Following Jesus means imitating Jesus

Tonight we studied with a wonderful couple of new converts. Our conversation dealt with what it means to follow Jesus. A big part of that is imitating Jesus.

We mentioned that Jesus himself instructed us to imitate him, in John 13. There are so many areas in which this principle is applied. We read specifically about one, using the text of 1 Corinthians 10.23-11.1. (This chapter division is one of the worst, ever.)

People here have a tendency to put distance between ourselves and the Lord. After all, he was the only perfect human being, without sin. One brother even announced before the congregation that no one should follow his example.

But when it comes to limiting one’s personal liberty in order to please others, that they might be saved, Paul tells us to follow his example, because he follows Christ’s.

Everyone should be able to say that.

#discipleship #imitation-of-Christ #example

Have love: John 13.35 VOTD

“Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

John 13.35

Jesus established the badge of discipleship to the world as mutual love. God’s great distinguishing characteristic is love.

Love is how spiritual relationships are developed and deepened. It is the essence of what the Way is all about. How does love act?

#discipleship #love #VOTD

Hate: Luke 14.26 VOTD

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14.26

In his gospel Luke focuses on discipleship and its cost. The kingdom is open to all, Lk 14.15-24, at a price, for God is eager to welcome the lost, Lk 15.1-32.

Jesus uses the word “hate.” Why does he do that?

#discipleship #gospel-of-Luke #VOTD

Jesus shows the way

This is part of a chapter out of a book I’m writing, “Total Transformation.” You might find it to be of use.

When we want to be transformed, Jesus shows the way. That way is not easy, but it is simple. It is the way of discipleship.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” Mt 16.24.

It might seem strange to us that Jesus makes this affirmation to his followers so late in his ministry. His declaration, however, comes at a critical point, after the confession of his identity and the Lord’s subsequent revelation of his death. Now his group can begin to understand the nature of discipleship. Continue reading

#cross-of-christ, #discipleship, #self-denial

Starting off on the wrong hook?

In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus begins to reinforce his inner-circle of disciples by convincing a few fishermen that he was worth being followed.

Some might see Jesus’ choice and say he started off on the hook. Fisherman? Why not a highly respected public individual like a priest or even a temple guard? Why not start off with a well-noted scribe of Moses’ Law or even a beginning-student that had been properly trained by a well-known rabbi? How could someone expect to change Israel (not to mention the gentile world) in the most needed way by starting off with a few blue-collar, temperamental, untrained and unknown fish-net throwing people?

Apparently Jesus wasn’t worried about meeting the credentials of what they or we might think when it comes to who’s worthy of his calling. As it would be said later – Jesus chose them, they did not choose Jesus (John 15:16).

You see, when it came to his inner-circle of disciples, Jesus started off on exactly the right hook! He started off by telling Simon Peter to do something that went against conventional wisdom. Think about it, a carpenter telling a fisherman how and when to catch fish? But that’s exactly what happened…and Peter listened. Boy did he ever listen! And so did James and John. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. What mattered is that they didn’t take any “bait” – they took the truth when it was presented to them.

When an individual shows a willingness to hear the word of God and follow it, then that person is starting off on the right hook with Jesus; a hook that would make fisherman of men out of these new dedicated disciples; and a hook that can do the same thing with us.

We don’t need to let first impressions keep us from making an effort that can have lasting effects.

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”” (John 5:9-10)

#discipleship, #evangelism, #impressions

Another step forward for this 7-year-old effort

progress-balloon

Almost seven years ago, Forthright Press launched The Fellowship Room as a group weblog of saints who could contribute and interact at will. (Here’s the first post.) In that time this modest effort has grown to include more than 11,400 posts by over 30 Fellows over the widest range of topics related to faith and discipleship in a fallen world.

Today, we take yet another step forward, with a new dot-com domain, which recently became available, and an installation on our own hosting. Several advantages now appear thanks to the move. Continue reading

#anniversaries, #attitude, #corollaries, #discipleship, #government

Striking the right note

piano-note

Years ago, an elderly couple in a congregation whom we barely knew were often heard to say, “We just want to love everybody.” Their phrase has stuck with me across the decades.

I don’t know what they meant by it. Did they want to ignore the doctrine of Christ and be, back in that day, all-inclusive? Had they been hurt seeing some harsh attitudes in the body of Christ?

They were not prominent people in the congregation. Even their attendance may not have been as regular as one might expect. Back then, their phrase didn’t impress me much. It seemed to leave too much out. Maybe they meant to cut away beliefs or actions important to others. Maybe not.

Whatever they meant by it, they struck the right note. The Way is the path of love, if it is anything. One thing for certain, God just wants to love everybody. And not only wants, but seeks it.

God sent his Son for salvation. He sent his Spirit for transformation. He sent his Word for sanctification. All in the name of love.

Maybe that couple was on to more than I knew. Continue reading

#books, #corollaries, #discipleship, #leadership, #love-of-god, #prayer, #servanthood