CERTAIN THAT YOU ALREADY ARE A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?
IF you are certain that you have already been born again, you may skip this chapter and continue with, ” DISCIPLES OF CHRIST – GROWTH “.
EASY TO UNDERSTAND
To become a disciple of Jesus, is so simple that even a child can do it. All you need is some understanding and the earnest desire to belong to Him forever.
EXPLANATION OF THE BASIC TRUTHS
Let us start by understanding what you are about to do. You want to make right with God. That means that you are acknowledging that you are not right with God. So you already have some understanding for you are agreeing with God Who declares in Rom 3:23 :
“for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;” (WEB)
What is the glory of God? It is his holiness. He is without sin; He is absolutely clean, through and through. His holiness is like an intense bright light surrounding Him, much brighter than the sun. No-one can even approach that intense circle of light.
Now this verse also says that all of us fall short of this glory, this holiness of God. How shall we explain this? Picture yourself standing on a very high cliff; and you are looking down at a riverbed full of huge rocks way below. There is another rocky cliff on the same level as what you are, but some distance, some few meters away. Let us say that is where heaven is. You see the angels moving around there, singing praises to God and being very, very happy.
You long to be there with them and they are beckoning you to join them. You walk back some distance, work up all your courage, run as fast as you can, then jump for the other side with all your power, but what does the text say? It says you fall short! Instead of reaching glory land, you go down, and down and down until you are smashed on the rocks below … and the bad news is that there is no second chance!
You see our sins of a lifetime have created such a wide and deep canyon of division between us and God that we can never, never jump over it in our own power. We may try as hard as we can, but we do not have the spiritual power within us to overcome our sinful nature. Our evil desires are continually pulling us down. Three times we may manage to forgive someone that is treating us like he is walking over a dirty rag, but the forth time it becomes too much and we speak hard words to him; and we fall short of the holiness of God. Oh there are millions of church people that tried to use there own “holiness” to jump over their sins but have fallen short and were lost forever.
Do you agree with God in this matter also? That means that you agree that you have fallen short and are continually falling short of the holiness of God? Good, now you are three steps further, nearer to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Let us now read the rest of the sentence to find God’s answer of crossing:
“being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Rom 3:24, WEB.)
What does it mean to be justified freely? What is the meaning of “justified”? It means to get right with God; to be accepted by God. How do you get right with God; how do you get accepted by God? The verse says it is by grace. But what is grace? It is kindness which God shows to me though I do not deserve it. God shows grace to me because He is good, not because I am good. A gift is the coin which a blind beggar sitting on the pavement receives from a wealthy man he cannot see and for whom he has never done any work at all.
A gift is something for which you cannot work. The moment you work for something, that for which you work, becomes a wage something which you can demand because you worked for it. Look closely at these two words “freely” and “grace”. This is something we find very hard to accept because in this life we have to pay for everything. I have to work very hard to get money to pay my house rent and feed my family. I have to train from before sunrise in the morning to acquire the skills to score a goal in the soccer game for if I continue failing, I will get kicked out of the team. Now Jesus comes to you saying, “Sorry, but you have failed completely. Your sin has created such a big chasm between you and your heavenly Father that you will not be able to jump across – you are lost forever, but I will show you grace.”
Now how can God show grace to so great a sinner as you and me? The verse says that is by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus which means that we have been delivered out of the eternal punishment by the death of Jesus on the cross where He suffered the Father’s punishment of the sins of man. When we now accept His gift of forgiveness, we are in one moment forgiven for everything wrong we ever committed and Jesus wraps us in His cloak of holiness so that we may appear before the throne of God like a person that never sinned. Do you understand and agree with God in this matter? Good, then you now are on the brink of becoming a Jesus disciple.
The last and final step is for you to accept this gift of forgiveness by faith. There is no other way to receive it, but by faith. You must now believe with all of your heart and mind and will that it is only by the forgiveness that Jesus offers you, that you can get right with God. You see it is as if He built a bridge across that deep and wide chasm by His cross. He took the cross on which He paid for your sins and laid it across that opening. He is now standing on your side of that chasm and is inviting you to trust Him. He is saying “Come to Me, trust Me, let me pick you up into My arms and carry you across your sin into the very presence of My Father.
PUT YOUR TRUST IN JESUS
Are you trusting Jesus now and forever? Then tell Him so by praying the following words:
“Lord Jesus, I sincerely believe that You are the Son of God sent into this world to be punished for the sins of mankind and that Your offer was accepted by Your Father. I am a lost sinner without any hope of saving myself. I now come to you to receive the gift of forgiveness and I am giving myself into your arms to carry me forever. Thank you, Lord. I have been forgiven, I have crossed over for You have carried me over; I have become a son of God the Father and a disciple of His Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for also giving me grace to grow and to lead other people to become your disciples. Amen.”
Bless you my brother or sister. Now turn to, ” DISIPLES OF CHRIST – GROWTH ” to see what to do to grow and become a strong disciple of your Lord.
ANOTHER EXPLANATION OF OF HOW TO BECOME A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST
EVERY ONE OF US INHERITED THE SINFUL NATURE OF ADAM (Please read the mentioned Scriptures)
Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.(Rom 5:12, WEB)
Behold, I was born in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me. (Ps 51:5, WEB)
for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;(Rom 3:23, WEB)
There is no one righteous; no, not one. There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not so much as one.” (Rom 3:10-12, WEB)
The fall of Adam and Eve had terrible consequences; it caused all people of all nations to be born with an inclination (a desire) to sin. Every child has such a nature. Though we teach our children the good we are dismayed to see them doing the bad.
Let us examine ourselves. I see in myself the same inclination (desire) to think wrong thoughts, speak wrong words and do wrong things. Often, I do as Adam and Eve did, doing exactly what God has forbidden me to do. Thus, I know that God’s judgement of Adam and Eve is applicable to me too.
What about you? Don’t you also sin often and do things that anger God? Do you gossip about others, tell lies, use God’s name disrespectfully? Do you sometimes take things that do not belong to you? Do you frequently become angry and speak harshly towards others and even towards your wife? Do you swear and use dirty language and express dirty thoughts? Do you sleep with or desire to sleep with someone with whom you are not married? Have you had sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex? Have you fought, injured, or even murdered someone? Have you worshipped, and brought offerings to other spirits instead of worshipping God? Do you obey God’s commandment to love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength? Do you really love your neighbour as you love yourself?
Which of us can answer these questions without knowing that we have sinned in one way or another? We are all ashamed of what we have done. Possibly people see only some of the sin we committed, but God sees everything. He knows what is in our minds and in our hearts.
Maybe, because you feel guilty, you are scared of God; you flee from Him and hide yourself like Adam and Eve. When someone is preaching on the TV or radio, you switch to another station or when it happens in a bus, you turn away and look out the window. You might be very ashamed of what you had done in the past.
GOOD NEWS: GOD HAS A WAY OF COVERING OUR SINS (Please read the Scriptures quoted below)
Here is the good news: There is a better way of dealing with our sins. We should not try to hide our shame and disgrace, but should rather accept God’s way. In a previous study guide, we saw that God killed animals and used their skins to make clothes for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. The covering of their bodies was merely a symbol of the covering of their spiritual nakedness, the inner sinfulness of their hearts. The shedding of the blood of those animals was, to them, a picture of what would happen many years later when God’s Son, the Lord Jesus’ blood would flow and He would die on a cross to cover the sins of all mankind.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. (Joh 3:16, 17, WEB).
HOW ADAM AND EVE RECEIVED GOD’S PROVISION (Please read the Scriptures quoted below)
Let us take a closer look at how Adam and Eve’s nakedness got to be covered.
1. They admitted to themselves that they were naked and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, then hid among the trees (Gen 3:7).
They admitted their condition to themselves, then tried to solve their problem by themselves by clothing themselves in fig leaves so as not to be found out be God but discovered that their plan was no good, so they tried to hide amongst the trees but that too was of no use for God found them.
This is the first step to get right with God: you need to stop fooling yourself by trying to argue that what you did was not wrong or that you were forced to do it or by going out of your way to do a bunch of good things (fig leaves) to cover the bad things you had done.
2. They admitted/confessed their sin to God (Gen. 3:10-13).
Adam admitted that he was naked and that he had eaten of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Eve admitted that the snake had deceived her and that she too ate the forbidden fruit.
There is no hope for people who deny their spiritual nakedness, or who blame others for their sins, or argue that their nakedness is really not so bad. Consider the following two verses:
He who conceals his sins doesn’t prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Prov 28:13, WEB)
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 Joh 1:8,9, WEB)
3. They accepted God’s verdict and sentence (Gen 3:16-19).
Their fighting had come to an end and they accepted God’s verdict of “guilty as charged” and His righteous judgement.
4. They gladly accepted God’s solution to their problem (Gen 3:21).
Let us look closely at what happened in Paradise. God saw two naked and frightened people standing before Him. Somehow, He had to cover they nakedness, guilt and shame so that they would again have the confidence or boldness to fellowship with Him. Innocent animals were grazing nearby; let us say they were two little lambs and their wool was as perfect as it was on the day that had God created them. The Lord knew that there was only one solution: He had to use their skins to make two beautiful, perfect, and durable tunics for these two people. However, to acquire their skins the lambs had to die, their blood had to be spilt.
So, God had performed the painful deed of killing and skinning two innocent animals. He then cured and tailored them to fit the man and the woman perfectly. He handed them their fur coats which they accepted and put on. At last their nakedness was hidden and could they wipe away their tears, smile and stand in the presence of God without being ashamed.
But … nearby lay the two naked carcasses of the lambs that had given their lives so that Adam and Eve’s nakedness could be covered. A price had to be paid – their blood had to be shed, but their death and blood were only a picture pointing forward into time to perfect, innocent Son (Lamb) of God that would one day hang naked (spiritually) on the cross so that the robe of His perfect life, can cover the spiritual nakedness of all human beings and that his blood could pay for the guilt of their sin.
TAKE THAT STEP NOW
This is God’s solution to man’s dilemma – a perfect solution. However, only those who will do as Adam and Eve did, admitting their sin, abandoning their own attempts to save themselves and accepting Jesus’ offering for their sins by faith, will be clothed by his righteousness. Everyone who does this will, just like Adam and Eve, live the rest of their lives without fear and guilt of punishment and have the confidence to come into the presence of God wearing the righteous cloak of Christ. This promise is found in John 1:12:
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children … . (WEB).
Are you ready to take that step right now while you still have the opportunity? Then pray the following prayer and mean every word you say:
“Lord God, I admit that I am a sinner. I sin by the words that I utter. I sin by the actions that I do. I sin by the thoughts I think. I sin by neglecting to do the good things that I should do. I am ashamed of my life. Please forgive my sins. Please cover my dreadful life with Your Son, Jesus Christ’s robe of righteousness. I believe in Him. I believe that He died on the cross to bear my sins. Thank You Lord God that You have now forgiven me and have covered my sins. Lord please give me the strength to conquer my sinful desires (nature), and when I sin again, help me not to doubt that Jesus’ robe of righteousness will also cover all those sins that I may commit inadvertently, Amen”.
Have you prayed this prayer in sincere faith? Then I have the good news that you sin has been washed away by the blood of Christ and that you are now clothed with His righteous life. Praise God for that every day of your life.
Now turn to DISCIPLE OF CHRIST – GROWTH to see what to do to grow and become a strong child and disciple of your Lord.
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