Summary: We are called to be ’disciples’ of Jesus Christ. Often that is the better term to use than ’Christians’, which lets us off the hook too easily, nowadays!). Disciples are disciplined by God and disciplined for God (practice ’the disciplines of the Christ

Moving on with God- the next step in: discipleship

WBC 6 July 2003 pm

LK 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26

LK 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Are you a Christian?

My dream. At conference. Bomb threat. The hosting church were real raving charismatics. I sat outside to check no one was entering to plant a bomb. 2 workmen turn up in a van. I stop them and ask "who are you going to see?". "Gillian" they answer. They get stroppy for being stopped, because they’re Christians. "well, I’m sorry, there has been a bomb threat, so I’m sure you’ll excuse me for checking you are who you say you are- Christians going to see Gillian" "can you quote Jn3:16 to me?" "oh, it’s something like ... the Father loves Jesus ..." both spout different jumbled stuff and then say ’it’s a long time since we became Christians.... & you just know what you know in HERE (pointing to heart). I said "I’ll have to escort you to see Gillian, and she’ll have to verify who you are.... I’m sorry, but most NON-Christians would know this passage... and you don’t" I then added to the dream, in my dream mind "If you were tried for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Maybe asking people if they are Christians or not is too easy

- over 65% of our country classify themselves as ‘Christian’ when asked

o because the term has become part of our culture, terminology

 “= someone born in the UK” (you say)

• and you’d be right!

o But has also, wrongly, become part of our church terminology

 You’re a Christian if you ‘nod your head’, ‘get baptised’, ‘go to church regularly’, ‘believe in Jesus’

And, of course some of this is true

- but we misunderstand the term, and in doing so

o cripple ourselves. Short change our master and starve our souls

o let ourselves off far to easily

Because the term ‘Christian’ is seldom used in the Bible

- and where it’s used is used to describe the ‘final product’

AC 11:25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

- and it’s used by OTHERS to describe Christians- they don’t use it of themselves (as they know they’re not finished, yet!)

- In ’Living faith’ Jimmy Carter writes: A group of Christian laymen involved in missionary work approached a small village near an Amish settlement. Seeking a possible convert, they confronted an Amish farmer and asked him, ’Brother, are you a Christian?’ The Farmer thought for a moment and then said " Wait just a few minutes." He wrote down a list of names on a tablet and handed it to the lay evangelist. "Here is a list of people who know me best. Please ask them if I am a Christian."

o Prior to this called ‘followers of the way, Jesus, members of the Nazarene sect… outcasts!....

Or something else, primarily: DISCIPLES:

Are you a disciple?

This is a much better term!

- I find it far more challenging? “Am I a disciple?!”

- “oh, gosh, I’m getting there… trying to be”

But, friends- here is the root of the issue. This is very serious. We must ask ourselves- “am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?”

- because the honest answer will save our souls from dying

- 2CO 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

I am so concerned for the wellbeing of many of you. For your souls. Let me illustrate it this way:

Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original "race" run to save lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signalling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. But it wasn’t long before Dr. Welch’s supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska--1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams! Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential epidemic.

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