Tag Archives: Discipleship

“Follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of His hand” by Jonathan Edwards

“In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on His hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hiding your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of His righteousness.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Letters and Personal Writings (ed. George S. Claghorn and Harry S. Stout; vol. 16; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1998), 16: 90–91. Edwards wrote this advice to Deborah Hatheway, an eighteen-year-old new convert to Christ who was without a pastor, in a letter of counsel on June 3, 1741.

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“Become a disciple first” by Martin Luther

“In holy and divine matters one must first hear rather than see, first believe rather than understand, first be grasped rather than grasp, first be captured rather than capture, first learn rather than teach, first be a disciple rather than a teacher and master of his own.

We have an ear so that we may submit to others, and eyes that we may take care of others. Therefore, whoever in the church wants to become an eye and a leader and master of others, let him become an ear and a disciple first. This first.

The one who has not been tempted, what kind of things does he know? One who has not had experience, what kind of things does he know?

One who does not from experience know what temptations are like, will transmit not things that are known, but either things that are heard or seen, or, what is more dangerous, his own thoughts.

Therefore let him who wants to be sure and wants to counsel others faithfully first have some experience himself, first carry the cross himself and lead the way by his example, and so he will be made certain that he can also be of service to others.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 11: First Lectures on the Psalms II: Psalms 76-126, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1955), 245-246. Luther is commenting on Psalm 94:8.

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“The repentance that Christ requires” by J.I. Packer

“The repentance that Christ requires of His people consists in a settled refusal to set any limits to the claims which He may make on their lives. Our Lord knew– who better?– how costly His followers would find it to maintain this refusal, and let Him have His way with them all the time, and therefore He wished them to face out and think through the implications of discipleship before committing themselves.

He did not desire to make disciples under false pretenses. He had no interest in gathering vast crowds of professed adherents who would melt away as soon as they found out what following Him actually demanded of them. In our own presentation of Christ’s gospel, therefore, we need to lay a similar stress on the cost of following Christ, and make sinners face it soberly before we urge them to responded to the message of free forgiveness.

In common honesty, we must not conceal the fact that free forgiveness, in one sense, will cost everything; or else our evangelizing becomes a sort of confidence trick. And where there is no clear knowledge, and hence no realistic recognition of the real claims tat Christ makes, there can be no repentance, and therefore no salvation. Such is the evangelistic message that we are sent to make known.”

–J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1961/2008), 81.

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“The life of the disciple is not for the timid” by Kris Lundgaard

“The life of the disciple is not for the timid. Most would rather give in to sin than go through the painful work of picking up a cross and nailing their flesh to it.”

–Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1998), 31.

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“Practice what you preach” by John Calvin

“Now the main thing in a preacher should be that he may speak, not with his mouth merely, but by his life, and procure authority for his doctrine by rectitude of life. Paul, accordingly, procures authority for his exhortation on this ground, that he had, by his life no less than by his mouth, been a leader and a master of virtues.”

–John Calvin, commenting on Philippians 4:9 in Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians, trans. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 122.

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“A hard, toilsome, and unquiet life” by John Calvin

“Each must bear his own cross. For whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evils. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put His own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, His first-born, He follows His plan with all His children.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John T. McNeill, Ed. Library of Christian Classics (Nashville: Westminster John Knox, 1960), Vol. 1, Book 3, Chapter VIII, Section 1, p. 702.

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