BECOMING A FULLY DEVOTED FOLLOWER OF CHRIST (Part 1)
INTRO: Encouragement is good, but we are one day closer to the day when birth pangs begin. We are in the end times. The Bible tells us that everyone who follows Christ will experience persecution. We know the Lord is coming back, and we will be with Him if we are followers of Christ.
I. THE CALL (Matthew 16:24)
> “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”
- The coronavirus is like a test.
- It causes us to think about what can happen.
- Our economy could fall in 24 hours.
- But our attitude must be “Your will be done.”
- If this is what it takes to bring people back to Him, let His will be done.
- If calamity were to happen, our society would get really bad quickly.
- People would be looking for answers.
- If people were only told by their pastor that they would prosper, people would be disillusioned.
> What would our answer be if we were asked if we are true disciples of Jesus?
- Can we say in the humble confidence of our own heart that we are a Christian?
- Do we have the understanding of what it means to be a Christian?
- Being a Christian becomes a noun, but the word “disciple” is a verb.
- To be a disciple is active.
- A disciple is someone who follows Jesus, someone who is following the commands of Jesus.
> How much of the Bible would we have in our heart if our Bible would be taken away?
- We sing many songs from memory.
- But how much of our Bible would we have memorized?
> Too many Christians believe that they are on the benefit plan.
- Of course we want the benefits, but no one wants to pay the price.
- God does bless and bring favor.
- He doesn’t want us to suffer.
- We may not suffer, but we must be willing.
- If we are not willing, we are only in it for the benefits.
- We are saying that our stuff has a greater pull on us than our commitment to Jesus.
- There is a price that we will pay, and Jesus told us about it (Matthew 24:9-10).
- Too many people don’t believe they will ever be hated because of Jesus or suffer persecution.
- A Christian ought to submit in dedication.
- It is a call.
- Jesus is saying, “Will you be My disciple?”
II. THE COST (Luke 9:23-27, 14:33; 2 Timothy 3:12)
> Count the cost for suffering for Jesus.
- When we build something, we consider the cost before we start to build (Luke 14:28-30).
- Jesus said we cannot follow Him if we are not willing to give up everything (Luke 14:33).
- Muslims who come to Christ are abandoned by their families.
- They stand up for what they believe.
- We need to seek the Lord and His righteousness before everything else (Matthew 6:33).
- Luke 14:26-27: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.”
- We don’t truly hate our family; it is in comparison to our love for Jesus.
- Jesus needs to come first, to be our priority.
- Our commitment should be to Jesus.
> Jesus is coming, and He is asking, “Will you give up your life for Me?”
- “Will you take up your cross for Me?”
- We are called to take up our cross.
> The main mission is to disciple others.
- As a church, we have given good messages, good teaching.
- Discipleship is not just getting information poured into us.
- We need to decide today to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).
> What would it have been like to give up our way of life as a disciple in Jesus’ time?
- We are all tempted to live the way we want to live and do sinful things.
- We all have temptations.
- Jesus isn’t talking about giving up stuff, He wants our life.
- We are to be devoted to Him.
- We can have stuff, but our stuff shouldn’t have us.
> We need to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-27).
- The cross is a symbol of suffering.
- The cross is death and suffering.
- It reminds us of the price Jesus paid.
- We must be willing to suffer for Jesus.
- Jesus wants us to follow Him.
- A disciple follows.
> It is a war against Satan.
- It is a spiritual war.
- False teachers will come; persecution will come.
- People followed cult leader David Koresh as though he was the messiah.
- It won’t be the last time it happens.
- If we run to “feel good” things, we are under deception.
- We need to be in the Scriptures; we need to follow the Lord.
- We need to search the Scriptures to be sure what is spoken is in the Bible.
- We need to be a noble Berean.
III. THE EVIDENCE (Matthew 5:16; John 8:31, 13:34-35, 15:8; 1 Peter 2:12)
> We abide in Jesus’ words if we are followers.
- We are to be learners and followers of Jesus.
- Jesus said, "If you abide in My words, you are My disciples" (John 8:31).
- We need to read the Bible.
> We have a commitment to the family of God.
- John 13:34-35: “I have given you a new commandment: love one another.”
- To be a true follower of Jesus, we would love the family of God.
- We all have different personalities, but we love them.
- If we go into a church where there is bickering and fighting, we don’t want to be there.
> We bear much fruit.
- When you bear fruit – good fruit – you honor Me (John 15:8).
- We exercise the gifts of the Spirit.
- Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed.
- “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
- He is talking about a lifestyle that glorifies the Lord in heaven.
- People notice when we do.
- We are not ashamed of the gospel and ought not to shame the gospel either.
- We have to correctly represent Jesus.
- Be a fool for Jesus, not a fool for this world.
> Maybe we have walked away, been lured by something.
- “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Matthew 15:8).
- “I am the true vine… the Father removes every vine that does not produce fruit” (John 15:1).
- Get back to being a disciple of Jesus.
- Becoming a disciple doesn’t mean we lose our personalities.
- Jesus’ disciples were unrefined.
- They could be referred to as “the march of the unqualified.”
> To become like the Lord, we need to spend time with Him.
- People knew the disciples had spent time with Jesus by the way they presented themselves.
- Get alone with Jesus and listen.
- Bring a Bible; it may take reading His Word first.
- Find a Bible version that is easy to understand.
- What is the cost of being a true disciple of Jesus?
- He calls us to live a righteous life.
- There is a reward for the way we live on this earth.
CONCLUSION: Jesus came to us. He went to the cross; He knew the price He had to pay. He asked us to be His disciple. Let us not forget that we are being called to be a disciple. We are to follow Him, to let Him infiltrate our lives. Ask what we can do right now.