Counting the Cost of Discipleship

Many people call themselves "Christians", yet they live and act like the world. They regularly (often) commit and live in all kinds of habitual sins, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, idolatry, selfish ambitions, hatred, contention, murders, drunkenness, heresies, lie, steal, cuss, envious, jealous, filled with pride, cussing and swearing. However, Christians are not to be like those "in and of the world" who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, as authentic disciples, we are to come out from among them and be separate from those in the world (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

As Christians, authentic disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1). The Word of God calls us to be separate, to be different from those in the world. As disciples of Christ we are to live a holy life and are to be perfecting our personal holiness out of the fear, reverence, and respect for God (1 Peter 1:13-17). It is time for those who call themselves "Christians" to get serious and count the cost of being a disciple of Christ by taking up their cross denying themselves and follow and obey the Lord and His Word.

Discipleship is about the willingness to counting the cost and following the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 14:25-35). We must take up our cross and die to ourselves (i.e. our fleshly nature and its lusts and desires) and instead choose to walk in obedience to the Lord and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). It is about growing in our relationship with the Lord with an ever deepening relationship and growing Spiritually into maturity, which will result in intimacy with the Lord. As we grow in the Lord, we will establish convictions according to the truth of the Word of God that will stand under the pressure of persecution and even the threat of death.

Now is the time for you to examine and test yourself, to examine your faith, to examine your own walk with the Lord Jesus Christ to see if you are truly in the faith and a authentic disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 13:5). It is time to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word , which is able to save your soul (James 1:21). It is time to become a doer of God’s Word and live according to it by putting God’s Word into practice in your daily life; lest you fail to put God’s Word into practice, ending up a hearer only and deceiving yourself (James 1:22). It is your responsibility and duty to keep yourself unspotted, uncontaminated, and unstained by the world. We are instructed to keep ourselves free from all the defilements or pollutants of the world, both in our bodies (physically) and our spirits. We are in the world, but we are not to be a part of it!

We are in the world with all its sin, evil, and wickedness taking place all around us every day. It comes through the "unsaved" world, those who do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, that we allow into our homes, schools, government, and media. They speak lies in hypocrisy, having double standards, and are always trying to advance their ungodly agendas. Pushing all manner of sin such as homosexuality, transgender-ism, abortion, one religion, and globalization, leading toward a new world with the anti-Christ at the helm. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to stand and speak the truth found in God’s Word against those who would try to push their sinful and ungodly agendas upon us. We must always remember, the world’s system is under the influence and control of the devil. He uses those who are unsaved to push his agendas and promote sin in the world by using different forms media. By using common media, such as social media, news, TV shows, and movies, he is able to slowly desensitize people to sins such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, transgender identification, bestiality, and the murder of innocent babies through abortion. Homosexuality, transgender-ism, and bestiality are abominations to God and are loathsome and detestable acts (Deut. 22:5; Lev. 20:13, 15; 1 Kings 14:24). God has not changed His mind or view on the subject, but confirms it in the New Testament (Matt. 5:17-20; Luke 17:25-30; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1Tim. 1:8-11; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 1:3-7). In fact Jesus Christ is the Word of God and He does not change (John 1: 1-5; Col. 1:13-20; 2:9; Heb. 13:8; 1Pet. 1:25). As authentic disciples of Christ we must rise-up, standing against sin, and be counted as proclaiming God’s Word.

As Christian disciples of Christ we are to align ourselves with God’s Word through the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12: 1-2; Eph. 4:23 ; Col. 3:10). We must learn to discern, distinguish, between what sin is and what sin is not, between right and wrong, and good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14). Otherwise we may end up being easily confused and deceived, not knowing the difference between what is morally right or morally wrong, what is good and what is evil. As disciples of Christ we must continually seek to renew our minds with God’s Word in order to know and keep the truth. And, once we know the truth, we are to put it into practice and live it out in our daily lives. It is only then that we are changed and transformed from the inside out, developing the mind of Christ. As we develop the mind of Christ, we will learn to think and act like Him, but it is only to the degree our minds have been renewed. We are only able to develop the mind of Christ to the degree that we renew our minds in accordance with the truth of God’s Word (1 Cor. 2:16).

As we renew our minds, living out and obeying God’s Word in our daily lives and being doers and not hearers only, we will see change, transformation, and growth in our lives as we become more and more fruitful. We must first be doers of God’s Word to experience the good fruit of obedience. As we obey God’s Word, we will experience the consequences of obedience, which is life (a joyful and peaceful life). The opposite is true too, if we choose to sin and disobey God’s Word, we will experience the consequences of sin, which is spiritual death (separation from God), guilt, and shame, dying spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We must seek to avoid sin in all its forms, which results in spiritual death, destruction, dysfunction, and chaos in our lives and our families (Deut. 30:15-20). Instead, we should walk in obedience to God’s Word in order to receive the life and peace, and the blessings of obedience.

As authentic disciples of Jesus Christ, we must align ourselves with God and His Word and choose life, no longer condoning sin in any form. We must stop supporting and/or being complacent to the world’s lies and agenda’s that are contrary to God’s Word. It is time to stop being like the world, entertained by the entertainers with their works that are contrary to God’s Word; and instead develop the mind of Christ and learn to think according to God’s Word. We must learn to be a doer of God’s Word, and put it into practice in our daily lives on a consistent basis and grow-up into Him (Eph. 4:15).

Have you counted the cost of discipleship? Have you counted the cost of being a true follower of Jesus Christ? Are you taking up your cross daily to follow after Him denying yourself? Are you willing to pay the price?

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Put On The Lord Jesus Christ

The Word of God calls us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and give no forethought to fulfill the lusts or desires of the flesh (Rom.13:14; Gal.5:16, 24; Eph.2:3; 1 John 2:16). The call to put on Jesus Christ is clear, it is our personal responsibility to put the Lord Jesus Christ on. We are not to plan out or scheme how we are going to sin against the Lord, rather we should be planning how we will put Him on each day. It begins with you as an individual in your heart and in your home. You are the one responsible to set the tone in your life and your home. We are called to renew our minds with God’s Word and learn what pleases Him and what displeases Him (Rom.12:1-2; Eph.4:21-24; 5:8-12; Col. 3:8-10). It is through the process of renewing of our minds we develop the mind of Christ, but only to the degree that we renew our minds and learn to think as He thinks (1 Cor.2:16). As we develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Lord, we become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice in our daily walk (John 16:13; Acts 8:29; 10:19; 13:2; 21:11). As the Holy Spirit teaches and guides us into all truth, we learn to be led by the Holy Spirit of God in our daily lives (Rom 8:14; Heb.8:10-12; 1 John 2:27) . As the Holy Spirit changes and transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ, we will develop the fruit of the Spirit and eventually Christ-like character in our lives (Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 5:9).

All true spiritual growth in becoming Christ-like is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in our lives. The key to receiving God’s grace is found in James 4:8,"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Only the humble receive His grace which in turn enables to walk in newness of life and continued growth in Him (Rom.6:4-7). The moment we say "No" to Him and His revealed will for our life, we are in pride which stunts and prevents our growth in the Lord. If we are not careful, we will continue to go around the same mountain as the Israelites did due to our pride, rebellion, selfishness, and disobedience. Remember, if we refuse to obey and do it His way, according to His will, our disobedience will have consequences (Heb.12:14-17, 25). We must humble ourselves and submit to God and the authority of His Word in order to receive the grace we need to overcome our flesh and the devil (Heb.12:28). For instance, we must forgive those who sin against us in order to be forgiven by God (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25-26 Cor. 2:10-11). We cannot stand in our pride and selfishness and say to the Lord, ‘no I will not forgive that person for what they did to me’. God knows our hearts and will not allow us to just say the empty words that you really don’t mean either, we must mean them in our hearts. We cannot pretend and try to fool the Lord; we must humble ourselves, submit and obey Him (James 4:6-9; 1 Peter 1:14-17).

It is through the grace of God given to us that we are able to obey and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must live according to the truth that has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word. We are called to be an example in both our conduct and our speech, an example for others to follow. We are to be a vessel or instrument of righteousness the Lord can use to work through and accomplish His will. As you put on the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit you will over time develop Christ-like character and grow up into maturity (Gal. 5:22-25). The apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image form glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." As we behold the Lord, we are being metamorphosed, changed, transformed, and formed by the Holy Spirit into the same image of the Lord.

Be encouraged, put on the Lord Jesus Christ every day and you will see growth in your walk with Him like never before!

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Christ Revealed In Us

Many in the body of Christ [the Church] today are all about me. Believers are no longer different from the world, they think, talk, and conduct themselves like those in the world. We are saved by God’s grace for a purpose. Titus 2:11-12, tells us what God’s grace teaches us, saying "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age".

God’s saving grace teaches us to deny or to say "no" to ungodliness (those things that are not pleasing to God) and worldly lust and/or desires; to live soberly by exercising self-restraint over all our passions and desires, enabling us to develop the mind of Christ; to live righteously and godly by living in obedience and doing those things that are pleasing to God; and to walk in love toward both God and man. We are to do all of these things right here, right now in this present world we live in today. James 1:22 tells us, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." We must commit to being doers of the Word today, and live it out every day for the rest of our lives.

Let’s look at the grace of God in the life of the apostle Paul. He said in Galatians 1:15-16, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,…" God calls us through His divine grace for the purpose of revealing His Son Jesus Christ in us. We must seek to truly know Jesus Christ intimately and give ourselves to be conformed into His image and likeness. Jesus reveals himself to us, transforms us into His image, and enables and empowers us to be witnesses to preach and teach for His glory. All of this is done so He can reveal Himself to others through us. We are to be the examples of how the gospel is being lived out daily in our lives, and by proclaiming Him through our words. We are the vessels, His instruments of righteousness, through which He chooses to reveal Himself.

As Christians we need to understand our purpose in life, just as the apostle Paul understood his. In Romans we learn that those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son. Your purpose, dear Christian, is to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Rom.8:29). This call on your life, this purpose is to be your aim, focus and the main goal of your life. The only way to be like Jesus ultimately is to love like He did, which is to walk perfectly before the Father as He did. As a true born again believers in Jesus Christ, our purpose is to reveal Christ in us both individually and corporately as the Church.

Our desire to know Jesus Christ intimately and to be conformed into His image and likeness by walking in obedience should be our main desire and the focus of our prayers. Paul prayed for the Galatians believers, "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you". All true ministers lead people to Christ, teach them to count the cost of being a disciple, teach them to obey and grow in Christ to become like Him (Matt. 28:20; Rom.16:25-26). All true believers who minister teach other believers to "…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts" (Rom.13:14).

Every member in the body of Christ, the Church, must understand their purpose to walk in obedience to the Lord and to grow up into Jesus Christ (Eph.4:11-15). The Lord knows our hearts and knows whether we truly love and obey Him or not. As Christians, we must repent and turn away from anything that would hinder or prevent us from walking in love and obedience to Him. We must seek to please Him by doing His will in our lives and become more and more like Him every day. We will never reach perfection in our lifetime. However, we can experience a blessedness of obedience and experience the kingdom of God in our lives filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Matt.5:3-12; Rom. 14:17).

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