a true disciple

Week 4
Day 1: Romans 3-4
Day 2: Romans 5-6
Day 3: Romans 7-8
Day 4: Romans 9-10
Day 5: Romans 11-12

Memory verse:

Matthew 16:24–25
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.

Focal passage: Matthew 16:21-26
As we saw last week, Jesus has called us to come and follow Him, but we must come to Him with the right motivation. The right motivation is salvation from our sins, salvation from the judgment to come. Now that we understand the right motivation to follow Jesus, we are going to examine Jesus’s words to find out what it means to follow Him. We will start first with one of Jesus’s foundational teachings on what True Discipleship is.

Here in Matthew 16:13-26 we see Peter making the greatest declaration of his life. He declares that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of the Living God. After Peter makes this God inspired declaration, Jesus turns to His disciples and begins to tell them about how He is going to the cross and suffering for the sins of the world. This was not on the disciples radar. They thought Jesus was going to set up an earthly kingdom, and rule and reign here on earth. Never did they think that He would willingly go to a Roman cross and die. Therefore Peter takes matters into his own hands and rebukes Jesus for this kind of thinking. But in response, Jesus rebukes Peter for “not being mindful of the things of God, but the things of man” (verse 24). Then He goes on in verses 24-26 to lay out foundational truths about what it means to be a true disciple.

Jesus uses the phrase, “if anyone desires to come after me”. This phrase clearly declares that we are to follow Him. And where is He going? He is going to the cross. And this is the will of God for Jesus. This is the plan of God. So if you want to follow Jesus, you have to be willing to live the crucified life and surrender your own will so you can know and follow God’s will. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that the key to following him is to “deny yourself “ (v24). This is the key to true discipleship.

He goes on to say in verse 25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” You see then that when we surrender our will to God and seek not our own desires, but seek His will, we will then and only then find true life. This is a Christian paradox but one that we must understand if we’re going to be His disciples.

I love what A. W. Tozer says about this paradox in his book “Root of Righteousness.”

“A REAL CHRISTIAN is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge.”

Following Jesus will kick against our natural way of thinking. It goes against our selfish desires and everything that our culture and upbringing has taught us. We naturally want to save our lives. But when you look at Jesus, that is not the way He lived and if we are going to follow Him we must live the way He lived. Jesus says in verse 25, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”. When we surrender our will to God and give up everything for Him, it will lead us to true life. The only way we can do this is through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. And a true disciple of Jesus will find true life in Him.

1. As you examine your life in light of Matthew 16:21-26, where do you think that you are being mindful of the things of man and not mindful of the things of God?
2. Are there any areas in your life that you were convicted that you need to surrender to God? If so, what were they?
3. Do you think that you will regret surrendering these areas to God when you are in heaven? Why or why not?

Action points:
After you have identified areas in your life that you need to surrender to God, confess them to one another and hold each other accountable.
Pray for one another and continue to encourage one another in these areas.