CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP



ATTITUDE OF CHRISTIANS TODAY TO GOD’S CALL.
Note examples of people that left their plump jobs to answer God’s call e.g. Dr. W. F Kumuyi etc. The call to God’s service today is a great priviledge to those who answer the call promptly and follow the injunctions of God their creator and caller. Some christians today answered positively to God’s call. Examples of such people include:

Pastor (Dr.) W.F. Kumuyi, a man who aboandoned his job as a University Lecturer and embraced the call of God. He is the General Supretendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry Worldwide.

Pastor & Mrs E.O. Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, also former Mathematics Lecturer in University of Lagos. Also responded to the call of God.

Mother Theresa of Kolkata founded the Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns, to help those who are starving and sick. Centered in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, the organization also helps impoverished children. After four decades of service to the poor, Mother Teresa stepped down from her role as administrator of the order in 1990. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
  
Mother Teresa
       Other christians who answered positively to the call of God are, Bishop Oyedepo of Living Faith (Winners Chapel), Bishop Kukah of the Catholic Church, etc.

FACTOR THAT MILITATE AGAINST DISCIPLESHIP OR DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP. MATT. 8: 18-22; LK. 9: 57-63; 14: 25-33
Discipleship is about two things. The first is to be a true believer in Jesus. The second is to be a devoted follower of Jesus. Jesus taught the disciples about the demands of discipleship.

The factors that miltate agaist discipleship and it demands is also referred to as the cost of True Discipleship.
The demands are:
  1. Insecurity in discipleship: (Matt 8; 19-20, LK 9: 57-58): Jesus taught that one of the demands of discipleship is that there is no security attached to it. There is no personal gain or comfort because it is full of dangers and many risks. This teaching on lack of security in discipleship comes out in Jesus’ meeting with scribe. He told Jesus that he wanted to follow him. Jesus said “foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head”
  2. God first in discipleship: (LK 9: 59-60): Jesus taught that another demand of discipleship is that the disciple should give the first place to God where a choice has to be made between service to God and to the family. This teaching of Jesus comes out in the story where Jesus asked a young man to follow him. The young man begged that he should first be allowed to go home and bury his father but Jesus said to him: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”.
  3. Total commitment in discipleship: (LK 9 :61-62): Another demands of discipleship is total commitment, that is absolute loyalty and not a divided loyalty. The disciple must remain focused and avoid any form of distraction. We can see the example in the encounter of Jesus with someone who told Jesus that he wanted to follow him as his disciple. But first he wanted to go and bid farewell to those at home. Jesus told him “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”.
  4. Sacrificing the interest of family and self to discipleship: (LK 14: 26): Jesus said one must be ready to sacrifice the interest of his family and of himself for God. He made this clear when he said: “If any one comes after me and does not hate is own father or mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
  5. Self denial in discipleship: (LK 14:27): Jesus taught that to become his disciples one should deny himself and take his cross daily and follow him. “If any man comes after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
  6. Counting the cost in discipleship: (LK 14: 28-32): Jesus taught that since discipleship is a difficult and dangerous work, one should not rush into it. One should sit down and carefully count the cost involved. Is one ready to endure pain, humiliation, disgrace, and sacrifice family interest for the work of God?
MISSION OF THE TWELVE: MATT. 10:1-15; MK. 6; 7- 13.
The mission of the disciples was part of Jesus’ preparation of His followers for full evangelical activities. They had worked with Him for some time, and at this stage, He sent them out on their own for brief practice,as part of the training for the ministerial task ahead.

After Jesus had taught His disciples both privately and publicly, He decided to send them out to practicalise what they had learnt. The followings were the instructions given to the twelve disciples:
1.  They were charged to preach that the kingdom of God is at hand.
2.  They were given authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper and cast out unclean spirits.
3.  They were directed to go only to the lost sheep of Israel and not the Gentiles or Samaritans. They were grouped two by two.
4.  They were instructed to take no money, no belts, no bag, no staff, no two tunics, no scandals, no bread or food, for a labourer deserves food. Note instructions given.   
5. They received healing powers freely, therefore they should give without payment.
6.  They should saluate every house with peace. If the house is worthy, their peace would abide with it, but if unworthy their peace would return to them.
7.  If any body or town would not recieve them or their words, they should shake off the dust of the place from their scandals and go, as they leave the house or town, this will stand in jugdment against such people.

MISSION OF THE SEVENTY: LK. 10: 1-20.
     The instructions given to the seventy were similar to those of the twelve sent earlier. Jesus sent the seventy ahead of him, they were sent two by two into every town and place He Himself was about to come.

Note instruction given
1.  They were not to carry purse, bag and scandals
2.  They were not to salute anyone on the road.
3.  Whatever house they enter, they should first say ‘’Peace be to this house’’. “And if the son of peace is there your peace shall rest upon him, but if not, it shall return to you.’’
4.  They are to remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for a labourer deserves his wages.
5.  When they enter a town and they receive them, they are to heal the sick in it and preach to them that ‘’the kingdom of God has come near.’’
6.  If they are not received, they should go into the streets and say, even the dust of your town that cling to our feet, we wipe off against you. the punishment of such people on the day of judgment, would be more serious than those of the idolatrous cities of Tyre and Sidon who would have repented if they had such opportunities abused by the Jews.

DIFFERENCES IN THE SYNOPTIC ACCOUNTS OF THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE:
1.  Matthew had the Jewish audience in mind; Luke has a more universal outlook. Matthew alone records that Jesus instructed His diciples to go no where among the Gentiles and not to enter any house of the Samaritans, but to go to the lost house of Israel. Mark and Luke were silent on this.
2.  Matthew made mention of Gomorrah, while Luke and Mark were silence about it.
3.  Mark alone records that the disciples were sent out in twos. Luke and Matthew did not point this out.
4.  Matthew’s account does not allow staff and scandals, whereas Mark allows them.
5.  Only Matthew stated that the disciples would be persecuted for the sake of the gospel.
6.  Only Matthew mentioned the names of the disciples, who were sent on the mission. Mark and Luke were silent on this.


ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE TWELVE AND SEVENTY DISCIPLES

Mark recorded that the disciples made tremendous achievements. They were able to cast out demons, and anointed with oil sick people and healed them.The seventy returned with joy, recounting how they were able to cast out demons n the name of Jesus; how demons obeyed them, hearing the name – Jesus. Jesus was thrilled and even conferred on them more powers, especially over serpents, scorpions and even Satan himself. However, Jesus admonished them not to rejoice as a result of the success of their mission, especially their triumph over the demons, but because their names had been written in the book of life in heaven.

DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES IN THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE AND THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES; AND SIGNIFICANCES OF EACH MISSION.


SIMILARITIES

DIFFERENCES
1. All the synoptic gospels gave accounts of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-15, Mk. 6:7-13; Lk. 9:1-6).
1. Only Luke gave an account of the mission of the seventy (Luke 10:1-24).
2. Jesus told the disciples in all the gospels to go and preach, to heal and make disciples.
2. The two missions were important, but the mission of the twelve. In His orders to the seventy, the disciples were charged not to greet anybody on the way.
3. The instructions Jesus gave them was similar.
3. There were slight differnces when others are compared with Mark’s account.
4. The two missions closed with rebuke
of those who refused to welcome and
accept the disciples and their message.
Jesus rebuked them also for their unbelief
4. However, in the mission of the seventy, Luke went into detail. he mentioned some major cities and the punishments awaiting them. He also concluded by telling His disciples that they were blessed for what they had seen and heard.

LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE TWO MISSION AND SIGNIFICANCE
1.  Jesus’ charge against taking money, two tunics, bags and saluting people on their way meant that the mission was urgent, hence, unnecessary luxuries should be avioded.
2.  Jesus’ warning that he was sending the disciples out as lambs in the midst of wolves meant that they were bound to face persecution and stiff challenges in their ministry.
3.  Jesus’ decision to send out the seventy on the same mission he had earlier sent the twelve points to the importance of the assignment.
4.  Sending them out was a way of exposing them to what they would do after his death, hence, Jesus needed to assess their ability before hand.
5.  Just like Jesus sent out His apostles and disciples, He, today can also send us on assignment.
6.  Whatever success we achieve in our task of spreading the gospel, credit goes to God not us.