The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 91

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

David Watson, in his book Discipleship says: “Christians in the West have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of western Christians are church-members, pew-fillers, hymn-singers, sermon-tasters, Bible-readers, even born-again believers or spirit filled charismatics, but not true disciples of Christ. If we were willing to learn the true meaning of discipleship and actually to become disciples, the church in the West would be transformed, and the resultant impact on society would be staggering. This is no idle claim. It happened in the first century”.

This is not a day in which to play religious games. Time is running out fast. It is true that in him we can find forgiveness for the past, a new life in the present and have a glorious hope for the future. But that has nothing to do with being disciples, which is what we are called to be. Sadly, most Christians have missed the point that Jesus was making when he said, “I will build my church”. They are trying to help Him by investing in bigger buildings, better equipment, more effective fund-raising, advertising and organizational methods and programs. They believe that all these constitute ‘church growth’.

How far we have departed from the concept of Christ’s church! He never meant it to be a comfortable club existing for the sake of its members. Just the opposite! His church was to exist mainly for the benefit of non-members. For this very reason, those who would follow him would pay a heavy price, learning to trust in him alone, through deprivation, hardship and persecution. Their lives would be committed to Jesus in absolute obedience. There would be no room for compromise. They would not have the option of ‘a more reasonable approach’ or ‘a more balanced view’ in their interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. They may not look around for some theological, high-sounding argument or reasoning so as to skillfully avoid the direct and disturbing challenges of their Master’s teachings. They would be obliged to accept that when Jesus said, “Love your enemies’ that’s exactly what he meant, not ‘do not take active revenge against them’. Very simply, they would hear and obey without any qualifications or reservations!

For the true disciple, inward belief is accompanied by outward obedience. One of the reasons the church is not a powerful force in the world today is that people are called to belief in Christ but not to obedience to him. BE A DISCIPLE!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues