Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
This important truth was proclaimed by the apostle Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. It must also be proclaimed in this day. Not only is it a message for the world, but it is also a Word for the Church. We must understand that Jesus is not to be our Savior only; He must also be our Lord! It is one thing to know Him as Savior; it is quite another thing to know Him as the Lord over your life. When He is your Lord He makes the decisions and directs the course of your life. He sets the goals for you to attain. It means that you have a vision and a sense of destiny that comes out of a revelation of His Lordship.
We’ve always had Jesus preached to us as Savior. Practically everyone is aware that by faith in His shed blood salvation is available. His Lordship, though, requires us to go beyond the initial step of salvation. It is our responsibility to make Jesus Christ the Lord over our lives, our families, and our churches. Becoming a disciple under His Lordship is very, very important for us at this time.
What is a disciple? A disciple is one who forsakes his past and present life. He lays it aside to enter into a time of training, a period in which he learns to let Jesus Christ be the Lord over him totally and completely.
Remember when James and John were in their boat with their father mending their nets (Matthew 4:21-22)? Jesus walked by and said, “Follow Me.” He didn’t try to convince them to follow Him or to accept him as the Messiah. There was no sales pitch. He just said, “Follow Me.” James and John dropped what they were doing, got out of the boat, and began following Him. They not only walked away from their job, but they left a way of life. For three and one-half years they were disciples learning at the feet of the Master.
A change must take place – the forsaking of a way of life. Generally when one is saved he attends church faithfully, tithes faithfully, and enters a prayer life to some degree, but often that deep change of forsaking the old in order to become a disciple does not take place. The dedication needed to receive a revelation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is not always there. And there is nothing more important than His Lordship in this day. It is the one thing necessary. Everything else must flow out of that.
It is a simple matter to become a Christian. Peter gives the formula in Acts 2:21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. That’s easy! Just call on His name and you shall be saved.
In Acts 16:30-31, after the apostles Paul and Silas were released from prison by the earthquake, the jailer, being fearful for his life, said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy household. A very simple statement: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:9 is a verse often used when ministering to someone who is not a Christian. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Confess with your mouth; believe in your heart. That’s all it takes. Believe and confess, and you shall be saved. The Holy Spirit will give witness to your heart that God has forgiven you of your sins. You are free of them. You are justified!
However, to become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is something else entirely. Jesus said, If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26). Now lest some would have a problem with the word “hate” as it is used here, let me point out that in Old English it meant “to love less.” Jesus is saying that we are to love Him more than our family members or our own selves. The Lord gives a different criterion for discipleship. It is quite easy to become saved: just realize that you need salvation, repent, believe on Him, and He becomes your Savior. However, becoming a disciple is much more involved.
Our family members are not being short-changed by us loving the Lord more than them. Actually we will never be able to love them as we should until we have the proper relationship to the Lord. Neither will we be able to love ourselves correctly until He becomes our first love. We will never have the intensity that is needed for His life to be manifested within us until there is a corresponding hatred of a life without that. We must reject the life we have lived on a human level so that His life can take over (Philippians 3:7-8).
In Luke 14:27, Jesus said, And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. There is only one reason for taking up a cross and that is to die on it. We have all accepted the fact that Jesus had to give His life on the cross so we might obtain salvation from our sins, but it is not often realized that we must have a cross experience, too. We must also take up the cross. There has to be a death to our self-life.
Therefore Jesus said, Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. Now the Bible doesn’t say that this is absolutely necessary to become a Christian. If you want to be a disciple, though, it is necessary. It will cost you something to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It will cost you every relationship that means more to you than your relationship with Christ. How blessed is the man who says, “Every relationship – my relationship with my parents, my children, my wife, my brothers and sisters – I bring under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My relationship with Him is going to be more important than my own life. I want to be a disciple! I am going to bear the cross!”
We must take the initiative to bear the cross. The Lord is not going to force it on us. Do you want to be a disciple? Take up the cross! You must do it! The initiative is our responsibility. The Lord Jesus is looking for a people who really want to be His disciples. Therefore He says, “You take the cross! You take the initiative to die out to self. You take the initiative to come after Me. You take the initiative to be My disciple.”
In Luke 14:33, Jesus said, So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple. You must forsake all that you are and all that you have to be His disciple. All your possessions, including yourself, become His possessions.
Then in Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus said unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. The self-preservation instinct of our old nature must also die. We must totally trust Him! This is what it means to be a disciple. Losing your life for His sake, so you might find His life coming forth within you is the key to Jesus being both Lord and Christ.
Copyright © 1995 by Henry DuBose