The family is such an important blessing from the hands of the God to the inhabitants of planet earth. We get to have a family in heaven and also experience family in the earth. Family is a bid deal. But, like all other blessings, there’s order and balance. We can allow any blessing from heaven to become bigger in our lives than the Blesser who bestowed it. That’s the danger. A Jesus follower has this issue to walk out. To enjoy the blessing of God all the while keeping God first in his heart and life. It’s a challenge for any disciple of Jesus. How are you doing in this all-important area?
It is possible to be a follower of Jesus without being a disciple; to be a camp follower without being a soldier of the king; to be a hanger-on in some great work without pulling one’s weight. Once someone was talking to a great scholar about a younger man. He said, “So and so tells me that he was one of your students.” The teacher answered devastatingly, “He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students.” There is a world of difference between attending lectures and being a student. It is one of the supreme handicaps of the Church that in the Church there are so many distant followers of Jesus and so few real disciples.1 What kind of disciple are you?
A young man who works in an aquarium explained that the most popular fish is the shark. If you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium. Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured. But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet. That also happens to some Christians. I’ve seen some of the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle. But if you put them into a larger arena—into the whole creation—only then can they become great.1 Is it your goal in life to just be a cute six-inch puddle swimming Christian? Wouldn’t you rather get out into the ocean and make a big splash for the Kingdom of God? How do you do it? First, you have to make a decision about being willing to pour your life into others.
At the University of Oklahoma, for many years a project was underway to teach a fifteen-year-old female chimpanzee named Washoe to talk by combining sign language with simple recognition. Since 1966, this chimpanzee learned 140 signs. Finally, the project directors decided that Washoe was prepared to “conceptualize.” This meant that instead of merely imitating some human’s words, the chimp would express thoughts of her own. Now, understand, Washoe was a pampered animal in the university’s laboratory—well fed, physically comfortable, safe from harm. She had security. And yet, when she was able to put words together on her own into a phrase, these were the first three—and she has said them again, repeatedly—“Let me out.” 1 Even a chimp knows that security is not everything in life.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus means becoming a committed follower. It is a life-long learning position (Matthew 11:29). There’s much to know about God and His ways. One potentially huge area is the subject of miracles. Jesus said, ‘The works that I do, you will do also and greater works than these shall you do because I go unto the Father’ (John 14:12). As an aspiring disciple, it is necessary that we become students of the miraculous in order that we might flow in the greater works of Jesus.
All of the apostles were insulted by the enemies of their Master. They were called to seal their doctrines with their blood and nobly did they bear the trial.
- Matthew suffered martyrdom by being slain with a sword at a distant city of Ethiopia.
- Mark expired at Alexandria, after being cruelly dragged through the streets of that city.
- Luke was hanged upon an olive tree in the classic land of Greece.
- John was put in a caldron of boiling oil, but escaped death in a miraculous manner, and was afterward banished to Patmos.
- Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward.
- James, the Greater, was beheaded at Jerusalem,
- James, the Less, was thrown from a lofty pinnacle of the temple, and then beaten to death with a fuller’s club.
- Bartholomew was flayed alive.
- Andrew was bound to a cross, whence he preached to his persecutors until he died.
- Thomas was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel in the East Indies.
- Jude was shot to death with arrows.
- Matthias was first stoned and then beheaded.
- Barnabas of the Gentiles was stoned to death at Salonica.
- Paul, after various tortures and persecutions, was at length beheaded at Rome by the Emperor Nero.
Such was the fate of the apostles, according to traditional statements. 1 What is it about these kinds of men? What traits do these disciples of Jesus possess that they would be willing to follow Jesus to the end?
George Stormount, who wrote a biography of Smith Wigglesworth, said of him, “Once, he stayed in our home, he came down early one morning and told me, ‘God spoke to me on your bed.’ Stormount replied, ‘What did He say?’ ‘He said, ‘Wigglesworth, I am going to burn you all up, until there is no more Wigglesworth, only Jesus.’ Standing at the foot of our stairs, he raised his hands to heaven, and with tears running down his cheeks, he cried, ‘O, God, come and do it! I don’t want them to see me anymore – only Jesus. Is that where your heart is today? Are you a cross carrying disciple of Jesus?
There’s always been much discussion in Christian circles on the subject of discipleship. And rightly so. Becoming a sold out disciple of Jesus is Christianity 101. Understand, though, the discipleship piece is a dependence piece. Dependence means a life of coming to Jesus and relying upon Him. In our day to day life, in our moment by moment walk with the Lord, should we not ‘come to Him?’ Why wouldn’t we? What is holding us back? This idea of coming to Him is featured in the gospels and in the entire Word of God for that matter. What can we learn about the potential benefits of living a life that involves a constant coming to Jesus?
In this post, I want you to ‘catch’ vision. I want you to ‘see’ what discipleship really is. I want you to get a glimpse of what it is. But in order to ‘see’ Bible truths on discipleship, we are going to have to get a vision of what it looks like. We are going to have to see it before we can acquire it. The same principle works for any Bible area. Healing for example. You have to ‘see’ yourself well before you ever get well. You have to see yourself prosperous before the money comes in. You have to see yourself ‘used of God’ before you ever are. So, what does a disciple of Jesus really look like?
Starting in Luke 14: 25 Jesus gives, us teaching on what a disciple really is. Jesus uses the same words: ‘sit down first’ in describing the man who built a tower and the man who deliberates for war. In effect what Jesus is saying is that “When you are considering the idea of becoming a disciple of mine, pull up a chair and have a seat.” And from this seated position, Jesus is saying, “Let’s talk about what discipleship means for your life. Let’s talk about what it means to count the cost.”
Becoming a disciple of Jesus means becoming a committed follower. It is a learning position (Matt. 11:29). There is much to know about Him and His ways. One thing that Jesus informed us of is this area of miracles. He said, ‘The works that I do, you will do also and greater works than these shall you do because I go unto the Father’ (John 14:12). As an aspiring disciple, it is necessary that we become students of the miraculous.