Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-NIV).
The great commission directs us to go out and make disciples from all nations of the earth, commanding them to keep the directives given by Christ and his Apostles. We do not do this. We go out "save soul", telling them they are not obligated to keep the commandments contained in the New Testament because they are saved by grace.
We do not go out to bear witness. We go out to "save souls" and build churches. This is why we do not bear a true witness. We are so anxious to draw people into our denominational framework that we compromise the Gospel of the kingdom. We "sell" the Gospel. This means we do everything we can make it attractive to people.
The Lord Jesus Christ never did this .He spoke in parables so people could not understand and be converted. Christ explained the parables only to those God had given him. He accused the pharisees openly, rebuking them with harsh words.
The apostles Paul did not attempt to sell Felix on the gospel. He spoke to Felix of righteousness ,self control, and the judgement to come until Felix trembled.
The book of acts is not so much a record of the apostles"saving souls", in the sense of urguing their listeners to make a proffessional faith, but of God`s preachers bringing the good news of forgiveness through the blood of the cross and warning people every where to turn from their sins and bring forth the evidence of deep repentance.
When we try to "save souls" and build a large church we are apt to trim the demands of Christ so people are not offended.
The Lord Jesus Christ never did this. He spoke plainly to his followers: If you are going to be my disciple you have to deny yourself, takeup your cross, and follow me. If you once put your hand to the plow and then look back, you are not fit for the kingdom of God. If you love your family members more than you do me you are not worthy of me. If you do not takeup your cross and follow me you are not worthy of me.
Do we hear this preached today ? No indeed we do not. Rather, as in the case of at least one assembly, we fill people`s coffee cups during the taking of the offering so they will feel comfortable and happy and have fun.
We are much more concerned about the growth of the numbers than we are with the spiritual growth of the individuals. We are sowing our traditions and personal ambitions and we are going to reap corruption in the days to come.
One can be an American Christian in all the customery meanings of the term and yet not be a disciple of Jesus Christ . A disciple of Jesus Christ is an individual who in his heart has come out from the world, who is denying himself and seeking Christ with all his might. His whole life-every part of it-is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.
RESTING IN HIM
From Uganda East Africa