Explaining the Levels of Discipleship

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

(Luke 14:27 NIV)

There are various people in the world back in Jesus’ day as there are today. There were sometimes vast crowds (“multitude” In the KJV) of people numbering in the thousands. (Luke 12:1) The size of these crowds of people apparently ebbed and flowed. Sometimes there were just a few followers, and sometimes it was in the thousands.

Then there were the unnamed disciples. These apparently sometimes numbered in the hundreds. (John 6:66-67, Luke 6:17 NIV)

Then there were the twelve. (Matthew 10:1-4)

Then out of the twelve, there was an “inner circle”: Peter, who was given a promise that nobody else was given — namely that he would be the rock that Jesus would build His church upon (Matthew 16:18). Then there was James and John, the disciple that “Jesus loved” who were the only disciples present to see the transfiguration. (Mark 9:2)

Present day is little different. We all have different stations. There are evangelists, such as Billy Graham, teachers, like Joyce Meyer, and pastors of huge churches like Pastor David Yonggi Cho, and pastors of small community churches. There are elders and deacons and the congregation. There are people minister to youth, and the little old lady who brings the wonderful dishes to the pot luck dinners… All the way down to people who only go to church on Easter and Christmas.

So. How strong of a walk with Jesus do you want? It is up to you. Though God calls many, He is very polite. If you are among the called, He leaves it up to you how close you want to draw to him.

Sure it sounds great in theory – but in practice, you will find there is a cost. Sure the reward is great but so is the cost. And the devil will remind you of all the things you are “missing out on” in hopes of discouraging you.

You have to take up your cross. Not a fun task as anyone who has seen or heard about Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ will know. What is the “cross”? I misunderstood this for years. Your cross is not suffering for your own sins – though you will reap what you sow – everyone, believers or not, will in some fashion will reap what they sow. The cross that Jesus carried was a burden that he carried for others. If you take up burdens for other people, you are bearing your cross.

Remember Love is a choice of behavior – not a warm fuzzy emotion. Emotions go away. Love is eternal.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

(John 13:35 NIV)

 

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A.L. Howard is the founder of www.modernchristianissues.org: A Christian Apologetics Blog which attempts to provide biblical answers to tough questions — Bible Apologetics for the layman — designed to be a resource of Biblical Apologetics that you do not have to be a scholar to understand. He has been studying creation science and Bible prophecy since the early 1980s. Visit the site to explore salvation, evolution vs creation science (creationism), cults, the 12 steps and Christianity and much more.

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Early CCM- Spotlight on Nancy Honeytree

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Another incredible blast from the past.  “Rattle Me, Shake Me.”  This is one of the best from one of CCMs greatest–Nancy Honeytree.  I think I can date this about 1974.

Of course, I hope that it blesses, and gives you another layer to our simple faith.  Honeytree was a definite force in the 70s, she ministered with a simplicity and wholeness that is a bit of an astringent to a fat and  jaded faith of her day.  I guess “freshness” would be the way I could describe her.  But you’ll quickly pick this up as you listen to her describe herself.  It is almost impossible to not like her music, and her “story.”

Honeytree is a jewel, she communicates musically on a different level.  Her lyrics are simple, but she has a momentum that carries her through walls of pride and conflict.  I hope that she blesses you deeply.