Summary: What does it Take to Follow Christ?
Many Christians are only “Christaholics” and not disciples at all.
• Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ.
o Christaholics seek happiness.
• Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth.
o Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana.
o Like drug addicts, they are trying to “bomb out” of their depressing world.
Christ is not a happiness capsule; He is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations.
It is not our responsibility “to make people ‘Christians’” and get them baptized into a particular denomination, but rather to help people decide to follow Jesus and his radical message. Maybe this is why the New Testament writers only use “Christian” three times but “disciple” on 269 occasions!
Somehow we have to make disciples instead of inspiration junkies.
I believe that our text this morning reveals Three Conditions for Christian Discipleship.
Read along with me and then keep your Bible open to follow along as we seek to interpret this passage of scripture.
I. It takes Courage to Be A Disciple of Christ.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in 1963 about death and heaven. He said, “The minute you conquer the fear of death, at that moment you are free. I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
Decades later, Johann Christoph Arnold, included this quotation in his most recent book, Seeking Peace.
This was the book that teenagers at Littleton’s West Bowles Community Church were supposed to have discussed on the evening of April 20th. However, on that tragic day at Columbine High School one of the youth from that church was murdered.
Cassie Bernall’s parents later showed Arnold her copy of Seeking Peace, with its handwritten notes for the study session that was never held. Cassie had boldly underlined King’s thoughts on death.
“Why did these words speak to her at such a young age? It is such a great mystery,” said Arnold. “But I do know this. She had found something she was willing to live for, and even to die for, and that made all the difference in her life.”
A. There is a very high price to pay to be a Disciple of Christ.
1. We all have sacrifices to make,
a) There are rebuffs, ridicules and persecutions to be endured.
b) It takes courage to follow Christ.
B. Look at the first “would be” disciple to come to Jesus.
1. This scribe approached Jesus and volunteered to follow Him.
a) Eveidently he did not know that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem for some tragic days ahead.
2. Jesus warned this young man of the dark days ahead.
a) He had no place that was secure for Him or His followers.
(1) The foxes have security from predators in the safety of their dens.
(2) The birds have the security from predators in the safety of their nest.
(3) But the Son of Man has no such place.
b) With this announcement Jesus is telling this young man of the dangers that lay ahead – if he wants to follow the Master.
(1) He is telling him that it will take courage to face what He and His diciples will have to face in the coming days.
3. There is a difference between courage and bravery.
a) It’s true that bravery can sometimes be an expression of courage,
(1) Sometimes bravery expresses fear.
b) But courage is the quality of character that makes one stand firm whether it be a moral issue or physical danger.
(1) There is no retreating for the man of courage – regardless of what comes his way.
C. We need some present day disciples with courage.
1. Christ needs disciples who will stand firm.
a) He needs men and women who will not compromise.
b) People who stand on His Word for all issues and on all occasions.
2. It might mean you will have to make sacrifices.
a) It might mean you will have to stand alone on some things.
b) It might mean you will not be popular.
c) It might mean you will be persecuted, ridiculed and rejected.
3. But regardless – you will stand because it takes courage to be a Disciple of Christ.
II. It takes Commitment to Be A Disciple of Christ.
After a great gathering of Christian youth, the offering was being counted. At the bottom of the offering, the counters found a picture of a teenage girl. They all made the same immediate assumption. Some boy had taken a girl’s wallet, taken out the picture and thrown it in the offering basket as a practical joke. That’s the kind of thing teenagers sometimes do. Then someone turned the picture over. There was something written on the back. “I have nothing to give, but I give myself.”