Often after baptism, we are left on our own. No church in sight. Nobody follows up. Lack of help to us get started. Nothing pointing us in the right direction. No partners to walk with us hand in hand as we begin our journey. This lack of engagement causes 80% of saved Christians to walk away from the faith. That’s a sobering number, in fact, it’s a shameful number. We do not want to fall into that category. The simple truth remains the same. Once dead, we only go in one of two directions for all of eternity: Eternal Damnation OR Heaven. Without Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will fail on Judgement Day! Our soul is “important” and forever is a very long time…
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Sometimes, people find Jesus under the most life shattering of circumstances, like when Paul was blinded or in a near death experience. Other times, people find Jesus in a quiet moment listening to natures song or looking into the eyes of a baby. Whatever way we find Jesus – He is the same Savior for all of us. Jesus does not change; we have changed becoming new people.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
God is consistent and dependable. God’s word does not change. God does not go back on His promises or threats. You can depend on the bible and what it teaches.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Besides loving our Savior, we should want to know and be like Jesus. We should want to obey and please Jesus. To do this we must learn about Jesus and follow His commandments.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
So, setting the down points of failure to the side, let’s ask the question many of us are never asked. Why would anyone want to enter a discipleship? Discipleship will be a lot of work, study and change impacting our lives. What could possibly be worth such an effort?
To answer this question, we need to ask ourselves – Why did we seek salvation in the first place? Was it a fleeting fling or a soul shattering commitment? Better hope it was the latter. Why? Because bringing Jesus into our heart is a life shaking event. Things are about to change for the better!
Salvation removes our sins and gives us a new life. Along with this new life comes responsibility. One is to love our Savior and follow in His footsteps. This is where we enter discipleship and begin life changing processes.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Yet, it’s not all about what we need to do. There is also a “receiving” end in all of this. God will do things for us. First and foremost, we will receive eternal life in Heaven. That means we won’t end up in Eternal Damnation. I can assure you that we are now headed to a much better eternity!
1 John 2:25
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
But that’s not all. Keep in mind that the one who dies with the most toys, doesn’t win – he takes nothing with him in death. But the one who lays up treasures in Heaven, while here on earth, will take those treasures with him after death! That is work worth doing.
1 Corinthians 3:11-14
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
What type of rewards that we can receive in Eternal Life?
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
What else can we obtain?
A new name!
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
A new body!
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Crowns of status and recognition! We can earn one or more of these crowns.
The Imperishable Crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
The Crown of Rejoicing
1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
The Crown of Righteousness
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:2-4
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
The Crown of Life
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
As you can see, we have many reasons to enter discipleship. And I didn’t even get into the wonderful life changes we will experience! That can be our surprise as we grow together.