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What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ?
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TOPIC: What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ?

What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ? 4 years, 11 months ago #916

  • cartoonbug
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What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ?

I was reading ahead in Matthew and I was stirred by the words of Jesus as it relates to what it means to follow Him. Together let’s explore what it means to be a Disciple of Christ.

Matthew 16:24-26 (New International Version)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?


Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Christ? As we read thru God’s Word this year, you may find yourself repeatedly thinking, “Am I in the faith? What does it take to follow Him? Am I truly a disciple of Christ?”

Time to Examine Ourselves:

2 Corinthians 13:5 (New International Version)
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”


What is a Disciple?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, "disciple" means "follower, adherent, believer, student, supporter." In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, we find that the word used in the Greek New Testament for "disciple" is "mathetes." The definition is "learner, pupil, disciple." Thus, a disciple is one who believes and follows the teachings of another, and desires to learn more of his master's will.
Christ's Words

In the Bible, there are several statements attributed to Christ, and they inform readers how to best follow him. Be prepared to be shocked and amazed at the level of commitment that Jesus requires if you desire to become his disciple and to be saved.

Counting the Cost of Discipleship:
Luke 14:25-33 (New International Version)
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

John 8:31 (New International Version)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

In Luke 14:26, Jesus is recorded as saying, "If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." He also told his followers, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings." That means everything that Jesus taught must be followed in our daily living. Jesus does not ask you to throw logic out the window. He advises to count the cost, tally up what you must give up versus what you will gain, and then decide. He holds back nothing and neither can you. It really is an all or nothing deal. The stakes are high.

Gain the World, Lose your Soul:
Mark 8:34-38 (New International Version)
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."


What Did That Mean for Christ's Followers While He Was On Earth?

Christ's close followers while he was on earth had unusual challenges as they became his disciples. Their master was considered a rebel and a blasphemer by the religious and political leaders of the day. As an itinerant teacher, Christ had no permanent home, and many of his disciples chose to give up their homes and travel with him. Others opened their homes whenever he came by, incurring the displeasure of the authorities. Ultimately, many of Christ's disciples died violent deaths because they refused to disown their teacher or his doctrines.

What Does That Mean for the Christian Today?

For a person to be a disciple of Christ today, he must take several things into account. Christ asks that his disciples give him first place in their lives. He asks that they follow the commands that he has prescribed in the Bible. For a Christian, the highest aim in life should be to follow Christ and to become more like him. It can mean giving up activities that the Bible states are distracting or harmful. It definitely means that we begin to change, with the help of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, to be conformed to the image of Christ. Only by putting time and effort into learning what Christ's commands are can Christians meet this goal. So how do we do this?

Conform to the Likeness of Christ:
Romans 8:29 (New International Version)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.


Study and Practice God’s Word:
2 Peter 3:18 (New International Version)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.


Living a Holy Life is Your Testimony:
2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.


Bring Forth Fruit:
John 15:8 (New International Version)
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


Love One Another:
John 13:35 (New International Version)
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Disciples Help Feed the Sheep:
John 21:15-16 (New International Version)
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."


You must give up Sin by Repenting:
2 Timothy 2:19 (New International Version)
Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."


Explanation: Christians do sin, but not willfully so. Read 1 John 1:6 - 2:6. True disciples have the choice of continuing in that way of life or straying from it.

1 John 1:6-2:6 (New International Version)
If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our live.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.


Disciple of Christ - What Does it Mean to Make Jesus our Sovereign Lord?

Part of being a disciple of Christ is stewardship of our life, possessions and repentance from sin. If God is sovereign, He owns everything. If God owns everything, we own nothing. We don't so much as own the bodies we possess. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (New International Version)
You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (New International Version)
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Discipleship Includes Stewardship

You and I do not have ownership rights -- we have management responsibilities. It’s important that we understand this basic realization which is the foundation for Christian stewardship. Good stewardship is the wise management of God's property; you, your health, your money, your time, everything.

One fundamental lesson we as Christians must learn is: God knows best! God knows everything! He loves us as children (adopted into the family through Christ) and has set principles for us to live by in His Word, the Bible. We must follow God's principles. They are for our own protection. We live in a hostile world that has willfully rejected its Creator God, and we, as His children, are not immune to the world's trials, tribulations and temptations. Once we learn this hard lesson, and we outgrow the childish notion that we know better than God, then it's easier to submit to Him and say, "Lord, forgive me, I was wrong... I've been living a life you disapprove of and I want to change. Help me to live the life you approve of." This is the essence of repentance. To repent is to regret your sin, denounce your sin, turn from your sin, and turn to God.

Savior and Sovereign LORD

We all need a Savior. But to truly be a disciple of Christ, we need a sovereign Lord. How do we accept Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord? We need to give Him the place in our lives that He deserves and requires, and repent of our old ways. We must be born-again. We all have a choice. We can either live our life the way we please, obeying God and disobeying God as we feel is best, or we can recognize that Christ alone offers salvation. Christ alone offers a relationship with God. Christ alone offers significance and purpose to life that we can never achieve by our own wisdom or might -- a significance and purpose the world cannot offer. Trust in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, and trust that He is truly worthy of first place in your life.
Last Edit: 4 years, 11 months ago by cartoonbug.

Re:What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ? 4 years, 11 months ago #919

  • eyesonHIM
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Lovely.

Thank you for taking the time to expound further on that and reference with such wonderful scripture.

… As corny as that may sound to some, now … {yes, there was a time that I too, would have considered it “a little much” … yet now, all I can say is that it actually gives a whole new meaning (perspective) to LOVELY. … which is but an essence of HIS BEAUTY.}

I am so thankful to feel such joy and appreciation for the privilege of studying HIS WORD. … The beauty is not that I'm hearing what I want to hear … it's the realization that it is TRUTH that I am hearingyet even beyond our dreams.


Resonating with dying to self / taking up the cross / following HIM :





Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?


Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.


Ephesians 4:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.



Colossians 3:

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

And be thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


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Again ... Follow HIM!!

WHY?

~ John 14:6 “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

~ Mathew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."



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Proverbs 16:

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
       to choose understanding rather than silver!

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
       he who guards his way guards his life.

18 Pride goes before destruction,
       a haughty spirit before a fall.
 
19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed
       than to share plunder with the proud.


 
20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
       and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
       and pleasant words promote instruction.

22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it,
       but folly brings punishment to fools.



 23 A wise man's heart guides his mouth,
       and his lips promote instruction.

24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
      sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Last Edit: 4 years, 11 months ago by eyesonHIM.

Re:What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Christ? 4 years, 6 months ago #988

  • jerzy
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So painfully true. How well we respond to the call?

We need, though, to begin from the beginning:

Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

And he said:

Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

How many Christians pray to the Father instead of to the pagan styled triune god (or one of them practically forgetting about the Father)?
How many pray for the kingdom of God to be restored on earth?
How many pray for the daily bread while their barn is full?
How many ask the Father to forgive them their sins? How many kill their “enemies” in, say, Vietnam or pay their wages and admire such killers?
How many ask the Father not to lead them into temptation?
How many know that the Father is the sovereign God and rules in His kingdom (not a nonexistent fallen angel Satan)?
How many know that their life eternal is subject to know that the Father (not the pagan styled triune god) is the only true God?
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