’s explore what Jesus Himself said He expects of those who follow Him.
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8/7/2016
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#thestruggleisreal
Romans 7:13-8:4
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I’m a struggler. So are you. We are Christian believers, which is why we struggle. And the struggle we face is very real. I know you love God and want to serve Him. I know you have the best of intentions to be the very best person you can be. But you fail, don’t you? So do I. The sooner we admit it, the better off we’ll be and the closer we’ll get to the kind of success God intends for us. Oh, did I mention that Paul was a struggler, too?
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8/21/2016
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#relationshipgoals
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
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What God said in the beginning is still true today: "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Emotional isolation can be the fallout of a fast-paced culture as well as the consequence of failed relationships. Separation can seem easier than integration. Seclusion feels simpler than assimilation. But these are not better! We are wired to be better together than apart. In these musings of King Solomon, we discover five relationship goals to balance out our lives.
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8/28/2016
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#foodstagram
John 21:15-19
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We like to eat. We have to eat. The body needs fuel, and fuel comes from food. Yet for some folks who are "foodies," it's not so much about eating to live as it is living to eat. Creative chefs can work their skills and produce dishes that are nothing less than pure art. But did you know that as believers we also need to eat spiritual food to survive? Feeding and being nourished by God's truth can make us strong and vibrant. Let's explore a few fundamentals about spiritual feeding.
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9/4/2016
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#selfiesunday
Philippians 2:1-4
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W.E. Gladstone, the one-time prime minister of England, said, “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.” Though we all have an ego—the consciousness of being an individual—that doesn’t mean we have to worship ourselves or live exclusively for ourselves. To live that way is to live in a prison. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about selfish living versus selfless living. Paul taught the Philippian church both the marks and the motives of selfless living.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.