Tag Archives: disciples

Christians And The American Dream: A Radical Choice

In his book, Radical, David Platt asks if the American dream is compatible with Christian discipleship. Can we be faithful to Jesus and pursue success by this world’s standards?

What is the American dream? Does it mean that we do whatever we must in order to get bigger houses and bank accounts, fancier cars and clothes, richer meals and vacations? If so, then how does Jesus and his agenda fit into such a life?

Jesus challenges his followers to make radical sacrifices, even to the point of risking one’s life in this age. He urges us to do whatever it takes in order to join him in his kingdom agenda.

The Lord’s agenda is clear and concise: “Go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).”

To be a disciple of Jesus we must make disciples for Jesus.

According to Jesus, the first step in making disciples is to go. We reach out to others with the good news about Jesus. We don’t just sit and wait for them to come to us.

Jesus tells us to make disciples of “all the nations.” Our outreach for making disciples is not limited by distance, race, nationality, politics, gender, or any of the other lines drawn by people to define and divide. We should go across the street and around the world to make disciples.

Jesus says that making disciples includes two things: baptizing and teaching.

Our first goal in reaching out is to bring people to a point of faith in Christ so that they will receive Christian baptism. We tell others about Jesus so that they will be saved and then profess their saving faith publicly through believer’s baptism.

Once people become disciples, we also help them be disciples.

Making disciples includes teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands. This is a life-long journey, the same journey that we are experiencing as disciples of Jesus.

So, we want to see lost people saved and saved people stronger.

Making disciples takes time, and so does the American dream. In his book, David Platt questions whether it is possible to succeed at both pursuits. Jesus puts it this way, “Nobody is able to serve two masters, for he will hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).”

Platt also points out the terrible loss that occurs when Jesus’ followers opt for the American dream and do not make disciples. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be lost, suffering in hell forever.

So the cost of not making disciples is high, too high. On the other hand, the reward for making disciples is beyond measure. All the houses, money, clothes, food and vacations in this life will be forgotten, but those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

Treasure on earth can be destroyed and stolen. Treasure in heaven will never be destroyed or stolen. And as Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (Matthew 6:21).”

May the Lord give us hearts that store up treasure in heaven,
Brother Richard

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Would You Wash Judas’ Feet?

Jesus spent time with his disciples just before his crucifixion.  John chapter 13 begins with the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.  Just imagine how flabbergasted they were to see their Master on his knees with a towel and a bowl of water performing such a menial task!  Jesus had to argue with Peter before the proud fisherman would allow it.

After washing their feet Jesus returned to his place of honor at the table and asked his disciples if they understood what he had just done.  They learned three things which still apply to the followers of Jesus today.  First, if the Son of God is willing to perform such a humble task, then all who follow him should be willing to accept assignments that are less than glamorous.

Second, Jesus washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples, including Judas.  Judas had been treated like a close friend, walking side by side with Jesus and his other disciples for almost three years.  Nevertheless, he was about to shamefully betray Jesus, handing him over to his enemies for shocking and cruel treatment.  And yet Jesus washed Judas’ feet, too.  In following Jesus we will find ourselves sometimes serving those who are less than deserving.

Finally, Jesus’ footwashing was more than just a physical act of kindness.  Washing feet symbolized the cleansing of souls.  In fact, Jesus pictured his entire ministry with that one act of service.  When he took off his outer garment and left the table it pictured him setting aside his glory in heaven and stepping into human history at Bethlehem.  When he washed the feet of his disciples it pictured his humility on the cross outside Jerusalem, sacrificing himself to cleanse the souls of sinners.  And when Jesus stood up and assumed again his place of honor at the table, it symbolized his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the throne in heaven.

In the same way that Jesus’ footwashing was filled with great symbolic meaning, our service is filled with great spiritual purpose.  We do not serve simply to make this world a better place, although our actions will often ease suffering and increase joy.  But much more than that, we are serving in a cosmic rescue mission led by an Eternal Savior who is pulling souls out of the vast kingdom of darkness and opening a way for them to have a permanent place in the everlasting kingdom of Light.

May we always represent our Lord Jesus Christ well through our humble service,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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