Sabbath, November 17, 2018

Lesson 7 – Discipleship and Commitment

“All should learn their lesson from this, that they are individually amenable to God. When they love God with all their hearts, they will be wise unto salvation. They will do His will, and their light will ever be their glory, and be undiminished because they recognize and fear and serve their Lord. The solemn work rests upon every soul to consider that he is a servant of Jesus Christ, solemnly pledged by his baptismal vows to clothe himself with the righteousness of Christ. Will we carry out the living example of the Lord Jesus?” –This Day with God, p. 128.

Carrying our cross
1. What must all who want to follow the Lord accept as His disciples? Is the invitation limited only to the first twelve disciples?
Matthew 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.
Mark 8:34. And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
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.

“The Lord of life and glory did not consult His convenience or pleasure when He left His station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow Him, denying self, and obeying God at any cost.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 250.

“… First learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ ‘If any man will come after Me,’ Christ says, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ’s way.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 560.

2. Is it possible to become one of Jesus’ disciples without bearing our cross and following Him? Is it sufficient if this happens only from time to time?
Luke 14:27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
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.

“The soul finds rest only in cherishing meekness and lowliness of heart. The peace of Christ is never found where selfishness reigns. The soul cannot grow in grace when it is self centered and proud. Jesus assumed the position that man must take in order that the peace of Christ may abide in the heart. Those who have offered themselves to Christ to become His disciples must deny self daily, must lift up the cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They must go where His example leads the way.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 45.
The disciples’ failure

3. When Jesus was arrested and put in chains, what did the disciples do?
Mark 14:46, 50. 46And they laid their hands on him, and took him…. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled.

“Nothing is more offensive to God than a self-sufficient spirit. In the life of Peter is a sad lesson which should be a warning to all the professed followers of Christ. The Saviour had faithfully warned him of the approaching danger, but, self-confident and presumptuous, he asserted his constant fidelity and zeal, and declared himself willing to follow his Master to prison and to death. The test came for Peter when the storm burst upon the disciples by the humiliation of their Leader. Mournful are the words traced by the pen of inspiration: ‘Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.’ Matthew 26:56. And the ardent, zealous, self-confident Peter repeatedly denied his Lord. He afterward bitterly repented; but this example should admonish all to beware of self-confidence and self-righteousness.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 138.

4. What is impossible if one is not willing to follow Him and carry his cross daily? What makes the Lord’s yoke and burden light?
Matthew 10:38; 11:29, 30. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me…. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

“Every earthly interest must be made subordinate to the great work of redemption. Remember that in the lives of the followers of Christ must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God’s work of every social claim and every earthly affection, that was seen in His life. God’s claims must ever be made paramount. ‘He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.’ Christ’s life is our lesson book. His example is to inspire us to put forth untiring, self-sacrificing effort for the good of others.” –Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 52, 53.
“Many long for special talent with which to do a wonderful work, while the duties lying close at hand, the performance of which would make the life fragrant, are lost sight of…. Success depends not so much on talent as on energy and willingness. It is not the possession of splendid talents that enables us to render acceptable service, but the conscientious performance of daily duties, the contented spirit, the unaffected, sincere interest in the welfare of others. In the humblest lot true excellence may be found. The commonest tasks, wrought with loving faithfulness, are beautiful in God’s sight.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 219.

Guided by the Master
5. Who guides the disciples who listen for the Master’s voice? What will happen in the valley of the shadow of death?
John 10:3. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
1 Peter 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
Psalm 23:3, 4. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

“What pains the Great Shepherd takes to call His sheep by name and invite them to follow in His footsteps. He seeks the wandering. He flashes the light from His word to show them their peril. He speaks to them from heaven in warning and reproofs, and in invitations to return to the right path. He seeks to help the erring by His presence and to lift them when they fall. But many have followed the path of sin so long that they will not hear the voice of Jesus. They leave all that can give them rest and security….” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 503.

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, knows all His children by name, and on those who believe shall come the glory of God…. Those who behold Jesus become changed to His image, become assimilated to His nature, and the glory of God that shines in the face of Jesus is reflected in the lives of His followers. More and more the Christian is changed from glory to glory…. The more he looks on Christ, the more he loves and longs to look again, and the more light and love and glory he sees in Christ, the more his light increases….” –That I May Know Him, p. 61.

6. Besides listening to His voice, what do His disciples do? What will be inherited by those who have left their homes to follow the Master in His service?
John 10:27. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Matthew 19:29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

“… The Lord will lead His people; for He says that His sheep will follow if they hear His voice, but a stranger will they not follow. Then it becomes us to thoroughly understand the Scriptures. And we will not have to inquire whether others have the truth, for it will be seen in their characters.” –Faith and Works, p. 56.

“‘I know My sheep.’ How do souls become Christ’s sheep? By choosing to receive Him. But Christ had first chosen them. He knew every one who would respond to His drawing, and He knew every one who would be inclined to receive Him but who, through popular opposing influences, would turn from Him, John says to all, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. Those who heard the voice and did behold Jesus as the Lamb of God believed in Him and became His property from their own choice. But … their choosing of Christ was in response to His drawing. The love of Jesus was expressed to us before we loved Him….” –That I May Know Him, p. 52.

Standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion
7. One day, where will those who have followed the Lamb during their lives here on earth stand?
Revelation 14:4. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

“The Lord has a people on the earth, who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. He has His thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Such will stand with Him on Mount Zion. But they must stand on this earth, girded with the whole armor, ready to engage in the work of saving those who are ready to perish.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 298.
“We are to follow the Lamb of God whithersoever He goeth. His guidance is to be chosen, His companionship valued above the companionship of earthly friends.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 223.
“We shall follow the Lamb of God in the courts above only if we follow Him here…. We are not to follow Christ fitfully or capriciously, only when it is for our advantage. We must choose to follow Him. In daily life we must follow His example, as a flock trustfully follows its shepherd. We are to follow Him by suffering for His sake, saying at every step, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’ Job 13:15. His life practice must be our life practice. And as we thus seek to be like Him and to bring our wills into conformity to His will, we shall reveal Him.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 298.

For additional study
“How easy would be the way to heaven if there was no self-denial or cross! How worldlings would rush in the way, and hypocrites would travel in it without number! Thank God for the cross, the self-denial. The ignominy and shame our Saviour endured for us is none too humiliating for those saved by the purchase of His blood. Heaven will indeed be cheap enough.” –Our Father Cares, p. 110.

“Many would be followers of Christ if He would come down from the cross and appear to them in such a manner as they desire. If He would come with riches and pleasure, many would receive Him gladly and would be in haste to crown Him Lord of all. If He would only lay aside His humiliation and sufferings and cry, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him please himself and enjoy the world and he shall be My disciple,’ multitudes would believe on Him.” –Our High Calling, p. 288.