[Preached at Community Bible Chapel.  Hico, Texas-4/2001]

In the New Testament days many teachers or rabbis traveled about the country teaching the people and there was a group of learners traveling with them as students to learn. These were called disciples. It could be called a traveling or a roaming Bible School.

Wealthy people financed their trips. Wealthy ladies financed the Lord's trips.

Luke 8:1-3 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (money-possessions)

Definition: "Disciple"  "a learner" "to learn". Therefore, it is one who follows the teaching of another.

The followers of John the Baptist
Matt 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

 The followers of the Pharisees.
Matt 22:15-16 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

 The followers of Moses.
The Jews are questioning the blind man Jesus made to see by putting clay on his eyes. John 9:28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.

The followers of Jesus.
Matt 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Luke 22:11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

They were imitators of their teachers.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

The apostle Paul recruiting followers.
1 Cor 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Phil 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Discipleship is a test of one's sincerity.
When the Lord wanted to thin out the multitude of His followers, He taught the cost of being His disciple. The cost is tremendous.

Luke 14:25-27 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Discipleship is a test of one's spirituality.
The usual categories of professed believers are one of these three personalities.
They are carnal- living after the flesh.
They are worldly- living as the unsaved world does.
They are spiritual- living in obedience to the Bible.

Discipleship costs.
A disciple lives for the next world and not after this one. A disciple had rather be holy, than rich. It is a test of one's service. This test brings out the motive or the reason, that this is the real intent for service to the Lord.

There is a call to Salvation. An Invitation.
There is a call to Discipleship. A Solicitation.
There is a call to the Ministry. A Vocation.

The Call to Discipleship is to  follow Christ's teachings Faithfully.

The Disciple is to remain in Christ's Words.
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

True Disciples KEEP His Words.
John 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

The Call is to become sincere soul winners.  That is to give good testimonies.
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

We do not make men to become followers of Christ by tactics such as these.

By being competitive in our intellectualism.
1 Cor 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

By comparing Advantages of Religion.
Tangible-- that is actual or material assets, is not Christianity.
Conformation to Social Equalities.
Race equality and material equality is not the issue, neither is any other social issue.

The Call is to Count the Cost and count it accurately. 
Luke 14:28-32 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

We hear of many ministers, that is disciples or followers of Christ getting "burned out" and leaving the ministry.  These men did not accurately count the cost.   They started something they could not finish.   They started a race they could not run.   They were unable to finish the course.

Some do not ever begin to follow the Lord.
They Half Heard Him
. Jesus spoke many times of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood which brings eternal life and still these disciples followed Him.  On THIS occasion Jesus was speaking thus again, and many of His disciples had this to say.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

John 6:66-68 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

There was not much hope of a good pay from the Master.
Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Many were only Half-Hearted and wanted only Part Time.
Luke 9:59-62 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The Call is to take up the Cross Willingly.
Matt 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

The Call is to more than "willingly" taking up the cross. We are to DENY ourselves and take up the cross.

Matt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

The Call is more than "occasionally" denying ourselves and taking up the cross.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Death to self and selfish ambitions is "taking up the cross". Disciples are to deny self for Christ, and endure trials (things we are uncertain of--testing) for Christ and endure persecutions for Christ.

The Call is to forsake possessions completely and place them at the Saviors disposal.  We are to hold on to our goods lightly; always ready to let go if need be.

Some things that challenge, or threaten- intimidate and discourage the call to discipleship.

We are hindered by the priority of the people we love. Christ demands first place.

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren,

We are hindered by the pleasures of the flesh.
James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

We are hindered by the persistence of Satan.  He never lets up.
1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The Devil tried to get Peter right out from under Christ's Nose.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

The cost to be a disciple of Christ is high but the pay is OUT OF THIS WORLD.