Conversion Vs. Discipleship
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He said, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me" Mt.
Peter had made his suggestion with a lot of human love. But Jesus rebuked him, because what Peter had suggested was contrary to the Father's will. The Father was always supreme in Jesus' affections. He expects us to have the same attitude towards Him too. After His resurrection, the Lord asked Peter whether he loved Him more than everything else on earth, before making him a shepherd in the church Jn.
Conversion and discipleship in the Old Testament
Only those who love the Lord supremely are given responsibilities in His church. The leader of the Ephesian church was in danger of being rejected because he had lost his initial devotion for the Lord Re. If we can say, like the psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven, Lord, but Thee? And besides Thee I desire nothing on earth," then we have truly fulfilled the first condition of discipleship Ps. The love that Jesus demands from us is not the emotional, sentimental, human affection that expresses itself in singing stirring songs of devotion to Him. If we love Him, we will obey Him Jn.
The second condition of discipleship is that we must hate our own self-life. Jesus said, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own life, he cannot be My disciple" Lk. He amplified that further by saying, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" Lk. This is one of the least understood of all of Jesus' teachings. Jesus said that a disciple would have to "deny himself and take up his cross daily" Lk. More important than reading our Bible daily, or praying daily, we have to deny ourselves daily and take up our cross daily. To deny our self is the same as to hate our own life - the life that we have inherited from Adam.
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To take up the cross is to put that self-life to death. We have to hate that life first, before we can slay it. Our self-life is the main enemy of the life of Christ. The flesh is a store-house of evil lusts within us that tempts us to do our own will at all times - to seek our own gain, our own honour, our own pleasure, our own way, etc. If we are honest, we'll have to admit that even our best actions are corrupted by evil motives that arise from our corrupt lusts. In fact, this phrase is repeated six times in the gospels Mt.
Conversion and Discipleship
This is the one saying of our Lord that is repeated most often in the gospels. Yet it is the least preached about and the least understood! To hate our own life is to give up seeking our own rights and privileges, to stop seeking our own reputation, to forsake our own ambitions and interests, and to stop seeking our own way etc.
We can be disciples of Jesus, only if we are willing to go this way. Jesus said, "No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions" Lk. Our possessions are what we possess as our own. To give them all up means that we no longer consider anything as our own. We see an illustration of this in the life of Abraham.
Isaac was his own son - his possession. One day God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.
And Abraham laid Isaac on the altar and was ready to slay him. But God intervened and told him that the sacrifice was not necessary, because he had proved his willingness to obey Ge. After that, Abraham recognised that even though he had Isaac in his house, he no longer possessed him as his own. Isaac now belonged to God. This is what it means to give up all our possessions. All that we have must be laid on the altar and given up to God. God may allow us to use some of those things.
But we cannot think of them as our own any more. Even if we are living in our own house, we must consider the house as God's; and that He has allowed us to stay in it rent-free! This is true discipleship. Have we done that with all our possessions? Our possessions include our bank-account, property, job, qualifications, gifts and talents, wife, children and everything else that we value on this earth.
We have to lay them all on the altar if we want to be true disciples. Only then can we love God with all our heart. It's not enough to have a clean conscience. A clean conscience only means that we have given up every known sin. A pure heart means that we have given up everything!
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And so we see that true discipleship involves a radical change of attitude towards: a our relatives and loved ones; b our self-life; and c our possessions. Unless we face these issues squarely and honestly, it will be impossible to fulfil the whole purpose of God for our lives. This is the pathway of discipleship. One has only to read Mt.
The need in our land is for people who have been gripped by the calling to proclaim the whole counsel of God, who are themselves obedient themselves to all that Jesus commanded, and who eagerly desire to teach others too to obey all of Jesus' commands - and thus build the body of Christ. Jesus said that all His disciples would be identified by one mark - their love for one another Jn. Mark that! They are identified by their fervent love for one another. The evangelistic meeting that brings people to Christ must lead on to the establishment of a church in that locality, where the disciples love one another.
Yet the sad thing is that in many places where repeated evangelistic meetings are held year after year, it is difficult to find even one church about which it can be said that the members there do not fight with one another or backbite against one another, etc. One can understand it, if new converts are unable to live such a victorious life immediately.
But what shall we say if strife and immaturity characterise even the elders and Christian leaders in the churches of our land? This is the clearest proof that the second and most important part of the great commission mentioned in Mt. The first part of the great commission Mk. There, the emphasis is on evangelism, the message being confirmed by signs and wonders done by the Lord.
In Mt. Multitudes of Christians are taken up with the former, but very, very few with the latter. Yet the former without the latter is as incomplete and worthless as half a human body. But how many have seen this?
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In Jesus' ministry, we read that great multitudes followed Him, because of His evangelistic, healing ministry. He always turned around and taught them about discipleship See Lk. Would that today's evangelists would do the same - either themselves, or in cooperation with apostles, prophets, teachers and shepherds who can complete the work that the evangelists have begun. Why are preachers hesitant to proclaim the message of discipleship?