Thus far, we see a TRUE Christian as one willing to forsake all treasure and family, and to do so with no expectation of gratitude for such obedience. All this is to be done with unyielding LOVE ---for God, self, and others. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!
Setting the example of love, our Lord and Saviour commanded in John 15:12: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." Then, Christ Jesus declared the example for the Children of God to follow (that He Himself would do for them/us on the cross at Calvary). In the next verse, John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Indeed, to follow our Lord's example, TRUE disciples of Jesus must possess that commanded-level of love, being willing to lay down our lives because of such love! Of course, to be willing to die for a friend, to actually have that profound level of love, is indeed another characteristic that the world would say "proves" that Jesus established a so-called "cult".
Not only did our Lord so command, but He even gave an incentive to "lay down one's life"! In Matthew 10:39, Jesus declared: "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (This is similarly said in Matthew 16:25 and Luke 9:24.) In Luke 17:33, Jesus said, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Also, John 12:25: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Indeed, in Revelation 20:4-6, the Scripture reveals that "the souls of them... beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God" are guaranteed sainthood to reign with Jesus for 1,000 years BEFORE the final day of Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15. Not only that, but the "saints" will not even face that later Judgment ---for the "second death hath no power" over such "saints". (Revelation 20:6.) Alleluia! Truly, then, Scripture provides the incentive for the TRUE disciples of Christ Jesus to be willing to "lose their life that they may preserve it". Alleluia! Thus, by such incentive to be willing to die for Jesus or friends, all out of unyielding love, these commands of Jesus clearly established yet another principle that the world would say also "proves" that Jesus set up a so-called "cult" of CHRIST.
On top of that ultimate incentive (for surely nothing in human comprehension can exceed the joy to reign with our Lord and Saviour), Jesus did add still more incentive (in human terms) for the TRUE Children of God who do forsake all for Him. Matthew 19:27-29: "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration ((re-birth, spiritual that is)) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. ((See Revelation 21:10-14.)) And every one that hath forsaken houses, OR brethren, OR sisters, OR father, OR mother, OR wife, OR children, OR lands, for my name's sake, shall RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD, and shall inherit everlasting life." This shows us that forsaking any single one listed item will result in the hundredfold "reward" of all the items. We see this promise repeated in the same account in Mark 10:28-30. As well, in Luke's account, the timing of the "reward" is even more spelled out, in Luke 18:29-30: "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, OR parents, OR brethren, OR wife, OR children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more IN THIS PRESENT TIME, and in the world to come life everlasting." Indeed, the "reward" may also occur IN THIS PRESENT TIME! But again, such an incentive for having forsaken all is what the world would call "madness". The world would see this as more "proof" that our Lord Jesus established a so-called "cult".
Thus, beyond dispute, we see that Jesus required and defined a TRUE Christian disciple as one who is willing to forsake all treasure, family, and even one's very life in this world! As well, He declared that the TRUE Christian disciple is to do so with no expectation of gratitude for such obedience but, rather, to see it as simply obeying that which was commanded. All this is to be done with unyielding LOVE ---for God, self, and others. The world would call this "madness". The children of the world and all its darkness would, beyond measure, declare that, indeed, our Lord and Saviour set up a so-called "cult". ...And such would, therefore, say that any of His TRUE followers are merely "members" of the so-called "cult" of CHRIST.
© June 4, 1995, The Standard Bearer
P.O. Box 765, O.O.B., ME 04064