Summary: Luke 9:23 gives three steps to becoming a Disciple... Deny... Disconnect and Devote.
3 D Christianity
If you have your bibles, turn to Luke, Chapter 9 and we will begin with verse 23. If you don’t have your bibles… SHAME ON YOU! Please use the one in the pew this week… and bring your own next week.
Today I am going to be asking and discussing the question, “What is a disciple?” Specifically, what is a disciple of Jesus Christ? Even in scripture there were other disciples other than disciples of Jesus and today there are people who would call themselves disciples of other religions and other leaders. But, I am talking about, “What is a disciple of Jesus Christ?” What is a disciple? Is a disciple just someone who claims to be a follower, someone who believes in God, someone who joins a church or is it someone who reaches some higher level, some supernatural level of spiritual experience that they have been through; some special experience?
Let’s read here what Jesus had to say to his followers beginning with verse 23. 23 Then he said to them all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will same his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste the death, till they see the kingdom of God.
We see specifically in the 23rd verse that Jesus is teaching about what it is to be a disciple. I would tell you that based on Jesus’ own words here, the definition of a disciple is not just someone who believes in God, not just someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus, not even someone who had some kind of spiritual experience because if you look back at verse 18, it says, And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him. He is speaking to disciples when he says these words. He is speaking to men who have already left everything, men who have already been with him through many spiritual experiences and people who not only called themselves followers but also truly were followers. Even in speaking to them, Jesus lets them know that the whole definition of disciple is a person who is willing and committed to move deeper, to experience more. He is speaking to men who already have given much. He talks to them he is not talking to about other people becoming disciples, He is talking about THEM being disciples and he lets them know that he is speaking of people who want more, want to move deeper and follow him closer. How many of you saw the movie Godspell? It was about in the early 70’s. Some of you may not remember it but there was a song in that movie that says, “Oh dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, to love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly.” Those are the 3 things in that song and I think that’s what a disciple is. So first of all Jesus started out with a big word here. He said if any man would come after me. It starts with an “if”. Now why does he use that word “if”? The reason is simple… because discipleship is a choice. It’s not forced on you, it’s not required and it doesn’t happen automatically. That’s the thing you need to understand – it doesn’t happen automatically. It doesn’t happen by just going through the motions. Becoming a disciple is a choice but that word “if” not only spoke of choice, that a choice would be required, it spoke of SEPARATION because there are many who don’t chose to be disciples. Many believers don’t choose to be disciples because they are content to stay pretty much were they were.
I remember a story about a little boy who was in the bed and rolled out of the bed. His mom came in and got him up from the floor and asked, “son what happened?” He said, “I think I fell asleep too close to where I got in.” I think there are a lot of Christians that have fallen asleep too close to where they got in. They really haven’t moved on. So think about that word “if. When Jesus used “if” it was really a line in the sand and he was saying if you want to be a disciple, you have to step over this line. You have to choose. You have to separate yourself too and this line will separate those that want to be true disciples. Now listen the “if” means you have to choose whether or not you really want to be that kind of disciple. Not all followers and not all disciples are equal. God loves us all equally. He died for us equally. We are equally saved. When I say not all disciples are equally, I don’t mean in those terms. But it’s just like in baseball, there are ballplayers and then there are ballplayers. (a power point presentation of various athletes is shown) Do you see the difference? You can see the difference between those ballplayers and these ballplayers. There are bikers and then there are bikers. So there are disciples and followers and then there are disciples and followers. See you can be at a different level as a ballplayer or biker and you can be at a different level as a disciple and follower. Some choose to follow closely and some only at a distance. Some are like Peter, who followed at a distance but then he became a closer follower.