Not Rigorous Religion but an Amazing Man
The call to discipleship is not a call to follow a rigorous or legalistic religion. Its focus is not on rules, regulations, and observances that are man-made. It is a call to follow an amazing man in an amazing cause that leads down difficult paths — involving many trials and adventures — to an amazing reward in an amazing eternity.
An Amazing Cause with an Amazing End
The man is Jesus Christ — the eternal son of God, manifest in flesh. The cause is the Great Commission — to make disciples in every nation, baptizing them and teaching them to obey the whole counsel of God. The disciples or followers of Christ often find themselves traveling difficult paths. They find opposition from their family, their friends, and their government. They find opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil. They find themselves tired, discouraged, and tempted. But their leader, the wonderful shepherd, gives them help in the hour of need, strengthening them in the inner man to bear things the man of the world cannot bear. They are buoyed up by joy and hope the world cannot give. They savor the deep satisfaction of adventure with an eternal purpose. They relish the camaraderie of sharing in hardship and adversity for a cause of infinite worth. And come eternity those who answered the call shall find that their hopes and dreams of eternity far underestimated the magnanimity and generosity of their God. His reward shall be ministered in the same spirit of exhaustless grace and love that were manifested at the cross, where the eternal Son of God bore the sin of the world. As God responded to a temporal and finite sin problem with an eternal and infinite offering, so he shall respond to our temporal and finite effort of faith with an eternal and infinite reward.
Deaf Ears, Weed-Filled Hearts, Stony Hearts
Sadly, most of the world turns a dear ear to God’s offer of pardon and salvation. In the days of the flood the entire world mocked Noah and his God, and tragically perished. So the vast majority of the world today mocks God and the faithful few who bear his warning of judgment to come. They are not interested in pardon and salvation. They only care about the pleasures of sin and the pursuits of the world. They don’t care that this world shall be completely destroyed by fire even as the last was completely destroyed by flood. Even when they know the message is true, and they are half-interested in embracing it, they cannot find the strength to close with Christ on his offer of pardon. They cannot bear to part with their sin and the cares of this life. They cannot bear the scorn of family and friends. Thus many show a little evidence of life for a little while, yet ultimately prove that they had temporary religion, not eternal life wrought by the eternal Word of God. The Word of God is choked off by the weeds of worldly care growing in their heart. And the stony ground of withering in the face of persecution keeps the Word of God from setting root in their heart.
Don’t Trade Eternity for a Few Moments of Pleasure
I encourage you to believe on and follow Christ, no matter what the cost. You will never regret this choice, unless you are one of those who would trade eternity for a few fleeting moments of sinful pleasure, even as Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of pottage. If the path of discipleship interests you, start reading in the Gospels. After you have read them through a couple times, then read the rest of the New Testament.
It Will Cost You Everything
I Got Off at George Street
Live for Eternity
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