In the last post, we explored how the entire schedule of a follower of Christ is devoted to God and not jut the part labeled church, Bible study, or small group. This leads to very practical questions about how the different parts of our life are brought under the rule and reign of Jesus. One of the first that comes to mind in our society is work. What do we do about our jobs? How do change the way that we see our occupations as a disciple? Continue reading
Our lives are busy and our calendars are full. Many of us wonder how will we ever find the time to do everything that we need to do in life. When you add being a follower of Christ to the mix, then it seems like we have one more thing to juggle. There’s work, family, faith, recreation, special events, and myriad of other things to get done. How are we supposed to live out the life of a disciple with all of these other things to be done? How am I supposed to carve out time to do the things that God wants me to do? Continue reading
It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
John 19:14-16 1
“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35 The Voice)(1)
On the church’s calendar, today is Maundy Thursday. This day derives its name from the Latin word that is the root of our word mandate. It’s called this because of Jesus’ words in John, “a new command I give to you” or a new “mandate.” This mandate comes after his washing of the disciples feet. With this “new mandate,” Jesus instructs his disciples to do the same to one another and then says that this is how the world will know that they are his disciples, by their love.
Much of what we classify as discipleship often falls under the realm of teaching and learning, but it’s important not to miss what Jesus has shown his disciples in this moment. Our discipleship isn’t displayed by our knowledge of God’s word or dedication to church attendance, but instead our discipleship is shown through our acts of love.
Earlier this week, I wrote about how being an ambassador for Christ means to live out His mission. The second part of being an ambassador is being present in the world. If you are an ambassador, part of your job is to present in whatever country to which you are ambassador. You live life there and maintain a presence for your home country.
The same is true for us. As ambassadors for Christ, we maintain a presence for Jesus in the world. When Jesus was in the world, he “became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.” He was present with his creation. Jesus didn’t do what he did from the outside, he did it from within the world. He came to us, rubbed shoulders with us, and showed us a new way to live. Philippians 2 says that he gave up his lofty position in order to live among us as one of us. It’s amazing that God goes to such great lengths to love and rescue his people.
For most of us, it feels like we are on the go all the time. We live “on the go.” We’re going to work, going to school, going out to eat, going to the store. We’re always going. Going places requires intention and effort, but most of the time it seems like we’re just busy. On the other hand, when we are told to “go”, it’s a directive, a command to head somewhere for a reason and with a purpose. It’s a small word, but it can carry a great deal of weight.
“Go” finds itself in a crucial spot in Jesus’ last directive to his disciples. Jesus told them, “Go and make disciples” (Mt. 28:18-20) By saying this, He gives us a directive and the way to accomplish it. Making disciples is the critical command in this verse, but to do it we have to go. Jesus is sending us on a mission. We are to head out with purpose and intent to make disciples. It’s not an aimless wandering that accomplishes the task of making disciples. Dr. Ciampa of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary puts it like this, “it is a prerequisite, a necessary step towards the goal of making disciples of the nations and we must be intentional, deliberate, about going everywhere and leading all peoples to (willingly) obey the Lord Jesus Christ” (full article here).
One of the main issues in the American churches these day is what it means to be a disciple. Many of the conferences being held and books being published are on about discipleship and how to become a disciple who makes disciples. Among those vocal about discipleship, David Platt is probably the most popularly known because of his books about being a “radical” follower of Jesus. His recent book Follow Me is similar in message to his Radical books, but is more specifically focused on discipleship.
If you’ve heard Platt speak recently, you’re probably familiar with the message of this book. Essentially, it boils down to the idea that many Christians are either being deceived or deceiving themselves when it comes to being a real disciple/follower of Jesus. Many people think they are Christians because they prayed a prayer or were baptized. After that, however, they are not changing their lives to look like Christ. They continue on with their life the way it was before. To become a follower of Christ means that your life is different than it was before. continue reading