Published 06 April 2012
A Message on ‘Discipleship Defined' from Luke 9:23-24
True Discipleship involves discipline and denial which are a traditional and vital theme during ‘Lent'. Not just going without some pleasure, pastime or food, but a dynamic, discipleship involving self-discipline, and not just for 40 days, but for life.
* The Desire expressed: ‘If anyone would come after me'. Identification with Jesus! Is this our real desire? ‘Christ-ian' indicates Christ coming first in our designation. Is He first in our discipleship?
* The Denial enforced: ‘He must deny himself' = cancel out himself". Personal ‘pronounitis' is a common affliction! Think of the shape of the cross as crossing out the big ‘I' of self and sin. Self-denial and constant selectiveness is needed in Christian living.
* The Death exhibited: ‘Take up his cross daily'. ‘Daily' is added in Luke 9:23. A ‘must' for Jesus about His cross. In Mark chapters 8-9-10 spot His three clear forecasts of His suffering and death. A condemned man would carry a cross to die on it! So for us spiritually: dying to self-righteousness, self-seeking, self-assertion and pride. ‘None of self and all of Thee' in a hymn. Note Gal 2:20, 6:14; and II Cors 4:5 and 7.
* The Devotion envisaged: ‘Follow me'. It's not easy! In John's Gospel, In John 1:43 and 21:19, 22 spot His first word of Jesus to Philip and His last word to Peter, and it is His call to others. We may sing that word lightly in our hymns, but ponder its deep implications. Do we follow Him to Gethsemane, Calvary, Resurrection, Acension and Pentecost?
* The Discovery expected: ‘Whoever loses his life for me will save it!' A paradox! Selfishness is spiritual suicide; selflessness is God-glorifying. The conditions are clear. It is Christ's call, but our choice! To ‘gain the whole world' is a bad bargain. Christian believers are the fruit of His passion and death. See John 12:24-25. Are we His fruit?
‘IF anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow ME.'
What a challenge! It's an option - an IF.
‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!'
Rev Perry Smith, Belmont, NSW