Summary: The things that the Lord requires of His servants: to become disciples
Text: Lk. 14: 27 & 33
The Bible teaches us that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. (Eph. 2:8, 9) Salvation cannot be earned or merited. It is a free gift of God to all those who have put their trust in Christ alone and in the merit of His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.
The continuance of that salvation is also based on the grace of God alone. There is no work that we can do, no matter how merit-worthy; no matter how religiously motivated; no matter how morally or ethically based -- that will keep us saved. We kept "…by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Pet. 1:5).
But God has ordained that those who have been saved by grace alone, and who are kept by grace alone, are to do works for God. We are to practice Discipleship. Our Master is Jesus. Jesus Himself said of those that believe in Him: "…the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works that these shall he do, because I go unto my Father" (Jhn. 14:12). Again He said, "He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me…"
Disciples must first reckon ourselves to be dead unto the world, but alive unto God. We have been crucified with Christ. We are dead people raised to life spiritually.
We must also deny ourselves, "…and take up our cross…" and follow Christ (Matt. 16:24).
We are to practice discipline. In Hebrews 12: 1 & 2, we are told to "…lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…"
Disciples must also practice devotion. We are to give our all for Christ and His Kingdom. Devotion is the "whole-hearted and irrevocably giving away to God of what we never plan to take back again: our soul, our life, our all, to Him and Him alone.
Disciples must also be holy: separated from evil. We are to "…touch not the unclean thing" (II Cor. 6:17). We are to “…lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…and abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (I Pet. 2:1, 11). But real holiness is not of outward adornments, but is "…the hidden man of the heart" (I Pet. 3:4).
Disciples must be yielded to the will of God. We must accept whatever happens to us as from the hand of God, and that He will ultimately "work all things together for good, to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8: 28). Nothing happens to Christians except God divinely ordains it to happen, or permits it to happen. Whether we are up or down; whether in the fiery furnace of trial, on the mountaintop of God's blessings, or in the valley, we are to, "…rejoice in the Lord always" (Php. 4: 4).
Disciples must be loving. Love is not an option for Christians; it is a commandment of the Lord Himself. We are not only to love those who love us, but we are to love those who hate us (Matt. 5: 44-46). Love is the "more excellent way" (I Cor. 12: 31). We are not just to say we love God, but we are to show we love the God we cannot see, by loving the world that we can see -- feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless.