Elements Of Real Discipleship

Danger! If you read this article you will see passages and come across principles many of today's popular preachers never mention from their pulpits. But, then again, there is greater danger if we ignore the Word of God. So, by all means, read on.
Elements Of Real Discipleship
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2016 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

The soft, peaceful, easy going Jesus Christ is quite popular today. Such a Jesus stands in stark contrast with much of the world that is in unrest and violent. While you and I daily see the nastiness of the world there is a violence of the world that many do see--the spiritual violence designed to bring everyone into satanic captivity.

When someone comes to actually believing in Christ they are removed from the realm of darkness to the Kingdom of God's dear Son (Colossians 1:13). They are transformed from being part of darkness into being light for God (Matthew 5:14, Ephesians

5:8-11). Satan does not like that. In various ways he will try to reclaim anyone he has lost. It is an actual spiritual war, and those in Christ need to realize many things in regard to continuing in Christ. 

Jesus was very clear about what His believers (synonymous at a point with "disciples" as we will soon see) would face and how, by His grace, they were to deal with those things. Take for example what He says as recorded in Matthew 10:34-39.

""Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;” 36 and “a man's enemies will be the members of his household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.""

Much of that does not sound too rosy. And, as you see, while it is true we are saved by His grace alone it is quite evident we must cooperate with that grace. By His strength and direction we are to take action. In this passage we will come across five elements of real discipleship, where one is a Christian not because they say so, but because they live so!

I. Divisions  34-36

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; . . ."

Gasp! Did Jesus say that? He sure did. And in no way is this a contradiction with verses like Luke 2:14 where a personal peace with God is offered or other passages like Revelation 20 that indicate the future peace of Christ's millennial reign. It is a stark contradiction, though, with what many popular preachers proclaim.

"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Immediately I must think of the Word of God as that sword (Hebrews 4:12). It is the written Word of God, but it is also Christ Himself, declared to be the Word of God quite often in the Gospel of John and elsewhere. It is the Word of God, what God decreed, what He has established as truth and judgment, and does not change. And this is a double-edge sword in that it declares Christ as the only way to God and proclaims the holiness of Christ within us who truly know Him.

Verses 35 and 36 are a quote from Micah 7:6. We see the truth of these verses around the world and in our own lives if we really walk with Him. Persecution.org and similar sites have numerous accounts of converts to Christ having been kicked out from their homes and even their villages. Sometimes they are tortured and even killed by their own  relatives. Throughout time and throughout the world there have been many Christians that have experienced strong variance right in their own homes.

A variety of trouble happens to all true Christians. Anytime you do what Christ says you will often be at variance against some unbeliever or a weak Christian. The unbeliever, of course, neither knows God nor the Holy Scriptures. The unbeliever conforms to the ever changing standards of the world, the most of which is at variance with God. We can lump the nominal Christians in with the unbelievers. In regard to weak Christians, most do not know the Word nor the stronger power thereof. There are some that really do not want to and will be eventually cut off from the vine (John 15:1-8).

II. Decisions 37

A decision must be made when we are at variance with something or someone. This verse records Christ speaking almost as radical as possible. I say "almost" because in Luke 14:26 for many of us He gets to the ultimate: "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple."

We will deal with the term "life" later, but at the moment we want to concentrate on our text in Matthew and emphasize the fact there will be times we will have to choose between listening to a loved one or listening to God. Our ultimate loyalty and supreme love should belong only to God through Christ. By the grace of God many a man or woman have chosen to obey God rather than their spouse when necessary. Many have denied their children certain things the child wanted that the parent/s knew was against the will of God. All this might sound unloving to some, but we really love our relatives when we love God first.

There will be many times when a true disciple will have to decide whether to do things God’s way or their relatives’ way. Will they please their relatives or will they please God. And we may certainly substitute the word “relatives" with “friends’," “society’s," “the government’s," and so on. Always do precisely what God says to do. He may speak to you through His Written Word or His Word spoken to your heart.

One of the biggest tests society gives us, and where many Christians get tripped up, is telling someone who is having trouble with their marriage to get a divorce. Many pastors have no qualms about performing a wedding that involves a divorced person. However, if we carefully and prayerfully study the Holy Scriptures, especially those in the New Testament (NT), we will come to the realization that in the eyes of God divorce does not dissolve a marriage [1]. Looking carefully at passages like Luke 16:18 we see that Christ declared everyone who is divorced still married.

Other tests the world might give include, but are not limited to, encouraging social drinking, flirting, vengeance, movies and more. We must make decisions whether or not we will obey God or yield to the world. We must always decide to be loyal to God even though a vast majority of people would turn us away from Him. 

III. Devotion 37

And the basis of our decision must be that we love God more than anyone or anything else. There are two Greek words in the NT that may be translated as love, viz., “agapao" (sometimes referred to as agape {ah-gah-pay}) and phileo (fil-eh'-o). The word for love in our verse is phileo which can mean [2] “to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend.” While there are numerous passages that declare God loves “agapao” (to love, to feel and exhibit esteem and goodwill to a person, to prize and delight in a thing) the world, other Holy Scriptures indicate that not everyone enters into His phileo love and that only those

who have surrendered to Him enter into that love. 

“Love" in verse 37 is phileo. If we are truly saved, God is to be our best friend and far more worthy than all of our relatives and friends put together to receive our phileo love. While in ourselves none of us is worthy of Christ, when Christ dwells within He makes us worthy. However, if we do not apply His grace in our lives to love Him then we are not worthy of Him. His grace will enable us to love Him far above anyone or anything else.

IV. Deaths 38

Deaths, and not just death? Well let us look at verse 38 again. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Just before I prayed the sinners prayer over forty years ago I said, “Well, it cannot kill me.” After some time I found out I was wrong. Here is why (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.”

Other Holy Scriptures confirm the fact that when one surrenders to Christ they become crucified with Him. This is a spiritual reality, and it might help to know that Christ as God spans all time. Another way to put that is that He is into all time. Romans 6:6 shows us the purpose of being co-crucified with Christ: 'knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

For a true believer, since Christ is in us and we are in Him, and He is into all time, our co-crucifixion with Him is part of our ongoing salvation. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:31-34 and Galatians 6:14. And, as we read the NT Scriptures we see that we are not only crucified with Christ but are also risen with Him (Colossians 2:12 and 3:1).

V. Determination 39

"He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."

While there are other words that the Holy Spirit could have used here for the word "life," "psuche" (psoo-khay’), which is also often translated as "soul," was chosen by Him. This is very significant because the soul could be described as the spiritual place of our affections, desires. I further elaborate on psuche in the article, Control Your Soul, the link for which will be located below [3].

There are some questions that may be asked in regard to this verse. Do you take more delight in the things of this life or the things of God in Christ? Do you heartily participate in the things of this life or the things of God in Christ? Is your entire life truly focused upon God through Christ? What in your life gives you the greatest boost and greatest consolation through difficult times? What enjoyable thing do you look forward to the most?

Do you value your job more than Christ? Do you value your social status more than Him? Are any facets of these or other areas of your life in contradiction with the Word of God? Do you follow His Word in private as well as in public? And, perhaps the best question is this: What is your main purpose each day? A disciple's purpose is to honor and glorify God in all that they do, ministering in anyway possible as directed by the Holy Spirit. Everyone has a purpose and mission in Christ.

There have been real Christians in various "walks" of life that have not excelled in their areas because they have refused to compromise standards established by the Holy Bible or the Holy Spirit speaking to their heart. There have been quite a few, for example, that have worked in movies, theater, television, and so on that have never made it "big time." Others have lost raises in pay and promotions. Some have lost their jobs. But, in all, if they remain firm in Christ, they are eventually blessed with better things while being definitely blessed spiritually in the meantime.

As with the previous verses, it comes down to your love for God. You should love God for what He did for you through Christ and be determined to die to self and live for Him. Christ took things seriously for our sake, so we should take things seriously for His sake. But you can still have a fun time while taking things seriously for Him. For example, get enjoyment by secretly blessing someone in some way (pay for their food, toll, gasoline) and watch their reaction. The Holy Spirit will show you other ways too. But, in everything and every way, give your all for Christ because He gave His all for you.


[1] For godly, Biblical information in the matters of marriage please see my Marriage Pages at http://oasisofhope.neocities.org/ma00.html .

[2] From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

[3] For more information on psuche please read Control Your Soul

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by August 18, 2016 (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#M412 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for lead picture after date of publication. 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.

Last updated on 27-07-2016 123 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    One begins to be an apostle or at least to cooperate with Christ when one looks for something more than performing good works for the benefit of the people, when one feels responsible for people: fisher of people.
    reply 0
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