25 Jun Becoming a Disciple of Christ
We are called to make disciples of Nations. Many need to know what it means to become a disciple themselves before they can make others Disciples of Christ.
“And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also].
For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death].
For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and ruins or forfeits (loses) himself?
Because whoever is ashamed of Me and of My teachings, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the [threefold] glory (the splendour and majesty) of Himself and of the Father and of the holy angels.
However I tell you truly, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God”.
What do these demands mean to us today? A disciple amongst other things is a disciplined learner, a follower, who adheres to the teachings of his Master. One who willingly allows his life to be conformed to the teachings or demands of the Master. We were slaves of sin but have been delivered from slavery to sin to become servants of God by living righteous lives through the grace of God. We are not to be conformed to this world but are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, according to Romans 12:1-3.
He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me;
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
He who receives and welcomes and accepts you receives and welcomes and accepts Me, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts Me receives and welcomes and accepts Him Who sent Me.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed]life [in the kingdom of God]?
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendour) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.
But turning around [His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men].
And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].
For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [thelower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?
For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?
For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous (unfaithful) and [pre-eminently] sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory (splendour and majesty) of His Father with the holy angels.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters—[yes] and even his own life also—he cannot be My disciple.
Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.
For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it?
Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him,
Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish.
Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand [men] to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
And if he cannot [do so], when the other king is still a great way off, he sends an envoy and asks the terms of peace.
So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up,say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple”.
How do we go about these things? We need to understand God’s ways as opposed to the ways of the world. God wants to set us free from the bondages in the world’s systems so we can truly serve Him and fulfil the purpose for which we were created.
RENEWING THE MIND
I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
For by the grace (unmerited favour of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.
LOVE NOT THE WORLD
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].
And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.
Rev. Kola Ewuosho