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What is a genuine disciple (a follower of Jesus) like?
Remember the meaning of the word "repentance"? It means a change in the way you think and act.
A genuine disciple of Jesus is a changed person. He has...
(1) ... a changed NATURE
Before...Spiritually dead, with a physical body that is going to die.
- Before the change, even the "good" things you do are done in a way that reflects this spiritual death. So even when you do "good" things, you cannot please God, or earn your way into heaven.
- After...Spiritually alive and waiting for a physical body that cannot die.
- At the present, you may look the same on the "outside," but a genuine change has taken place on the "inside" - which affects every aspect of your life. (The change on the "outside" will be more evident at the resurrection, when you receive a body that cannot die.)
Prove it! What do these verses teach us? 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-5 (+); John 3:3
(2) ... a changed FOCUS in life
Before...Living for yourself and for your values; unconscious (dead) to the ways of God.
- You decide what is most important to you. It may be obviously self-centered. Or it may be focused on other things (such as people, the world or religion), but with a neglect of what God calls most important.
After...Dying to yourself; living for Christ and for his values; loving Jesus more than you love anything else.
- This does not necessarily mean a physical death, but a "crucifixion" of your self-interests, so that you can follow Jesus and have a life based on his values.
Prove it! What do these verses teach us? Galatians 2:19-20; Mark 8:34-38; John 14:15, 21, 23-24
(3) ... a changed ATTITUDE toward what the world offers
Before...Following the ways of the world; accepting and doing what is popular in your "group."
- Following the group will tend to be more important than finding out if the choices are good or bad! Sometimes it may be bad, but even a "good" thing may become bad if it is a substitute for something that God says is more important.
After...Following the ways of God; accepting anything that honors God and rejecting anything that doesn't; "seeking first" whatever is a part of God's kingdom.
- Though you live in the world, you are no longer a part of it, if you are a disciple of Jesus. What the world offers has less meaning to you; but what pleases God and brings him honor is of extreme importance.
Prove it! What do these verses teach us? Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 2:11-12; Matthew 6:33; 1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 11:8-10, 13b-16, 24-26 (examples from the Old Testament)
(4) ... a changed PURPOSE for living
Before...Living for the types of things the world tells us to live for; living for temporary things.
- This may be a career, a "good life" (however you may want to define it), living for a "cause," etc. It can even include doing "good" for others, or being "religious," but these things will not be done in the way God requires. (The devil is an expert counterfeiter.)
After...Living to express love for God and neighbor.
- Living with a desire to honor God in every activity of life (or, not doing the activity if it dishonors him). Living in a way that expresses love for your "neighbor" (including your enemies); doing things in a way that builds-up other people and benefits them; and (most importantly), attempting to show them the way to Christ (by what you say and by what you do).
Prove it! What do these verses teach us? 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; James 1:27; Ephesians 2:10; 1Corinthians 10:31
|* ALL OF THIS OCCURS
WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF "TRUST" *
We trust God to accomplish in us the changes that we ourselves could not do.
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him." (Philippians 2:13)
Being a disciple ...
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Dennis Hinks © 2004
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.