Discipleship, The Road To Glory
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
I STARTED DRIVING BEFORE GLOBAL Positioning System (GPS) technology back in the days of old roadmaps when a PhD was almost needed just to fold the map back into the original, small, rectangular shape. GPS has been a wonderful advancement in helping us find our destination. All global positioning systems start at your current location, and then they ask the next question, “What is your destination?” Thankfully, the Word of God tells us our destination. As Paul states in Romans 8, we have been predestined to be formed into the image of His Son. That journey, that process, is true biblical discipleship.
There is a difference between attendance and discipleship. Jesus’ explanation for a disciple was someone who would deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Jesus. Look closely at His instructions:
* Deny yourself you do not own yourself anymore.
* Pick up your cross you must die daily.
* Follow me on the journey of formation or to glorification.
Thankfully, many of our churches have learned to travail and see people experience the new birth that begins this journey. Many years ago, I heard J. T. Pugh speak about the second travail, and we all must bear the burden of Paul the apostle, as he wrote to the church in Galatia, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). We must strive just as hard to see people grow and mature as we do to see them born. Discipleship is the path from new birth to spiritual maturity. How does that process take place? What vehicle moves us from our current location to His destination for us?
The first question is: How were we begotten? or what caused our new birth? In nature, a seed of life is deposited, conception takes place, and the journey of life begins. It is no different in the spiritual life. The seed of the Word, or the gospel, finds a heart, a new birth happens, and our spiritual journey begins. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (Peter 1:23).
One of the best analogies from the Old Testament is Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Paul states that the Corinthians were all baptized in the cloud and in the sea, which is a type of the new birth, the cloud representing the Holy Ghost baptism, and the Red Sea pointing to water baptism. The cloud overshadowed them at Succoth and began to guide them; it led them to the Red Sea, and their journey began. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH?
In John chapter 14, Jesus speaks of the Comforter that will come, or the Holy Ghost, and calls it “the Spirit of truth.” In John 17:17-19 the Word says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes, I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
Jesus called the Comforter (the Holy Ghost) “the Spirit of truth.” He also declared His Word was truth. Without contradiction, is it possible to call the Holy Ghost the Spirit of the Word? We are begotten by the Word, and Jesus said if we continue in the Word, we would be His disciples. He also declared that when the Spirit of truth or the Spirit of the Word would come, He would guide us all to the truth.
We are also sanctified by His truth or by the Word. “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). There are three words in the New Testament that are synonymous: sanctification, godliness, and holiness. The process of sanctification is to make us holy or godly. The Scriptures tell us very plainly that our God is holy, and when we receive the Holy Ghost, whose nature is holiness, we begin the journey to becoming holy as He is. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (II Peter 1:4-7).
The term divine nature should be understood to mean that whatever God is, or His nature is, was imparted to us by the Holy Ghost. Now begins God’s addition, and number five on that list is godliness or holiness. If we allow it, the divine nature of God will guide us to true biblical holiness. From the new birth through the process of sanctification, we become godly or godlike, which is holy.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). Paul was not stating that we only have one move and that we move from glory to glory; rather, there is a series of moves, and with each move from glory to glory, there is a bigger glory or more of God’s glory revealed through us until we reach the state of glorification or, as He called it in Philippians, the prize of the high call of God.
HOW DO WE REVEAL GOD’S GLORY?
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When the Word of God is made flesh, there is a revealed glory. When we live our lives in obedience to the Word of God and we flesh out His Word, His glory is revealed through us.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3). The true destination is to arrive in a state of purity and holiness in our glorified bodies.
In summary, when we are born again, there is a deposit of God’s glory or the Spirit of the Word that begins a journey in us, which some call discipleship. Its objective is to move us from one dimension of glory to the next until people can see the true nature of God in us, which is holy. Let us deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him to our destination. Let us be His disciples.
Mark Morgan is the senior pastor of Abounding Grace in San Francisco, California, and serves the United Pentecostal Church International as the district superintendent of Western District.
The above article, ‘Discipleship, The Road To Glory’ was written by Mark Morgan. The article was excerpted from the Pentecostal Harold. September 2016.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.