The Cost of Discipleship

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.

POS Church Camp

Every three years we go away as a church ‘family’ for Church Camp. It is always a great time of fun, fellowship and life changing services. We are blessed to have with us for this year’s camp Rev. Keith and Dr. Janice Sjostrand. They are the pastors of Christian Apostolic Church in Newark, OH and are powerful speakers and gifted teachers.

Registration is required for the camp, which will be taking place from the 16th to the 18th of November, as we will be going to Stanwell Tops Conference Centre. We do realise that this has been a very busy year and we have decided to subsidise part of the cost for registration, so the fees are as follows: $100/adult, $70/child 5-12 yrs, $35/child 3-5 yrs and children under 3 are free.

This is going to be an incredible weekend so please make plans to attend! Registration is available on Sundays following the services.

Turning Point 2012 – Media Update

Well it has been a busy few weeks following Turning Point and we just wanted to give an update to those who ordered CD/DVD from the conference. We are happy to announce that your orders will be available for pick-up (if everything goes to plan) on Sunday. We will also be mailing out orders soon which means you should be receiving them sometime next week. We are sorry for the delay but we have been working tirelessly to get the orders completed.

While you are waiting, we have uploaded a few sermons from TP 12 to our podcast (Raymond Woodward’s sermon, Mark Morgan’s sermon), as well as a few videos to Youtube. Consider this an appetiser. God bless!

Casting and Mending

What an exciting several weeks we have had in the Church with the numerous visiting ministries making an indelible impact upon us. It is only fitting that we rejoice and give praise to God for the countless people who were either; baptized, filled with the Spirit, delivered, encouraged, revived, convicted, or all of the above and more.

I was reminded recently by one of the messages regarding Jesus’ call to his disciples to become ‘fishers of men’. It is interesting that Jesus uses a description of what he wanted the four men (Peter, Andrew and the Zebedee brothers, James and John) to do in His Kingdom, which was not foreign to them. In fact it was what they were, Fishermen. However, the difference would be that they were to catch men and not fish.

In Matthew 4:21, when Jesus met with James and John, the Bible tells that they were mending their nets. As fishermen, their two primary activities involved their nets; where they were either casting their nets or mending them.

Casting and mending…. This is a picture of what the followers of Jesus are called to do; Evangelism and Discipleship. Casting the net is the activity that catches fish, which is an analogy of evangelism where we reach out to the lost. As followers of Christ we are mandated to reach and preach to the lost with the Gospel. Some erroneously view Christianity as restricted just to the church building and only for church service. True Christianity however, is to be taken to all the world.

Jesus said in Mark 16:15  “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Mending their nets is a picture of discipleship. Again Jesus emphasized at the very end of the book of Matthew for his followers to “make disciples of all nations” Matt 28:19. We are to train and teach those whom we have won.

Casting and Mending can also be seen in what Jesus did in Matthew 4:23 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom…..” 

Preaching and teaching – The difference between the two is that one can only teach those who are willing to be taught, whilst preaching requires a declaration of the good news to all, including those who will receive and those who won’t. Much like the Sower of Matt 13 who sowed everywhere regardless of whether the soil was good or bad. It wasn’t up to him to determine the conditions of the soils but his responsibility was to sow indiscriminately.

Likewise we must preach to all men regardless of whether they receive us or not and those who do receive us, we must teach and disciple. My question to you is; “Are you casting and mending?” or “What are you doing to evangelize your world and are you discipling anyone?”

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.