Becoming a Disciple of Jesus
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Link: Pulpit Article Becoming a Disciple of Jesus
It’s truly a blessing to know that you are a child of God and that God has done something very special and wonderful within you that has forever changed your life. But it is just the beginning. The Christian life isn’t something tried to see if you will like it or not and then change your mind. If you’ve truly been born again, you are a new creature in Christ. Whosoever is in Christ is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold, all things are become new.
We Are Free
We are no longer slaves! Praise God! We are no longer in bondage to sin and the slave master this world. Lost people today are enslaved in chains of bondage and held captive to Satan at his will. It’s truly a tragedy that people don’t see the reality of what is going on in our world. Satan is a deceiver. He is the greatest of all deceivers. Apostle Paul said, “and marvel not (don’t be amazed), for Satan is transformed into an angel of light.” But we are free; free from the bondage of this world. We have been rescued by Jesus Christ! The Cross of Calvary is such an emblem of suffering and shame but is also the place where Jesus “bruised the head of the serpent!” Because of what Christ did at the cross, you and I can go free. Jesus has paid the price for our freedom. If there is anything in your life today that still hinders you or has seemed to have gotten the upper hand since you’ve given your life to God, God is willing to set you free of it. You don’t have to remain in bondage to anything that Satan has devised. When Jesus went to Calvary, he suffered every way possible so that you and I could be free if we want to be free.
Do you believe that when Jesus suffered all the things he suffered at Gethsemane’s garden, Gabbatha’s whipping post, and Golgotha’s cross that he left anything out of your redemption? When Jesus walked, the devils trembled. Demons could not hide from Him. He commanded them and they had to obey. It didn’t matter what the circumstance was, the entire kingdom of Darkness knew Jesus was King of kings and Lord of lords. Wherever Jesus was, He repaired what Satan had destroyed in lives. He corrected what the devil had made incorrect. He gave back what the devil had stolen. I want you to know that there is complete victory in Christ.
There is victory over everything in you. We tend to think that we cannot be complete, lacking nothing or “perfect” as some would criticize. But the fact is that Jesus promises total victory over sin! This is great news to all of us. Victory over every stronghold, temptation, trial; everything that is against you. We don’t have to wonder if God will give us what we need to conquer the problems we face in this world. He is so faithful to us. His mercy is so rich and pure toward us. He is for us! God is not against you friend. He has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. We are more than conquerors through Christ that loved us. He always causes us to triumph. Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy: Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray god that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the lord shall deliver me from every evil work and preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:14-18 What a statement of victory! What a proclamation of triumph! Is there any other thing in this life that brings that type of victory? Paul knew in whom he served. Although it seemed as though all of Hell and the world was fighting against him and many men who at one time served with him had forsaken, he was assured that the Lord was with him and would continue to abide with him. He knew that God was faithful.
He Is Faithful
Do you know how faithful that He is? Do you know that Jesus promised that He would go with you all the way, even unto the end of the world? That’s a long way! What a promise! It doesn’t matter what you are going through. Christ promised he would sup with us, dwell with us, and abide with us. What a God we serve! It’s an humbling feeling to know that the Almighty God of Heaven would care enough about you to go to all the great lengths He has to give unto us the victory and then to promise to abide with us forever. He is so amazing and there’s no wonder why we will willingly praise Him throughout eternity for everything He has done. We don’t get saved knowing all the mysteries of the gospel. We aren’t born again with all the knowledge we need to be victorious in Christ. When I was born again, I didn’t have the knowledge of scripture. I just knew I was saved. I knew that I was forgiven. I knew that I had been set free of things that Satan had me held captive with. I knew that I was not the same person. I knew that there had been a change in my life. I just didn’t know what exactly God had done for me.
Child Of The King
But growing in grace and in the knowledge of God, I started to realize what God had done for me by studying His holy word. I started to realize who I was in Christ! I found out that I was a son! Do you realize that you are a son/daughter of the Most High God? Who could dare to make such a claim? Who could ever be so bold as to say that they were the offspring of the Almighty? The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had a big problem with this! They couldn’t explain how He could perform miracles but knew that He did. Oh but to make such a claim as to hear Him say that He was the Son of God! When Jesus revealed to Caiaphas the high priest that he would see Him sitting at the right hand of the Throne of God one day, Caiaphas rent his clothes! It was unbelievable! It was unimaginable! But you are a son. You are a daughter. You are not a servant of God. You’re a child of God. That ought to make you feel very special that God would make a plan of redemption that makes you and I sons and daughters of the Most High God.
Born To Serve
We are, however, called to serve. We are sons & daughters who serve. Your purpose in the Kingdom of God is to show forth to the world, the light that is in you. You may have some facial features that remind people of your mom or dad or some other relative. You also may exhibit personality characteristics that remind people of what genes you were born out of. Similarly, since we’ve been born into the family of God, our lives will show forth whose father we are. If God is love, then one of the most overriding characteristics of your life should be love. And we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. Another family trait that is in every child of God is the desire to surrender their will to the fathers. Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith, meaning, He is our example. He is the one that we look to for how a child of God should look in this generation, and every generation for that matter. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8 Obedience is a trait of every child of God. Obedience to His Word; obedience to His Spirit; obedience to His Will! Righteousness and true Holiness are also character traits of the Father. Once we have been born again, the bible says:
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17 When we are born again, God changes us on the inside. Our desires change. We no longer desire to be bound to the bondage of sin. The old sin nature of every child of God is broken in Christ. Therefore, we can walk in newness of life because Jesus lives within us. I can’t express enough how big of an adventure that the Christian life is! Only in eternity will we be able to understand the intensity that this redemption has had on mankind throughout the ages from the first to the last. It’s all been purchased at Calvary. Where sin did abound, Grace did much more abound. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Almighty God, has defeated Satan so greatly that Satan isn’t even a worthy foe anymore. Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! I’ve gone through some tremendously hard times in my Christian life, but I’ve found the Lord to be faithful through it all. I’ve spiritually fell on my face at times in defeat. This is not an instruction or guide into religion. If your heart is attentive to the Lord and as Barnabas exhorted the believers at Antioch, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord (Acts 11:23), then you will see God perform great and mighty things in your life. If the original men who followed Jesus, followed him whole-heartedly, should we not also expect to go to the same school as the apostles? Being a disciple requires discipline. It requires that we submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God and allow Him to mold and fashion us into the vessel He wants us to become. I am totally convinced that the believer’s greatest weakness today is that we often times desire the spiritual victories, but are not as willing to be instructed by the Lord in scripture. This world so desperately needs to see true followers of Jesus Christ instead of the bland and powerless facade of Christianity that is so often promoted in our world. From my studies in the scriptures, the instructions of Jesus to His disciples were as much geared toward a removal of things from them as much as a placing of things within them. If you have a greater desire within your heart to know Jesus and become the man or woman He desires you to be, and to find the will of God in your life, then the Lord will open your understanding to His will. Remember that it was the no name fishermen sons of Zebedee who became great men of God. It was the sons of Alphaeus who became men used mightily of God. Their road, however, started with a simple call to be a disciple or follower of Jesus. Jesus is still yet calling today for men and women to learn of Him; not to learn of religion or not necessarily what your church may be teaching if it does not line up with true biblical discipleship. Will you forsake all and follow Jesus? Will you submit your life to the discipleship teachings of Jesus?
Christian or Disciple?
This is a strange question isn’t it? Is there a difference? When we stand before the Lord, following Jesus or following people who follow Jesus will become vitally important; did we choose to follow Jesus or an empty religious church’s pattern of Christianity? There are still a great number of men and women in the world who are faithfully following the Lord, but the opportunity exists to be led off into a path that ends in spiritual devastation. There will definitely come a point in your walk with the Lord when you will have to decide whether to follow Jesus, or the church world’s pattern. The church world today, for the most part, wants to be exhorted and exalted, but refuses to be rebuked and corrected. The one term that is used more than any other in the Bible to identify someone who belongs to Jesus is the word “disciple.” It surprisingly is not the word “Christian.” Today we have placed many different words on people, the titles do not mean much. It all matters as to who a person is, not the title they place upon themselves. “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26). Before they were called Christians they were disciples. The word “Christian” is used only three (3) times in scripture: Acts 11:26, 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The word “disciple” is used two hundred sixty-eight (268) times in the New Testament: Matthew (74), Mark (45), Luke (38), John (81), Acts (30). Whether this is your first day walking with the Lord or not, there will be one thing that becomes increasingly evident in your Christian life. The Lord Jesus Christ has spiritual maturity ever in His plan for your life. Prior to Jesus going to the Cross of Calvary, He was continually growing and pruning the disciples. Jesus would hand this glorious gospel into the hands of a few men and He only had 3 1/2 years to accomplish this. Jesus did not just hand over the reins to unfaithful men though. He cultivated and consecrated the lives of the disciples so that these men would be men, not that could necessarily be given spiritual things, but men who were surrendered to Him, and who could be entrusted with the greatest message to ever dawn the earth. Jesus declared unto His disciples the importance of faithfulness. He taught them stewardship and faithfulness that must be in His disciples lives. His will and purpose, and spiritually capable of being led by the Spirit of God once the Comforter came on the day of Pentecost. The reason why this is required is that, as Jesus said, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:10-11 Jesus spoke again in Matthew of the importance of faithfulness which will be rewarded one day when He returns. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. Matthew 24:45 The burden of my soul has been poured out in hopes that the truths that have taken us many years to discern, recognize, understand, and learn will bring forth a clearer understanding for you and redeem the time for you as a child of God to become the mature follower God intends you to be. The Holy Bible is still revered in the majority of the world as the word of God, but has been reduced in application. This meaning that the Word of God is often read, but seldom acted upon and lived by. Jesus said plainly that it’s not the hearer that will stand in times of storm, but the doer. The biblical teaching of following Jesus is not popular to the world, or even the majority of the church world and will be rejected by most people because it requires a surrendering of our will and lives, but its effects and rewards are eternal.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus caused 11 men to turn the world upside down and revolutionize the world for the Kingdom of Heaven. If you will submit yourselves to the teachings of Jesus and fully surrender your will to the will of God, the Lord will once again bring forth a work; a move of God; a restoration of the gospel that America and the rest of the world so desperately stands in need of. The world doesn’t need to see religion; it needs to see Christ in you! The salvation of the world depends on you and I returning to becoming and walking daily as disciples of Jesus.