Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in a series of 8 on the biblical qualities of a disciple
For those of you who were not here last week, we began a study on discipleship. We briefly talked about what it means to be a disciple and how we are called to not only be disciples but to make disciples. I encouraged everyone, including myself, to be in prayer about how we can go and make disciples. I want it to be the desire of our hearts to win as many people for Christ in our lifetime as we can. And as we seek to do this in our lives, we must always stay focused on living our own lives as a disciple for Christ, because as we said last week we must be a disciple to make a disciple. Whether you were here last week or not, I want to reissue the challenge that we must make it our goal to share the good news with as many people as possible so that we can build up the kingdom of God. Our entire study on discipleship will build up to that one point: that we must make disciples for Christ.
Tonight however, I want to talk about the first quality of a good disciple: submission to God. I think one of the cornerstones for a biblical understanding of submission is found in the gospels. In Mark 8:34 it says, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” And in Luke 14:27 Jesus says, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Of all the scriptures in the bible that refer to submission to God this is probably the most well known one and it’s very clear. Jesus’ audience was well aware of what it meant to carry one’s own cross. When the Romans led a criminal to his execution site, he was forced to carry the cross on which he would die. This showed his submission to Rome and warned observers that they had better submit too. Jesus used the image of carrying one’s cross to illustrate the ultimate submission it takes to follow him. Following Christ means total submission to him, perhaps even to the point of death.
Now the word submission actually has kind of a bad connotation in our society and nowadays it is considered politically incorrect. Now I don’t really understand why many people consider the word to be politically incorrect, but then again I tend to see things differently then a lot of people. So I want us to spend a few minutes discussing why being submissive is considered to be politically incorrect. I also want you to come up with 3 reasons why we must be submissive in order to be disciples.
I think you could make a very good argument that being submissive is the most important quality of a good disciple. If we are not obedient to God we will be living according to our own will and desires instead of God’s. We will be putting ourselves in charge of our life instead of allowing God to take charge. We may be praying and we may be studying the scriptures, but if we aren’t being submissive to God, I don’t think we will hear God speaking to us and I don’t think we will be applying our scriptural knowledge. There is also a good chance that we won’t be living a life of piety and striving to be free from sin if we aren’t being submissive. Prayer, study, and piety are all characteristics of a disciple that we will talk about and as you can see they all revolve around being submissive.
I think the #1 reason we must be submissive in order to be successful disciples is because God’s plan for us is to be like Jesus Christ. And when we think of his life, we realize that he was totally submissive to the father. Jesus summarized his whole purpose of his earthly life in John 4:34 when he said, “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” And that’s exactly what God asks of us. If we are to be like Jesus and we are to be his disciples, then we must be submissive to him at all times.
Once we make the decision to yield to Jesus Christ and be submissive, we immediately find ourselves in a battle and often times a spiritual struggle. We are constantly opposed by Satan as well as by our own will. For these reasons, many Christians are not willing to enter the battle of obedience and submission. So I want to discuss a few reasons why people refuse to completely submit to God.