Even Demons Believe, Chapter Four

Table of Contents

4. Christian or Disciple?

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  • The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man whohates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

Jesus hated His life while He walked on this earth. He hated His life and carried His cross. The message of hating one’s life is the good news Jesus preached and lived. Only this message saves a man from hell and honestly blesses his life. Without this hatred Jesus says no one will gain “eternal life.”

Many think that Jesus’ teaching about hating is not for young believers or for those considering becoming a Christian. They wrongly believe that somehow presenting this tough message up front will only scare people away. But it was not so with Jesus, for He was always blunt about the cross. He remained upfront and bold about the requirements of becoming a Christian. Jesus never said the Christian life would be easy.

Jesus never put out a simple salvation call asking individuals to come forward if they wanted to be saved. Jesus never told crowds to raise their hands and just ask Him into their heart. Scripture never records anyone just asking Jesus into their heart by reciting a canned “believer’s prayer.” In fact, you will not find most modern methods of receiving salvation in the Bible. More specically, today’s methods of coming to the Lord hardly shadow what Jesus had in mind.

In the first place, Jesus did not come to make Christians, but disciples. This is an important distinction, mainly because when someone refers to themselves as a Christian they consider it a done deal. But Jesus looked at it dierently. He sought to make disciples, and a disciple is someone in the act of continually learning from God. Even Jesus “learned obedience from what he suered.” Jesus, as the Son of Man, was the perfect disciple in whose steps we must follow.

  • Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

Becoming a disciple demands a degree of humility and teach ability that being a Christian does not require. A Christian sounds like a finished deal. ink of a student in medical school learning what will make him a doctor. Not until graduation day can he call himself a doctor. So too, we will not really be Christians, people fully made in the image of Jesus, until we graduate and see Him “face to face.”

Even in the world, anyone desiring to become a physician must consider the cost to see if they are willing to pay the price to finish school. Just like the medical profession, many drop out and fall away from Jesus.

Worldly non-believers rst called disciples of Jesus “Christians.” The pagan world used this derogatory term while true believers of Jesus always referred to themselves as “disciples.”

The word “disciple” means a student, learner, or pupil. A disciple is in the process of being saved and waits for God’s “coming of salvation,” “revealed in the last time.”

  • … who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)

Jesus’ salvation call speaks only of making “disciples.” In the great commission of Matthew 28:19, Jesus does not say go make Christians; He bids us instead to go make “disciples.” All through Luke 14:25–35, Jesus declares that if we do not agree to these things we cannot be a disciple. Only a disciple receives salvation.

  • … he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

  • … cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

  • … cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

So Jesus poses the questions, “Are you willing to become a disciple? Are you willing to pay the price to be disciplined and become a disciple to the very end of your life?” Before you say “Yes,” Jesus wants you to “sit down” and think about your decision.

Truths To Ponder, Beliefs To Examine

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

1. Which Way to Salvation?

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  • This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls …” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Every church has their method for getting to heaven, so how can a person know the correct path? With all the
different beliefs and opinions about what it means to be a Christian, no wonder so many people feel thoroughly confused. In fact, many have given up the search for God altogether because the task to discover the truth seems too overwhelming. Additionally, many today falsely think that opinion equals belief, and if we think something sincerely enough, God will accept us. To further compound the problem, multitudes of hypocritical “Christians” claim they know God. All of these things and more frustrate those with an honest search for God.

To find the answers, we need to follow Jeremiah’s direction: “Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is” and then “walk in it.” Through these God-given words we will find “rest for” our “souls.”

In Luke 7:48 Jesus told a woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” God forgave every wrong thing in her actions and thoughts. Those words are the sweetest words a man or woman can ever hear.

God’s forgiveness should set us free and light our hearts aflame with an undying love for Him. In order to hear those words, we must first consider what it means to be a Christian. Otherwise, we place ourselves in danger of being “denounced” by the very God who touches our lives with love and power. As the following Scripture demonstrates, Jesus disowned those whom God had touched in a powerful way because they would not “repent.” With this in mind, let us look at what it really means to be a Christian, how one becomes a Christian, and the requirements to keep from being “denounce[d]” by God. In short, let us see the truth according to Jesus.

  • Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most ofhis miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. (Matthew 11:20)

When Jesus walked on the earth, He made Christians in a very odd fashion. Jesus won souls, as we shall see, in a manner that may surprise most. This book examines how someone becomes a Christian according to Jesus.

Most individuals, who consider themselves Christians, have responded to God’s love in a way that would not receive Jesus’ approval. As Paul stated in the book of Romans, they did not “submit” to God’s way of salvation and instead “sought to establish their own.”

  • Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. (Romans 10:3)

Every church and denomination has their methods for saving individuals. Each has “established their own” way of salvation. But God declared long ago that only “one” way leads to heaven.

  • … one Lord, one faith, one baptism … (Ephesians 4:5)

Each man must make a decision to either submit to God’s righteousness or embrace man’s religious ways. God’s righteousness grows eternally, but the peace and security of man offers only empty hope.

In the church today, we have established many different ways to become a Christian. People can come forward after a sermon, raise their hands, attend classes, speak in tongues, or repeat the words someone tells them to say. The salvation calls, coming forward to accept Jesus, vary from church to church, but which one is of God? Let us go back and look at how Jesus made someone a Christian. We will look at Jesus’ salvation call, and if it does not match up to ours, let us repent and “submit to God’s righteousness.”

Truths To Ponder, Beliefs To Examine

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

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