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Summary: What does Jesus say it means to be His disciple?

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What It Means to Be A Disciple of Jesus

Mark 8:31-38

How many of you like or know someone who likes to go to cafeterias? One of my favorite cafeteria’s or buffets is Kaycee’s in Lawrenceville, GA. They have the best fried chicken! These cafeteria places are popular today because they offer a huge selection of food for a reasonable price.

However, it seems to me that there are too many “cafeteria” Christians today. What I mean by this is they “pick and choose” the way they want to walk with God. They want the parts about heaven, forgiveness, abundant life, but skip the parts about personal discipleship and the cross of Jesus Christ.

Why is this? First, many have only heard the “American Gospel,” not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

* The American gospel is that you come to Jesus because Jesus promises you a better life now. If you come to Jesus, He’ll heal your broken marriage, give you a promotion, be a Divine Friend that is like a sweet teddy bear that comforts you at night.

* Last year a TV preacher promised, “If you want that new job. If you want new kids. If you want that new job and are sick and tired of the one you are in, God has given me a special word for you. If you believe what I’m telling you, just send in your love gift of $2008. God says 2008 is going to be your most prosperous year if you simply respond by sending us a seed of faith gift of $2008.”

Those who buy into the American gospel remind me of the people Jesus talked about in the Parable of the Sower. In Mark 4:16 we read, “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.”

Second, there is a greater focus on our plan over God’s plan. Mark 8:31-33, “31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

In a sense, Jesus rebukes Peter because at this time Peter was being a “cafeteria Christian.” Although he knew Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, Peter was not eager to hear about a crucified Christ. His mind was closed to Christ who would go through much suffering, ridicule and die on an old rugged cross for sinners. Peter was thinking from his viewpoint only. He was hoping that the Lord Jesus Christ would help Israel become conquerors. He did not completely grasp God’s rescue plan. He was trying to lead Jesus instead of the other way around!

*Sometimes, we need to hear truth that is not comfortable to hear, but it is godly wisdom. It’s wisdom that’s going to move us from a place of disobedience to the path of obedience. If Jesus would have listened to Peter, He would have taken the convenient way instead of the cross way. Sometimes even our closest friends, if they are not in tune with God, can mislead us.


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