44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations,[a] beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
In today’s culture, there seems to be a myriad of beliefs and religions lumped into the title of “Christian.” Its original intent of reflecting a Christ follower has been diluted into a politically correct label for everyone to use.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, however, is an entirely different matter. For disciples earnestly desire to live their lives as fully devoted followers of the Son of God. They are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. They pray without ceasing. Their minds are opened to understand Scripture. And, they realize the importance of forgiveness, which only comes through repentance. To be a disciple means they no longer follow their sinful nature, but instead follow the Spirit, just as Jesus did, so that they are always, always, always, glorifying the Father.
8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.[c] So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
In order for a “Christian” to become a fully devoted follower of Christ, who believes Jesus is the only way to the Father, and who is submitted to following His teachings, he/she MUST:
- Stop diluting sin by dismissing it as “struggles”
- Stop squelching the Holy Spirit because we’re afraid of His power
- Stop replacing the Word of God with mans interpretation (there are some great bible studies, sermon series and self-help books on the market, but they should NEVER replace the Word of God).
Now, before we all start jumping on our preverbal soapboxes and begin pointing our fingers at those people, we must first get rid of the log in our own eye.
5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
- Praising God
- Submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit
- Praying without ceasing; seeking to know and obey His will for our lives
- Devoting our time and energy to studying Scripture, asking the Lord to open our minds in order that we may understand and apply His truth to our lives
- Asking the Lord “what do I need to be forgiven for?” & confessing, repenting and fleeing from our sin.
- Sharing the good news with others, inviting them to follow us, as we follow Jesus.
Only then will we, His Church, be able to love God, love others and go make more disciples by proclaiming Christ’s message to all the nations:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.