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DISCOVERY OF THE FACTS
1. The First Condition of Discipleship, vv. 25, 26
How was the popularity of our Lord at this time shown? Did the multitudes realize what was involved in a true following of Him? What did the sight of the multitudes and the realization of their motives lead Him to do? (John 6:26, etc.)
How did He dampen their ardor? In comparison with the love we bear to Him what must be our attitude even toward those who are dear to us by natural ties? Does discipleship of our Lord really lessen our love for those who are dear to us by natural ties? (Eph. 5:25, 28–31; 6:1–4.) What then did our Lord mean by saying that in order to be His disciple one must “hate” his own father, etc.? (Matt. 10:37; Phil. 3:7, 8; Ps. 73:25, 26; Deut. 33:9; 13:6–8.) Is the word “hate” used anywhere else in the Bible in contrast with the word “love” as setting forth an immeasurably less attachment? (Gen. 29:30, 31; Deut. 21:15; Mal. 1:2, 3; John 12:25; Ro. 9:13.) Who must be the supreme object of the Christian’s affections? Who must our Lord be if He has a right to demand this supreme love from us all? How must we regard even our own life if we are to be His disciples? In whom have we an illustration of this? (Acts 20:24.)
2. The Second Condition of Discipleship, vv. 27–32
What did our Lord say was the second condition of discipleship? What was the cross literally? What is meant by our cross? Is there always shame and suffering in the path of loyalty to God and duty? (2 Tim. 3:12; Acts 14:22.) How only can we avoid shame and suffering? If we are disloyal in any matter to Jesus Christ in order to escape shame and suffering, what are we refusing to bear? In that case what can we not be? Whose cross must each one of us bear (v. 27, R. V.)? What must we do beside bearing our cross? What is meant by “coming after” Christ? Does it pay to follow Him? (John 12:26.) Did our Lord state the same conditions of discipleship anywhere else? (Luke 9:23–25; Matt. 10:38; 16:24–26; Mark 8:34–37.) Have we any illustration in the Gospel histories of one who refused to take up his cross and follow Christ? (Mark 10:21.)
What would our Lord have every one do before undertaking to become His disciple (vv. 28–32)? Do any ever start out to be disciples of our Lord without counting the cost? What do they bring upon themselves? Did any one in the Bible beside our Lord insist upon the necessity of counting the cost? (Josh. 24:19–24; 1 Thess. 3:4.) Did He insist upon it on any other occasion? (Matt. 8:20; 10:22; 20:22, 23.) Where have we any illustration in the Bible of one who began to build in the Christian life and was not able to finish? (Matt. 27:3–8.) What is God’s attitude toward the man that draws back and is unable to finish? (Heb. 10:38.) In urging people to accept Him ought we to present to them anything beside that which is gained by Christian discipleship?
3. The Third Condition of Discipleship, vv. 33–35
What does our Lord state to be the third condition of discipleship? What is the force of the word “forsaketh”? (See R. V.; literally, “biddeth farewell to.”) To how much must we bid farewell if we would be Christ’s disciples? Have you said your adieus to all that you have, and are you ready to leave it at any moment? What place must our Lord occupy in the heart of the true disciple? Have we any illustrations of those who forsook all and followed Him? (5:11, 28; Phil. 3:7, 8.) Of those who would not forsake all to follow Him? (18:22, 23; Acts 5:1–5; 8:19–22; 2 Cor. 4:10.) Does it pay to forsake all to follow Him? (18:28–30.)
To what does our Lord compare a true disciple in v. 34? What may salt lose? What may the disciple lose? What is salt good for after it has lost its savor? What is a Christian good for after he has lost his savor? What is salt fit for after it has lost its savor? What do men do with it? What does our Lord do with the disciple after he has lost his savor? (John 15:16.)
With what closing words did our Lord seek to impress the importance of the truth He was teaching? (8:8; 9:44; Matt. 11:15; 13:9; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29.)
CLASSIFICATION OF TEACHINGS
1. Jesus Christ
His deity, 26; humanity, 27; attractiveness to the multitudes, 25; skill as a teacher, 26–35; uncompromising demands of His disciples, 26, 27, 33; should be the supreme object of our love, 26.
2. Conditions of Discipleship
Whoever would be our Lord’s disciple must be ready to turn his back upon father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters and his own life wherever loyalty to Christ demands it, 26; must bear His cross, must come after Him, 27; must bid farewell to all he has and be ready to leave it at any moment, 33; should count the great cost of discipleship before entering upon it, 28–32.