Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

12/12/2018

Harold Akridge

 

The Meaning of Being A Disciple

 

Then he (Jesus) called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24, Matt. 16:24 NIV

 

  We are part of a large crowd following this new Rabbi Jesus and his disciples walking from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi. We are hoping to get closer to him and hear what he is saying to these men. Suddenly, the teacher stops and turns around calling and waving for us to come closer to him. He looks into the eyes of the crowd speaking, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and…  follow me.” My friends and I looked at each other confused and puzzled - what does he mean? We are common Jews and have never heard this type of teaching. Only the Pharisees had disciples and this man was not a Pharisee. Others have said this teacher is special, but why should we follow him, and what does he mean deny ourselves? What is going to happen to us if we follow him? He has already had disputes with the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders. What decision should we make?

 

  Fast forward two thousand years and the question is still being asked. Why should I be a disciple of Jesus Christ and what does it really mean? What does it mean to deny myself and follow him? Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is more than just being a follower, learner or student. Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy, in fact it is costly.

 

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires:

 

  Putting Him first in all things. A true disciple of Christ must be willing to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. A disciple of Jesus Christ puts him above all those nearest and dearest to him.If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters…cannot be my disciple”(Luke 14:26).

 

  Loving our brethren as he did. He said “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”(John 13:34, 35). Loving other brethren begins when assembling together for worship and encouraging each other, (Hebrews 10:25). True Jesus disciples are like the first century church constantly looking for opportunities to help and encourage other brethren.

 

  Being selfless. Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness. He stepped out of heaven coming into this world, “making himself nothing” and took upon himself “the very nature of a servant,” (Philippians 2.5 & 7). As disciples of Christ, we must “have the same mind set.” Jesus came not for His own benefit but for ours. He came to minister to us and die for us: Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). We must always put others first, sometimes placing them and their needs over our very own. Biblical humility is not only necessary to enter the kingdom, it is also necessary to be great in the kingdom. "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave" (Matthew 20.26-27).

 

  Having Jesus’ humility. The apostle Paul teaches humility in Colossians 3:12 as having compassionate hearts, showing kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. It literally means lowliness of mind.” True Jesus humility is a heart attitude, not just an outward character. Jesus said that those who are “poor in spirit” would inherit the kingdom of heaven. Being poor in spirit means that only those who admit to complete bankruptcy of spiritual worth will inherit eternal life.

 

  Being a servant. As a servant, Jesus was willing to wash the feet of his disciples telling them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to washone another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). We must deny ourselves and become a willing servant to others.

 

Let's see, are we ready to check our discipleship

By consulting this chart...

 

      Walking in His steps means…

• Depending on the Spirit: John 14.26

• Interacting in Community: John 13.35

• Submitting to His Lordship: Luke 6.46

• Communing with the Father: John 8.31

• Investing HIS resources: Luke 14.33

• Participating in Service: Matthew 20:27-28

• Leading People to Christ: John 4.35

• Expanding the Kingdom: Matthew 6.33

 

—Harold Akridge

Bella Vista church of Christ