The Bible is a missionary book, and God is a missionary God. God wants each and every member of the church to enter into the process of becoming a Great Commission Christian. A Great Commission Christian is a disciple. The word disciple means to be a learner. But, pay attention, it doesn’t mean to learn to the point where you can regurgitate the correct answer on a test. It means adherent, which means you become like the master. You act like Him, and you speak like Him. You become Christlike.
There are three exams we must pass each day. The questions that we must answer are listed in Mark 8:34.
Mark 8:34 (NLT) Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
When we take into account Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23,
Luke 9:23 (NLT) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
we quickly learn that these three questions are exams we must pass daily in order to be described as an adherent or learner of Jesus.
Let’s take the exams in reverse order. Let’s consider the exam to Follow Christ Daily.
WHO CHOOSES WHERE I GO?
Jesus’ relationship with His disciples began with an invitation to follow. Being a follower of Christ means that Jesus is the leader. We cannot call ourselves a follower of Christ if we are the leader.
So each day we also choose to be the leader or to follow Christ. It is certainly a brave choice to follow Him and often, like the disciples, we don’t understand the implications of following Jesus. However, when we adhere to His ways and learn His heart, we grow to be like Him and experience a true freedom that could never be discovered otherwise.
Mark 1:17 (NLT) Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
WHO CHOOSES WHAT I DIE TO?
Mark 4:35-41 recounts a story of Jesus and His disciples in a boat on a stormy night. As Jesus slept, the storm worsened to the point that His disciples feared that they might die. They woke Jesus and asked Him if He cared. At this, Jesus rebuked the storm and then asked them:
Mark 4:40 (NLT) Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Jesus could sleep during a terrible storm. The Disciples were terrified of the same storm. What was the difference? Faith. Faith that believes in the power of God more than it believes in the power of storms. What does this have to do with “dying to self” or the things to which we die?
“Dying to self” is the natural byproduct of believing in God and of Christ’s life in us. Jesus realized that this world has no power over Him. This realization made the world dead to Him and Him dead to the world. It made Him truly free to live according to God’s plan and schedule.
WHO CHOOSES WHAT I VALUE?
In Mark 10, Jesus plainly tells the disciples what is about to happen to Him.
Mark 10:33 (NLT) “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans.
There are a few instances in scripture that record exchanges between the disciples and Jesus regarding His crucifixion. In each discussion, we discover that Jesus valued obedience to God as His Father above everything else.
The disciples reveal different values. In this portion of scripture, we see James and John seeking honor rather than obedience. In another place, Peter goes so far as to rebuke Jesus.
What was the difference in their values? The disciples basically valued their own advancement. While Jesus tells us that He values obedience and service in Mark 10:45.
Mark 10:45 (NLT) For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus chose to allow God to establish His purpose, plan, and schedule. As Christ followers, we are giving Jesus the power to establish our purpose and plan.
- Message from Tim Hall – Missionary with World Venture