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Summary: A sermon that challenges the contemporary notion of discipleship.

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"Three Laws of Discipleship"

Pt. 3 -- Following Jesus

Matthew 16:24-28

Introduction: This morning we're going to take a look at the third aspect of discipleship that our Lord speaks about as He seeks to prepare his disciples for what is up ahead. If you recall two weeks ago when we started this series we said that to be a disciple of Jesus you must deny yourself and that involved three things. You must surrender self to Christ, sacrifice self for Christ and submerge yourself in Christ. The next step in this process may be the most difficult of the three. We have to take up our cross and bear for Christ. How then do we take up the cross? We said you can't bear the cross without considering the reproach, the reception and the reign of the cross. Finally, Jesus invites his disciples to follow Him. Let's examine what's involved in being a true Christ follower:

I. WE MUST FOLLOW JESUS FULLY

The last thing our Lord says about the subject of discipleship in our text is to be a disciple we must follow him.

a. His person without reservation

When we speak of following Jesus we are not talking about religion but a relationship with a person and that person is Jesus Christ. We are not called to follow a creed, a code of conduct, a catechism, or a concept. Every time that Jesus called someone in the NT it was to follow Him.

Mat 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Mat 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

John 1:43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

ILL - Garibaldi had an incredibly committed volunteer army. He would appeal for recruits in these terms: "I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!"

Jesus invites you to discipleship. But He lets you know up front that it is a commitment that will cost you something. It's not going to be easy. To paraphrase Garibaldi, "Let him who loves the Lord with his heart and not with his lips only, be Jesus' disciple!"

b. His principles without restriction

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

c. His plan without retreat

Salvation is free...but discipleship will cost you your life.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Luke 9:57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

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