The call of following Jesus means we are to consider Him our Lord and Savior. His desires and wishes are to become our desires and wishes. His plans are now our plans. In every sense the one who truly follows Christ becomes consumed with the things of Christ and dies to himself.
Luke 9:23-27 — Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God." NIV
Jesus makes it clear that if we want to save our life we must sacrifice our life. He tells his devoted disciples that they must deny themselves, die to themselves (take up the cross) and then they will be considered those who "follow” Him. In every sense we are to be the dead who live for Him because He died for us.
Now consider what those of us who are dead are to be doing. The big three items on our to-do list as Christ-followers are:
- Witness to others. Tell what Jesus has done for you. The former blind man in John 9, the former immoral, racist Samaritan at the well in John 4, and the crazy former demoniac in Mark 5 all witness to others what Jesus did for them. Witnessing is easy for anyone. Tell what happened before you knew Jesus, how you met Him and how He impacted your life, and tell how things are different now that you follow Him. Every Christ-follower is to be a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It requires no formal training and no seminary degree. Mark 5:19-20 says “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." NIV (Listen to my recent message on witnessing here.)
- Spread the Gospel. Every sincere Christ-follower is to be one who echoes again and again the good news that Jesus Christ came to save us, while we were still sinners. He was crucified for our sins, and He died and rose again according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) Have you echoed the gospel out this week in your community? It is your calling and your responsibility to the One who paid for all your sins. Romans 12 says it is our "reasonable service."
- Make disciples. Jesus last instructions to his devoted followers was to go and make disciples of all nations. To put it plainly, to make a disciple you have to help others follow Christ as you follow Christ. Your cousins, co-workers, barber, chiropractor, lawn-man, next-door neighbors and Zumba partners are all good candidates for discipleship. Every Christian should be discipling someone. Who are you teaching to follow Christ? (Listen to my recent message on discipleship here.)
So not only are we to be the DEAD who live again and follow Christ in our new life, but we are to be the "talking dead" who bring the good news. At 6.14 Ministries, we long to see every church — no matter how big or small — teach its membership how to live out this high calling. Is your church family filled with the "talking dead?" Are your church members trumpeting forth the gospel like the believers at Thessalonica? (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10) Let us help by bringing some practical steps to your church family and encourage them in spreading the good news and making disciples. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to visit your church!