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Discipleship

The call to discipleship is on Christ’s terms, not ours.

The cost of discipleship is determined by the Lord, and not by the servant.

In our desperate attempt to play the numbers game in today’s churches we invite people to come and join without any regard to the cost of discipleship.

Jesus Christ is Lord; He is the only Lord.

Jesus reached out to touch a leper, and the leper was instantly cleansed. He is the Great Physician and Master over all kinds of sicknesses.

Jesus lay asleep in the stern of the fishing boat and when the disciples feared for their lives Jesus spoke and the storm departed. When Jesus spoke, God spoke. To defy the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to defy God. He spoke as God’s authority and as God the Creator. He is the Lord of creation.

Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” Only God can forgive sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

The same Jesus who has authority over demons, sickness, death, nature has the same authority over every Christian. He is Lord. If we are to be His disciples it must be on His terms.

Dr. Luke in his gospel tells of three individuals who were would be followers of Christ (Luke 9:57-62).

One of the individuals must have been listening to the teaching of Christ and he approached and said, “I will follow You wherever You go” (v. 57).

It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm and excitement of the moment and join the crowd. But this man must have failed to think through what following Jesus involves.

Jesus did not want him to have any false apprehensions. He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (v. 58).

At the end of His ministry, the day of His crucifixion, Jesus owned nothing, but the clothes on His back. The cost of discipleship for Jesus was high. It cost Him His life in execution as a criminal to follow the will of His heavenly Father. Jesus was obedient unto death.

Jesus calls us to radical discipleship. Is this the reason so many drop out after joining up?

Another person heard the call, “Follow Me” (v. 59). But he replied, “Permit me first to go and bury my father” (v. 59b).

Was the man’s father dead? Probably not, because he was there listening to Jesus. If his father had been dead this man would have been busy with the details because in Jesus’ day a person had to be buried the same day that he died. The man is probably saying that he wants to wait and remain at home as long as his father lives, and then he will consider following Jesus after this phase of his life is over.

Jesus’ call to discipleship is radical. “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God” (v. 60).

Let the spiritual dead bury the dead. They are dead to spiritual realities. On the other hand, those who are spiritually alive will drop everything, counting the cost, to follow Jesus as Lord.

Discipleship demands that we drop everything, even our families and anyone opposing Him. Who would seek to exercise a higher relationship of affection in our lives? Discipleship makes us chose between Christ and others.

Another person in the crowd said, “I will follow You Lord, but first permit me to say goodbye to those at home” (v. 61). Jesus replied, “No one, after putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (v. 62).

Who but God could make such demands on His followers? He has not left the choice of standards of following Him up to us. We want to submit Him to our lordship and it will not work. Jesus is Lord. He determines the conditions of discipleship. If Jesus is Lord then this kind of discipleship is really not radical, or extreme, but is normal. Since He is God we owe Him total obedience and total self-surrender. That is radical in the world’s way of thinking.

I suspect we are quick to join up without counting the cost, and then when faced with the choices of obeying our Lord and Master or the pleasures and demands of the world we follow our true desires. You cannot serve two masters; you will love one and hate the other. The disciple no longer lives for himself, but for the Kingdom of God. What happens to my life in unimportant. What really matters is my submission to the will of God.

The disciple of Jesus Christ cannot live to please himself. He can live only to please the King. “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate,” wrote Bonhoeffer. “Costly grace . . . calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.”

Where is your priority? Who is Lord of your life?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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