The Lord Jesus is serious about disciples. His last instruction to the Apostles was to make disciples. So, what is a disciple? Literally a disciple is one who follows and learns from another. When we think of disciples we typically think of the twelve that followed Jesus. There have been disciples throughout the Scriptures. The prophets, John the Baptist, the Pharisees all had disciples. The important point for everyone who calls themselves a Christian is this, the Lord Jesus commands us to follow Him, showing ourselves to be His disciples
Are you a disciple? By calling yourself a “Christian” you acknowledge that you are a follower of Jesus. That is what the term “Christian” means. A Christian who does not follow Jesus is an oxy-moron. Christianity and following Jesus are mutually inclusive; you cannot have one without the other. In other words if you are not seeking to live a life in obedience (following) Jesus, then you should not call yourself a Christian. It is interesting that in recent years some people have begun to refer to themselves as “followers of Jesus” rather than Christian because “Christianity” is no longer synonymous with being obedient to Christ. Christianity has gotten a bad reputation because of the hypocrisy of those calling themselves Christians.
That being said let me quickly throw in that true Christians are not sinless. We will not be in this life. True Christians are sinners saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. True Christians are those seeking by faith to live a life pleasing to God by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them. True Christians are deliberate in their desire to follow Jesus. That does not mean they are perfect. However, that does mean they should be setting a much different standard from the rest of the world. We have the power to do so because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
One of the major reasons that Christianity is not having a significant impact in our country is that Christians by and large are not distinct from the people they live among. They don't lead holy lives in the midst of unholy people. Christians in our country have become indistinguishable from anyone else. In all the leading indicators of social decay in America, evangelical Christians are statistically no different from anyone else. The list includes: Adultery, divorce, premarital sex, co-habitation, unwed pregnancy, substance abuse, domestic violence, etcetera, and on and on. That should not be! What fellowship does light have with darkness? These things are not life, they are death.
I was talking with one of the elders the other day and we were discussing conviction. A major part of the problem defined above is that Christianity in America lacks conviction. Jerry Bridges in his book, The Discipline of Grace, says, “A conviction is a determined belief: something you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live.” Our problem is that we “believe,” but we don't allow that belief to drive our actions. That is the problem. What is the solution? The solution is discipleship. The solution is making a determined response to the grace of God that you will strive together with the Lord to see yourself be made more and more like Jesus.
Every one of us is a disciple of something. The question is, are you a disciple of Jesus? If you don't know the answer to that question, if you are not sure or if you are sure and you want to do more about it, then please call me or set up an appointment to meet. There is nothing that I want more than to see the saints at Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church become true disciples of the Lord Jesus. Disciples of Jesus live lives of abundance and joy. They make a difference in the lives of others, in their families and in their community. Disciples are the key means by which the Lord will advance His kingdom. Come, Christian, follow Jesus.