The Cost of Discipleship

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he (Jesus) said to them,
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus Christ, as recorded in Mark 8:34-38 (ESV) 

Radical Discipleship – D.L. Moody

After he became a Christian, Dwight L. Moody was fully committed to the task of evangelism and devoted his life to preaching the Gospel.  The testimony of his friends was that Moody “reduced the population of hell by one million souls.”  What a legacy and what an example of being fully devoted to Christ and his kingdom.  The example of Moody makes me wonder what my friends will say about my life of discipleship.  Is it equally apparent that I am sold out for Christ and his Kingdom?

A Man of One Thing

These words are from J.C. Ryle:

“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed-up in one thing — and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives — or whether he dies; whether he has health — or whether he has sickness; whether he is rich — or whether he is poor; whether he pleases man — or whether he gives offence; whether he is thought wise — or whether he is thought foolish; whether he gets blame — or whether he gets praise; whether he gets honor, or whether he gets shame — for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing — and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory.

If he is consumed in the very burning — he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn, and if consumed in burning — he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money — he will cry, and sigh, and pray. Yes, if he is only a pauper, on a perpetual bed of sickness — he will make the wheels of sin around him drive heavily, by continually interceding against it. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua — then he will do the prayer-work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. (Exod. 17:9-13.) If he is cut off from working himself — he will give the Lord no rest until help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of “zeal” in religion.”

Radical Discipleship – Dirk Willemsz

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”  (Romans 12:14, ESV)

One of the finest historical examples of a commitment to radical discipleship is the story of Dirk Willemsz.  Dirk was a sixteenth-century Anabaptist who lived in Holland.  According to the account in the Martyr’s Mirror, Dirk was imprisoned for his faith.  He managed to escape, although he was pursued by a guard.  As he fled, he came to a river that was covered with a thin layer of ice.  Dirk made it across safely, but the guard fell through and would have soon drowned.  Astonishingly, Dirk turned back and rescued his pursuer.  The guard wanted to spare him for his act of love, but the burgomaster ordered that Dirk be returned to prison.  In May of 1569 Dirk Willemsz was burned at the stake.
This engraving was created by Jan Luiken and was published in the Martyr’s Mirror.  

Dirk

Source: http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/dirk_willemsz_d._1569