Summary: God calls His children to become more like Jesus through answering the call to discipleship.
So far in this series, we have talked about how we were planned for God’s pleasure. The first purpose for which God made us is worship, to respond to His love for us by knowing Him and loving Him in return. Everything we do in life should be seen as an act of worship - seeking to bring glory and honor to our God. This should be our greatest passion.
Last week, we considered how God has formed us for His family. That He calls us to grow in our fellowship with His family by being involved in a local family of faith. We need to see our fellowship with others in God’s family as our greatest pleasure.
Now today, we are going to consider the third purpose for which God made us - we were created to be like Christ. The Bible tells us that God wants us to be “growing in every way more and more like Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15 NLT). Becoming more and more like Jesus ought to be seen as my greatest pursuit in life.
Jesus modeled for us how to live our lives in such a way as to please the Father. Therefore, if we are going to please the Father, we should aspire to become more and more like Jesus. The Bible calls this process of becoming more like Christ, discipleship.
In our text for today, Jesus lays out the three basic elements associated with our answering the call to be His disciple. (READ TEXT)
A disciple . . .
1. Commits to Christ - “Come, follow me”
A. A disciple is one who has acknowledged Jesus as Lord.
We must first come to Christ before we can follow Him. We come to Him by acknowledging Him as Lord.
He has proven that He is Lord through the miracles He preformed that demonstrated His power over sickness, nature, and demons. He has proven that He is Lord through His crucifixion and resurrection that demonstrated He has won over sin and death. He is Lord, therefore, He sets the terms whereby we can be made right with God. And when I acknowledge Him as Lord, I accept that He is the only way for me to be right with the Father. In accepting Him as Lord, I accept that:
Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” And “No one comes to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6 NIV), and that “Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone,” (Acts 4:12 CEV).
“But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved . . .” - Acts 15:11 (NIV)
“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved . . .’” - Acts 16:31 (NIV)
“I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.” - Acts 20:21 (NLT)
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” - Romans 10:9 (NIV)
“For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.” - Romans 10:13 (Amplified)
B. A disciple is one who acknowledges Jesus as Leader.
A disciple is one who has accepted Christ’s invitation to follow Him. This is the essence of what it means to be a disciple. To be a disciple means to be one who follows.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come after Me and be My disciples, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’” - Mark 1:17 (Amplified)
I become a disciple by acknowledging Christ as Lord; I behave like a disciple by acknowledging Christ as Leader.
Now, let’s look into that further.
2. Cooperates with Christ - “I will make you”
Notice how Jesus says that if we follow Him, He will grow us, He will change us, He will transform us.
Before we came to Christ and were in a position to be led by Him, we were conformed to the culture around us. Now, as we focus on following Jesus and living as He leads, we can be transformed by the Christ within us. Paul spoke of this transformation:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” - Romans 12:2a (NIV)
Because the unbeliever is spiritually dead, he can only live his life from the “outside in.” He is influenced by Satan through the world’s culture, which appeals to his emotions (“If it feels good, do it.” “If it feels right, it must be OK.”); which influences his thinking; which influences his choices, which determines how he lives. Notice how his lifestyle is determined by the culture around him.