When Christians become complacent in their discipleship—whether as individuals or as whole congregations—there typically follows a persistent season of dryness, emptiness, and declining interest in the things of God. The phrase “thanks be to God” is replaced by a anxious “we’re dying here”; zeal cools, faith weakens, the temporal affairs of the world soon overtake the believer’s interest, and the Holy Spirit is crowded out .
Jesus told his disciples that life would sometimes be tough for them, that this was to be expected because “no student is greater than the teacher.” And Jesus backed up his teaching ministry with a ministry of action, demonstrating to the world that grace freely offered is nonetheless costly; his followers are to be bold in imitating the one who is paying the price. In this brief sermon series we’ll explore some characteristic “foundational” traits revealed in effective discipleship…the marks of those who’ve heard a clear call from God and are doing all they can to say “yes.”
The famous theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote “discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ” (Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship). Indeed, discipleship, the invitation to follow Christ, is an offer made to us by God. Accepting this offer of grace may prove costly as we move through this world, but it is the only path to peace with God. It is an offer of good news.