DISCIPLESHIP OF JESUS CHRIST..........Moving from Follower to Disciple



If any man will come after Me........Luke 9:23-24 

Introduction

This is a voluntary invitation the Lord is making to those who are to be numbered among the saints as disciples. It is a statement made to show some of the most important requirement for discipleship, 'emptying yourself' of all pride, and those weights that distract on the way.  

The requirement for serving the Lord is not necessarily your qualification or earthly position and achievement...NO! God can use anybody that is available and willing to obey His Word and instructions.

The 'call' of God is a worthy call that leads to eternity in Christ.  It is a call to discipleship in Christ, which means that you will in addition to being saved, you the disciple will in-turn be committed to winning others to Christ.  

The Call to Discipleship
Disciples are different from followers of Christ.  Disciples graduate from the school of followers and that is why the invitation was made to the followers, who want to become disciples...To sell all they have and then join the team e.g the Rich young man in Mark 10:21

Anybody can receive the call at any time, but remember you are already a follower of Christ, so when the higher call of discipleship comes your way, you will need to go back to God for clearance.  God will communicate to you in due time.  In such circumstance, You may continue in your services to the Lord where you are, in your job or business or even political position, until you receive further directives to leave your job.  

How will you know the Lord is leading you to leave your job, He will speak to you directly, especially when you pray and ask for His direction. He will show you the ministry you are to serve Him as a Pastor or give you a message to go into the world and raise a people like this or that for Him.
The secret of fruitful service
The Lord, Jesus Christ was speaking to His disciples and His numerous followers about the secret to effective and fruitful service to God when He made that statement in Luke.  God has never hidden things from His children, and so He knew that it is possible for some people to want to serve Him, while at the same time they are busy 'doing their own thing' along side their service. 

As God, He does not want us to be without fruit in our service, after all He calls us, ordains us to be fruitful and that our fruit should last, but when ever you see any servant of God with divided attention, Such a person will not be able to produce much fruit.  

Take for instance, a Pastor or Evangelist who also wants to be the President of his country, bank manager etc.  That desire or ambition will require his full attention and pursuit, which will mean that the work of God will no longer be his priority, but becoming the President.

The statement   If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”  is simply saying you will have to down-play your certificates, money and position, those things that men trust in and boost about and rather put all your trust in God and Jesus Christ.  

It was for this same reason that Jesus told the rich young man in Mark 10:21 to go and sell all the things he has, give them away to the poor and then come and join Him.  Those things you trust in - Money, connection and position are not necessary conditions for success in the work of God. Sell them, be willing to start afresh with God.

How to Deny yourself
Another way to look at the statement is that, if you are a wealthy man, behave as though you are not wealthy for the sake for the gospel and humble yourself to obey the Word of God and His instructions. In the church, don't look for group of rich men to belong.  You are an Engineer does not mean it is in the group of your colleagues that you will serve, you may never learn much.  But if you join ushers, Evangelism or Sanctuary keepers, you will learn much.  Humble yourself and forget you earthly position when it comes to service of God.

Deny yourself means that your trust for Food, daily bread, healing, protection etc should be in God, when you are a servant of God and not in any other things or person.  The servant of God should put all his trust in God, that's what the job requires.

So, if you are a Pilot, a Governor etc and receive the invitation to follow Christ, it does not necessarily mean you should walk away from your good job and become a Pastor - NO. But you can preach the gospel and win souls anywhere you are. With the word of God in your heart and mouth, humble and positive attitude, you can turn your office, home and business place to a mission field for soul winning until you confirm the 'call' is for a full time ministry.

Examples in the bible
We have a good number of such men in the old and new testaments of the bible. In the New Testament, Mathew 27:57-60, we have the story of Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man working in the government of Pilate, a follower of Jesus Christ.  He was a disciple of Christ, though not a visible one, yet Jesus knew him and he continued to work with the government of the day. It was Joseph of Arimathaea that went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus Christ to give Him a befitting burial.  In verse 60, the bible recorded that he laid Jesus in his own tomb, which was newly hewn out of the rock, which nobody has never used.

Daniel in the book of Daniel. He was not a pastor. but He served the Lord in a strange land and his love for God led to his many exploits in Babylon. He began to serve the Lord as a youth, identifying with God and giving Him all the glory for all things. He lifted the name of the Lord high among the Eunuchs and before the Kings that ruled Babylon during his days. Dan 1:8

As you would expect, God's promise in 1 Corinthians 15:58  that our labour of love in the Lord will not be in vain, God gave him favour before men in authority continually.  Dan 1:9. Daniel remained steadfast in praying for Israel and God's people and was known for his honesty, integrity and truthfulness. 

Continuous and faithful service
He served the Lord continually by labouring in the Word and ministering to the Lord in prayers that God began to open his spiritual eyes to see vision and mysteries to the extent that he had to interpret several dreams of the kings of Babylon,  which their wise men could not interpret.  Daniel ended up becoming a Prophet of God due to his faithful and consistent service unto the Lord.

The call require a heart that will tirelessly stand for God and happily and sacrificially reach out to the unsaved with the gospel, the poor and needy with a helping hands and see that these people coming to Christ are well established in the faith.

Beloved, "Let him deny himself and carry his cross and follow me" also means that disciples and followers of Christ should be prepared to deny themselves some of the cares and luxuries of life they are familiar with for the sake of the kingdom. If you are on a mission field for instance, there will hardly be a swimming pool or five star hotel and restaurant for you to enjoy your stay there. Jesus is saying that comfort should not stop a believer from discharging his responsibilities in the work of the Lord. It could also mean that some of your worldly plans and ambition that stand in the way of you and Jesus will have to give way.
God is able to take care of you
Jesus made this statement to His disciples and followers in order to let them understand that following Jesus and serving God does not means there will be no problems.  It does not exempt you from the tribulations of life, the only difference is that God has promised to be with you and make a way for your victory.  
He also made the statement to inform them that once their hands was on the plough, they should not withdraw and look back because of troubles and challenges, but they should rather carry the burdens and challenges and follow Him who is able to remove their burden and give then rest - JESUS CHRIST!
Remember that Jesus had earlier made an open invitation to them to come to Him all who had laboured and heavy laden, that He will give them rest.  Jesus is the burden bearer. So, if you are following Him and trouble come to you, don't let such trouble separate you from the gospel and from following Him, carry the trouble and continue on the journey - for in due time, he will remove the burden from your shoulders and give you rest.


FIRE...

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