Discipleship

As a follower of Christ, what does the Lord require of you? (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Deuteronomy 10:12,13  And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command you this day for your good?

To fear God is to love and respect and obey Him. To walk in His ways is to follow Him, doing what He wants not what you want, which is intricately connected with keeping His commandments. But what are His commandments?

Matthew 22:37-39  Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Love, God’s love for both God and your fellow-man is the basis of all God’s commandments. JOY comes from loving Jesus, first, Others, second and Yourself, last. And,

Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This means that Jesus’ commandments are the fulfillment and sum total of all the law that preceded Him in the Old Testament books. So to the church of believers He says we must depart of iniquity, from doing evil, and with His love and power (via the Holy Spirit) we must strive to resist sin at every moment.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure [firm], having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity [unrighteousness].

We have the foundation, the grace given us through salvation in Christ, therefore we are no longer under the bondage of sin.

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

Have you given up everything for Christ? Are you willing to give up anything to have Christ? A disciple does that with joy. There is nothing more precious than a life knowing Christ. Nothing is a sacrifice. All life is but dung (excrement) compared to Christ.

Romans 12:1,2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Your bodies are a living sacrifice, willingly given in service for God’s work on Earth. Be not conformed to this world, but transformed through what you now put into your heart, spirit and soul by the renewing of your mind through study of God’s Word. It is like God rewires your brain to think in a totally new way, His way. But that will only occur if you devote your time to study His word, and do it.

Mark 8:35-38 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My [the Lord Jesus Christ’s] sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels

A disciple willingly puts himself last as he pursues God’s will on Earth, not his own selfish life. And a disciple is not ashamed of Christ nor of His words. He stands up to those who ridicule Christ.

Matthew 10:24,25 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [i.e. Satan], how much more shall they call them of his household?

The disciple is no better than his master. A disciple expects to suffer like his Lord.

These are the tests of discipleship:

Matthew 10:32-40 Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he that takes not his cross, and follows after Me, is not worthy of Me. 39 He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for My sake shall find it. 40 He that receives you receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me.

Luke 9:57-62 57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. 58 And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay His head. 59 And he said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow You; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hands to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 11:28  But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Be obedient to the Word of God. Once you ‘put your hand to the plough‘ means that you have started your work for God following Christ and you do not look back to your old life; it is dead.

Luke 14:26  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.

That means you love the Lord so much more it may seem like hate by comparison. So you must love God more than any other.

Luke 14:27 And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.

Bear your cross, that is your job for the Lord, to get out and witness to others. God has called you to do that.

Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple.

Forsake all means give up everything else for Christ, to love and serve Him. That may mean you have to make major changes in your life. Forsake a your own career, or, anything that gets in the way of serving the Lord.

Luke 12:15 And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. 

Beware of covetousness, don’t hoard and place material goods above the Lord and His service. We will all die one day and you can’t take it with you.

Matthew 19:29  And every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Forsake all and receive an hundred times what you gave up, but even more than that, receive everlasting life.

Mark 10:29,30  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Forsake all for Christ’s and the gospel’s, receive an hundredfold now,  with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. That is what we have to look forward to. But remember,

Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Often it is from family that comes the greatest opposition to you serving Jesus Christ.

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.

Die to yourself and bring forth much fruit. By giving your life in His service you can be useful to God to reach others with the gospel.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men

The salt of the earth means we affect the world. Salt without saltiness is useless. It may mean you offend some, by your actions or words. You can’t be a friend of the world but you can be effective for Christ.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [wealth].

It is impossible to serve two masters. Choose who you will serve, Christ or pursuit of your own wealth (mammon). That is the type of wealth that can never satisfy.

Matthew 6:25-32 Therefore I say to you, Take no thought [be not anxious] for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat [food], and the body than raiment [clothing]? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better [more valuable] than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought [worrying] can add one cubit [about 18 inches or 44 cm] to his stature  [height]? 28 And why take you thought [are you concerned] for raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say to you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed [clothed] like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought [do not worry], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles [nations of the world] seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.

God will take care of you. He knows all your needs. Just trust Him!

Matthew 6:33 But seek [desire] you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Seek first the kingdom of God, which means by putting His will to reach the lost and bring them in, first in your life, God will supply all your needs in this life. His righteousness is all that make us righteous.

Luke 12:32-34 Fear not [be not afraid], little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax [grow] not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts [destroys]. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If your wealth on Earth is where you concentrate your efforts then that is where your heart is. Instead we have a higher calling.

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness;

We are called to preach Christ and to explain the love He has for those He died for on the Cross. To the Jews it may be a big hurdle for them to mentally overcome, because they know their scriptures so well, and are blinded (in part) to the gospel, but to the rest of the world (the Greeks) who have no knowledge of the Creator God, it may seem to them to be foolishness.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

We are to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and his message of salvation. That should be the total focus of our lives. All hobbies and our own desires should be eliminated if they get in the way of serving God. I am sure the Apostle Paul had no hobbies, like the equivalent of computer games etc. He was totally focused on winning the lost. He wrote:

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

I live by the faith I have in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, while I was still a sinner. It is Christ’s life in me and in you. Hence we are crucified with Christ, and if we follow Him as a disciple we will be crucified daily.

Additional Reading

 

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