Summary: Does being a Christian automatically make you a disciple? Can you be one without being the other?
Throughout the gospel accounts we read about a couple of different groups of people interacting with Jesus. Sometimes it talks about those in the crowd and other times it talks about Jesus’ disciples. When you think disciples what are you first thoughts? Do you think of someone with a circle of light around their head and Saint as a prefix to their names. You know Saint Peter, Saint John and Saint Andrew. I’ve always wondered: do you get one of those circle things when you become a disciple? Is a disciple a special type of Christian? Or is it a term that should be applied to all Christians. If you are a Christ Follower does that by default make you a disciple of Christ? Enquiring minds want to know.
Everybody here today actually falls into one of three categories of people who have heard the gospel message. There are those who haven’t responded. They have heard the claims of Christ but have never asked for his forgiveness and have never invited him to manage their life. And the Bible is very clear that those who fall into that category are destined for hell, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. I could probably name some of you, there are others that I might think have responded to those claims but have me fooled. And you know who you are, and you know you might have the Pastor fooled and you might have the church fooled you could even have your spouse or parents fooled. But you don’t have God fooled and in the final analyst that is what matters. And you know who you are, even now you are admitting yourself into that category and your immediate need isn’t the rest of the this message it is simply to get right with God right now. Nothing, nothing, nothing is more critical to your eternity right now then you getting right with God and you might have to spend the rest of this message talking to God and getting things straight and that’s fine.
But maybe you are a Christ Follower in which case you might fall into one of two categories there. You might be what some spiritual folks would refer to as a “carnal” Christian. But really let’s be honest here. You are not simply a “Carnal” Christian you are a disobedient Christian and you will have to answer to God for that disobedience. And your greatest need right now is to turn everything over to Christ. It is not enough to accept the salvation that Christ offers without accepting his Lordship over your life.
Our goal at Cornerstone is not simply to see people embrace Jesus as Saviour. That is simply the first step in the plan that God has for your life and over the next few weeks we are going to be helping guide you along in that journey.
You see the category that includes most of us, is that we are struggling along doing the best that we can and wondering if that is good enough. And hopefully we will discover over the next few weeks that our primary objective as Christ Followers is to Follow Christ and that is evidenced by our obedience to Christ. Because we can’t actually say that we follow Jesus if we don’t go where he leads us.
I have a GPS in my car, just because I’m a sucker for stuff like that. And the purpose is for it to lead me to where I am trying to go, but there are times that I don’t go the way it wants me to go because I think I know a better way and at that point when I go my own way there is no way I could say that I was following my GPS. It is still in the car, might even still be turned on but I have made a conscious decision to ignore it’s directions. Which really isn’t a problem in Halifax after having lived here for 14 years, but this winter when we go to Miami for the first time it could be an issue. And if there comes a time that the GPS says go straight and I turn off and get lost in the weeds I shouldn’t try and blame the GPS.
And there are times that we do that with God, He is still in our lives, He is still giving us directions and we deliberately and consciously chose to ignore him and then when we get in the deep weeds we cry out “Oh God how could you let this happen.” And I’m sure at that point he wants to look down and say “Don’t blame me fool, you are paddling your own canoe.”
And so my objective with my next few messages is to reveal that our primary purpose as Christians is to be obedient to Christ. And to quote the apostle John from the letter he wrote 1 John 1:7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.