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Following Christ Deliberately
Stats: 4,142 words / Reading Time: 20.71 mins

Published: Wednesday, 6th January 2021

By: Obayomi Abiola Benjamin

Following Christ Deliberately is read 2.7K times on CentreNDL.org 2.7K
  

FOLLOWING CHRIST DELIBERATELY

The First Step to Discipleship


Listen To Podcast: Following Christ Deliberately: The First Step to Discipleship

I want to share something with us this evening by the help of the Holy Spirit which I believe will concretize our knowledge of discipleship going forward in the New Year and even beyond. The title of this evening’s discourse is: Following Christ Deliberately: The First Step to Discipleship, and we are going to read a Bible passages that will form the basis for this discussion.

 

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 8:18-22

 

Following the Lord Christ will cost you something. Apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:17, From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. The Passion translations called it “the very scars of our Lord Jesus.” Now those marks were not just ordinary marks or scars, they were the cost of following Christ. A deliberate decision to follow after Christ wholeheartedly will cost you something: IT WILL COST YOU YOUR TIME, YOUR AMBITION. I remember wanting to be a lecturer, and I was going to give everything it takes to be it. I remember telling my wife even before she said yes to me that I would end up becoming a lecturer. I had gone for my Master Degree and was looking forward to a lecturing job and doing my PhD when the Lord said “it is time to do ministry.” So, following Christ wholeheartedly would sometimes cost you your own personal ambition.

 

Following Christ would also cost you CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS. The men following Saul to Damascus in Acts 9:7 could not proceed with him again when the Lord intercepted his journey. There was no need anymore because Saul’s direction had been supernaturally altered. God said to Abraham in Genesis 12, “leave your country, your family and your father’s house” to a land He was going to show him. You cannot make a decision to follow Christ and still hold on to the status quo. A number of things must give way for that decision. In Matthew 12:46-50, the Bible recorded how Jesus was in a certain place talking to the multitudes and His mother and brothers stood outside seeking to speak to Him. And one from the multitude said “look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with you.” And the Bible recorded that Jesus turned to the one who pointed His attention to it and said “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And the Bible says further that he stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

Luke 14:26 that we read said: If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.Now, Jesus isn’t teaching people here to hate people, lest we get it all wrong and twisted. Jesus cannot teach people to hate because He Himself is love. Jesus was simply showing the people that if there is a choice to be made between following Christ and staying put with your family, you have to choose to follow Christ and wave your family goodbye.

 

I love the way the Amplified version put the same verse. It says: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters – [yes] and even his own life also – he cannot be my disciple.” So, part of following Christ may mean you have to wave your family members good bye or forsake them for a long while. If you jump to verse 33 of the same Luke 14, Jesus painted the picture vividly to the people. He said: So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.So, it tells us that in deciding to follow Christ, Christ must take the first place and every other thing must take the second.

 

Following Christ MAY COST YOU YOUR LIFE. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer that said “when Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” That is how serious a call to discipleship is. And there is no point trying to over flog this particular matter. WE KNOW THAT MAJORITY OF CHRIST DISCIPLES LOST THEIR LIVES FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. Stephen, for example, was not part of the conventional disciples that Christ called. But he was the first to be recorded in the Bible that was stoned to death. Then followed by James who was killed by Herod. And the Bible says “it pleased the Jews that James had been killed” because there were some of them who didn’t believe in Jesus and did not want His message to spread further after His death (Acts 12:1-3), then Herod proceeded to take Peter and imprisoned him and the church rose up to pray and eventually, Peter was released. The same Peter was crucified upside down later on, Andrew was crucified with a X-shaped kind of cross. And many more.

 

Now, the point I am trying to make is this: Following Christ would cost you something and it may even cost you your life in the long run. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25 that “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

 

 

Characteristics of Those that Have Followed Christ Deliberately

 

- CRUCIFIXION OF THE FLESH: Galatians 2:20 and Galatians 5:24 says: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

 

And those who are Christ’s (the word ‘Christ’s’ here is a possessive noun talking about the fact that Christ own us) have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

Anytime we see the word ‘flesh’ in the Bible, it is not actually talking about the complexion of your skin. The word flesh as used in context here talks about the Adamic nature of sin. It was the nature of sin inherited as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. There was a transference of nature from that of righteousness which came from God into that of sin which emanates from Satan. It is this Adamic nature that bring about sin and its desires. Galatians 5:19-21 says that:

 

Now the works of the flesh are evident (that is the works that this adamic nature produces in humans), which are: adultery, fornication (when you read and hear about certain men of God, pastors who engage in these vices, the challenge is that they haven’t yet crucified their flesh. That is where it stems from), uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and every desire that comes from it. NOW, DOES THIS MEAN THAT THEY CANNOT HAVE DESIRES? They can surely have, but their desires now emanate from the desires of Christ for them. Their desire is now the desire to please the Master, Christ Jesus and not self. This sound somehow difficult, but it is what it is. It is now no longer the things you love to do, the places you want to go. It is now about the things that Christ wants you to do and the places that He wants you to go. If Christ says “it is time to cross to the other side”, you don’t say “Lord, I am still enjoying this place.” If Christ says “it is time to go down from the mountain of transfiguration”, you don’t say “Lord, let us build three tabernacles here, one for you, one for Moses and the other for Elijah.” Because those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

-DISENTANGLEMENT FROM THE WORLD: 2 Timothy 2:4 says: No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. The call to discipleship is a call to please the Master at all times. To please the Master then means you cannot please something else. Remember the Bible says “you cannot serve God and mammon” at the same time. THE GREATEST CHALLENGE THAT SINCERE DISCIPLESHIP FACES IN OUR WORLD TODAY, AND THIS IS ACCORDING TO MY OPINION, IS THE FACT THAT PEOPLE WANT TO FOLLOW CHRIST AND THEY STILL WANT TO ENJOY A BIT OF WHAT THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER. People would love to accept Christ, but they find it hard simply because they feel they will be letting go of all the things that the world has got to offer them. This was exactly the problem of the rich young ruler that we read about in the gospels. Mark 10:17-22, the Bible says:

 

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

 

THERE ARE SUPPOSED CHRIST FOLLOWERS TODAY WHO DOES NOT THINK TAKING BEER OR SOME OTHER ALCOHOLIC DRINKS, WOMANIZING AND ALL OF THAT DOES NOT AFFECT THEIR FOLLOWING CHRIST. This is absolutely not it!!! The early disciples of Christ didn’t do this, they left all and followed Christ. They left their fishing businesses, they left their social life, they left their families and followed Christ wholeheartedly.

 

-PURPOSEFUL LIVING: Ephesians 1:11-12 says: In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…” Inheritance does not only talk about the goodies that Christ has got to offer us. It also talks about His life, His purpose, His assignment and everything that has to do with Christ. When we accept Christ, we are saying we have accepted everything that is Christ’s – His sufferings, His glory, His power, et cetera. Romans 8:17 says: and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  Therefore, as Christ lived a purposeful life, we are also expected to live a purposeful life, and not just that, He wants us to overcome the same way He overcame. Revelation 3:21 says: To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 

-THEY FOLLOW CHRIST ONLY: Those who are following Christ follow Him only and nothing else. They don’t follow trends, patterns, fables; they don’t follow systems that is not originating from Him. Christ becomes the subject and object of their followership. 2 Peter 1:16-18 says: For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

 

-THEY HAVE SURRENDERED ALL TO CHRIST: They have surrendered their life, their time, their ambition, their desire, their property to Christ. An example is Peter yielding his boat for Christ to make use of while He (Christ) was about to minister somewhere. Luke 5:1-4, the Bible says:

 

So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

 

Peter didn’t say “Jesus, you need to wait for us first, we are in the middle of doing our business of catching fish.” He immediately allowed Jesus used his boat and when Jesus was done, He simply demonstrated the power of God to him and said “Peter, as from today, you will no longer catch fishes but men.” That level of surrendering is what is expected of anyone who has claimed to have followed Christ deliberately.

 

I believe you have learnt something!


Thanks for the gift of your time, We are Obayomi Abiola Benjamin and Gboyega ADEDEJI!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!


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Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.

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New Year Discipleship Relationship Ambition Time Flesh World


A calling is for your INFORMATION, it is discipleship that produces your TRANSFORMATION.


Published: Gboyega Adedeji | Friday 27th September 2019


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A calling is for your INFORMATION, it is discipleship that
  A calling is for your INFORMATION, it is discipleship that
  A calling is for your INFORMATION, it is discipleship that
  A calling is for your INFORMATION, it is discipleship that
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I am Abiola Benjamin Obayomi, a disciple of Jesus Christ, with a drive to mentor young believers into spiritual maturity. I am a student of God's word and a teacher as well, with passion in the areas of relationship & spiritual development. I am a worshipper, an ardent lover and follower of the Lord Christ.


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Mentored By Jesus Christ | Writer | Inspiring Speaker | Publisher | Coach | Builder | FOUNDER @ FridaypostsHubpile, Pay4ebooks | President/CEO at Centre for New Dimension Leadership | Entrepreneur | Husband & Father. Engaging me will change you!



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