Summary: “The multitudes were taking discipleship very easily; He will drive them away rather than have them on such terms; He will make them see, by any forcefulness of expression, that discipleship is supremely difficult. And so He declares His terms.”
Called to Die
Promise Keeper’s November 2006 … 6,000 men rocked the Hershey Centre in Mississauga with gut-wrenching worship and passionate desire that God would rush in and baptize us. Speaker after speaker stood with power and pizzazz as the audience remained riveted to every word.
It was K.P. Yohannan’s turn. K.P. is the founder and President of the Gospel for Asia. He quietly approached the podium, dressed in a suit that appeared a little too big for him. A small, thin man, he opened his Bible and with a soft voice brought the audience to a total hush, almost as if he threw a boxing blow and for a moment dazed us, when his opening words were, "You are called to die."
That charge has been ringing in my ears many times for nearly three years.
Text – a call to discipleship. Problem:
- Dallas Willard, Philosophy professor, author and speaker was quoted as saying, “For at least several decades the churches of the Western world have not made discipleship a condition of being a Christian. One is not required to be, or to intend to be, a disciple in order to become a Christian, or one may remain a Christian without any sign of progress toward or in discipleship…So far as the visible Christian instititutions of our day are concerned, discipleship clearly is optional.”
- The call to discipleship is a call to die – we have little appetite for it.
1. Understanding Discipleship
Commentator William Barclay told a story of a person chatting with a great scholar about a younger man. He said, “So and so tells me that he was one of your students.” The teacher answered, “He may have attended my lectures but he was not a student of mine.”
Reginald Bibby (Canadian survey guru) defines discipleship as “activity that guides individuals to become spiritually mature zealots of Christ who then reproduce equally passionate and mature followers of Christ.”
Scripture solidifies these thoughts as Jesus defines discipleship – Compare Luke 14:25 with verse 33 …
“Going along” versus “give up all” – huge gap!...
- Annual Festival in Pamplona, Spain – infamous Bull Run, July 7-14 in honor of the patron saint, San Fermin.
- Rockets signal the release of the bulls in the narrow cobblestone streets, laced with high buildings on other side. One way out, the ½ mile run away from the bulls!
- If I were there, I’d be looking on from the window above the street as one “going along”. I definitely would not “give up all” putting my life on the line for the thrill of the run!
Discipleship a call to put everything on the line…
Dan Yarnell wrote an article called The Spirit says ‘yes’: exploring the essence of being church in the 21st Century. His thoughts on “holistic discipleship” are powerful, even rebuking. “We are beginning to realise the failings of the church in the West to follow Jesus’ primary commission to make disciples. Instead, we have primiarly invested our time and efforts in encouraging and producing converts, church-goers, or even a culture of being ‘churched’ without an ongoing living, obedient relationship with God.”
- Similar to the scene of Luke 14:25 .. times haven’t changed
- Different motives … family / friends there; some because of the character of Jesus and liked what he stood for and what he didn’t’ represent (organized religion); curious; measured risk (if he’s Messiah it’ll pay off to be associated with him)
- NOTE: every motivation is driven by something to be gained or existing, not because they were ready to embrace his message, methods and motivation.
2. Jesus’ Terms for Discipleship
- Jesus pushes for commitment. He doesn’t want personally driven agendas following him.
- QUOTE: “The multitudes were taking discipleship very easily; He will drive them away rather than have them on such terms; He will make them see, by any forcefulness of expression, that discipleship is supremely difficult. And so He declares His terms.”
- He starts weeding …
- First relationships
- Pushes to personal discomfort and control
Look at these in detail …
“Hate” is the response to priority of relationships and life
- Not to read this literally as we’re to hate our closest, dearest relationships and treasured life realities. God’s message one of love …
- From the Greek (mis-eh’-o) miseō meaning “to detest” or “to love less”.
- One writer offers that while we cannot love “any human being too much we may love the Divine Lord too little.” Discipleship does involves loving God more.
“Carry” – represents priority of choosing what comes with choosing Him
- Is not enduring persecution; is not related to the problems we face in life; it is not bearing the burdens for other people. The word “carry” is a symbol of choosing death to self interest