There is only one way to have salvation and that is the way of DISCIPLESHIP, following Jesus Christ. There is only one way that we can follow Jesus Christ and that is to be LED by the Holy Spirit. Most believers do not have the Holy Spirit, they do not know what discipleship is all about. it will COST you to follow Jesus Christ. The COST is very high and Jesus said that if we WISH to follow Him we must DENY OURSELVES, PICK UP OUR cross and FOLLOW Him. Most believers do not know what that means and I want to explain that today.
We read in Luke chapter 9 “23And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25“For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
We have to DENY OURSELVES. What does it mean to DENY YOURSELF?
It means to REPENT, REPENT, TURN AWAY, DISREGARD and REFRAIN from satisfying our own DESIRES, NEEDS, PLEASURES, ASPIRATIONS and PLANS. You ABANDON your own desires, that which you LIKE. You give it up and then you have to go after Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that you have to PICK UP YOUR CROSS. what is that CROSS?
The cross is the COMMANDMENTS of Jesus Christ, His WORDS, that which He spoke. That was also recorded in the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those are the words of eternal life and we have to OBEY them if we want to have eternal life. Before we can follow Jesus Christ we have to obey those words. That is the CROSS, because as soon as you start obeying the words of Jesus, if you REPENT, turn away from sin, turn away from the things of the world and live according to the words of Jesus then you will be REJECTED. You will be PERSECUTED, you will be SLANDERED, you will be EX-COMMUNICATED. The world will REJECT you, family will reject you, you might lose your job, you might lose your spouse. Your children might reject you, you will end up ALONE. And if you keep on obeying Jesus, doing as He commanded, you will end up alone, carrying your cross.
Obeying the words of Jesus Christ and doing as he commanded , that is the cross that we will bear. If we disregard His words and disobey Him then we are not suitable for His kingdom, we cannot follow Him.
Many refuse to be baptized in water because if they are baptized in water people will reject them. They rather treasure the acceptance of people than the acceptance of God and therefor they cannot follow Jesus. They are not willing to pick up their cross every day and follow Jesus Christ in spite of rejection, in spite of difficulty, in spite of persecution. They don’t want the cross. They are not willing to give up the things of the world , they are not willing to bear the cross. If we make up our mind to follow Jesus Christ and we deny ourselves, we OBEY His words, REPENT and are baptized in water then only can we follow Him BUT we can only follow Jesus Christ if we are LED by the Holy Spirit. If we do not have the Holy Spirit we cannot follow Jesus Christ. You cannot follow Jesus from reading the Bible. You cannot follow Him form being religious, going to church, being in fellowship with other Christians. You have to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ. You need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and then follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit every day. You have to stay with Jesus , stay tuned in, listen to the Holy Spirit and He will teach and guide you. He will send you, He will use you. Jesus has called each and every one of us for a purpose in His kingdom and the only way that we can fulfill that purpose is if we are led by the Holy Spirit every day.
There is no TIME OUT. You cannot stop following Jesus Christ for a day or two and then go back. You have to follow Him every day until the very end. That is the road of discipleship.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8:14 “Those who are being led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” the children of God. If we are not led by the Spirit of God then we are not the children of God, we are not the sons of God.
We can only follow Jesus Christ if we have His Spirit and if we LISTEN, FOLLOW and OBEY Him. We have to make SPACE for His Spirit. That is why we have to DENY ourselves, we have to deny ourselves our own plans, deny ourselves watching TV, playing sports, doing the things that the world do and OPEN our hearts for Jesus, invite Him in, WAIT on Him, SEEK Him, PRAY and ask Him to FILL us with His Spirit so that we can be in FELLOWSHIP, in RELATIONSHIP with Him and that we can follow Him, and DO His will.
Many people say they have been asking for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and they are not receiving it. It is because they are not seeking. It is because they are not SERIOUS. We have to EARNESTLY SEEK the infilling with the Holy Spirit even if it means that you have got to FAST and PRAY and WAIT on the Lord to FILL you.
Many believers do not know what the purpose is of fasting.
After our Lord Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit, where He fasted for forty days, He was without food and after that the devil came and tempted Him but He overcame satan.
The purpose of FASTING, going without food for some time, to pray is do deprive yourself of sensual and physical pleasures and to focus on Jesus. As the physical is weakened the spiritual inner man that is normally suppressed and smothered is allowed to surface and you become spiritually awake, your spirit is released and becomes open to the Holy Spirit. While you are fasting you have to get your focus on Jesus Christ and PRAY because as your body is weakened and your spirit becomes awakened you will be attacked by evil spirits also, by demons, like Jesus was attacked by the devil. You have to keep your mind and your spirit focused on Jesus Christ and OPEN yourself to Him. You have to fight off the evil spirits.
The first three days you will become hungry and you will want to eat. After three days the hunger pains will leave you and you will be able to stay without food much easier, but keep on using water. It is possible to fast on water for forty days as Jesus Christ did. And after that the devil tempted Him but He overcame satan. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and then His ministry started.
If we follow Jesus Christ we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the POWER of God. We need to to be RECEPTIVE to the Holy Spirit. We need to KNOW His VOICE and FOLLOW Him. If we have not received the Holy Spirit and we have not learned to HEAR His VOICE, to LISTEN, to OBEY, to FOLLOW then we cannot follow Jesus Christ.
We need to be FILLED with the HOLY SPIRIT. We have to overcome our own flesh, we have to overcome the attacks of the devil.
That is why most Christians cannot stop sinning. They have never FOUGHT the devil and overcome. They are still battling with sin and they are not led by the Holy Spirit because they do not have the Spirit of Christ IN them. We have to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit, we have to be taught by the Holy Spirit and led by the Holy Spirit to do the works of God, to fulfill the task for which Jesus Christ has called us and if we do not have the Holy Spirit and do not submit ourselves to Him daily, pick up our cross and follow Jesus Christ, PRAY, LISTEN, OBEY and DO what He commands us to do then we are NOT suitable for the kingdom of heaven, we are not useful, we cannot bear fruit for the kingdom of God if we are not LED by the Spirit of God. We cannot go out on our own and work for God. We can only work for the kingdom of God if we are led by the Spirit of God, if we FOLLOW and OBEY Jesus Christ every day.
Very few Christians follow Jesus Christ. Very few are disciples because most Christians have never received the Holy Spirit and even those who did receive the Holy Spirit do not follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It is through our relationship with Jesus Christ, being LED by the Holy Spirit every day, that we gain WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING, that He TEACHES us and GUIDES us and we become part of His kingdom because we SERVE Him.
Jesus Christ requires DISCIPLESHIP. There is no other way to follow Him but to be a DISCIPLE who is LED by the Holy Spirit.
Have you become a DISCIPLE of Jesus Christ?
May Jesus bless you.