The Cost of Discipleship
In nearly every case, joining one of the many churches today is an amazingly easy process. In some places you walk the aisle, or perhaps you fill out a card, or maybe answer a couple of questions, and you're in. Many people would say that it should be that easy. But maybe we need to think about this further.
In our zeal to reach the lost we must not abandoned the principles of discipleship established by our Lord. Whatever one needs to do to be saved, the Lord must be the one who we look to and obey.
When Jesus walked this earth, He expected those who follow Him to take it seriously. He made it clear that there were some requirements involved for those who wanted to follow Him. He was not interested in attracting new members for a club--He was looking for sold-out, completely committed disciples.
There are many occasions in the gospels where Jesus challenged would be followers to make a serious--not half-hearted--commitment. The challenge is extended to us. There is a cost of discipleship, and those who wish to be disciples must be willing to pay it.
There is no greater example of this than the story of the rich young ruler. This story clearly defines at least three requirements involved in the Cost of Discipleship.
The first requirement for being a disciple is that we must:
1. Confront the Truth About Jesus Christ
When the rich young ruler approached Jesus, calling Him "Good Teacher," notice what Jesus says in response:
(Mark 10:18) Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone...
This statement may sound confusing. What is Jesus saying? Is He saying that He is not good? Of course not. This would contradict the Bible's most basic teaching about Christ--and it contradicts what Jesus said about Himself. Jesus is not saying "I'm not good." He is saying, in effect, to the rich young ruler, "I'm not interested in lip-service. Don't call me good unless you're ready to call me God."
There is a tendency among non-Christians to dismiss Jesus as simply a "good teacher" and nothing more. You've heard it before: "Jesus was a good man, and even a great moralist, but I don't believe that He is God, or the only way to God."
In order to be a disciple you must confront the truth about Jesus Christ. This means admitting that He is Lord and submitting to His lordship. As you've heard so many preachers say: Jesus must be Lord of all, or He's not Lord at all.
Accepting Christ as Lord means that we commit ourselves to obedience. Jesus said...
Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46)
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15) This would include the command He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved... (Mark 16:16)
In order to be a disciple we must first confront the truth about Jesus Christ. He is Lord and our lives must reflect that.
The second requirement for discipleship is that you must:
2. Confront the Obstacles that Stand Between You and God
Jesus said to the young ruler...
(Mark 10:21)..."You lack one thing; go, sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
The obstacle that stood between the rich young ruler and God was money. Maybe it's the same for you. Or maybe it's power, success, selfishness, sports and entertainment, your car, or any number of other things. Whatever the obstacle, it must be confronted and eliminated.
If you're willing to pay the price, though, there is no limit to what God can accomplish in your life.
The third requirement for being a disciple of Jesus Christ is that you must:
3. Confront Your Absolute Need For God's Grace
You see, if you're harboring the idea in the back of your mind that this is something you deserve--that God is lucky to have you on his team--then you are actually very far from the Kingdom of God. The truth is that you are helpless without God's grace. Listen to Jesus' words:
(Mark 10:23)"How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
(Mark 10:25)"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
When he made these statements, Jesus was challenging popular Jewish thought about righteousness. This new teaching of Jesus (about the difficulty for a rich person to enter the gate) shocked the disciples, and they asked Christ, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus said,
(Mark 10:27)"With man it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.
We cannot allow ourselves to believe, even for a moment, that we are worthy of the goodness and mercy that God has bestowed on us. Our hope must be built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. The requirements for discipleship are tough. In fact, they're more than you can possibly pay. Without the grace of God giving you strength day to day, you'll never make it.
Our lives, at best, are full of nothing but brokenness. But God's grace has the power to take our weakness and develop us into strong disciples.
Wrapping It Up
The cost of discipleship is that you take your relationship with God seriously. It's not just a one-day-a-week event; it is an on-going process that is the core of your every thought and action. It takes a serious commitment.
You see, the cost of discipleship is this: You must be willing to do things God's way. He sets the standards, not you. He sets the pace, not you. He makes up the rules, not you. You must be willing to do things God's way.
What does Gods word teach?
- Repent Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30-31; Acts 2:38.
- Confess faith in Christ as the Son of God Matthew 10:31-32; Acts 8:37.
- Be Baptized Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Peter 3:21...
- Be a faithful Christian until death 1 Corinthians 15:58; Revelation 2:10.
This is the Cost of Discipleship.