Do you have…
A CALL TO FAITH AND OBEDIENCE
If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be. – Joh_12:26
From the beginning Christ’s disciples did not look upon Him as a Rabbi’s disciples did, as being simply a teacher, but recognised Him as the Messias, the Son of God, the King of Israel. So that they were called upon by His commands to accept His teaching in a very special way, not merely as Rittel or Gamaliel asked their disciples to accept theirs. Do you do that? Do you take Him as your illumination about all matters of theoretical truth and of practical wisdom? Is His declaration of God your theology? Is His declaration of His own Person your creed? Do you think about His Cross as He did when He elected to be remembered in all the world by the broken body and the shed blood, which were the symbols of His reconciling death? Is His teaching, that the Son of Man comes to give His life a ransom for many, the ground of your hope? Do you follow Him in your belief, and following Him in your belief, do you accept Him as the Saviour of your soul, by His death and passion? That is the first step, to follow Him, to trust Him wholly for what He is, the Incarnate Son of God, the Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and therefore for yours and for mine. This is a call to faith.
It is also a call to obedience. “Follow Me! ” certainly means, ” Do as I bid you “; but that is harsh. Sedulously plant your little feet in His firm footsteps; where you see His track going across the bog, be not afraid to walk after Him, though it may seem to lead you into the deepest and the blackest of it. Follow Him, and you will be right; follow Him, and you will be blessed. Do as Christ did, or as according to the best of your judgment it seems to you that Christ would have done if He had been in your circumstances; and you will not go far wrong. “The Imitation of Christ,” which the old anonymous monk wrote his book about, is the sum of all practical Christianity. “Follow Me!” makes discipleship to be something better than intellectual acceptance of His teaching, something more than even reliance for my salvation upon His work. It makes discipleship to be, springing out of these two, the acceptance of His teaching and the consequent reliance, by faith, upon His word – to be a practical reproduction of His character and conduct in mine.
It is a call to communion. If a man follows Christ he will walk close behind Him, and near enough to Him to hear Him speak, to be “guided by His eye.” He will be separated from other people and from other things. In these four things, then – Faith, Obedience, Imitation, Communion – lies the essence of discipleship. No man is a Christian who has not in some measure all four. Have you got them?