Luke 9:23 “Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’”
Luke 14:27-28 “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
If you’re not a Christian, what habits do you think you need to give up in order to follow Jesus’ way? If you’re a Christian, what habits from your past life did you have to give up in order to become a Christian? What do you still need to get rid of in order to give up your own way?
Jesus said, ‘If you follow Me, I’ll make you fishers of men.’ This is a formula for soul winning.
There were people that came to Him and heard Him, but… They had excuses. Jesus had an answer for every argument. You have to give up everything in order to follow Him. You have to follow the formula that Jesus gave.
In both the Greek and Latin the word ‘disciple’ is translated as ‘learner’ or ‘scholar.’ In all cases, discipleship implies that the learner not only accepts the views of the master but also practices them.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die.’
Gordon McDonald said, ‘True Discipleship is an all-out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.’
You can’t make disciples until you are a disciple. You can teach Bible studies and teach and preach and sing, but if you are not a disciple, you will never be able to be a disciple-maker.
Definition of a disciple
The term ‘disciples’ occurs 269 times in the New Testament. The Disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26).
Disciple… Greek: mathētēs, ‘a learner, pupil,’ ‘a follower of a teacher/master,’ ‘imitators of their teachers’
You don’t come up with your own philosophies when you’re a disciple. You don’t come up with your own methods. You follow His methods, His philosophies. You make His rule of life and conduct your rule of life and conduct.
How do the world’s philosophies and rules of life and conduct conflict with Jesus’? Have you allowed some of the world’s philosophies and rules of life and conduct to influence your own rather than following Jesus’ way? Take some time to search this out in your own life.
As lost people, pagans, out-and-out sinners in the world today, there are three problems in discipling.
- Intellectual problem, Science seems to be against the Word of God. The challenge is to decide Who Jesus is. Is He the way, the truth, and the life? The Bible has something to say about intellect. You can’t be a disciple in just your head. It’s got to get in your feet and hands and heart. You’ve got to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Phil 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” You must make a decision to walk towards Him. You must imitate the thoughts and actions of the Master. If you’re going to be a Christian, you can’t just say things. You have to walk away from some stuff. Lesson one is come.
- Moral problem, meeting the high standards of Jesus Christ is a problem for some. If you want to be a disciple, you have to pay a price. Are you willing? You can’t take the name without paying. You can’t put Jesus in your life and still have sin. You are going to have to quit lying and sleeping with that person who isn’t your spouse. You must handle and deal with the moral stuff. You can’t cheat in school. Get rid of the things that aren’t right in your life. Morality matters. You’ve got to become something else. You can’t live a clean life today on your own. You can live a clean life with Jesus. “I have been crucified with Christ.” Rom 6:14 “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” It’s a lie that you’re never going to be ‘good enough’ for Jesus. You will stumble but make progress. Press forward. Look for that brighter future. Sin no longer has a hold on you when you have Jesus in your life. To come after Jesus, you must deny. You must reject one person—YOU! We want luxury and food and sleep. This isn’t promised. Gal 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” A disciple says, ‘I have no opinion.’ If you have already committed yourself and you make a mistake, if you confess and repent, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse from sin. You don’t have to disqualify yourself when you mess up. Go to Jesus and deny yourself and be forgiven. Lesson two is deny.
- Passion problem, Jesus wants to be Lord over every aspect of your life, connected to every emotion you have. All your emotions must be surrendered. It’s hard in the presence of God to not be emotional. He died for you and made a way in the midst of something impossible. You should have more passion for Jesus than you do for football. Team Jesus wins every time. He never loses. Why not cheer and have joy? Your emotions must be submitted to Jesus.
- The Call to Come to Jesus, the person Jesus Christ, He will make your sins white as snow. He calls you to Himself. ‘Whosoever will, come.’ The first call is not to preach or to mission work or to music or some job. The first call is to come to Jesus. Get a hold of Jesus and get ahold of His identity. Seek Him. Put your trust in Jesus. Search for Him, seek for truth. ‘If you search for God, you’ll find any spiritual thing out there, but if you search for truth, you’ll find Jesus every time.’ Jesus IS Truth!
- The Call of Consecration, you are called to be a living sacrifice, separated, set apart. John 8:31-32 “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” If you refuse to continue in His Word, you are not a disciple. You might be a believer, but you have to follow Him, His will, His way in order to be a disciple. You can be a believer and be bound. John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” It’s possible to be a believer and not be consecrated to Jesus. You must give Jesus the keys to every aspect of your life, your home, your family, your spouse, your job, your finances, your free time, your future. Stop thinking you know better than Him and trust Him. Col 2:6 “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”
- The Call to Serve, you’ve got to work! Servanthood is a part of discipleship. Care about other people. ‘I will gladly spend and be spent if it will profit you.’ What can you do to bless somebody else?
Have you answered these calls to be a disciple? Do you come to Him every day? Do you pray and read His Word? Are you faithful to His way instead of your own? Do you serve others—His way?
A real disciple makes disciples. Jesus said if you do these things, He will make you fishers of men. Built into the program of being a Christian is about caring for people who aren’t Christians yet. You’ve got to love them and see them the way Jesus does, priceless.
Someone told President Lincoln that he shouldn’t make friends with his enemies but destroy them. Lincoln replied, ‘Have I not destroyed my enemies when I make them my friends?’
Are you a disciple that cares about making disciples?
Love will cause you to care, to serve, to consecrate, love for the Word and love for the Lord.
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!