WHAT IS A SOLD-OUT DISCIPLE? II

A sold-out disciple is simply one with faith, hope and love…at levels not seen except in Jesus.

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“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there
are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the
imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a
child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind
me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to
face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And
now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Is it possible to have faith, hope and love as Jesus commanded and live out the life of a disciple or is this a pipe dream? Recently, some disciples have shared with me doubts they have had about whether or not they can change…or even truly be saved. Jesus gives some insight in Matthew 19:25-26; When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Jesus taught that the commitment and heart of one of his followers was the same for every person who would claim Jesus as their Lord. Neither differing scales nor commitment level exist in the mind of Jesus. A disciple is by definition “sold-out” to Jesus with no room for anything more! Are you filled with faith, hope and love as you follow Jesus or have you gotten deceived or filled with doubt? Remember, if we must obey then we can because “with God all things are possible.”

“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the
other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher,
I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of
the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ Another disciple
said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him,
‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” Matthew 8:18-22

Someone with Phenomenal Faith holds up to pressure, family and suffering through faith. What kind of a person would leave all, to follow Jesus at the risk of having no home or bed and leave family behind as well? A sold-out disciple! Is this unloving or irresponsible if done in the manner Jesus teaches? Absolutely not. Jesus did not apologize for his stance. No, he never watered down his convictions to try and persuade more to follow him…he laid it out! We are called to give 100% of our hearts and lives seeking first his kingdom and righteousness at the cost of everything. The statement, “…let the dead bury their own dead” is shocking to the system and seems callous, unless Jesus comes first. By faith, disciples choose to take Jesus at his word and actually venture out and risk it all. By faith, disciples imitate Jesus in his stance with his family. In Mark 3:20-21 Jesus’ family come to “take charge of him” because they thought he was “out of his mind”. Only those with phenomenal faith will follow. What part of your heart is not filled with faith? Where are you holding back in fear, worry about criticism or family backlash? What type of suffering have you decided is too much? Jesus led the way in faith- he trusted his Father to raise him from the dead after a torturous crucifixion! All worth it so you and I could be saved.

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“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” Matthew 8:23-27

The apostles had been chosen out of the growing crowds not too long before this incident (Luke 6:12-16 then the storm happens in Luke 9:22-25 & Matthew 8). Jesus chose the seemingly most faithful, powerful and hard-working men from the crowd and distinguished them as His apostles! How special…how powerful they must have felt as the mass of people following Jesus saw who was chosen. The twelve- Jesus’ guys…the leaders of the newest most powerful movement on earth! Then we hear- “Lord, save us! We are going to drown!” Not the words you would expect to hear from a battle hardened disciple who had walked closely with Jesus! These men had seen Jesus heal the sick, provide food for thousands and even raise the dead…yet when it came to their own well-being, they doubted. Fear overtook these men and all their faith faded to nothing in a matter of minutes. All things were declared possible with God by Jesus himself. These men were not picked by the Lord to then be suddenly killed in a storm at sea! Their fear that God would not save them from drowning was uncalled for! He chose them and he has chosen us. Will you put to death your fear and worry, truly trusting the one who can save and thus be sold-out in your faith? You may try to “out run” or “out do” whatever you may be facing. But rather be a sold-out disciple and “out faith” that obstacle as Jesus did.

For me, Helen and our family the past few weeks have been very intense and many unexpected things have come about. Some of our best friends have moved here due to some struggles they have had to weather, the Chloupeks. Their family has been through so much and yet they hold on to the Lord. Then due to needing to help another couple, our long term friends the Gonzalez’s get to Mexico and get more help for Las Vegas, they have also moved here. Along with them will come Udo and Sara as well as Jose and Liz! In addition, our awesome daughter Amanda got engaged! On top of all of that, we face daily the needs in the churches in the SAGES World Sector. 2 Corinthians 11:28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. All amazing, yet it has stretched my faith and the Lord is calling me and all of us to be sold-out disciples living by faith to take care of his precious children! The call today is to be sold-out with faith in our God who handles the impossible! He’s got this! We can hold on for a wild and exciting ride!

Next week’s article will deal with two more aspects of the sold-out disciple: hope and love. One with Heavenly Hope stands firm in the storms. Hope can be elusive when we have faced a lot of failure, frustration or have fizzled out. One with Ludicrous Love stands out in any crowd! When examining the lives of Jesus and the first disciples we see a shocking distinction from the world of hate they lived in!

Brothers and sisters, choose today to live in faith! The kind of faith that moves mountains trusts through the storms and comes from following Jesus to the cross and back as we evangelize this great city he has given us, the Eastern USA and South Asia…then on to the ends of the earth!

He stoops down to make us great,

Matt Sullivan

 
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