The Challenge of Discipleship

You could be a follower of Jesus Christ but not a true disciple. Far more important is not the length of your life but the depth of your life. True Christianity is total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants you to be completely sold out to Christ. He wants us not to turn a deaf ear to Jesus Christ. I want to ask you what dominates your life today, is it business, work, family. Why is it that most church members do not attend church today? Why is it that Christians don’t really believe in a real heaven and a real Hell, and go after the lost? Why is it we prefer to be entertained and neglect the Masters command to go into all the world? The answer is we do not take our commitment to Christ serious. The Saviour is looking for men and women who will follow Him with their whole heart, who will serve Him with their talents and whole being, a living sacrifice, holding nothing back, to be totally His and at His disposal. He seeks center place in their lives. He set the supreme example of sacrificial, unconditional surrender by His sacrifice at Calvary. He asks the same of His followers.

The Lord Jesus demands that we don’t get caught up in the affairs of this world, not to be ruled by materialism, not to set our sights on this world were moth can corrupt but have our focus on heaven. Some of the Lords people are caught up in entertainment, in partying down here, or in sport, in movies, in TV, in acquiring things. Getting all the toys right now and enjoy them. They give little thought to those who are going to hell.

Islamic extremists give their lives for their false prophet Mohammad, political extremists give their lives for what they believe, we see many in Egypt and Syria at present willing to give their lives for their political cause, soldiers give their lives for patriotic reasons; communists still give their lives for political reasons. How many Christians are serious enough to follow Christ, how many truly give their lives to Him, how many are serious about being his disciple?

Many churches are lowering the commitment level to attract attenders. They’re afraid that if they preach against sin, talk about hell, they might offend some folks, so they focus on the positive and speak avoid confrontation. They don’t want to deal with doctrines that offend because people in our culture want to be tolerant and non-judgmental. They wouldn’t dream of practicing church discipline! Their focus is on being positive and make everyone feel good about themselves and feel loved and accepted no matter what their lifestyle is. Millions of churchgoers who call themselves Christians, but are not fully committed to Jesus Christ and the gospel. The majority who profess Christianity do not know basic Christian teachings and do not act differently because of their Christian experience.

Excuses for not being a fully Committed Disciple

Luke 9:57-62

Two verses later He laments that the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few (10:2).

Jesus requires that you devote everything that you are and have to Him or nothing at all. “There’s a difference between interest and commitment There are many who think that following Jesus is important, but not the most important thing in life.

These three men unnamed men came face to face with Jesus, they all thought that following Jesus was a good thing to do but it wasn’t the most important thing. They permitted something else to come between their souls and complete dedication to Him. It is easy to find reason for turning back. It may be people, or circumstance, or laziness, or selfishness, or worldliness.

The First Man and the love of earthly comforts.

The first man said, “I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” I will go anywhere you want me, I will do anything you ask me. Jesus said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (9:58). Jesus said in 9:23, that to follow Him requires a life of self-denial. He wanted him to understand it was not going to be easy, there was a battle to be fought, and a race to be run. It would take hard work and determination. He had the devil to contend with, the world and the flesh to fight.  Following Jesus is more important than our personal comfort.

Are you willing to do without the material comforts of life? Will you sacrifice the security of a home to follow Him? This man fades out of view. His love for earthly conveniences was greater than his dedication to Christ!

The Second Man put his job and duty before following Christ.

He refused the Lord outright. He was interested in the Lord but something else took first place. He said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” Marx uses to tell his followers in the revolution of the 19th century they must reject all past illusions and instead build a modern revolution with a new system. Marx is calling upon them to follow the new revolution and follow it.

“let the dead bury the dead”

or “After my father is gone, I will follow You.” if your

commitment to family is greater than our commitment to Jesus Christ and His kingdom, you’ve got it wrong. Some have strayed from the Lord because of their children. Their children or family are more important than God and keep them from God. This man’s father was in no immediate danger he may have had many more years to live. This was an excuse for not leaving all. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Only a believer can preach the gospel. The price was too great for him.

 The Third Man put family ties first.

He used those contradictory words, “Lord,…me first…” They all said the same thing – Me Frist. He said, “Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” He was first. Following Jesus was important, but not important enough to let go of the old relationships and ways. He wasn’t willing to make a clean break with the old contacts and way of life. You can’t keep one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom. Following Jesus is not just an important thing—it’s the most important thing in life. It’s not a part of your life but all of your life. Jesus is the centre of everything. My family, may career, my business is centred on following Jesus Christ and serving Him.

The Lord Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” He asks for all or nothing. To follow Him with all your heart requires:

Forsaking All

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus, one must forsake all. The Lord Jesus was clear about what He was saying. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). He asks for self denial it means complete submission to the lordship of Christ He has all the rights to your life.  To “take up his cross” is to deliberately chose the cross and spend your life following Him. It means continuing in his Word, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).   He means for you to abandon all you have for Him, serve Him work hard for Him, endevour to please Him. He means have a passion for Him. Invests everything in the work of the Lord and leaves the future with God. God assures you when you seek first the kingdom of heaven you will never lack food and clothing. He wants you not to focus on building up treasure on earth.

A Call to Commitment Romans 12:1-2

Many believer today are not making more of an impact in our society is that many church members made a decision about Christ, but have not made a commitment to Christ. This is something that is completely up to you. I want to challenge you this morning to give yourself to Christ. God desires a total sacrifice.

I urge you- God is pleading with you to give yourself totally to Christ. It is not negotiable. God wants total allegiance to Christ and His cause.

By the mercies of God– Because of God’s love, Gods grave, Gods mercy, Gods provision. Because of the gift of Jesus Christ. The motivation is to be, “the mercies of God.”  Think of what God has done for you for your life. You owe him everything.

It is our “reasonable service.” It is a logical, calculated decision that we would commit ourselves to God.

A “living sacrifices” Under the sacrificial system the animal to be sacrificed was committed to the priest, was killed and consumed on the altar. In the book of Malachi the priests were bringing their sacrifices to God. They were bringing the poor quality of lambs, the blind, the deaf the poorest quality. God told them to give that to their fathers it was not acceptable to Him. Malachi 1:13-14.

They were bringing the poor quality of lambs, the blind, the deaf the poorest quality. God told them to give that to their fathers it was not acceptable to Him. Paul is saying don’t offer God a partial sacrifice or a partial commitment.  He wants 100% commitment.  You are either committed or you are not committed. It is not possible to be a partial sacrifice. To commit ourselves to God means that we are to yield ourselves to him, surrender to him, give your all to Him your mind, don’t accept things into it He would not accept, what comes into your mind affects your heart, what comes into your heart affects your will and decisions in life, your eyes what you watch or see, he wants your ears what you hear, he wants you hands, He wants your body an life to serve Him before anyone else. He wants you to place yourself at his disposal.

He requires a supreme love for Himself. “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” (Luke 14:26). This means that our love to Christ should be so great that all other loves are hatred by comparison.

The Results of Total Commitment

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…” Do not follow the schemes of this world.  Don’t adopt the fashion of this world, to let it force you into its mold.

But be, “transformed.” We get the English word “metamorphosis” from it.  This is an inner change, that is seen outwardly. Do people see a change in you? You present yourself and the Holy Spirit does the changes. You will be transformed. He wants you to take action. Then you will “prove,” what is the will of God. It all begins with commitment. Commitment to Christ, then commitment to the local church. Some criticize all that is wrong with the church or comment or complain.  The church gathers for worship, teaching and fellowship and prayer. The brother or sister who “forsakes the assembling together” (Heb 10:25) misses out on these. You need to attend church regularly. There is a place for you in church. Be loyal to the local church. Be involved in the work of the church, in Sunday schools, bring your children to hear about God, be involved in our youth and children’s activities, contribute to our worship, be involved in the life of the church. Invite family friends and neighbours.  Come and serve us, use your gifts, “we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”  come and help us.

Will you make a commitment today. Will you commit yourself to Christ today, give him your life completely? Will you commit this local church today? We need you.

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