Core Principles Of Discipleship

A host of people claim to love Jesus Christ and to be really Christians. Others are true, spiritually young Christians and tend to stay that way until they fall from grace. Jesus Himself gives us many insights to what it means to be truly a Christian, and a verse in Matthew is heavily loaded with three important principles touching upon salvation.
Core Principles Of Discipleship
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

There are some that might think they can love Christ but do not have to be His disciple. Christ said in John 15:8 that His disciples were to bear much fruit. Just before that, He is recorded in verses 5 and 6 as saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the

fire and they are burned.” It is very apparent that anyone in Christ is to bear fruit. If they do not, it is certainly indicated in these verses that hell awaits them. Bearing fruit is associated with being His disciple, so those that claim to be Christ’s need to follow not only this principle of discipleship, but the others that are found in the Holy Bible.

It could be said there are eight principles of discipleship, four being corrective and four being directive. Starting at the outermost point, Luke 14: 26 shows that Christ must be Lord (the one completely in charge) of our social realm. Going further inward, the next corrective principle, found in Luke 13:33, shows that Christ must be Lord of our substance, of what belongs to us, or even what we think belongs to us.

The final two corrective principles, and the first directive principle of discipleship, are all found in one verse, Matthew 6:24, which is as follows: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” These principles may be presented as Jesus Christ must be Lord of my soul, Lord instead of me, and Lord of my new life.

I. Lord Of My Soul

“. . . deny himself, . . . "

In John 3:26 it is recorded that some disciples of John the Baptist reported to him that Jesus “is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” In response, John said (John 3:30), “He must increase, but I must decrease." Though John was speaking about the number of disciples, what he said ought to be applied to our whole being.

In inheriting Eternal Life we are to deny our own ability. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). And, just as in the garden of Gethsemane the Son said to the Father, “not my will, but may your will done," we are to resign our will and lovingly accept and do His will. We are to permit only His desires to be our desires. As we learn to truly love Him we increasingly aim to please God through Christ instead of pleasing ourselves. And, ultimately, we must physically suffer and die for Him if need be.

II. Lord Instead Of Me

“. . . take up his cross, . . ."

Not only must we decrease and let Him increase in our life, we must actually be co-crucified with Him so that in a sense we die so that He lives through us. As it is written in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Some time back I received from God the following sentence to use whenever I teach or preach: “Jesus Christ came to save me from me." Upon salvation we are indeed saved from the world and hell, but we must acknowledge and act upon the fact that we are saved from our own selves that would desire us to return to sin that leads to these things.

We are to die to the sin nature, no longer going by instinct or even need. As a result, we die to sin. To most Christians it might not appear to them they have died to the sin nature. That is how I felt for a number of years. But think of cutting a rose from a rosebush. The rose looks fine for a while but if we give it time it will soon wither. If we put it in water it would last a little longer, and our struggle with sin is longer, tougher, if we do not fully turn our back to sin.

Being crucified in Christ also means we die to the world. By the Holy Spirit Paul writes in Galatians 6:14, “. . . the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” A true Christian immediately senses a vivid distinction between them and the rest of the world. Much of its influence is squelched and more is deadened as the true disciple continues in Christ. The spiritual, godly aspects of some of the holidays that are celebrated replace the worldly corruption of those days. While this is because true Christians are crucified to the world, it is also because they live through Christ while Christ lives in them.

III. Lord Of My New Life

“. . . follow Me."

If we are truly saved, born again, we are to follow only Christ, not other Christians, not religions, fellowships, denominations. We are not to follow Christian religious leaders and figures, and most certainly nominal Christian leaders and figures. The ways of the world are


not to be followed. And, most certainly, we must not follow the various false Christs that come so frequently now. I was amazed to see so many stupidly follow the oversized Rev. Moon. After his death at least one other person rose up claiming to be Christ. There is currently a group in China that follows a person claiming to be Christ, and they are brazen enough to claim other writings besides the Holy Bible are the Word of God. Their videos are long, time consuming, messages of lies and delusion. They create “straw man arguments” like the Watchtower Society does.

There is an abundance of blessings in following Jesus Christ, and most likely endless in more ways than one. And it must be said we are not just following His example. We are following Him, yes, actually Him. Remember the Holy Scriptures clearly show He lives within us if we are truly saved. We are directed by His Spirit, and, not to get spooky, the Greek word for spirit may also be translated as ghost. Yes, Christ is within.

So, a true disciple dies but lives again through and by Christ. They are born again, and, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Revised Webster), “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." A primary thing that does change is that one has a new set of moral standards based squarely upon the Word of God and activated by Christ within.

There is also new real hope for those that truly trust God through Christ. Enjoy Romans 5:1-5 where it is written,  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

In the above passage, and in others, we see we have sure hope for a multitude of spiritual blessings while we grow in Christ. Though every Christian spiritually stumbles from time to time, the Holy Scriptures bring much encouragement in speaking of the forgiveness of God and the ability to press on in Him through His grace. And while there is hope and blessing here, if we continue in Christ we have the sure hope of Eternal Life, being in God’s presence and serving Him forever.

There are many in the world that have little idea of their purpose, or have reached a point in their life where they feel they no longer have purpose. However in fully surrendering to Christ and then following Him, even the aged person just hours from physical death has purpose, for every true disciple is commissioned to be a “fisher of men", worship God through Christ, intercede for others, edify the Body of Christ, and serve in any way as directed by God.

Following Christ means each disciple has a better life in Him and a fuller life while sojourning on earth. The Holy Bible indicates each true disciple is buried with Him, raised with Him, seated with Him, walking in Him, and more. And, as mentioned above, we can continue on, perhaps endlessly, in describing what all is included in following Him and being a new creation in Him. 

Notes:

An electronic version of Barnes’ Notes, by Albert Barnes, incorporated into the Online Bible computer program, was consulted for this message.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by July 18, 2017 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M456 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 08-06-2017 57 0

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