The Beginning of Discipleship

Pastor C.A. Cranfill   -  

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

 

Lao-Tzu is famously quoted as saying that, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” While he was not a disciple of Christ, his observation does provide us with some insight into the journey of discipleship. Like any other journey, discipleship begins with a single step. “Follow Me,” was the invitation that preceded Peter’s lifelong journey of discipleship. His began with the first step out of his small fishing boat. How will yours begin?

We have defined discipleship as someone who is continually learning to be changed by Jesus, be with Jesus, and be on mission with Jesus. In our definition, discipleship begins with being changed by Jesus. You are changed by Jesus Christ and you will continue to be changed by Him the rest of your life. But how does this journey of transformation begin? It begins with a single step, making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. That’s it. Your first step on the Discipleship Pathway is to believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, you may ask why should you believe? Why do you need a Lord or Savior in the first place? The answer is simple: sin. Your sin has separated you from God. (Sin is wickedness, evil, an immoral act, a trespass against divine law.) Everyone has sinned and everyone has missed the mark of perfection. Unfortunately, this mark of perfection, that everyone fails to attain, is God’s standard of acceptance. God cannot accept anything less than this perfection because He is a morally righteous Judge. However, God is also merciful and loving. Therefore, He chose to provide us with an opportunity for forgiveness. This is found in the Substitutionary Sacrifice of Jesus. I know, I know. It sounds complicated. But it is actually very simple. It means that Jesus took your place. He suffered your punishment so that you may experience His reward. The catch? You have to accept His sacrifice and believe on His name. See? I told you it was simple. Almost as simple as taking a first step. 

Additional Scripture to Reference.

  1. Sin – Romans 3:10-11, Romans 3:23, 1st John 1:8
  2. Standard – Matthew 5:48, 1st Peter 1:15-16
  3. Son – 1st John 4:10, John 3:16, 1st John 3:5
  4. Substitution – Galatians 3:13, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 2:17, Romans 3:25, 1st John 2:2
  5. Salvation – Hebrews 9:28, Ephesians 1:13, 1st Thessalonians 5:9