Eternal Life Series, Lesson 6
LEAVING ALL TO FOLLOW THE LORD
6th GUARANTEE: LEAVING EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW THE LORD
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Here is one of The Lord’s guarantees of eternal life – that all who are willing to leave everything including his own household in order to follow The Lord Yeshua and for the sake of God’s kingdom will receive not only many times more but most importantly eternal life.
Why does The Lord Yeshua give much emphasis on the Kingdom of God in such that He guaranteed eternal life to those who follow Him for its sake? Because God’s kingdom is the manifestation of His love unto man and the reason why He gave His only begotten Son as our Savior (John 3:14-18).
THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW CHRIST
How does The Christ recognize His followers?
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The Lord Yeshua counts the people who follow Him and abide in His Word as His disciples. They are free men freed by The Truth, The Christ Yeshua Himself (John 14:6). To whom alone do disciples swear their commitment?
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The disciples of Christ, free men as they are, commit themselves to the work of The Lord of plowing or planting the seed of faith for people’s salvation. And it is their commitment to put their hands to the plow that make them fit or deserving for God’s kingdom. How were they portrayed by the prophecies of old?
(Isaiah 61:5-7 New International Version)
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
The Lord’s disciples include people of all races and from all walks of life. They were referred to in the prophecy of Isaiah as the strangers and foreigners, commonly mentioned as Gentiles or non-Jews, who will be shepherds and field workers in the same manner described by Christ. On the other hand, they were depicted as priests and ministers of The Lord God who will receive ‘double portion’ or bountiful blessings and inheritance from God.
THE DISCIPLES MINDSET
The disciples differ with most other people in their outlook towards others. The Lord’s disciples are reborn of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to possess the same mindset of Christ. How so? What is the mindset of The Christ Yeshua?
18 “Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the Lord’s servant?
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”
The prophecy mentioned of a perfect servant of God who is depicted as blind and deaf although He can see and His ears are open. We know that this perfect servant is none other than Christ who was prophesied to not care about what He sees and hears concerning other people’s deeds. Then there is also the reference about the other blind servant who is also blind and deaf as “He who is perfect.” This refers to the disciple of Christ who possesses the same mindset of their Master and Lord.
Why won’t Christ mind what He observe and hear though He can see and His ears can hear? Simply because HE REFUSES TO BE JUDGMENTAL!
You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
This is the mindset and personality of The Lord Yeshua-Christos. Anyone who is made a disciple possesses His non-judgmental mindset separating him from others who claim to believe in Christ and yet are still bound by the judgmental commandments of old – a fact that is very visible in many Christian churches.
THE LORD’S CONTINUING TASK OF MAKING DISCIPLES
What is a continuing task from Christ to those who truly know and follow Him? The Lord, right before He ascended to heaven, commissioned them to do this work:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The Lord tasked His disciples to make more disciples for these are the people who will be saved. Who are disciples of Christ? What is the process of making disciples? They have to be baptized or immersed in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit. How is this baptism or immersion in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit done? By teaching or immersing people’s minds with the truth about them based on the teachings of The Lord Yeshua. This is such an important task that The Lord coupled this with a promise that He will be with them to the end of the age.
DISCIPLES’ PRIMARY DUTIES
For what divine reason does The Lord commissioned His disciples to make more disciples? What are the primary duties of His disciples?
TO WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The true disciples or followers of The Christ are the ones whom He recognizes as the true worshipers. Being such, they are the ones sought by God to render Him true worship. This is the form of worship that is not based on any rites or rituals, but one that is done in spirit and truth. As the Holy Spirit is the words of Christ (John 6:63), to be in spirit means being enlightened with His words and knowing everything that He shared with His disciples (John 15:15 / 1 John 2:20). And as the Lord Yeshua himself is the Truth (John 14:6), to be in truth means being with Him (Matthew 18:20) and receiving His glory (John 17:22). When one is in spirit and truth - or enlightened and given the glory, then he is included in the Sacred Union or Oneness with God and His Son:
21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
When one is made part of the Sacred Union of God and His Son, being enlightened and given the glory, then He can render a true worship that is meaningful to God.
TO BE GOD’S WITNESSES
10 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
Another primary duty of Christ's disciples, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, is to be God’s witnesses. Their witness or testimony will be based on their knowledge and understanding about Him being the only GOD and no one else! But why is there a need to witness and teach others about the true God?
25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
There is truly a need to introduce the true God since the world does not know who God is, and only the ones given to Christ know who God is as they were taught by Christ Himself. To whom else are the disciples bound to witness or testify about?
TO CONFESS OR PREACH ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
(Matthew 10:27, 32-33)
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops…
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
The Lord’s disciples are bound to share the truth about God and His Son, The Lord Yeshua-Christos as they possess the understanding about them. How important is this task?
(John 17:1, 3)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You... 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
It is indeed a priority task of Christ’s disciples to share the truth that The Father is the only true God and that The Lord Yeshua was sent to be The Christ or Savior, but not God. This truth leads to eternal life, and therefore must be shared with all people. This truth will also free people from the bondage of false understanding about God and Christ that disconnects people from salvation.
TO PREACH THE GOSPEL AND COUNTER THE FALSE PROPHETS
(Matthew 24:11, 14)
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many… 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
It is also a high priority work of Christ's disciples to preach His gospel or message in all the world, and to counter the false teachings of the false prophets for the end to come.
TO SAVE THE REMNANTS OF ISRAEL
5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
This instruction of The Lord Yeshua to His twelve apostles only reflects His mission to the Jewish people first, and to the Gentiles as well as prophesied:
6 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
(Read also 11:11 / 10:20-23 / Jeremiah 23:8).
Out of all the Jews who lived since the time of The Christ, how many will be converted to The Lord Yeshua and will believe in Him to be The Messiah?
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed
The number of the remnants of Israel who will be sealed prior to judgment day is 144,000. Only God and The Savior Himself knows how many of the 144,000 Jewish people that The Christ committed to save were already converted to Him since He began His earthly ministry and no one else.
This is one of The Christ's high priority work that His true disciples are bound to fulfill and it is directly related with His return on the day of judgment. How so? When this number will be completed then The Lord will allow the angels to perform the work of harvesting (Revelation 7:3).
These are the primary duties and responsibilities of the disciples of The Christ, and for this reason He tasks all of His disciples to recruit more disciples who will perform these duties for God’s greater honor and glory.
THE SIGNS OF THE LORD'S DISCIPLES
All Christ-professing churches claim that they are also disciples of The Lord who perform the works of Christ in the world. How can the real disciples of Christ be distinguished from those who are mere claimants?
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Lord Yeshua has further confirmed His disciples, His followers and subordinate royals upon whom He also confer God's Kingdom or His reign with the Authority of God. How should we understand the signs given by The King and Lord Yeshua-Christos that will follow His true believers or disciples? Let us enumerate these signs as follows:
In my name they will cast out demons - this is not only the power to exorcise anyone possessed by demonic spirits, but also healing those who are fighting their inner demons through spiritual counseling and blessings.
They will speak with new tongues - The Lord is not only referring to a new language but most importantly, His spiritual language of love, peace and mercy. The disciples' tongues or manner of speaking will be flavored with the spiritual salt (Mat. 5:13) that could preserve the life of those who will also believe and follow The Christ.
They will take up serpents - The Lord points to the bearer of falsehood and hypocrisy as 'serpents and brood of vipers' like the scribes, Pharisees and people of hypocrisy (Mat. 23:33). They are the equivalent to the hypocrite preachers and false prophets in our times who (knowingly or unknowingly) have twisted His message and replaced His truth with lies by the aid of the devil, the biggest serpent of all (Jn. 8:40 / Rev. 20:2). The Lord's disciples who are given His truth (Jn. 15:15 / 1 Jn. 2:20) will always defeat the erroneous teachings of false teachers in order to effectuate the salvation of The Lord unto the people.
If they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them - the drink referred here by The Lord is not a literal drink but a poisonous spiritual drink. How so? In the same manner that The Lord has likened His words to that of a spiritual drink - the living water that gives everlasting life (Jn. 4:10-15). The deadly spiritual drink that could harm others but not His disciples could include evil spells, charms, ill-wishes of people and even witchcraft (Deut. 18:10-11), and these were prevalent since olden times and will continue until the end days.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover - true disciples can call on the Holy Spirit or Power of Christ's words (Jn. 6:63) to heal one who is sick, and this they will ask in the name of the beloved Son of God, The Lord Yeshua of Nazareth The Christ.
These are signs of the true disciples of The Lord Yeshua-Christos showing how The Lord has shared with them His rule or dominion with God's Authority and Government, unbeknownst to many as the Kingdom of God.
How can the disciples perform all these WONDROUS WORKS of The Lord Yeshua-Christos? What will they use in the works expected of them?
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Anyone can only do the works of Christ through faith in God. Faith, as taught by Christ is believing that he already receives whatever he asks without any shadow of doubt. It is faith and the power of Christ’s words as ‘spirit and life’ (John 6:63) that the disciples use in performing the works of Christ.
What is another distinguishing mark of The Christ’s true disciples based on His commands?
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Christ Yeshua commands His disciples to love one another, making an example of His love unto them. How significant is this commandment of The Christ to His followers? By this act of loving one another all others will know that they truly His disciples.
Apostle Peter, one of the first disciples, echoed the same spirit and encouraged all the disciples to have fervent love for one another for by doing so a multitude of sins will be forgiven. He also instructed the disciples to minister or serve each other with the gift and grace that they received from God (1 Peter 4:8-10).
DISCIPLES IMPORTANCE TO THE CHRIST
What else is one great blessing of being a disciple of The Christ? How important are they to The Lord?
(1 John 2:20)
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
Disciples are a people who are anointed by The Holy One or The Christ Yeshua. That they know ALL THINGS about their Teacher and Lord - and His message and work of salvation, is not an assumption but rather a proof of their being anointed. How so? What did Apostle John refer as the anointing from the Holy One?
15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
The anointing from the Holy One refers to their ELECTION AND BEING CHOSEN by Christ Himself. And because they were chosen, they were taught with ALL THE THINGS that Christ heard from His Father. Once they are taught, how important have they become unto Christ? The Lord Yeshua-Christos calls them His friends. And being friends, they are all the more entrusted with His work and to be fruitful, ensuring that their fruits remain. What is The Lord’s assurance to His disciples who become fruitful in His work? Christ promised “that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” And it is not only God who will grant anything that they request but The Christ as well (John 14:13-14).
THE MISFORTUNE OF THOSE WHO DON’T FOLLOW CHRIST
How about the people who already receive the truth of Christ, those who believe in His word but stopped themselves from doing His work, how does The Lord Jesus consider them?
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
While many verses in the New Testament speak how those who believe in The Son of God will be saved, in fact believing in Him is already doing the work of God (John 6:28-29), however, the true mark or testament of one who sincerely believes in The Christ Yeshua is reflected on whether he follows Him or not. It is simply not enough for one to declare belief or faith in The Lord to receive the guaranteed Eternal Life – his belief or faith should propel him to follow The Lord Yeshua and do His works for Him based on his capacity and the gifts that he received. In fact, not taking one’s cross to follow after Christ to do His work makes him unworthy to The Lord and thus he will lose his chance of eternal life as stated in the verse above.
The apostles were good examples of disciples who have PRIORITIZED the work of The Lord, even leaving their homes in order to follow Him. Were they, nor anyone else who does the same, at a loss for what they have done? Of course, not! On the contrary, Christ gave them an assurance that no one who VALUES His work more than his own family and welfare “who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life”.
The blessing promised by The Lord is two-fold: 1) manifold blessings in this life, and 2) eternal life in the age to come. Is this promise of blessing in this life not tied up with Christ’s promise that He will grant anything that they ask in His name? Is this not the DOUBLE PORTION that the Prophet Isaiah prophesied about The Lord’s disciples? How about the promised ETERNAL LIFE, how are they going to receive and enjoy this promise?
. .. Father Thy Will be done. ..