Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
“Throughout the world, there are many people who claim to be Christians. In fact, if we were to ask people in our communities if they are Christians. Many of them would respond quickly with an emphatic yes. However, if we were to ask those same people if they are disciples of Jesus Christ, many of them would likely not be as quick to answer, and those who are honest would have to admit that they are in truth not disciples of Jesus Christ.
This dichotomy is problematic. Although many people don’t want to hear it, and while many pastors fail to preach it, there is no distinction between a Christian and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Christians are disciples.” Dr. Burk Parsons, editor of Tabletalk Magazine.
The problem arises when the distinct characteristics of a disciple become the expectation. Distinctives such as:
Obedience to the Word, Takes up his cross daily, Lifestyle of Worship, Confession of Sin Openly, Produces Other Disciples, Disciple Their Own Children, Memorize Scripture, Sacrificially Loves Other Christians, Pursues Personal Holiness, Pursues Sound Doctrine, Counts the Cost of being a Disciple, Teams Up for Ministry, Strengthens the Weaker Brother, Committed to Prayer, Seeks Redemptive Relationships with the Lost, and Loves the Bride of Christ (the church) …to name a few.
This is when some Christians would like to ‘opt out’ and say that they are ‘just Christians’, not really disciples. But the truth is the two terms are interchangeable. A Disciple of Christ is a Christian and a Christian is a Disciple of Christ. One cannot be a Christian if one is not a Disciple. The disciple is one who practices the disciplines of the one he follows….in our case, Jesus. A disciple is a learner who is committed to learning all he or she can from another. “The word disciple, like discipline, comes from the Latin word discipulus, meaning “pupil” or “learner”. Consequently, to learn is to discipline oneself.” Anthony J. Carter
The Disciple is one who trusts Christ. That trust is a saving faith that compels following and obeying Christ as his disciple, giving up life focused on desires and comforts in favor of following Christ in his work. “I am afraid that much of what we might call evangelical Christianity has lost this important truth. Many have been deceived into thinking that because they prayed a prayer, or signed a card, or walked an aisle, or were baptized as a covenant child that they are guaranteed eternity in heaven. But Jesus demands something more. Jesus demands that we trust him with our very lives, that we follow hard after him, that we live life out as his disciples indeed.” Rev. Grant R. Castleberry
Pray. Settle the issue of your salvation. Are you trusting your life to Christ now as well as for eternity?