Summary: An examination of disciples and discipleship.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?
- Read Luke 9:23-25
What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? What does it mean to be a disciple? Does it mean that you’re going to get everything you want? Does it mean God will make you prosperous? Does it mean that you have to fulfill certain obligations like going to church? What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?
Look back with me, if you will, to Luke chapter Luke chapter 8 and verse 22. Follow along, if you will, while we skim a bit.
If you’ll think back, you’ll remember that the disciples have been traveling with Jesus for a while now. They’ve heard Him teach. They’ve seen His life.
In chapter 8 beginning in verse 22, Luke records that in the middle of a storm, the disciples woke Jesus up. He spoke to the wind and the waves, and they became calm. Later in the same chapter, they saw Jesus cast a bunch of demons out of a man. The demons went into some pigs, who then drowned themselves. Later in the same chapter, a woman was healed by touching Jesus’ clothes, and then Jesus raised a 12-year-old girl from the dead.
In chapter 9, Jesus sent the disciples out with the power and authority to heal the sick and to cast out demons. Later in the same chapter the disciples saw Jesus multiply loaves and fish to feed over 5000 people.
After feeding the 5000, Jesus prayed alone, and then visiting with the disciples He asked them, “Who do the people say I am?” The disciples answered different things. Then Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered in verse 20 of chapter 9, “God’s Messiah.”
Jesus then tells them He’s going to die & be resurrected. In the other Gospels we read that Peter tries to stop Jesus & Jesus rebukes him.
Then Jesus shares with them, and with the crowds, what it really means to follow Him.
He looks around Him at His disciples and at the crowd also gathered there and says, “are you only in it for what you can get? Are you only following Me for the oohs and aughs? Let Me tell you what is required if you want to follow Me. These are the requirements of discipleship.
Jesus says, “If you want to be a follower of Mine, if you’re going to be more than a looker-on, or a camp follower; if you’re going to be in My program, here’s what’s required.
I. REQUIREMENTS OF DISCIPLESHIP
1. Deciding – First you must decide that you will be more than a hanger-on. You have to decide that you will follow Him. In verse 23 He says, “If anyone wants to come with Me.” If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, if you want to be a follower of His, you must decide.
2. Denying Yourself – First, you must deny yourself. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, means more than simply knowing that He is the Messiah. It means that you are also willing to deny yourself. Denying yourself doesn’t mean so much, thinking less of yourself. It means, thinking of yourself less.
a. Wisdom In denying yourself, you deny your wisdom. It was the wisdom of Moses that led him to kill the Egyptian. It was the wisdom of God that delivered Israel from Egypt.
b. Families – In denying yourself, you no longer allow your families, and their preferences, keep you from following Christ. You love Him more than them.
c. Friends – You deny your friendships. You cut loose those that keep you from growing, or than keep you from being a true disciple of Christ.
d. Property – You deny ownership, or the rights to your property. You place everything you have in the Lord’s hands to do with as He pleases. You say, “Lord, no material thing, no possession, no toy or hobby will be more important in my life than you. I have a friend who has a pretty good library. She uses her books quite regularly, and yet she is willing to loan them to people when they ask. Although she values her books, she says, “They belong to the Lord and I trust Him with them. He knows where they need to go and who needs them.”
I know a successful doctor who lives in a house considerably older and somewhat smaller than many of yours, who told his wife that they were going to have to keep driving the cars they had for another 2 years, because they were investing in the Lord’s work.
e. Preferences – Being a disciple of Christ also means that you deny, you forgo, you give up many of your preferences for Christ. Before anything that is truly of God can be born, your own preferences have to die. Your desire to serve or lead in this type of church or that, has to be laid on the altar & sacrificed in order to receive Christ’s call and mission to this community.