August 13, 2007

4. Partake–What is the goal of a disciple?

4 – Partake – What is the goal of a disciple?

The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:3-6 “We know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

I wonder what you think the goal of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is? Praying a lot? Perhaps it is reading and memorizing the whole bible? Doing lots of evangelism or doing lots of work for the church? As admirable as those things are, they are not the goal for a disciple of Jesus Christ. The ultimate goal for any Christian disciple is to be as John wrote in the passage I read earlier: to walk and live as Jesus did. That doesn’t mean walking around in sandals, wearing white clothes and traversing the terrain where Jesus Himself walked. The Apostle John means for us to be radical and holy, living lives worthy of that of Jesus.. How can we be radical and holy? Jean Calvin said that denying oneself and relying on God for all things is the goal of the Christian life. This can only be attained by total submission to the Holy Spirit and a life of constantly “dealing with God” in all matters. That is how Christian disciples are to be radical and holy. That is how a Christian Disciple endeavours to reach the goal of being Jesus! Being radical and holy is achieved by a constant renewing of the mind (Ephesians 4v23) and a heart willing to be transformed. It is by loving others in such a way, that the end of a disciple’s generosity is only when the resources have expired.

A disciple must live and walk as Jesus did, in the Bible verse I read earlier (1 John 2v6). There is no better way for a disciple to fulfil this goal, than by imitating Jesus and obeying his command to “…take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9v23). This is seen as a higher challenge for the mind! Dietrich Bonhoeffer extrapolates this further when he comments on discipleship as a leading to death for all who follow Christ; either as a physical death or in being ostracized from society in general. Is it not true that increasingly in Western society, Christians are being marginalized more and more?

For the first century Christians, just as in some parts of today’s world, persecution and martyrdom was a reality, as evident in the story of Stephen (Acts 7v59). Yet it also means enduring suffering, for this is how a Christian disciple maintains a “communion with Christ”. For it is through suffering, that we share with the crucified Jesus. The bitterness of our cross is made sweeter, the more we dwell on the sufferings of Jesus and our enabled fellowship with Him.

As Christian individuals, we are linked together in a Christian community through rebirth, and our relationship exists only through our relationship with Christ. There is no such thing as an individual member of the radical Christian community. Members are interdependent upon one another, bound by a corporate and inclusive personality. The church community is to be dynamic by nature, and individualism is oxymoronic and not coherent with New Testament teaching.

How are you fitting in with your local church community? Are you being a radical believer in a radical church community? Have you taken up your cross in order to follow the Master, Jesus? For more to read and think about please read Luke 9v22-27. Please also be free to make comments or contact me regarding anything to do with this Podcast or Christianity… Thank you.

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