In an age of convenience, fast food, drive thru service and high speed delivery, it is easy to see where certain churches have adopted the same mentality when it comes to evangelism. With a consumer based approach many are packaging the gospel in an easy to take home product that can appeal to the masses. But is it really as easy as that? Is it as convenient as selecting a particular meal deal where you simply call out a number? Does that match what Jesus is inviting the believer to? I believe there is a cost involved and sometimes this cost of following Jesus may imply a whole lot more than what some are presenting.
“Just accept Jesus in your heart and you’re saved” is part of the jargon that makes up the easy-believism doctrine. And while I believe it is part of the process to receive Christ and his gospel, salvation also requires the application of God’s grace which is the plan of salvation. If we are saved by grace alone then every single human being will be saved but Paul clearly points out “For by grace are you saved through faith…” Eph 2:8. If there was no ‘through faith’ then that grace would not be accessed by the person. Furthermore we understand from James 2:18 that faith is virtually synonymous with works. So we can accurately deduct that God’s grace is accessed in a person through their faith which is evident by doing the work that is required, namely: Repenting of one’s sins, being baptized for the remission of sins and being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, Mk 16:16, Rom 8:8)
This is only the beginning however, as Jesus calls us to a life of dedication as his disciples. He lists a whole gamut of experiences that can become a reality to the believer in Matthew 10. He says that we will be hated by men, betrayed by loved ones, experience alienation and disparity from those who are closest to us. In another place Jesus says that narrow is the way to everlasting life and that very few find it. When we look at Jesus’ disciples such a Peter, James and Paul, in fact most of his disciples did not enjoy a long and comfortable life but they were killed for their convictions. Jesus does not exempt the believer from this because discipleship is costly.
However, Jesus says; “he that endureth to the end shall be saved” Matt 10:22. He promises to be with us and that we are extremely valuable to him. He also said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Regardless of the threat to ourselves, we are required to confess Jesus to all men.
If we deny the Lord before men, Jesus will deny us before the Father (Matt 10:32). Being a disciple means living your life not according to your own wishes but according to the commands of God.
This may be difficult for some and this is why so many fall from Grace. They become offended and they admit it is too difficult to live for God. Yes it is difficult to live for God but it is more difficult to live without Him. Fear God and not man. These are tough words, I know but picking up your cross cannot be sugar coated or circumvented. We do have an advantage, Jesus promised to help us and never ever leave us.
Become a disciple of Jesus Christ but you need to count the cost of what that entails.
This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.