John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, but there is a baptism that goes deeper than the baptism of John. The baptism that Jesus came with is the death of the “old man” – the old mind that was sinful – and the putting on of a new mind – the mind of Christ, which is to deny oneself, take up one’s cross, and follow Him. Baptism is a testimony of a covenant between God and the individual – that covenant is also known as the covenant of a disciple. Baptism is an outward sign of one’s inward covenant of discipleship and everything that entails.

Read more about baptism and discipleship here.

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with Him.’” John 14:23. There is no other lasting glory besides God’s Word. The Father and the Son enter our hearts together with the Word, if we love it and keep it. All those in whom the Father and the Son have made their home become one and will rule with them. Nothing greater or more glorious than God’s Word could have been delivered to the disciples, and neither can anything greater or more glorious be delivered to us.

It was Jesus’ desire to deliver this glory to as many as possible by means of His disciples when He said, “All authority has been given to Me on heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciple of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.

There isn’t a single preacher of God’s Word on earth who has received any other commission from God than this: to observe everything Jesus has commanded in their own lives, and to teach those who have become disciples to observe it as well.

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The “hatred” for family members, and for one’s own life, is not intended as a hatred for the individuals. It means that one who is a disciple is not led by human advice, reasoning, opinions, and influence. They will only by led in the footsteps of their Master. If that means going against their nearest and dearest, and especially against their own will and opinions, then they will gladly do that for the sake of following where their Master leads them. This can bring reproach and conflict and separation from those who do not have the same mind, but liberated from all consideration of themselves and other people, they become one with Christ. However, this very thing also leads to fellowship, encouragement, and edification between the disciple and all others who have the same goal!

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A disciple is born again, with a new mind and a new heart. The things in the world that used to hold our attention and take up our time lose their value and meaning. With our new heart and mind, we get a sense for the things of God, and our eyes are open to the things that have true value. It’s these “enlightened eyes of the heart” (Ephesians 1:18) that spur us on and give us a vision for the goal we are striving for. It is those who love the truth and who want to be set free from sin who become born-again. They receive power to hate their own life and become Jesus’ disciples.

Read more about being born again here.

Every day of His life, Jesus took up His “cross.” Not the cross on Calvary. In this verse, He speaks about the cross before He was ever crucified. This “cross” was the place where the lusts in His flesh were denied, and met their death. In practical terms, this meant that He said “No!” to the demands of His human nature – envy, wrath, selfishness, malice, etc. By the strength given to Him by God, He fought against them and never gave in until He had victory over them. The goal of the disciple being to follow the Master, that would mean that we are able to do the same. Otherwise we could not be disciples.

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Christianity should be much more than placing one’s faith entirely in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It goes much further than that. The Apostle Paul’s exhortation is to “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12. Christianity should be an active life that is practiced every waking moment, wherein sin is destroyed, so that the life of Jesus can be made manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:10-11) From the moment we accept Jesus into our hearts we should be seeking out how to serve Him and how to keep His commandments so that this work can take place in us. That is how a disciple lives. The true answer is that there is no difference at all between a true Christian and a disciple. However, not all those who profess to be Christians actually live the life of a disciple.

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