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What Is a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

(21)

Sermon shared by Jonathan Mcleod

February 2005
Summary: A bapstim sermon dealing with what discipleship is all about
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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We can never break up with Him. His indescribable love for us demands that we love Him for than all others (adapted from Illustrations Unlimited, pp. 97-98).

III. A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST IS A PERSON WHO IS WILLING TO LOSE EVERYTHING FOR CHRIST.

“And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (vv. 38-39).

In the first century if anyone was seen carrying his cross, it was clear that he was on his way to die. Jesus uses this word picture to describe dying to our own personal pursuits and, instead, following Him completely.

Matthew Henry wrote, “Though many have been losers for Christ, even of life itself, yet never anyone has, or will be, a loser by Him in the end.”

I would rather be a complete loser for Christ (and find eternal life) than be a winner in the world’s eyes (and lose eternal life).

In Luke’s account we are told that before Jesus spoke these words, “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus” (Luke 14:25). But the crowds gradually disappeared. And we know the reason why. It was because Jesus demanded total commitment from His followers. He made sure people knew that the cost of discipleship was great.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:28-33).

Christ has already counted the cost of discipleship for us. The cost is everything we have. Jesus once declared, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matt. 13:44). What the man in the story received was so much more valuable than what he gave up --- though it was everything he had. The cost of discipleship is great; but compared to what we receive from Christ, the price is a bargain.

We read in John 6 that “many of [Christ’s] disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:66-68). The twelve disciples had given up everything to follow Christ, but, with the exception of Judas, they never regretted it because, as Peter declared, Christ has “the words of eternal life.”

The apostle Paul wrote, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

Jesus didn’t say, “Follow Me, and you will be happy, healthy, and wealthy.” He said, “Know this: Discipleship
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