The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/16

Posted on | August 16, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/16

AUGUST 16
scripture reading: John 6:60–71

Undiscipled Disciples

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

Three times in the New Testament the followers of Christ are called “Christians.” But they are called “disciples” over 260 times! There is more than semantics going on here. The Gospel of Jesus is about discipleship. The goal is not just to get people into heaven when they die; rather, it is a call to a certain quality of life and level of commitment rarely encountered in the church today. The New Testament was written by disciples to disciples in the hopes that they would produce more disciples!

Imagine a basketball coach saying to his team, “Don’t worry about coming to practice. Just show up for the game and all will be well.” Imagine an army general saying to new recruits, “It’s OK if you want to skip boot camp. You’ll do fine in battle without it.” Or imagine a piano teacher saying to her pupils, “Don’t worry about practicing those lessons. Just look over the score before the recital. You’ll be OK.” That would be absurd! Without preparation and discipline it is unreasonable to expect any level of proficiency in sports, music, or warfare. Yet when it comes to the Christian faith, we often get the impression that discipline (discipleship) is optional. “Don’t worry about reading your Bible, learning to pray, or developing skills to resist temptation. Don’t worry about being part of a community or learning how to defend your faith. When moments of trial and testing come, you’ll be OK.”

The American church is full of undiscipled disciples. We’ve raised a generation of “believers” who think that spiritual disciplines are optional—that we can fol- low Christ without following the pattern of the way he lived. They want to be Christian without being Christ-like. Some in the church have even developed a theology that permits them to accept Christ as “Savior” without surrendering to him as “Lord.”

One of the primary causes of this lamentable state of affairs is the way many of us have understood the grace of God. We’ve been so intent on telling the world that God is love that we have actually transformed the Gospel into something it was never intended to be! Dietrich Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace.”  Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession . . . Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace . . . is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. . . . Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. . . . It is costly because it cost God the life of his Son . . . it is grace because it did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life. . . . (The Cost of Discipleship)

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap! Jesus insisted that no one should decide to become a disciple of his without first sitting down and calculating the cost (Luke 14:25–33). Are you sure you are ready for a life of full surrender, total commitment and entire consecration? Yes, it makes one pause. But before you turn back in fear, sit down and think about this: Have you considered the cost of non-discipleship?

The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men . . . The Holy Spirit does not come on machinery but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer.
—E.M. Bounds

point to ponder • Is it possible to claim Christ as Savior if you are not fol- lowing him as Lord?

prayer focus • The training and education program in your church.

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