18. 1st John 2: 6…walk even as He walked (NKJV) (Unless otherwise indicated

January 25, 2020

The Cost of Discipleship

Deut. 32: 44 “So Moses came with Joshua the son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45 Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 and he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses admonished the Children of Israel set their hearts on the words which he testified. Those words were God’s Words, not his. This was a commandment, not a suggestion or a good idea. The same applies to you and me, we are to be careful in our observations as we study the Word of Christ. Reading a thing is not the same as studying it. Paul said in Col. 3: 16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Moses goes on to say that their lives depended upon what they did with the Word of God. They could prolong their lives or shorten them. God’s attitude toward the Body of Christ is the same, Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, tomorrow, and today.

Matt. 16: 24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

When I was first introduced to Christianity, I was given the impression that denying myself meant to stop drinking, smoking, partying and fornicating. Later I found that this was a partial truth. If all we had to do was look clean on the outside that would not be much of an accomplishment. People of the world and other religions do these things. Jesus said in Matthew 23:25-26 to the scribes and Pharisees that it was a waste of time cleaning the outside of a cup while the inside  remained filthy. This metaphor speaks to people who look as if they are holier than thou, but in truth, they are blind to their internal state of being. We are to be made holy from the inside out, not the outside in. Denying self means we must allow the Spirit of God to reverse the order of our lives. How can we be led by the spirit when we have no consciousness of the division of our spirit and soul (Heb. 4:12). Finis Dakes said, “Renounce all self-dependence, self-interests, and self-pursuits which are contrary to God; Habitually follow regardless of the price—even to death; not just when it is easy, convenient, and popular.”

And now back to you Paul: Rom. 6: 16 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We serve the LORD from the heart or our spirit. When we have our mind renewed by the Word of God, we come to know what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth. Jesus said flesh begets flesh and the works thereof. On the other hand, Spirit gives birth to our spirit (John 3:3-7; Luke 24:49). The following does not mean that we should not be concerned about smoking, drug abuse, alcoholism, and the like. Like I said earlier, that’s partially true. The problem is, we make our own feeble attempts at overcoming the flesh. Many churches will confuse you with outward appearances:

 

Matt. 15:1 “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father [a]or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” 10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” To be continued…

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