Luke 9:23 – “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 14:26 – “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:33 – “…you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”
When we read these verses, it almost sounds like God is asking too much, that the Christian life is too difficult, that there is no way we can understand or do this. Is there any way we can condense what Jesus said here into a few words that can better help us to understand what God wants from us? Yes. It can be broken down to three little words: “come,” “abide,” and “go.”
First, He said that we must come to Him: Matthew 11:28-30: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
We are saved by grace (God’s part in our salvation), but we must come to Christ through faith to get it (our part in our salvation):
Acts 2:36-38: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Second, Jesus said that we are to abide in Him: John 8:31-32: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The word “abide” means “to remain, to stay, to continue, to be planted for the duration.” This means being faithful to Christ. John described living a faithful Christian life as a “walk” in 1 John 1:7 – “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
A walk is more than a step; walking with Christ requires a series of daily steps every day for the rest of our lives. Revelation 2:10 – “…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
We are saved from sin when we come to Jesus; we stay saved as we abide in Him.
1 John 2:28 – “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
John 15:1-8: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
“Abiding” means obeying the written Word and being devoted to the Living Word. Following His Word is the way of abiding in Him.
Third, Jesus said that we are to go for Him: Matthew 28:18-20: “…All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen!
Jesus came into this world as a missionary: Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Before He left He gave us the task of being missionaries: 2 Corinthians 5:18-20: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Nowhere in the Bible does it say “If we build it, they will come.”
It does say “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
That means going into the highways and the hedges – inviting, teaching, pleading, rolling up our sleeves, getting out of our comfort zones and getting busy doing everything we can to spread the word of God.
1 Corinthians 9:22-23: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
Jude 22-23: “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”
Friends, church buildings don’t reach people, people who are passionate about lost souls reach people – every day of your life is a mission trip – are you going? If you preach the gospel, some will listen! The gospel was designed by God to succeed!
We cannot save ourselves, so we must come to Jesus for the salvation that He alone can give. Once in Christ, we must abide in Him and go for Him – for the rest of our lives.
Regardless of what may happen to you or to the world, make sure that you come to Him, abide in Him, and go to others with His message. That will be all that matters in the end!