If you are reading this page chances are you have heard the call from Jesus of, “Follow me.”
Dictionary.com says a disciple is
1. Religion .
a. one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
b. one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
c. any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
2. any follower of Christ.
3. a member of the Disciples of Christ.
4. a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower: a disciple of Freud.
My personal definition is: Some one who has committed their lives to learning from Jesus. A Follower is someone who knows who Jesus is but does not learn from him. I believe anyone can follow Jesus, but not everyone will learn from him.
Christianity has been so simplified and watered down through easy believism and “name it and claim it” theology that many people who say they are Christians may not be. I know that is a hard pill to swallow, but if you stick with me I think I can clear it up.
Jesus tells a story about the judgment and says there will be people who claim him as savior but are really not his disciples. We have had churches that for the last hundred years have told people that all you have to do is come to the front and ask Jesus into your heart and you will be saved. That is not only a disservice to people who really need Christ in their lives, it is only a half truth.
Give me ten minutes and I will try to explain what a disciple is.
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The verses we have taken and made into the be all end all of Christian faith are Romans 10:8-13
All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
11 The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12 no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13 All who call out to the Lord will be saved. (CEV) (Emphasis added)ed, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10 God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
I have no doubt that this verse is true and that all people who really call on the name of Jesus will be saved. what I don’t believe is going to the front of a church and saying this gets you anything more than a step closer to what a disciple is. After you confess Christ even Paul who wrote this says there is more to it.
<b>What Paul Says About Discipleship</b>
In the same letter to the Romans Paul says,
<i>1 Dear friends,
God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. 2 Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.</i> (CEV) (Emphasis Added)
That doesn’t sound like he is still saying just believe and you will be saved. He is telling them that if they truly believe then God will change them from the inside – out. He tells them to offer themselves as living sacrifices. Sacrifices don’t run off or just change their mind. Sacrifices are all-in. Sacrifices are changed forever. A disciple is the same way. They give themselves completely to Christ as living sacrifices who let God change the way they think and act.
<b>Who Jesus Says A Disciple Is</b>
Since Jesus is our true guide as to what a disciple is we need to look at what he says a disciple is. In the book of Matthew Jesus teaches what we call The Sermon on the Mount. When we look at the first part of it called “The Beatitudes” many people say he has to mean this for some other time, because we can’t live like this today. I say Jesus intends for us to live like this because of the way it starts.
<i>When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down.
Jesus’ disciples gathered around him, 2 and he taught them:
3 God blesses those people who depend only on him.
They belong to the kingdom
The disciples, the people who were learning from Jesus gathered around and he taught them that God will bless people who only depend on him, people who grieve, people who are humble, people who want to obey him more than anything, people who are merciful and people whose hearts are pure. But the key phrase is, ” God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! Do you remember where we started, confessing and believing. This is the level of confessing he is talking about. Real disciples depend solely on god for their lives, money, food, and all other needs.
Being a disciple means you have to become that living sacrifice for Christ. Can you just be a follower and get to heaven? That’s for God to know. But what I can tell you is the bible makes it clear that we are to be completely sold out disciples, not someone looking for eternal get out of jail free cards.