Summary: Second in a series on our church's Discipleship Path. If I want to be Jesus’ disciple I need to be “all in”
This morning, I’m going to begin by taking you through a very quick history of some prevailing ideas about discipleship over the last 600 years or so.
I’ll begin in the early 16th century, with a German monk named Martin Luther. Here is what he wrote this about being a disciple of Jesus:
A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.
Now we’ll fast forward to the first half of the 20th century to a German pastor named Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who authored a classic book titled The Cost of Discipleship. Near the beginning of that book, he writes these words:
Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Later in that book, he wrote the one sentence that he is best known for:
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
Now let’s fast forward one more time to our generation. If you go to your local Christian bookstore or to online companies like Amazon or CBD you’ll find that some of the most popular contemporary Christian books have titles like this:
• Your Best Life Now
• Think Better Live Better
• Change Your Words, Change Your Life
• Destiny, Step into Your Purpose
• The Believer’s Authority
Do you see the difference? Instead of discipleship being about commitment, sacrifice, and surrender for the purpose of bringing glory to God, it has largely become a path of comfort and prosperity that is all about what’s in it for me. So who is right – Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer or the authors of these contemporary books? I think most of us instinctively know the answer to that question, but this morning, we’ll let Jesus answer it for us.
Today’s message is the second in a series of five messages about our church’s discipleship path.
THORNYDALE FAMILY CHURCH
Hopefully you were with us last week, when we talked about the first step in the process – Come. We learned that our invitation to others to “come and see” Jesus ought to be the natural outflow of our own personal relationship with Jesus.
This week, we’re going to focus on the second step in the process – Commit. Before we do that, let me just remind you that even though we’re dealing with each of the five steps in this process separately, there is a lot of overlap between these steps in our lives, which is one of the reasons we’ve pictured this process as a circle and not a series of steps in a straight line.
Before we look at this morning’s passage, let me remind you of the four questions we’ll be answering this morning:
1. Have I already taken this step in my personal relationship with Jesus?
• If not, I then I need to answer the next question:
2. What concrete actions can I take right now to take this next step in my relationship with Jesus?
3. How can I help someone else I know take this step in his or her life?
4. What can we do as a church to help people take this step in their lives?
In order to help us answer those questions, we’re going to look at a passage that is found in chapter 8 of Mark’s gospel account. The book of Mark is the second book in the New Testament, right after Matthew’s gospel account. Many of you will recognize that both Matthew and Luke include similar accounts of this event in Matthew chapter 10 and Luke chapter 9.
 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
(Mark 8:34-38 ESV)
Let me set the stage for you here. On the way to Caesarea, Jesus asked His disciples who other people were saying that He was. And then He pointedly asked them. “Who do you say that I am?” Peter correctly identified Jesus as the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. But then Jesus proceeds to tell His disciples that He is not the kind of Messiah that they were expecting. He had not come to be a political leader who would free them from the oppressive rule of the Romans, but rather a suffering Savior who would die and rise from the grave three days later to free them from their sins.