Old Prayer Diary
|Friday 20th May 2016
The Great Omission
Why Bother with Discipleship
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
If we are Christians simply by believing that Jesus died for our sins, then that is all it takes to have sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die. Why should we consider or insist that something more is desirable? i.e. Lordship, discipleship, spiritual formation etc. What more could we want than to be sure of our eternal destiny and to enjoy life with others who have similar orientations to faith? Doesn’t everyone want to be a good person? But does that require that we actually do what Jesus Himself said and did? We all know that Christians aren’t perfect “just forgiven.”
There are four simple things I desire to draw our attention to in order to make a case for discipleship. Firstly, there is absolutely nothing in what Jesus Himself or His early followers taught that suggests you can decide just to enjoy forgiveness at Jesus’ expense and have nothing more to do with Him. When you stop and think about this, how can we say we trust Him for forgiveness of sins while not trusting Him for much more than that? Secondly, if we do not decide to become His disciples or apprentices we will remain locked in defeat so far as moral intentions are concerned. Simply put, sin will remain our master if Jesus isn’t allowed to become our Lord. Thirdly, only avid discipleship to Christ through the Holy Spirit brings the inward transformation of thought, feeling and character that “cleans the inside of the cup”. (Matt 23:25) And finally, for the one who makes sure to walk as close to Jesus as possible, there comes a reliable exercise of power that is beyond sin avoidance and personal transformation. There is a power that has the capacity to transform everything everywhere. It is indeed this power that Jesus offers to those who choose the pathway of discipleship. This power that Jesus offers us and Scripture clearly records for us is found through the gateway of discipleship.
Prayer & Meditation
1. The choice comes down to whether we believe Salvation is all about us, or all about Him. Are you content with only having sins forgiven and the prospect of heaven, or does your heart long for more? Why not take this moment to respond to Him?
2. Judson Cornwall, a well-known American Pentecostal preacher, relates a time when God gave him a dream of a room with tables full of cheap trinkets. The walls were lined with shelves and, the higher up the shelves went, the more valuable were the goods stored on them. In the dream he saw his congregation coming into the room and getting excited with all the trinkets on the tables. Everything was free, but nobody looked higher to see the shelves and the items of real value on them. He found himself shouting at them to “look up” but sadly, few did. God is inviting us, through discipleship, to “look higher” and receive the things which are of real value in His Kingdom, beyond “sin avoidance and personal transformation.” Which do you choose?
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