be a Disciple
"I dare you!" You've heard
that before. Usually people say that to you when they want to
challenge you to do something adventurous, like ride a roller
coaster or ski dive.
Well, I dare you to take the riskiest,
and yet, most rewarding adventure that you can ever
experienceand that is to be a disciple of Christ Jesus.
"Well, Im already a
Christian," you might say.
Theres a vast difference in being
part of the Christian religion and being a disciple. Many
consider themselves Christians, simply because they believe in
Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ will make you a convert
but not necessarily a disciple.
The difference between a convert and a
disciple is the same difference between giving birth and raising
your child. A lady was in the hospital giving birth to her first
baby. As the pain and contractions increased, she grabbed the
nurse, pulled her close to her and screamed, "Is the hard
The nurse smiled and said, "Honey,
this is the easy part. The hard part is in the next eighteen
Its easy to get saved. You simply
need to accept Jesus Christ into your heart. You are saved by
grace, not by works. The hard part is living for Christ once
The Holy Spirits favorite word to
describe the believer is "disciple." It is used 270
times in the Bible. Yet the word "Christian" is rarely
used. The reason is because believers saw themselves more than
simply being part of a religion, they saw themselves as followers
of Jesus Christ.
The word "disciple" literally
means a student who follows after the example of a teacher in
order to be like the teacher.
Jesus says, "A student is not above
his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his
teacher" (Luke 6:40). The ultimate goal of a disciple is to
be like Jesus. And if thats not your aim, then youll
never make heaven.
Jesus is not coming to take with Him to
heaven wretched sinners. No, Hes coming for His disciples.
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me on that day,
Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but
only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"
Many people will be shocked to find out
that they will not enter heaven, simply because they called Jesus
"Lord." The only ones who will enter heaven are those
who become disciples of the Lord, not simply converts.
Three Marks of a
The Bible teaches us that there are
three marks of a genuine disciple: faithfulness, fellowship, and
We need to understand that there are
privileges of being a disciple, but there are also
responsibilities. There are responsibilities to being a disciple.
To be a disciple will cost you something.
In Luke 14:25-34 Jesus speaks about the
high price of being a disciple. He uses the analogy of a army
going to war. The king calculates whether or not he has enough
men to win the war. Then Jesus gives another example of a man who
builds a tower. The man first sits down and counts his money to
see if he has enough to finish the building.
The point of these parables is obvious:
count the cost to see if you are willing to pay the price of
becoming His disciple.
Hold to My Teaching
The first mark of a disciple is
mentioned in John 8:31: "To the Jews who had believed him,
Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my
disciples." The word "really" implies that there
are many insincere followers of Christ. Jesus shows the
characteristic of a true disciple. And what is this
characteristic? It is someone who holds to the teaching of Christ
rather than holding to the words of others.
Many people who claim to be disciples
are more influenced by what people say than by what God says.
Many guide their lives by Hollywood, instead of the Holywoodthe
Cross. Jesus says, "And anyone who does not carry his cross
and follow me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).
Are you influenced by the worlds
philosophy, or are you influenced by the Lords Word? A
genuine disciple puts the Word of God first in his life.
If I walked in your house what would I
see? Is your magazine rack filled with pornography? If it is then
thats what is important to you.
Is it filled with money, sports and home
magazines? Then thats what is meaningful you.
However, every Christian home ought to
have Christian magazines sprinkled throughout their house.
What literature fills your bookshelves?
If the Word of God is first in your life then you will have
plenty of Christian books and Bibles on your shelves.
And if I looked into your CD player what
would I find? Conway Twiddy and his pals, or will I find Petra,
Carmen, Michael Smith and their Christian friends. When the Word
is first in your life you dont mind spending money to keep
your mind filled with Gods Word.
A woman asked her pastor to visit her at
home and pray for her. When the pastor arrived, the woman turned
to her daughter and said, "Honey, would you bring
mommys favorite book." A minute later, the little girl
brought in a T.V. Guide.
When the Word is first in your life it
will show in your conduct, words and attitude.
By This Shall All Men
The second characteristic of a disciple
is that he wants to fellowship with believers.
Jesus says, "By this all men will
know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"
Jesus does not say that you should love
the world, but rather that you should love His disciples. If you
truly love Christians, then you will want to fellowship with
them. If youve stopped going to church, then you show that
you dont love Christ disciples.
Some believers prefer to hang around
non-believers. This shows that they truly are not Christ
You may say, "Ive been
disappointed with other Christians. Theyve hurt me. This is
why I dont go to church." Have considered the fact
that you hurt others when you dont go to church. Yes,
thats right. You hurt the church when you stop attending
it. The church needs your support.
"The church is full of
hypocrites!" Isnt that shameful that you allow
hypocrites to get closer to God than you.
In fact let me say this to you: if
youve stopped going to church, "You are the
hypocrite!" Now, dont get mad because Im telling
you the truth.
Jesus said that hypocrites will go to
hell along with the unbelievers. So you better watch what
youve been saying about other Christians.
This reminds me of a burglar who needed
money to pay his taxes. So he decided to rob a store. He broke in
and to his delight he saw a note on the safe. It read,
"Please, dont use dynamite. The safe is open. Just
turn the knob."
He reached and turned the knob. As he
did, a heavy sack fell on top of him and knocked him out. The
alarm sounded. Lights flashed.
The police arrived and arrested him. As
he was carried out on a stretcher, he could be heard mumbling,
"My confidence in human nature has been rudely shaken."
Many Christians are like this thief.
They forget their own sins, but remember the sins of others.
The third characteristic of a disciple
is fruitfulness. Jesus says, "This is to my Fathers
glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my
disciples" (John 15:8).
In the end, what really matters is the
fruit we produced for the Lord. Not what denomination we belonged
to, but what kind of fruit we bore.
Several cotton farmers were arguing over
the merits of their individual denominations. One thought that
the Baptist way was best; another believed that the Methodist way
was superior; still another thought that the Catholic way was
better. Finally, they asked Joe, "Hey, Joe, you havent
said anything. Whats your opinion?"
Joe thought carefully. He pointed to the
familiar mountain and said, "Fellows, you know that beyond
that mountain is the cotton gin. Theres three ways to get
to the cotton gin. The shortest is over the mountain. That way is
rugged. Another way is south around the mountain. Its a bit
shorter, yet not so rugged. The final way is to the north.
Its the longest way but the easiest. Now, when you get to
the cotton gin, the owner is not going to ask you how you got
there. Hes simply going to ask you, Hows your
Farmer Joe has more sense than many
Christians. When you finally arrive at the Judgment seat of
Christ, Gods not going to ask you what denomination you
belonged to; Hes just going to ask you, "How good is
Soul winning fruit
The fruit that Christ desires us to
produce is more disciples. "I chose you and appointed you to
go and bear fruitfruit that will last" (John 15:16).
We must "go" and bear fruit. Its clear that the
Lord has in mind that we go into all the Lord and make disciples,
and that these disciples will last.
I want to ask you an important question,
"Are you winning souls for Jesus Christ?" If your
answer is no, then you better seriously get to work in witnessing
for Christ. This is most important job for you. Peoples
eternal destiny will be determined by whether or not you share
the gospel with them. God will hold you accountable for every
lost soul that you refused to witness to.
Ezekiel 3:18 says, "When I say to a
wicked man, You will surely die, and you do not warn
him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to
save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will
hold you accountable for his blood."
Lester Sumrall was dying of
tuberculosis. As he was lying on his bed he had a vision. On one
side of his bed he saw people fall into hell. He heard their
awful screams as they plundered into hell. On the other side of
his bed he saw a big, glowing Bible. Then he heard Gods
Lester chose the Bible, and from an
early age he preached the gospel to all nations. He continued to
do this for over sixty years until he died this year. He made his
life count. I can only imagine the reward he received.
The only regret youll have when
you go to heaven is when you realize you could have won more to
One of the best movies ever made was Shindlers
List. The most touching part of this film for me was near the
end. The war was over, and Shindler was about to leave Germany.
As hes leaving, the Jews he saved from the concentration
camps gave him a gift. A man took the gold filling from his tooth
and made a ring out of it. They gave it to Shindler.
He slowly, and hesitantly puts the ring
on his finger. It dawns on him. He could have sacrificed more to
save others from death. He wept over his luxury automobile,
"I could have sold this car and saved twenty more from
He grabbed the fine clothes he wore,
"This suit is worth five lives."
As he entered his car, he looked closely
at his expensive watch, "I could have sold this watch and
saved one person."
Tears stream down my cheeks as this
scene unfolded. I reflected on my own spiritual life, and
wondered, "What could I sacrifice in order to win more
people to Christ."
I read the story of a pregnant Korean
woman who fled North Korea during the war. It was during a cold
winter day. As night approached she began to have contractions.
The baby was about to be born.
She climbed down under a bridge, and
there she gave birth to boy. It was so cold that night. She knew
the baby would not survive the frigid air. So she took off all
her clothes and wrapped him with them. She hugged her baby trying
to keep him warm.
The next morning, a missionary couple
was driving their truck across that bridge when the wife
exclaimed, "Stop the truck!"
The truck screeched. "I hear a baby
crying?" They quickly jumped out of the truck and ran under
the bridge. There lay the baby wrapped in his mothers
clothes with his frozen mother dead, still with her arms around
The couple took the baby and buried the
mother nearby. They chose to adopt the baby.
As the child became older he asked his
adoptive parents about his mother. He wanted to know what
happened to her. So the parents told him this story.
The boy journeyed to this old bridge and
found the place where his mother lay. He took off all his clothes
and laid it on his mothers grave. He fell to his knees and
I wonder have you realized the sacrifice
of Christ? He gave his life for you. Are you as grateful as this
Korean boy? Will you be willing to come to the cross and fall on
your knees and strip off anything in your life that has hindered
you from serving Christ?
Strip off the sin in your life that is
hindering your walk with God. Get back into church. Start reading
the Bible. Be bold in your witness to others. Basically, put the
Lord first in your life!
Fall on your knees and tell God that
youre sorry. Promise Him that you will serve Him with all
I dare you to be a disciple.
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