Jesus was very clear about disciples. Is His church getting this right?
Oswald chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest for April 24:
“We have a commercialized view—we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right. Yet our work only begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and those lives will be God’s testimony to us as His workers. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.” (emphasis added).One goal in writing God Called - He Needs Your Decision was to provide a pathway, even a recipe, for moving from pew duster to disciple, from lukewarm to on fire, from prodigal to servant in the Father's house, or from mature dutiful soldier to fully surrendered child of God. From the early reports of those who've given me feedback, there is a unanimous chorus of conviction leading to change. See reviews here and here.
The other goal was to share with everyone that it is Okay to hear from God. Bill O'Reilly created shocked headlines when he declared that the Holy Spirit gives him the ideas for his books, including Killing Jesus. I have heard from the Holy Spirit on several occasions including through visions and the "still small voice." The experiences are documented in the book along with clear directions for how to discern truth when the experience is extraordinary. There is also a section on how to avoid allowing experiences like that from becoming idols. But, the bottom line is that we need to be open to hearing from God, even if through a donkey.
From God Called - He Needs Your Decision!
To be a disciple seems almost impossible, not to mention difficult. But we are promised blessings and that our yolk will be light. I pray that if you choose to read and act based on this short book, that your blessings will be inspirational and transformational for you and those you touch.Disciples give up everythingThese texts make it clear that to be a disciple one must:· Obey everything that Jesus taught· Hate his relatives (by comparison to his love for Christ)· Carry Christ’s Cross· Give up everythingThat certainly leaves me out. What about you? On the other hand, I’m not certain that Jesus intended for us to have achieved all of those things before we can be disciples. I do believe he intends for to make a clear decision that we want to do these things, and that we will be available to do these things when called.If we review the lives of both Old and New Testament saints, they did not give up everything every day or every week. Rather, they were available to give up whatever was necessary to respond to God’s call. They were learning how to do those four things.Jesus spent three years training the Twelve virtually full time how to be disciples. One could argue that even our seminaries spend more time on theology and counseling than they do on developing disciples. In order to “create disciples” so that there will be enough workers to gather the abundant harvest, the church may need to become much more proactive about specifically doing the necessary work to equip willing followers to be disciples.