Two Plagues in the Church
There are two great tragedies in the American church. One is the preaching of another gospel, the second is many churches do not teach or demonstrate what Biblical discipleship is. I personally believe these two issues go hand in hand. The most well-known example of another gospel being preached is the ‘prosperity gospel’. The ‘prosperity gospel’ continually gains popularity in America because it is simply a gospel that focuses on self rather than focusing on Christ alone, and it is a gospel that does not save. Now let me say something first I believe 100% that we are to have faith in God’s promises according to His Word and that God will bless His people according to His Word. Too many people want God to heal them and nothing else. I fully believe it is God’s Will for healing and that we should lay hands on the sick, while at the same time we cannot let the focus of us seeking God be just for the earthly benefits. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about living “Your Best Life Now”, it is actually about dying of self and putting away the old nature and rising fourth as the new creations we are in Christ Jesus. If the gospel message is distorted in America on average, then there will be a lack of Biblical discipleship.
What is Discipleship?
So, what is Biblical Discipleship? Let us look at what Jesus said in Luke 14:27 (ESV), “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”. So, what does ‘picking up our cross’ really mean? Some people think that dealing with a poor job, sickness, or emotional issues is what this means, that could not be further from the truth! Picking up our cross daily simply means that we are willing to die for Christ, we must die to ourselves and live our lives fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Picking up our cross has nothing to do with how often we go to church or how many conferences we go to. Jesus also said in Luke 9:24-25 (ESV), “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”. So many people’s attention is easily drawn to the things of this world that have no eternal value. We must fully surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ, not just on Sundays.
Abide in Him!
Look at John 8:31-32 (ESV), “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””. To be His disciples, we are to fully abide in and follow His Word. This is why it is so vital to feed upon the Word of God daily. Study the Word, meditate upon the Word of God, as much as you can! We must get the Word of God into us so we can abide in it.
Not only is discipleship about giving time over to the Word of God, prayer, worship, and fasting, but there must be Biblical fruit that is a result of this. Jesus told us in John 15:8 (ESV), “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”. This fruit includes the Fruit of the Spirit and also the works we do that are a result of our Salvation. How are we both individually and collectively bearing fruit? When was the last time we Biblically evangelized someone or prayed for someone who was sick? When was the last time we wept because we see people every day that we care about, who we know that are not saved and are on the broad way to Hell? Do we have the burden of the Lord upon our heart? We really need to seek God where we are lacking in our fruit-bearing, I myself could be yielding moreover and I am sure many of us could. We need to realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about glorifying ourselves, but it is about glorifying God.
A Fully Surrendered Life
When we walk in Biblical discipleship, we should also be edifying each other as fellow believers. Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”. We are to be encouraging our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord and building each other up so that we can walk this walk. This is just a portion of what Biblical Discipleship is about, there is so much more to be covered. I encourage you to make this the year that you fully give yourself over to being a fully surrendered disciple. We have many people in both the world and in America who have not heard the True Gospel. Let us go forth and make disciples as Jesus commissioned us!