Summary: Looking at the role description for a disciple

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The Cost of Discipleship - Luke 9:18-27

Gladstone Baptist Church – 31/7/05 pm

I’ve got a couple of questions to ask you?

How much does salvation cost us? Nothing - It’s free.

How much does being a disciple cost us? Everything we have.

There was once two cadets at West Point Military Academy. This is the officer’s training academy for the US military. However, these two cadets had very different abilities and talents. One was athletic and intelligent, while the other was an average young man without much athletic ability. The second young man had a problem. To graduate from West Point, seniors must be able to pass a physical fitness test, which includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run within a set period of time. The two cadets took the test on the same day. For the first cadet, the test was absolutely no problem. For the second, however, it was not only a problem, it was the problem of his life. If he failed the test, he would not graduate from West Point. He could do the sit-ups and push-ups without a problem, but it was the two-mile run was the problem. I can relate to this guy. I hated sports that involved lots of running. I loved soccer, but I loved indoor soccer more. I’ve found my sport of choice though – Squash. Small court, not far to run and if you get good enough, you just stand in the centre of the court and make other people run!!! That’s my kind of sport.

Anyway, this second cadet had never run the 2 miles within the allotted time, and he had no reason to believe that he could do it now. As he was running, he was not full of confidence or hope. And it showed. The further along he went, the more he felt sapped of energy and strength.

Just about the time he was ready to give up, the first cadet noticed what was happening to his friend. He decided to go back and help him. This was not an easy decision, because it meant that he would lose valuable time, and that would cost him points in his overall standing in his class. The young man concluded that his friend was worth it. So he slowed down, waited for the second cadet to catch up to him, and then proceeded to encourage him down the track with shouts of, "You can do it." "Go for it." "You’re gonna make it."

The second cadet did not respond with any great burst of speed but he didn’t give up either. With the first cadet running with him, he continued to plod along, pushing himself for all he was worth. The first cadet kept yelling. And he kept running. And with all the energy he could muster, he finally crossed the finish line with the first cadet at his side. The second cadet was totally exhausted. It was a great moment for both men. There was only one thing wrong -- both of them failed the test.

This wasn’t the conclusion we expected was it? We expected a nice ending where both young men succeeded. The first cadet, though, discovered the cost of discipleship. He decided to become a follower, to give his all to help his friend accomplish something he could not have done on his own. And it cost him. Discipleship always costs.

Tonight I want to talk about the cost of discipleship. One of the purposes God has for our lives is that we grow to maturity in Christ. He wants us to become like Christ. Another word for this is Discipleship. What is a disciple? Can someone tell me what a disciple is?

That’s right a disciple is a LEARNER who FOLLOWS after a teacher. But it was not really like a pupil or student we see sitting in school. Disciples didn’t just learn knowledge from their teachers, but they were imitators of their teachers. Being a disciple involved knowledge, attitudes and actions. It was common in Jesus’ day, for people to attach themselves to a teacher or a rabbi or some other person of skill and influence. The disciples would follow him around learning from him, but also becoming his helper. In order to become like their teacher, they would seek to mould their attitudes, behaviours, values to model their teacher. How many of you would have classed yourselves as a disciple of one of your teachers at school?

Jesus was calling for his followers to be disciples not students. Would you open up your Bibles to Luke 9:18

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

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