articlesqa March 06, 2018 a disciple is not
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

There is a great book by a broth­er in whose fam­i­ly I do not de­serve to be­long called The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship. The book lays out what we eas­i­ly for­get as The Church of Je­sus Christ: the cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is de­nial of one­self so that I can be like Je­sus Christ. We lay down our lives be­cause He Laid down His Own. He Of­fers us His Body and Blood and we of­fer to Him our body and blood. The cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is the price of love. Even when the price is high, it is an easy de­ci­sion. So please go and read The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship by broth­er Di­et­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer.

These se­ries of ar­ti­cles deal with dis­ci­ple­ship from the per­spec­tive of na­ture and not the cost. Al­though if you have cap­tured what I said above, you will per­ceive that the na­ture is the cost. To­day I will at­tempt to sim­ply an­swer two sim­ple ques­tions: 1 Who is a Chris­t­ian? 2 Who is a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ?


To hear that word to­day in­vokes all sorts of im­ages and de­f­i­n­i­tions for all sorts of peo­ple. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, most peo­ple think they are Chris­tians be­cause they go to church on Sun­day. Al­though most of the time, it’s only on East­er, Christ­mas and Hanukah. Or if you’re a su­per­chris­t­ian or real­ly re­li­gious, you may at­tend mid­week ser­vices. Or for those on the up­per ech­e­lons, you’ve prob­a­bly been on a few mis­sion trips. But do you see what I am do­ing here? The world per­ceives the Chris­t­ian by a se­ries of ac­tions she per­forms. A real Chris­t­ian will tell you that she does all the things above and even more NOT be­cause it makes a her Chris­t­ian. In­stead, she is a Chris­t­ian and there­fore she does cer­tain things.

There­fore, a Chris­t­ian is not some­one who does a se­ries of stuff. But a Chris­t­ian is still a hu­man be­ing and so he has to do some­thing. Let us go back to the Bible then and find out where this word “Chris­t­ian” comes from. “For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large com­pa­ny of peo­ple; and in An­ti­och the dis­ci­ples were for the first time called Chris­tians.” Acts 11:26 re­veals plain­ly that the word “Chris­t­ian” was a name that was giv­en to dis­ci­ples. Bib­li­cal­ly speak­ing, only a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ can be called a Chris­t­ian. If you are not a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus, then you are not a Chris­t­ian. No mat­ter how you grew up or what you’ve done or haven’t done or what­ev­er, if you are not a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ, then you are not a Chris­t­ian.

What is the sig­nif­i­cance of this? Well, in my­self, I find a ten­den­cy to drain the stan­dard of God down to the dregs of this world. But the Bible, from Old Tes­ta­ment to New Tes­ta­ment, makes it con­sis­tent­ly makes it clear to me and you that only dis­ci­ples of Je­sus Christ go to heav­en. God will de­cide con­cern­ing those who, for what­ev­er rea­son, had no op­por­tu­ni­ty in time to hear the Eter­nal gospel. But to any who read these words I say to you, “You must be­come a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ or you can­not en­ter the King­dom of Heav­en.”


Only dis­ci­ples of Je­sus Christ are chris­tians. Who then is a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ? Je­sus says and re­veals many many things that an­swer this ques­tion both di­rect­ly and in­di­rect­ly. Among His more di­rect words are Luke 14:25-35 where Je­sus tells us who can­not be His dis­ci­ple. Who­ev­er comes to Je­sus and does not hate his fam­i­ly and him­self, who­ev­er does not deny him­self and take up his cross, who­ev­er does not give up the whole world can­not be a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ. This is re-em­pha­sized in Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23-26. More par­tic­u­lar­ly in Luke 9:26, He says that He will be ashamed of any­one that is ashamed of Him and His Words.

Why does Je­sus say such strong things? What gives Him the right to make such a strong re­quest? Well He is God and He is Man. Matthew 10:37-40 seems to be a re­hash­ing of the vers­es we read pre­vi­ous­ly un­til we get to the star­tling rev­e­la­tion in Matthew 10:40. Here we see Je­sus set up an equiv­a­lence: who­ev­er re­ceives the dis­ci­ple re­ceives the mas­ter. So as a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ, when peo­ple re­ceive me as a friend, they should not see or hear me at all. They should only see and hear Je­sus Christ. Let us say you go into a house to tell them about Je­sus Christ but in your heart, you love your fam­i­ly more than Je­sus Christ. Then con­scious­ly or un­con­scious­ly, you will ma­nip­u­late your words and the peo­ple hear­ing you so that you and your fam­i­ly can ben­e­fit. But if by lov­ing Je­sus Christ above all, you hate the world, your fam­i­ly and even your­self then only Je­sus Christ will be speak­ing through you. Peo­ple do not need me or you. They need Je­sus Christ. Peo­ple only come back to life when Je­sus Speaks through me or you Ezekiel 37:3-4.

But be­yond the ac­com­plish­ment of the dis­ci­ple’s work, the dis­ci­ple de­nies him­self, most of all, be­cause Je­sus Christ his Mas­ter also De­nied Him­self. Philip­pi­ans 2:4-8 makes it clear that Je­sus our Mas­ter De­nied Him­self to Fol­low His Fa­ther. Je­sus re­nounced Joseph, Mary, James and His oth­er broth­ers to Fol­low His Fa­ther Matthew 12:46-50. Je­sus re­nounced phys­i­cal chil­dren so that His Fa­ther might adopt many Ro­mans 8:15. Je­sus re­nounced His Will so that The Will of The Fa­ther might be His Own Luke 22:42, John 12:49, John 5:19. Je­sus Is A Dis­ci­ple of God. This is why He said in Matthew 10:40, “Who­ev­er re­ceives you, re­ceives me and who­ev­er re­ceives me, re­ceives Him who sent me. " You see, even Je­sus wasn’t in­ter­est­ed in any­one hear­ing Him. He De­nied Him­self so that every­one could see and hear and meet God The Fa­ther through Him John 14:6. So why would He de­mand any­thing less than dis­ci­ple­ship from us?

So, “Who is a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ?” A dis­ci­ple of Je­sus is some­one who is not. A dis­ci­ple de­nies him­self of every­thing, even him­self, by lov­ing Je­sus above all. When you see a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus, you don’t see her at all, you see Je­sus Christ. And when you see Je­sus Christ through His dis­ci­ple, it is not Je­sus Christ you are see­ing but God The Fa­ther. This or that.

My broth­er, my sis­ter, these mat­ters I lay be­fore you are dif­fi­cult for me to write about. When I be­gan to write, I did not ex­pect to find my­self at the foun­da­tions of the world. Were I a bet­ter writer, I might more eas­i­ly lay be­fore you the foun­da­tion of the world so that you might eas­i­ly see why all her ed­i­fices are van­i­ty, al­ready lost in the wind. So if you find my words and ideas dif­fi­cult, do not be dis­cour­aged. Go and read the Bible and be­lieve God. At best, and I have not reached it, all I can do is ex­pound on His Word. There­fore, the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle laid be­fore you two foun­da­tions. One Is Th...
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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3