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To open I would like to start with a true story that happened here at our church. A mother at our playgroup called ‘Jane’ wanted to know more about God, so I started a bible study after the play group. After a few weeks she said it was great but what she really wanted to understand was how to do a personal bible study and personal prayer life. She had some friends from England who gained strength from a personal faith. As none of the other mums are Christian and I could not teach her, one-on-one, her interest in Christianity faded.
It is fair to say that people are not interested in organised religion, but they are interested in something personal and real. A real faith that gives you strength when you are feeling depressed. A real relationship with Jesus Christ that involves prayer, personal bible readings and a genuine connection with God, this cannot be taught from a sermon but is found in one-on-one training. People are not interested in programmes, they are interested in becoming students of God and learning how to live God’s way.
The main job Jesus left us to do was to make students. There is a difference between a believer and a student. There is no such thing as an instant student; like the word, it takes study and discipline.
A Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff jokes about when he first moved to America, he was amazed at the variety of instant products he could buy in the store. “There’s powdered milk: just add water and you have milk. There’s powdered orange juice: just add water and you have orange juice. Then he saw Baby Powder and thought, “What a great country! If you want a baby, just add water!””
Some people think that’s how discipleship works. You take a believer, add a little baptism water, and “poof” you have a fully-devoted follower of Jesus–a real student. But it takes more than water to make a student. Students are made, not born.
Read Luke 14:25-14:35
In Luke 14, Jesus is getting closer and closer to the cross. People who wanted to see a miracle or get a free meal from Him were mobbing Him. The crowd is about to become much smaller because He started setting forth the cost of being a student, and it’s not a popular message. It requires total commitment.
A hog and a hen sharing the same barnyard heard about a church’s program to feed the hungry. The hog and the hen discussed how they could help. The hen said, “I’ve got it! We’ll provide bacon and eggs for the church to feed the hungry.” The hog thought about the suggestion and said, “There’s only thing wrong with your bacon and eggs idea. For you, it only requires a contribution, but from me, it will mean total commitment!” That’s the cost of discipleship.
In this passage of scripture, Jesus provides five images, and uses each one to teach a lesson about discipleship.
1. A FAMILY: LOVE JESUS SUPREMELY
2. A CROSS: LIVE LIKE A DEAD PERSON
3. A TOWER: CONSIDER THE VALUE OF A GOOD FINISH
4. A WAR: SURRENDER TO THE STRONGER KING
5. SALT: STAY PURE TO PRESERVE GOODNESS
(image of purpose driven church circles)
Which circle represents where you are today? Where would you like to be? The job of a student is to become part of the core committed and then move out into the
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