Thursday: Follow Jesus
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When in faith we recognize our need, repent, confess our sins, and claim Christ’s righteousness for ourselves, we become His disciples. During His ministry, Jesus called different people, such as Peter and James and John, to be His disciples, a call that implied leaving everything in order to follow Him (Matt. 4:20, 22; Mark 10:28; Luke 5:28). In fact, in the Gospels the verb to follow practically became a synonym for disciple.

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

What two elements are essential in order to be a disciple of Jesus? See John 8:30-31.

Some people try to separate faith in Jesus from adherence to Jesus’ teachings, as if the first would be more important than the latter. But Jesus did not make such a distinction. For Him, both aspects are closely interrelated and fundamental for true discipleship. A disciple of Jesus is committed to His person, as well as to His words. Though there is always the danger of getting so caught up in doctrines and forms of faith that we lose sight of Jesus Himself, we must also be aware of the danger of thinking that all that matters in our walk with the Lord is to believe in Jesus.

What is the high cost of being a disciple of Jesus? See Luke 14:25-27.

Jesus used the verb to hate as a hyperbole meaning to love less. The parallel passage in Matthew clarifies the meaning of Jesus’ words: He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:37, NKJV). Jesus must have the first place in our lives if we want to be His disciples.

What has following Christ, being His disciple, cost you? What does your answer say about your walk with the Lord?

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Thursday: Follow Jesus — 4 Comments

  1. When we take up our cross to follow Christ.When we sacrifice something we value in order to be a disciple of Christ, we are giving to Him to manage what we cannot take care of ourselves.Read Mat 6:30-33.

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  2. This lesson has caused me to ask a very simple question. Exactly what is the call? Does that mean that I have to do exactly what Jesus did? This is something that I have wrestled with all my life and I think a lot of other people do too.

    To the disciples Jesus changed their occupation to do what He did, but I don’t think that happens to everyone. If we are all called to be the same then what about the gifts of the spirit that God is, “distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Cor 12:11 NKJV). As Paul said, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all (1 Cor 12:4-6 NKJV). We are not all called to have the same function and be carbon copies of one another. Each of us has different gifts that brought together and combined become the body of Christ.

    If there is anything we are to be absolutely unified in it would be character, how we relate to one another. We are called to be Christ like in our relationships. Along with that we also have a general singular calling to be ambassadors for Christ in a world that doesn’t want Him but how we implement that is something we must decide on. God does not push us into a little corner and dictate our every move. He gives us freedom for self expression because He made us all a little different with different abilities and interests to be used to the benefit of all.

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  3. If we flipped one of the questions and asked, "What elements are there that would keep someone from following Jesus to the very end?" The answers would then become a warning for us do deepen our experience with our Savior.

    There are at least three elements that will lead a soul to shipwreck one's faith: a shallow spiritual experience, double-mindedness, and a hardened heart against repentance.

    Jesus gave examples of the danger of a careless, self-sufficient attitude. In the parable of the sower He warns against the believer of not having a deep root in himself, but he endures but just for a little while until tribulations and persecutions overwhelm his faith, and he immediately stumbles. Matthew 13: 20,21
    This same careless attitude is reflected in the story of the five foolish virgins who filled their lamps with oil to the brim, but didn't take any extra with them. The wise virgins brought an extra "emergency supply" a "just in case" back up supply of oil that took time, expense, and forethought to create. Matthew 25:3,4

    Doubt and double-mindedness are interchangeable. James warns against both as being unstable. James 1:6-8 Paul urges us to "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" Hebrews 10:23 NKJV Elijah asked a simple but direct question to which the summoned audience answered not a word, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow Him." IKings 18:20 NKJV

    The most grievous element that prevents the soul from following Jesus is hardheartedness. In David's ninety-fifth Psalm, he places worship and obedience in direct contrast to rebellion and a hardened heart. "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Psalms 95:6:7 NKJV

    But what follows in the passage is a warning and the sad history of transgression and sin by His people. "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.' So I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest.'" Psalms 95:8-11 NJKV

    The fearful pronouncement of the Prophet Samuel against King Saul is a warning for us to cling to the Word of God. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king." I Samuel 15:23 NKJV

    With so many impediments to becoming followers of Jesus are we to then despair of gaining heaven's peace? Never! a thousand times no! The promise of Jesus assures us of a living link to heaven. John 14: 15-18 tells of the Spirit of truth that will dwell with us and be in us, "I will not leave you orphans" is His promise. John 14:18 NKJV

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  4. When Paul was confronted by the philosophers of Athens, part of his discussion was about the difference between believing in the national gods and the God of the universe. His comment recorded in Acts 17: 28 "In him we live and move and have our being" sums it up. There is a sense of total involvement associated with believing in God - in contrast with the detached philosophical belief in the various local gods.

    True belief in God affects everything we do. As a pastor in my childhood expressed it; "Even your dog should know that you are Christian" I think that the little play on words, "Seventh-day Adventists should be Seven Day Adventists" expressed the idea well. Our commitment should not be to a couple of hours of church on Saturday, but a commitment to being like Christ, even on Wednesday afternoon!

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