The Cost of Discipleship
I came across this quote the other day from this author, so I just had to copy it, and you will soon see why it caught ones attention. Quote: Christian discipleship is an operative link between the saved and the Saviour; as the saved, we follow the Saviour. Thus Paul could say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20 NIV)
The cost of discipleship is defined in Luke 9:23; “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”. Note these operative words; “deny,” “take up,” “follow.” When we read that Peter denied Jesus, we could not have a better definition of “deny.” Peter was saying, “I do not know Jesus.” So, when the call to discipleship demands that I deny myself, I must be able to say “I do not know me;” self is dead. In its stead, Christ must live (Gal 2:20). Second; to take up the cross daily is a call to experience self-crucifixion on a continual basis. Third; to follow demands that the focus and direction of the life is Christ and him alone.
Jesus expands the cost of discipleship even further, as revealed in Luke 9:57-62: nothing takes precedence over Jesus. He; and He alone, stands supreme in friendship and fellowship, work and worship. In Christian discipleship, death to self is not an option, it is a necessity.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die… It is the same death every time – death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.. Only the man who is dead to his own will, can follow Christ.” Dietrich Bonheoffer.
Jesus plays this same concept but in an Agricultural way as found in John 12:24-25” Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” This death is not a loss, but a bountiful multiplication, sort of like; Why are you holding on so tightly to your dirty battered 10 Cent coin, so that you unable to open your hand to receive a kilo block of Gold.
Why do we hang onto that which is frail and perishing and not exchange it for enduring and the eternal; and life with Christ as an added bonus? I guess we just call it a “Lack of Faith.” Matthew has this for us to ponder in Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” They hear that they are denied life eternal, as they had denied the Real Christ.
This group have denied the True God, served a false system, so God honours their decision of denying him (Golden Rule) and he has to deny them as they are certainly not his children. The five foolish bridesmaids will also hear the same thing; their life and lifestyle had denied God, so he respects their decision and denies them, and therefore denies them their access to Heaven and Life Eternal.
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” Paul here is on the same theme, I deny my own self, I crucify self daily. Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” To put on something, you have to take the old off first, deny self, remove self, crucify self; and then put on Christ; and the keep on denying self and do not ever let it get put back on again, like weeds that grow up in the garden, we keep plucking them out and throwing them away. As the song goes, “Just Jesus and Me,” or more really “Jesus In me.” Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Now that we have the right “Deny,” self gets the big Deny, and Jesus Christ who is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all them that therein is, gets his rightful place of full acceptance, the welcome mat and the Throne of the heart, desires and life, that is when “Real Life” actually starts.
The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trials of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need. You should feel that you have only to do with today. Overcome for today; deny self for today; watch and pray for today; obtain victories in God for today. Our circumstances and surroundings, the changes daily transpiring around us, and the written word of God which discerns and proves all things—these are sufficient to teach us our duty and just what we ought to do, day by day. Instead of suffering your mind to run in a channel of thought from which you will derive no benefit, you should be searching the Scriptures daily and doing those duties in daily life which may now be irksome to you, but which must be done by someone. {CCh 79}
Many professed Christians do not labour perseveringly. They make too little effort, and are not ready and willing to deny self. The prayer of the living Christian will be “to be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding, that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness.” “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Here is the true knowledge which should be desired, and possessed by every Christian. This knowledge will not lead to ungodliness. It will not break down the constitution, or bring a gloomy cloud over the mind; but will impart substantial joys, and true happiness. This wisdom is divine, and flows ceaselessly from a pure fountain which gives peace, joy and health. {ApM 32}