WHAT IS DISCIPLESHIP?
WHO IS A DISCIPLE?
What is discipleship:A disciple is someone who follows the teachings, life, and goals of another until he or she becomes like the master. Discipleship in the Christianity is the process of making someone become like Christ. The disciple of Christ is to become like Christ in everything.
*BIBLE READING: 1KINGS 19:19-21; ISAIAH 8:16; MATTHEW 4:19*
*And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV).*
You cannot obey what you do not know. Discipleship is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Christianity. A common preconceived notion several believers have is that there is a difference between Christians and disciples whereas they are pretty much the same from God’s Vantage Point in Scripture: *”…And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”* (Acts 11:26b). It is hard to imagine what could be clearer than this: Christians are disciples of Christ and nothing else.
A disciple could be defined as “a person disciplined after a particular order, faith, philosophy or creed.” In other words, a disciple of Christ is simply a disciplined follower of Christ Jesus. What is the purpose of discipleship?
When He was calling His disciples to Himself, He simply told them, *”Follow me”* Lk. 5:27b (NKJV). That’s basically what it takes to become a genuine disciple: Wholehearted Followership. A disciple of Christ follows the Life and Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ without reservation. He is committed to a lifetime of obedience to the Lord’s every Instruction for obedience is the highest expression of Love for Jesus *(Jn. 14:15)*.
Are you a bonafide disciple of Jesus Christ? Anyone can claim to be but the truth remains that the object of your attention always gives you direction. The Lord help us become genuine disciples.
Heavenly Father, we exalt You for Who You are and for all You do in our lives. O Lord, please help us become authentic disciples of Christ Jesus who obey His Every Word in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.
WHAT IS THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
BIBLE READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27; HEBREWS 12:1-4; LUKE 14:25-33
*”And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” Luke 14:27-28 (NKJV).*
Throughout history, nameless millions willingly sacrificed their lives for Christ. They were imprisoned, tortured, even executed. Millions have foregone employment, suffered ridicule, endured expulsion from family, and persevered through religious persecution rather than forsake Christ. Only God knows the full extent of the suffering that His faithful ones have endured.
Surely, Paul forewarned, *“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”* (2 Tim. 3:12, ESV). And Peter said, *“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps”* (1 Pet. 2:21, ESV).
Despite the promises of the so-called “prosperity” preachers, luxurious automobiles and financial gain are not automatic embellishments afforded to believers. In the end, we can be sure that whatever the cost of discipleship is, considering the ultimate reward, that cost is cheap enough.
The cost of discipleship from our key text, Luke 14:27-28 is as follows:
*1) First Priority:* “…come after Me…” (v. 27b).
Jesus’ point is simple yet full of deep implications. Whenever family receives precedence and Christ becomes secondary, Jesus relinquishes Lordship. Serving multiple masters is impossible. Christ certainly supported strong family connections. Such connections, however, receive strength from unshakable foundations. That foundation means loving God unreservedly, first and foremost. God disallows every barrier, interruption, or distraction. Discipleship exacts the supreme price—undivided loyalty to Christ.
*2) Bear your Cross:* “And whoever does not bear his cross…(v.27a).
Before baptism, every candidate should understand that Christ Himself has assigned him or her a cross, without which they absolutely cannot become His disciple. The New Birth experience/Conversion, releases believers from the burdens of sin, not from the responsibilities of discipleship. By taking the name of Christ and by publicly revealing that choice through baptism, every believer must be aware that discipleship comes with a cost. What, though, does this world offer that makes what Christ offers not worth it? Nothing.
*3) A Disciplined Response:* “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it” (v.28).
The cost of discipleship involves discipline. Every impulse, every imagination, every ambition, and every desire must be submitted to Christ. Every possession, physical or invisible, every talent and ability, and everything of value must be under Christ’s command. What we don’t surrender to Him can, and inevitably will, become an idol, with the potential to lead us astray.
In summary, there is no question that the cost of following Jesus can be high, perhaps the costliest thing that anyone can do. Indeed, we should question the reality of our faith and our commitment if following Christ hasn’t cost a lot, maybe even everything. But one thing is sure: whatever we gain in this life, whatever we accomplish, whatever we make for ourselves, it is only temporary. It is something that will not last. It will vanish and vanish forever. In contrast, what we gain through Jesus—eternal life in a new heaven and new earth—is by far worth more than anything and everything that this world could ever offer us.
Father give me the revelation of the cost of discipleship and grant me the grace to make the required sacrifices as I follow Christ in Jesus Name.
HOW TO BECOME A DISCIPLE INDEED
*BIBLE READING: PSALM 37:31; 1 SAMUEL 3:19-21; ACTS 20:32*
*”Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.” John 8:31(NKJV).*
One major characteristic of genuine disciples is their readiness to adhere to every single word of their master. This is so critical because the first step to rejecting the Person of Jesus is rejecting His Principles or Sayings. The Lord said to His disciples: *”If you love Me, keep My Commandments”* (Jhn.14:15). In other words, the highest expression of Love is Obedience which is only possible for those who abide in His Word.
Abiding in the words of one’s master makes one a disciple indeed. To abide in your master’s word as a disciple means “to live according to his teachings” *(Jhn. 8:31, AMP)*.
A major difference between a disciple in word and a disciple indeed is that the former only professes his allegiance to his master while the latter shows it by his actions *(Jm. 2:18)*. A genuine disciple shows a total commitment to and acceptance of his master’s words, none of which he lets fall to the ground *(1 Sam. 3:19)*.
It is generally said that talk is cheap but that actually depends on who is talking. Simply put, the disciple holds as sacrosanct the very words of his master and has the outlook of Jeremiah the prophet in that regard: *”Your Words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was to me the Joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your Name, O Lord God of Hosts”* (Jer. 15:16).
Part of the responsibility of the great commission is making disciple of all nations. Matthew 28:19
Heavenly Father, we magnify Your Holy Name. O Lord, please help us become disciples indeed by abiding in Your Word in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.