By Ross Freeman
PART 1 - The Call of Discipleship
When Jesus called these men to discipleship, I want you to understand what happened here. They immediately made the decision to follow Him. They did not say, “Can I think about it, or pray about it or make any negative statements?” No! They responded immediately.
Immediately simply means: at once, forthwith, straightaway, this instant. The word follow me translated from the Greek means: come after me or follow behind me – which ultimately is a call to discipleship. When Jesus calls it is up to us whether we respond or not, and when we do respond, how committed are we going to be? These verses are calling us to a greater commitment to Him, to be a servant to all and to be available to others when they need what God has for them as He ministers through us.
I thank God He died for me. I thank Him for calling me and I thank Him for being with me and enabling me to do what He has called me to do. How about you?
God has called us to minister His word accurately into other peoples lives, saved and unsaved alike. Not our words but His!
PART 2 - The Foundation of Discipleship
The key words here are “hears and does.” We must hear what the Lord is saying and act accordingly, thereby laying our foundation.
The discipleship ministry, even our Christian walk, must be based on a solid foundation, otherwise it will collapse. Foundation comes from a Greek word meaning: laid down as a foundation, to make stable, establish, like a building, wall or city. The solid foundation is Jesus as the scripture tells us. Any other way or any other foundation is worldly, of self, baseless and will lead to confusion, disarray, wrong thinking, negative attitudes and speech, lack of openness and care for others; which of course leads to negative discipleship. However, a solid Jesus foundation will lead to a positive word-based and spirit-led discipleship, where people are taught, mentored, relationships built and the raising up of a strong well balanced positive people into the Kingdom of God.
It is not all going to be peaches and cream, there will be struggles and frustrations. But, perseverance, patience and an open heart will produce lasting results.
So when we are walking on the solid foundation of Jesus then we are walking on the foundation of the City of God.
PART 3 - A Disciple Must Confess Jesus
We cannot be disciples or disciple anyone unless we confess Jesus. That confession must be a bold confession that builds a confidence in us and in turn builds the confidence in the person being discipled, enabling them to more readily accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. (It must not be an arrogant or overpowering boldness.)
True discipleship cannot succeed in the face of denial of Jesus. In fact it turns the whole situation into a cult status. Discipleship on occasions results in division and rejection especially by family, relatives, friends and at times other Christians.
To be a disciple of Jesus requires loyalty to Him, a far greater loyalty than to any other person on this planet. We must be in total submission to Him and Him alone before we can be in submission to our pastor, church, leadership or anyone else. This gives us a far greater and positive affect on those around us and to those that we disciple. When we are full of Jesus Christ we never go empty.
When we are submitted to Jesus we become representatives of Jesus and a representative to the people He sent us to, especially as Christ is in us, the hope of glory. So if they receive us and the message that Jesus sent, they are in fact receiving Jesus and His message.
PART 4 - The Cost of Discipleship
To be a disciple of Jesus there is a cost and to disciple others there is a cost. The question is are we willing and prepared to pay the cost? This is what Jesus is talking about in verses 19 and 20. The answer to this question reveals the genuineness toward discipleship. The highest cost of all was paid by Jesus. He paid the cost throughout His earthly ministry and paid the ultimate cost at the end of it. However, there is still a cost for us; are we prepared to pay the price?
Some of the costs to bear in mind are: time, money, effort, talents, stepping out of our comfort zone, embracing and or loving the unlovable, persecution, ridicule, rejection, frustration, attacks of the enemy and in some cases, like Jesus, our very lives.
Our commitment must be instant, never wavering, not looking back but looking forward through the eyes and heart of Jesus who is within us.
Will you willingly to pay the price as you meet the cost, as you reach out to the saved and unsaved alike? The price we pay benefits others. This is not an ego trip. This is not a look how good, great or pious I am mentality, but bringing the love of God and the saving grace of Jesus into the lives of people. As you pay the price you will realize that God gives value for money.
PART 5 - Jesus the Reason to Disciple
Jesus not only died for the world but also for all disciples. If he had not lived, died and rose again, we would have nothing to disciple about; the world would have no hope and eternal life would be just a pipe dream. In other words the lost would still be lost.
In verse 22, Peter is in the flesh and Jesus reminds him of it in the next verse. We are to be sold out to the things of God and the will of God.
We must lose the desire to serve self and our own agendas, to put the past behind and look toward the future in serving Christ and man under the leading and anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is not just a one off decision or confession, but a lifestyle, daily, every day and each part of every day.
Nothing in this world can compare to our salvation and the treasure of heaven, which are the rewards to the disciple and people who are committed to saving the lost at any cost, for their reward is in heaven.
PART 6 - Riches Can be a Barrier to Discipleship
Perfect in verse 21 means: complete, lacking nothing.
The rich young ruler may have lived a decent even godly life and attempted to keep the Ten Commandments, but with sinful unsaved man this is impossible as Jesus points out. The young ruler had in fact, even as he was speaking with Jesus, broken the first commandment. For his wealth had become his god. Jesus did not want this man to get rid of his wealth so he would become poor; He wanted the man to get rid of the hold that his wealth had over him. If he had done what Jesus said, he would have acquired back his wealth with interest.
We too must get rid of our baggage that would hold us back; we must remove distractions that keep us from our true course in following Jesus.
It is okay for us to have things as long as we possess them and they do not possess us. We cannot lead others to Christ, we cannot disciple them if we still have barriers of wealth and possessions. We cannot see them as Jesus sees them, if our eyes are on our wealth and possessions. We cannot love them for the same reason. So the don’t do as I do but do what I say attitude will be ineffective. We must lead by example and let God rule our lives not our possessions. Then we can do what God has called us to do.
PART 7 - Disciples Do Not Look for High Positions
Disciples look to God and God gives positions. It is impossible to be a disciple for Jesus if we are looking for high positions or positions of importance and self adulation. If this is the case we will not be able to see others, let alone their needs. This attitude makes us unapproachable and unteachable, thereby making us unable to teach or minister.
We must allow God to move in our lives and move through us; for Him to do this, the flesh or self adulation and self importance must be crucified, put to death and buried, through repentance and surrender to God.
Worldly leaders and people in positions of power often flaunt their position and make unrealistic demand of people.
God who is the supreme authority is not like that, He is not overbearing, He is loving, patient and caring and He lifts us up to the positions He has for us.
Discipleship or ministry is not so that we are in positions of importance or to bask in the limelight, it is not for us to be waited on, pampered or to be held in some kind of awe. No! It is quite the opposite; we are to be servants of all, to wait on all, to minister to all, to reach all, to embrace and accept all. After all that’s what Jesus did, so why should we have the audacity to think ourselves more important because that is what we would be doing if we fail to follow Jesus’ example.