Foundations: The Cost of Discipleship (Part 2)
There is another important implication from the cost of discipleship. Discipleship is not only essential for leading people to surrender their plans to follow Jesus wherever he desires to send them, it is also essential for “making” disciples. Think about it, how can you make a disciple if you are not first a disciple yourself?
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There is something strategic that is presupposed in this text: the committed discipleship of the disciple-makers themselves. In other words, in order to make disciples, you must first be a disciple. You can’t teach someone to obey something that you don’t first obey yourself. One then might ask, “What then does it mean to be a disciple? The answer Luke gives is, “So, therefore, any one of who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (14:33). Here is the connection between the Great Commission and the “Cost of Discipleship.” Costly discipleship is necessary so that you can make disciples.
This truth is very simple, but it has many implications for Redemption Hill Church. Our mission statement says that we “exist to glorify God by living out his mission as a community transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Some churches simplify evangelism to the point where they reduce the gospel to a means of getting people a ticket into heaven. In doing so, they neglect teaching them about the necessity for a transformed life. This is dangerous first of all because it falls short teaching the full gospel (see below on the cost of discipleship), but also because it does not prepare them well to make disciples. At Redemption Hill Church, we want every member to be living out God’s mission. Therefore, it is necessary that they are actually disciples, transformed by the gospel.
There is another huge implication for the committed discipleship of disciple-makers. Why would the world want what we have to offer (salvation, a transformed life, the gospel) if they see no moral difference in our lives? The problem today is that, in many cases, there is no moral difference between Christians and non-Christians. But the message of the gospel is, “Jesus has changed my life!” We must not simply communicate the gospel, we must practice and exemplify what we preach and teach.
Therefore, if Redemption Hill Church is going to be effective in living out the mission of God, first of all, people must understand what it means to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and secondly, they must understand the connection between being a disciple and making disciples. They go hand in hand. “Living out God’s mission” cannot take place apart from being “transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”