Discipleship – Part 1 by Danny Peace

“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. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 (NIV)

Today we hear a lot about churches that are “playing church” quite a derogatory term that brings to mind the thought that some churches are operating in a rather immature fashion. Well thinking about this leads one to the root of the problem, if churches are “playing church” then the reality is that many so called Saints are “playing Christian.”

The Gospel that leads people to church membership today is tainted with the temporal, carnal and material desires of the world. Today we appeal to the world with promises of material and worldly success, come to Jesus and be rich, be prosperous and achieve all the trappings of worldly success. Our faith is focused on naming and claiming the material goods that bring the worlds envy.

We justify this Gospel with all kinds of twisting and turning of Biblical Scriptures, we make the letter of the Word say what we need it to say to justify our carnal and sinful desires: greed. Somewhere authentic Christian discipleship in Christ Jesus is lost. Following Christ, discipleship is about denial, not a river in Egypt, not the denial of an addictive personality, but the denial of the self, the denial of the things of the self, the will, a denial of self and will, that then places the Will of God and His Way first and foremost in our lives.   “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35 (NIV)  The will of God is to establish His Kingdom and Jesus Christ as it’s head. His Way is the Way of Righteousness.

The Gospel message is effective and true only as it turns and pivots on our conviction as sinners and our repentance of that Sin, finding relief from the penalty of sin through the work on the cross of Christ Jesus, and the ensuing resurrection granting us the guarantee of Our LORD’s power over death. When one has experienced this saving Grace, by repenting of sin, and by faith, submitting in one’s heart to Christ as Lord of our lives, and thus confessing with one’s mouth, and this confession only after the heart condition is right, does one experience the regenerating power of the new birth from above, with the earnest possession of the Holy Spirit. That is the very intent of God’s Love and the greatest of all miracles, Salvation.

Please believe, the Spirit discerns the Spirit, and that is why you can be in some of the traditional fellowships and know that out of hundreds, only a handful are born from above. Just as in Noah’s day, only eight made it into the ark out of the multitudes, so is it today.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37 (NIV) This means that many pulpits and church boards are congregated with individuals who know not if there even be a Holy Spirit. The religious philosophy of Jesus Christ as a Good Teacher is taught and preached, and even attempts are made at following in His foot steps, but without the empowerment of the unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) The world is already burning down in sin, and with it a good part of what is called the church. Many so called Christians are on fire, but not for the Lord, but for money, power and success.

To be continued…

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