Each week after a sermon or on Wednesday evening, we offer an invitation. We might miss the significance of this opportunity because we do it so often. When we offer the invitation we are encouraging people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, or become better disciples than they presently are. Jesus often did this and we have an example of Him doing it in Mark 8:34:
34And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."
In this passage Jesus not only invites people to follow Him (be His disciples), He goes on to give them 3 good reasons why they should do so:
1. Gets you what you really want
35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
What people really want is not to die, to live eternally, to preserve their souls.
Jesus recognizes that this is man's deepest yearning and He tells him that being His disciple is the only way to accomplish this. To try and beat death; to try and live forever without Jesus is to lose automatically. To suffer and die as a disciple is to win automatically.
2. No other lifestyle is more profitable
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Even if for a little while you could have the entire world, you could not exchange it for your soul. The blood of Jesus is the only currency God will accept in exchange for forgiveness and eternal life.
You could be a lot of things that will give you a lot of perks, but only disciples have access to the blood of Christ, the thing they need to cover them when they come into the presence of God.
3. There will be a judgment
38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
The line of separation at judgment will not be the good on this side and the bad on the other: we are all sinners; we are all bad to one degree or another.
No, the line of demarcation at judgment will be:
- The ones who were faithful disciples on one side.
- The unbelievers, the hypocrites, the disobedient on the other.
Those who are disciples are those who were not ashamed (afraid, embarrassed, proud) to respond to His invitation to confess His name, repent of their sins, be immersed in water for forgiveness. Only disciples will be spared the condemnation that God promises He will bring when judgment finally arrives.
If you have wondered why you should become a Christian or why you should work on becoming a better one, Jesus tells you that discipleship saves your soul, gains the most precious blessing, gives confidence in judgment.
Hopefully these reasons will motivate you to respond to the invitation if you need to. Do not put it off if Jesus is calling you tonight.
- Have you ever responded to an "invitation," "Alter Call," or other such encouragement to acknowledge your faith or sins? What happened?
- What is the most difficult aspect of being a disciple of Jesus?
- Describe your most satisfying spiritual experience as a Christian.
- In your opinion does Christian discipleship become easier or harder with time? Why?
- What has Jesus called on you, personally, to change or do in order to grow spiritually as His disciple?