Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cost of Discipleship (Part 1)

Your salvation was only one part of the Christian’s walk – from here on out your relationship with the Lord will blossom into something beautiful you never could have imaged. But, just as a beautiful plant needs to be cultivated, pruned, watered, fertilized and given sunlight, you also need to be discipled. As you have been accepted into the family of God, He is going to train and change you – basically make you His disciple. This process is often painful but always rewarding. It will train you in the way of our mutual Father.

You have probably already heard the word “disciple” a few times. Let’s start by defining what that word actually means.

Disciple n. follower; pupil (Webster’s World Dictionary)

Here are some quotes by some respectable Christian men that may expand the meaning for you.

“Disciples are people who believe, those whose faith motivates them to obey all Jesus commanded.” J. MacArthur

“Discipleship is something continuous, it is a way of life. A true disciple has an affinity for his teacher’s instruction and accepts it, not blindly but intelligently. The teacher’s instruction becomes the disciple’s rule of faith and practice.” F.F. Bruce

A disciple is a person who learns the way of life from his or her Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. As a disciple, you are to be discipled. You must be taught how to establish an intimate relationship with God and learn how to trust and obey Him. Normally, a new believer is discipled by someone who is wiser in the faith. This could be a friend, an elder, a pastor. . .or whoever! Just someone who will sit down with you and teach you what it means to walk with the Lord.

Don’t get confused. The goal of this discipleship is not to make you a prestigious “do-gooder.” It is not so you get a good job in the church. The goal of this is to bring glory to God by becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, during His ministry on the earth, had disciples. They were twelve men that He hand-picked to train. They had all different backgrounds but joined together in following Jesus. These guys went everywhere with Him! They watched Him perform miracles, heard Him teach many times, prayed with Him and built a strong relationship with Him. The twelve disciples learned to love and trust the Lord. On top of that, Jesus trained them to continue His ministry when He left. And they did! Jesus’ disciples became the starting point for the evangelism of the world!

You can be discipled in the same way! You do not have Jesus physically here with you - that’s why you have the Bible. You can be discipled by Jesus just by reading the letter that He has written for His children.  

This probably seems like an impossible task. Becoming like Jesus?! I’m still trying to take care of my sin!! No worries, the Spirit of God does this in us. It doesn't come from our own strength.

"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:31-32

As disciples, if we are seeking the truth found in God’s word, we will be set free. Everyone around you is searching. Searching for reality, purpose and truth. All the while, they are enslaved by their sin. God’s word sets us free from this. As His disciples, we have intrinsic value and meaning. We are free from sin! Free from the endless search for purpose!

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

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