Fourth In A Series Building A Better Body of Christ! 1 Samuel 17:29; Matthew 16:13-19; Matthew 25:34-40 “The Cause for Discipleship”
By Linda Bond Edwards, Esq.
Instructor in Christian Education, Bethel
Missionary Baptist Church
Is there a Cause for Discipleship?
There is no doubt that there is a cause for discipleship. Jesus gave the example and carefully selected the first twelve who were of varying backgrounds and occupations; fishermen, tax collector, brothers, what have you. His command was simple, follow me. Even after all that they had been through and had experienced many things, betrayal, suicide, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, Matthew 28:17 tells us that they worshipped Him on the mountain, but some doubted. Not one, SOME. Despite what they were feeling at that time, they were there to receive the final commandment from Jesus. Jesus knew how they were feeling and yet He gave them the great commandment. This is what He said in Matthew 28: 18-20: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And so here we are, bound by that same commandment. So what does it really take to be a disciple? I think there are at least three things: Courage, Conditioning, and Commitment. Being a disciple is certainly a follower of Christ, but what does that mean? I follow football and that means I generally know who the coach is, who the quarterback is, what conference they play in, whether they are ranked, I might even know the school colors, that kind of stuff, but for folks who REALLY follow football, they know where the players went to high school, whether his dad played, what position they played what their stats are, how many sports they play, all that, so being a disciple has to be more than just a follower that generally knows what’s going on. Being a true follower means, among other things that you study to show yourself approved, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the work of truth, you delight yourself in the law of the Lord because you believe He will give you the desires of your heart. So when you made the decision to follow Christ, do you love Him enough to know all about Him so that when you invite someone to follow Christ, you are not just someone who knows Christ generally ?
Well let’s look at the first characteristic:
Courage: as a disciple you have to do what Paul told the Corinthians when they were doing what the unbelievers were doing. In
2 Corinthians 6:17 he said Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. – As a disciple, you have to have the courage to come out from among those who are engaging in unclean things. We must remind others that we are not perfect but we are being perfected, we are not good, but we are getting better, we are complete in Jesus and we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We have to believe that, 7 we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
So being a disciple of Christ means initially having enough faith, trust and courage to heed to the call that Jesus gave to the disciples, Follow me.
Conditioning; again, I generally know about sports but I believe many teams have a conditioning or a strength coach. This coach lays out a workout plan to prepare you for the big game. Well Jesus has a conditioning for disciples, He says, take up your cross daily. In Luke 9:23 He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. So as disciples who are commanded to make disciples, we have to practice every day being a disciple, not just on Wednesday or Sunday, otherwise we run the risk of simply being a casual observer if we don’t engage in daily conditioning. When we get into the big game, we are subject to injury, not just to ourselves but to others when we don’t know the word, when our actions are inconsistent with our words.
You have to be All In. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Jesus tells us in Luke 14: 26-28 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Does that mean we become irresponsible, absolutely not. God’s word does not contradict itself, He tells us how to honor our parents, love our spouses and children but He gives us a priority. His direction is clear in Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
We have to be all in because He will take care of whatever we believe is more important than what He has called you to do. We have to be fully committed to Christ if we are to be His disciples. We must be prayerful each day and do the will of God. When we are called to keep the charge we have, we have to be ready
Is there a cause for courageous, well-conditioned and committed believers? I think you would agree with me that there is.