Monday, June 8, 2015
The essential elements of discipleship
Luke 5:27-28 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
Yesterday we looked at the background and implications of the terms "disciple" and "Lord" in the first century context in which Jesus and the apostles lived. Today we look at the essential elements of discipleship. What is a suggested definition of discipleship? Discipleship, by definition, refers to the process by which a person by grace through faith believes on Christ as Savior and Lord while forsaking himself to become like the Master. Jesus brings forth the nuts and bolts of what it means to be a disciple throughout the Gospel accounts.
Discipleship begins with the Call of Christ
Luke records the conversion of one of the twelve original disciples - Levi (or more commonly known as Matthew). Matthew (Levi) would 30 years after this event write the first Gospel in our New Testament - the Gospel of Matthew. But before Matthew became "Saint Matthew", he was sinner Matthew. He took advantage, extorted and did whatever it took to make that next dollar. As a tax-collector for Rome, he not only made it his business to get the necessary taxes from his fellow Jews, he also charged "hidden" fees over and above the tax to line his own pockets. Jews hated tax-collectors - and tax collectors loved money. The last thing that Matthew was thinking of doing was turning His entire life over to Christ to follow Him.
The Call of Discipleship identifies the claim of Christ on your life
Matthew was into his career, his life. He was making money. Then came that voice - that voice which cut through the air and into his heart. Suddenly the clinking of coinage and the rustling of bills were over-powered by the voice of the One who was now laying claim on Matthew.
This was a voice that was unlike any voice he had ever heard. Two words: "Follow Me". What follows is as shocking as it is unexpected. Matthew, the man of means, the man of money, was touched by Divine Grace. The same voice which created all life and through whom came the entire universe was now through human vocal cords penetrating the dark heart of Matthew.
The Call of Discipleship makes following Christ a foregone conclusion
Grace made following Jesus a foregone conclusion. He left all, rose up and followed Him. This is how life with Jesus Christ begins: with a call issued forth from Him, through His word, into your heart. To be a disciple means to forsake all that you used to define yourself in favor of following the One who is unlike yourself. By faith, as you follow the One calling your name, you will grow in your desire to be so much like Him that you too we see that what Matthew did was the only thing that makes sense - Go and Follow the Master.