But what do the scriptures tell us about disciples? Six things I think are obvious
Disciples come to:
- Count the cost
- Love Jesus more than anything
- Bear their Cross
- Follow Him
- Renounce all they have
- Relinquish Everything
Showing up on Sunday morning, feeling ‘justified’ by your religious activity has nothing to do with the gospel or Jesus death on the cross. Jesus is saying come to Me, let Me be your greatest treasure, all that you love in life and then you will know what life truly looks like…how it was truly meant to be lived.
We should come to Jesus through sacrifice, not simply to try and consume what He has provided through the cross. But because of sin, we find ourselves relating to God and His purposes as though they serve us, and not the other way around. We follow to consume the benefits, remaining in the crowd, while Jesus is calling those who would follow Him to give all to Him and submit to His way, His will, His word, and His work-becoming disciples. This is not a call to come and consume, but a call to come and die!
Some want to resist this, against the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts because:
- It requires sacrifice
- It requires commitment
- It requires obedience
- It requires the worship Jesus alone
- It requires a relinquishing of control
- It demands total allegiance
- It confronts our selfishness/self-centeredness
- It confronts our misconstrued ideas of who Jesus is
- It confronts our understanding of what’s valuable in life
- It threatens the relationships we have placed above Jesus
But this is what Jesus is calling us to, and either you follow Him, or you don’t.
If you want to move from the crowd to the cross, becoming a disciple, He will give you the means, and the desire, if that is what you seek.
- The gospel says God came because we are not a good people, but lost people
- The gospel says that true fulfillment is found in Jesus, not in all of our temporal things
- The gospel says that if you love Jesus more than anything you will love your family better, and live your life better
- The gospel says God’s glory is your greatest joy
And the Gospel says that by His grace, you can give the whole of your life as a living, loving sacrifice to Jesus, for His purposes, as a disciple. You can move from the crowd to the cross
God wants you to be a loving, Spirit-led, joy filled disciple…that’s why He died, so that we could live for His glory and the extending of His kingdom. This makes a difference for us right now, today, because practically it:
Allows us to truly know the person of Jesus, and the fullness of Him
Allows us to live our faith with passion and depth, following Jesus with everything
It compels you to stop seeking identity from who you are, what you have, where you work, what you’ve accomplished, and your relationships
We are better fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, friends, students, employee’s etc. when our lives are wholly given over to Jesus as His disciples’
We more diligently and faithfully serve the church, compelled by gospel love
And what a world we would live in if those who professed to serve Jesus would live this way…would live as disciples and not consumers. The church would rise, the gospel would spread, and people would be made free. In fact, historically, wherever the gospel has been preached, churches, schools, hospitals, social improvements, and advances in civilization have followed. It is in our striving to move from the crowd of consumers to the cross that those who don’t believe cease to see us as hypocrites, fakes, and phonies.
So go, live with Gospel love for the lost, be Generous in your giving to the church you serve. Live sacrificially and be consistent in who you are among Christians and non-Christians.
Commit to the Church, being a Servant in the church and the world; and be a good neighbor. Give your life away for Jesus and His Gospel! This extends the Kingdom of God, and invites the non-Christian into the redeeming love, grace, and mercy of Christ. It was for this reason that you were born, to carry out Christ glorious mission of redeeming our world.
The crowd comes to consume, but the cross demands disciples, are you in the crowd or under the cross!