Taking Discipleship Seriously

DISCIPLESHIP

Following Christ exacts a price that for the most part the church in the United States has refused to fully embrace.

Throughout the ministry of Jesus, He clearly declared that those who would be His disciples must be willing to surrender all. With Jesus it is all or nothing at all.

We have created a man made Christ in this nation who demands no commitment, with a cross that requires no crucifixion. The result is a Christianity that lacks credibility.

“The invasion of the Church by the world is a menace to the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. In all ages conformity to the world by Christians has resulted in lack of spiritual life and a consequent lack of spiritual vision and enterprise. A secularized or self-centered Church can never evangelize the world.” – John R. Mott

Could the Rich Young Ruler be a type of the American Christian? (Mark 10:17-25 NKJV)  Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” {18} So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. {19} “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.'” {20} And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” {21} Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” {22} But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. {23} Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” {24} And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! {25} “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Tom Sine, in his book “Taking Discipleship Seriously,’ says, “Jesus in His extremism insists that we surrender all our relationships, our resources, our careers, our futures-our total lives-to His lordship…In becoming Christian it appears that many of  us have unquestionably attempted to layer our faith right over the top of the secular values with which we have been raised. We have simply accepted cultural expectations as largely unquestioned givens. For many, this business of following Christ seems to be placing a little “Jesus veneer” over middle- and upper middle-class lifestyles and their implicit values. That simply won’t work.”

Stony Ground Hearers: (Mark 4:16-17 NKJV)  “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; {17} “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.

Many people who begin to walk with Christ, but when the price begins to be required fall away. (Luke 9:59-62 NCV)  Jesus said to another man, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” {60} But Jesus said to him, “Let the people who are dead bury their own dead. You must go and tell about the kingdom of God.” {61} Another man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.” {62} Jesus said, “Anyone who begins to plow a field but keeps looking back is of no use in the kingdom of God.”

The Loveless Church,  and the American CHristian: Repent and do the first works. (Revelation 2:1-5 NKJV)  “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: {2} “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; {3} “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. {4} “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. {5} “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent.

“The depth of your repentance will determine the height of your revival.” Frank Bartleman of the Azusa Street Revival

They left their love of Christ for the pleasures of this world. (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)  Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. {16} For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. {17} And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.

The Lukewarm Church.: Revelation 3:14-17 NKJV)  “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: {15} “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. {16} “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. {17} “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked;

They did not even realize that they were repulsive to God. It’s Time to Wake Up! (Romans 13:11-14 NLT)  Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. {12} The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don’t live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light. {13} We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. {14} But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.

(Ephesians 5:15-16 GWT)  So then, be very careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people. {16} Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.

 It is time for the body of Christ to begin living with eternity upon our hearts, and within our eyes. Time is running out, and we have much work to do.

(Philippians 3:14 NKJV)  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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