Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Christian Discipleship

Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Our Wednesday night medium group Bible Study group is 3 weeks into the Kenneth Berding Bible Fluency New Testament course this semester. The first three lessons, we are going through topical teachings of the four gospels. This last week was on the topic of Christian Discipleship. There was a survey taken of 3000 teenager for a national study on faith and religion. From the finding, the researchers coined the term “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” for the current average view of God by the teens surveys. Moralistic - meaning “to be nice & fair”, Therapeutic – meaning “be happy” and Deism – meaning “only call on God when problems arise and are in trouble”. This belief is based upon comfort and possessions and is far from Christianity. A disciple is a “disciplined follower” of Jesus Christ and cannot put anything (any idol) in front of Him (between your face and His). The disciple (student/follower) is called to completely transfer their allegiance to Jesus Himself and seek first the kingdom. The point is that a true disciple loves Jesus above everything else, even if by doing so it is viewed by non-Believers as hatred. It is more than learning from Jesus; it’s is entering into a submissive discipleship relationship with the Lord. The disciple knows their need and repents, turning from their sins towards their sovereign Creator God. This is the disciple’s response, believing and putting their faith completely in Jesus.

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Therefore, a Christian disciple must count the cost of discipleship. Taking up your cross and following Jesus will literally cost everything. But, also counting your blessings, knowing who you are and whose you are for eternity. The marks of  a Christian disciple are recognizable: (1) they are peacemakers, (2) they speak the truth in love, (3) they turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, (4) they love all (even their enemies) and pray for those who persecute them, (5) they humbly give, pray and fast in secret, (6) they store up treasures in heaven, not on earth, (7) they seek first the kingdom of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, (8) they take the (sin) log our of their own eye first, (9) they trustingly pray to their heavenly Father, and (10) they obey the teachings of Jesus and teach others to do so also. The opening verse’s “Great Commission” has two verbs: “Go” and “Make”. This is how we live out our faith and producing good fruit is our proof of a discipleship grounded in what Jesus did and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Fruit is “the way that we live – the things that we do”.  

John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings, abide in My word (continually obeying and remaining faithful to My teachings and living in accordance with them). And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Where does the power to do them come from? First, in repentance and faith, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What our blessed Redeemer finished on that cross broke the power of sin and death in the Believer. And secondly, through the Holy Spirit, sent in Jesus’ name. The Christian Disciple’s responsibility is to respond to God’s ability. Go, make and do.

In Christ, Brian

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