COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
To be saved costs us nothing as it was God who paid the price for our sins. Yet to receive that gift of grace and to be a follower of Christ will cost us our very lives. A dangerous thing to see is a Christian that refuses to be a disciple of Jesus Christ because many claim salvation but are not willing to give up their lives for Christ, which in the end becomes a broken testimony to those who don’t know. It is a damaging thing to the cause for Christ when people who claim Him do not act like Christ so that in turn pushes people away from Jesus. So what prevents people from really living like Jesus for Jesus? A lot of times a fear prevents us from following God with full devotion because we may feel that we won’t get what we want or suffer too much. Suffering is part of the process of following God but so is true joy and the plot twist of it all is that true joy is found when we realize that it is not about us but all about Him! When we prioritize God in all things we will find the joy that comes from devotion to God and that will be the joy that is unshakable.
To follow God wholeheartedly will cost you to not make it about yourself. Will you be willing to pay that cost?
NOTES ON THE TEXT
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
Paul was stoned. It is interesting that Paul get’s stone as he was at the stoning of Stephen. People usually die from stoning but Paul miraculously lived and one can say that God still had a plan for Paul. So why was Paul saved while Stephen wasn’t? TBH, I don’t know but what I do know is that in both cases, God was still in control and had plans that were beyond what we are able to see. In the case of Stephen, God received him in his martyrdom but we also see from the story that his death lead to Paul’s journey to salvation. Paul surviving in today’s passage will lead to many people being saved and thus in either case people are being saved while God is being glorified regardless of the situation.
Sometimes God calls people back home into heaven and sometimes He allows them to stay on earth. We don’t know why but we must trust him for trust can lead to peace in the absence of understanding. When you know a person so deeply, trust in that person gives you a peace that is greater than trust in a situation or facts. To be a disciple, you need to trust the master (Jesus) because there will be moments where you may not know what is going on as you follow Christ but will you still trust? Will you remain as a son of God and a disciples of Jesus Christ for they come together? The cost of discipleship is that we must be willing to fully trust God in any situation regardless if we have understanding or not because discipleship is invitation to know who He is so that we may know His goodness and faithfulness.
How we respond to situations where we don’t fully understand will either reveal our trust in God or our trust in ourselves when we either choose to do things our way or seek His ways and thoughts.
21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch
Paul despite the attempt at his life, stay committed to God and trusted him by
Preaching the gospel
Making many disciples
Our continual trust in God is shown in our continual pursuit of God’s agenda over ours. When we choose to pay the cost of discipleship, we are choosing to prioritize God in everything. A lot of times we think that we have to give up things for God and at times we do when it comes to sin but I believe that majority of times it is not so much that we give up things for Him but inviting Him in all things. For instance, whatever hobby that you have that is again not sinful, can you prioritize God in it by not giving up God for it? Can you still make it the primary purpose of representing Christ like character in the hobby or desire of your choice? Can I show the world what it looks like to be like Christ in the business world, the medical world, the artist world, the music and entertainment world? In all these areas of life, can I glorify God in it by fullying be Christ like in it? When persecution comes because you chose to be Christ in that world, will you still choose to stay Christian and proclaim the Gospel to make disciples of Jesus or will you allow the pressure to silence you into conformity? Friends, the price to conform to the world is never worth it because we think it will cost us very little but the cost will be your relationship with God and ultimately life, which you will pay the for eternity!
FYI: eternity is pretty long so think about it!
22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul encourages the believers to continue in the faith because genuine faith will be challenged. He told them the truth that following and entering into the Kingdom of God will be a hard road full of battles but this is very encouraging! To suffer without knowing the purpose is unbearable but to suffer with knowledge of the purpose enables perseverance. Paul encouraged the disciples that their suffering for Christ is not for nothing or pointless but that the purpose is very much tied to being with Jesus and entering in the Kingdom of God! There is a purpose to all of this! Our biggest frustrations can come from the fact that we do something and realize that in the end it was a huge waste of time because nothing came out of it. We will be tempted to think that suffering for Christ doesn’t produce anything but suffering is like planting a seed. This seed will show us signs of growth here and there but the true glory of the suffering for Christ WILL be revealed at the end when Christ comes back. The coming of Christ is the hope that keeps us going as we believe that one day we WILL see the glory of our God and King. True disciples sacrificially plant in the present but realize the future full glory of our God is yet to come.