Summary: If we are going to follow Jesus' call to Make Disciples, we need to know what is required of us as his disciples.
Let’s get to our passage. Turn over to Matthew 16. This passage might be pretty familiar to you, but that’s ok. When you get to Matthew 16, we’ll read verse 24. Pay attention to this passage…as it lays the foundation for what we’re studying today. Let’s read our passage for today…again, it’s Matthew 16:24.
It says: 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
So last week we started a series about making disciples. That’s what we’re all called to do ourselves as…disciples…of Jesus. It was his commission to his original twelve and it’s the commission that still stands for Christians and the church today. So that’s what we need to do if we’re not already doing it.
We began with the description of a disciple…who we are to be today as disciples of Jesus because…if we’re going to make disciples as we’ve been instructed, we need to make sure we’re living up to that calling ourselves. If we’re not true disciples, then we’re not going to make disciples. Or if we do…we’re going to struggle mightily. We talked about how a disciple is a “repenter,” a “follower,” and a “student.”
Now this week…we’re moving from the definition of a disciple… who we are to be…to the requirements of a disciple. Basically, it’s just a continuation of what we talked about last week because, really…who a disciple is and what a disciple does are one and the same. But there’s more ground that we need to cover for ourselves as disciples before we can move on to making disciples.
*Perhaps…the first disciple we need to make…is the one we look at in the mirror. Many of us have called ourselves “Christians” for years. But we’ve never considered ourselves as disciples…which we need to do since, as we talked about last week…you can’t be a Christian and not a disciple and vice versa. So let’s get into more of what is required of us.
**Turn over to 1 Corinthians 6. Now, within the context of this passage, starting in verse 12, Paul writes about the dangers of sexual immorality. So it’s within that context that he writes the words we’re about to read in verses 19-20, but they also apply to other parts of our lives as disciples as well.
There, Paul writes: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” So what’s one of the requirements of a disciple? A disciple submits to the Lord.
How many of you have seen that word “Lord” in your bible before? It’s there, right? It’s constantly showing up. If you have a concordance, it’s the longest word with the most references. In the Old Testament it shows up in all capital letters because the Hebrew name for the Lord, “Yahweh,”…or, what we think is “Yahweh”…is written. In the New Testament it’s not all caps because it’s the Greek word “Kurios.”
So this word is scattered all throughout God’s word. But have we ever stopped to think about what that word “Lord” really means for our lives? Because…the truth is…“Lord” is more than just another title for God in scripture. It’s not just another description of who he is. No…as Lord…that means something for us as his disciples today.
When you start to think of it in terms of your own life…do you realize what “Lord” means? It means he “Lords” over you, right? It means he is the one who rules you. It means…as Paul wrote back in 1 Corinthians…that you are not your own. You were bought at a price. And so…if you are really a disciple…then that means you are required to submit to your…Lord. That includes God Almighty, yes. And it also includes Jesus since they are together as one.
But this is something that a lot of Christians struggle with… preventing them from living as true disciples. A lot of people sitting in churches today have come up with their own version of Christianity or discipleship with looks nothing like what Jesus did during his ministry or what his disciples did in starting the early church!
We read this book, but we don’t truly submit our lives to what it says. We pick and choose the parts that we like most…what we do well at…but we don’t really submit to our Lord…we don’t really submit to Jesus! We think we’re smart enough or clever enough or capable enough to live the Christian life…a disciple’s life…as we see fit. But the reality is we fall far short!
And we know this based on something else that Paul wrote, which we read in Ephesians 2:8-9. There, it says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.” Through Jesus’ death on the cross…we have been bought by God! Through his sacrifice and resurrection, we receive God’s grace. And when we acknowledge our faith in him through confessing and baptism…we have no reason to boast or brag. On our own…we’re not enough! That’s what we read in Romans 10:9 which says: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.”