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LESSON 1 – TRUE DISCIPLESHIP
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I am greatly indebted to William MacDonald and Andreas Lindner for their kind permission to use this material for my Bible Lessons. Mr. MacDonald is widely known as the author of many books of which many of them can be purchased from the publisher below. I would also like to acknowledge the kind permission of the publisher of this book; Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St.W. Poet Colborne, Ontario Canada L3K 6A6 Copyright 1999 William MacDonald All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture references are from the New King James Version, copyright 1979, 1980,1982, 1985 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission. Abbreviations KJV King James Version NASB New American Standard Bible NIV, New International Version NLT, New Living Translation The author of True Discipleship is no longer able to document some of the quotations in the book. If he is ever able to locate this information, it will be included in a subsequent edition. Most short, one-sentence quotes are identified by author only. Published by Gospel Folio Press 304 Killaly Street West Port Colborne, ON L3K 6A6 ISBN 1-882701-91-7 ORDERING INFORMATION: Gospel Folio Press Phone: 1-800-952-2382 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed in the United States of America.
LESSON 1: TRUE DISCIPLESHIP by WILLIAM MacDonald
- Terms of Discipleship
- Forsaking All
- Hindrances to Discipleship
- Disciples are Stewards
- World Dominion
- Discipleship and Marriage
- Counting the Cost
- The Shadow of Martyrdom
- The Rewards of Discipleship
WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?
- Where is Your Treasure?
- Diligent in Business
- To Have But Not to Hold
- What is the Harm in It?
- The Case for Frozen Assets
- What Does the Bible Say?
LORD, BREAK ME!
- God Values Broken Things
- God Wants Us All to Be Broken
STUDY GUIDE TO TRUE DISCIPLESHIP by Anthony Payne
- Lesson One: Terms of Discipleship
- Lesson Two: Forsaking All
- Lesson Three: Hindrances to Discipleship
- Lesson Four: Disciples are Stewards
- Lesson Five: Zeal and Faith
- Lesson Six: Prayer
- Lesson Seven: Warfare
- Lesson Eight: World Dominion
- Lesson Nine: Discipleship and Marriage
- Lesson Ten: Counting the Cost, Reaping the Reward
- Lesson Eleven: Where is Your Treasure?
- Lesson Twelve: Lord, Break Me!
This book is an attempt to highlight some principles of New Testament discipleship. Some of us have seen these principles in the Word for years, but somehow concluded that they were too extreme and impractical for the complicated age in which we live. And so we surrendered to the chill of our spiritual environment. Then we met a group of young believers who set out to demonstrate that the Saviours’ terms of discipleship are not only highly practical but that they are the only terms, which will ever result in the evangelization of the world. We acknowledge our indebtedness to these young people for providing living examples of many of the truths emphasized here. To the extent that these truths are still beyond our own personal experience, we present them as the aspirations of our heart. By William MacDonald
LESSON 1: TRUE DISCIPLESHIP
The pathway to true discipleship starts when a person is born again. It begins when the following events take place: When a person realizes that he is sinful, lost, blind and naked before God. When he acknowledges that, he cannot save himself by good character or good works. When he believes that, the Lord Jesus Christ died as his substitute on the cross. When by a definite decision of faith, he acknowledges Jesus Christ as his only Lord and Saviour. This is how a person becomes a Christian. It is important to emphasize this at the outset. Too many people think that you become a Christian by living a Christian life. Not at all! You must first become a Christian before you can live the Christian life. The life of discipleship outlined in the following pages is a supernatural life. We do not have the power in ourselves to live it. We need divine power. Only when we are born again do we receive the strength to live as Jesus taught. Before reading any further, ask yourself the question, "Have I ever been born again? Have I become a child of God by faith in the Lord Jesus?" If you have not, receive Him now as your Lord and Saviour. Then determine to obey Him in all that He has commanded, whatever the cost may be.
TERMS OF DISCIPLESHIP
True Christianity is an all-out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Saviour is not looking for men and women who will give their spare evenings to Him or their weekends or their years of retirement. Rather He seeks those who will give Him first place in their lives. He looks today, as He has ever looked, not for crowds drifting aimlessly in His track, but for individual men and women whose undying allegiance will spring from their having recognized that He wants those who are prepared to follow the path of self-renunciation which He trod before them. Nothing less than unconditional surrender could ever be a fitting response to His sacrifice at Calvary. Love so amazing, so divine, could never be satisfied with less than our souls, our lives, our all. The Lord Jesus made stringent demands on those who would be His disciples demands that are all but overlooked in this day of luxury living. Too often, we look on Christianity as an escape from hell and a guarantee of heaven. Beyond that, we feel that we have every right to enjoy the best that this life has to offer. We know that there are those strong verses on discipleship in the Bible, but we have difficulty reconciling them with our ideas of what Christianity should be. We can accept the fact that soldiers give their lives for patriotic reasons. We do not think it strange that Communists or Muslims give their lives for political or religious reasons. But that "blood, sweat, and tears" should characterize the life of a follower of Christ somehow seems remote and hard to grasp. And yet the words of the Lord Jesus are clear enough. There is scarcely any room for misunderstanding if we accept them at their face value. Here are the terms of discipleship as laid down by the Saviour of the world: A supreme love for Jesus Christ "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple " (Luke 14:26). This does not mean that we should ever have animosity or ill will in our hearts toward our relatives, but it does mean that our love to Christ should be so great that all other loves are hatred by comparison. Actually, the most difficult clause in this passage is the expression, "yes, and his own life also." Self-love is one of the stubbornness hindrances to discipleship. Not until we are willing to lay down our very lives for Him are we in the place where He wants us.
DENIAL OF SELF
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross... " (Matthew 16:24). Denial of self is not the same as self-denial. The latter means foregoing certain foods, pleasures, or possessions. But denial of self means such complete submission to the lordship of Christ that self has no rights or authority at all. It means that self abdicates the throne. It is expressed in the words of Henry Martyn, "Lord, let me have no will of my own, or consider my true happiness as depending in the smallest degree on anything that can befall me outwardly, but as consisting altogether in conformity to Thy will." My glorious Victor, Prince divine, Clasp these surrendered hands in Thine; At length my will is all Thine own, Glad vassals of Saviour's throne. H. G. C. Moule.
A DELIBERATE CHOOSING OF THE CROSS
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross... " (Mathew 16:24)./span> The cross is not some physical infirmity or mental anguish; these things are common to all men. The cross is a pathway that is deliberately chosen. It is, as C. A. Coates put it, "a path which so far as this world goes is one of dishonour and reproach." The cross symbolizes the shame, persecution, and abuse which the world heaped on the Son of God, and which the world will heap on all who choose to stand against the tide. Any believer can avoid the cross simply by being conformed to the world and its ways. A life spent in following Christ "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). To understand what this means, one need simply ask himself, "What characterized the life of the Lord Jesus?" It was a life of obedience to the will of God. It was a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a life of unselfish service for others. It was a life of patience and longsuffering in the face of the gravest wrongs. It was a life of zeal, of expenditure, of self-control, of meekness, of kindness, of faithfulness and of devotion (Galatians 5:22-23). In order to be His disciples, we must walk as He walked. We must exhibit the fruit of Christ likeness (John 15:8). A fervent love for all who belong to Christ "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). This is the love that esteems others better than oneself. It is the love that covers a multitude of sins. It is the love that suffers long and is kind. It does not parade itself, is not puffed up. It does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Without this love, discipleship would be a cold, legalistic asceticism, an unswerving continuance in His word "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples.
TERMS OF DISCIPLESHIP
(John 8:31). For real discipleship there must be continuance. It is easy enough to start well, to burst forth in a blaze of glory. But the test of reality is endurance to the end. Any man who looks back after putting his hand to the plough is not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Spasmodic obedience to the Scriptures will not do. Christ wants those who will follow Him in constant, unquestioning obedience. Keep me from turning back. The handles of my plough with tears are wet, The shears with rust are spoiled, and yet, and yet, My God! My God! Keep me from turning back. Author Unknown
TEST LESSON 1 - DISCIPLESHIP
Write an X next to the correct (TRUE or FALSE) at the end of each line.
1. We become Christians by living the Christian life. - True: ............. False: ............
2. We should give all our spare time to the Saviour. - True: ............. False: ............
3. We have power to live a Christian life if we determine to do so. - True: ............. False: ............
4. There is no cost to becoming a disciple - True: ............. False: ............
5. We should really hate our relatives to become a disciple of Jesus - True: ............. False: ............
Fill in the missing words on the lines provided
6. If ............. desires to ............. after ............., let him ............. ............. and ............. up the cross.
7. By ............. all ............. will ............. that your ............. my ............., if you have ............. one for ..............
8. ............. suffers ............. and is ..............
9. If ............. man ............. back . . . . .is not ............. for the ............. of God
10. Confessing our ............., let ............. courageously ............. the claims of ............
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Updated May 2012 by Shelly Allen