Paul taught the Philippians about discipleship, which means knowing Christ better. We need to do five things.
1. Be willing to suffer for being a Christian, don’t keep it secret.
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Phil 3:10)
2. Hunger and thirst for the things of God.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Phil 3:12)
3. Forget the past and press on.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13b-14)
4. Discipline, including reading the Bible and prayer.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Phil 3:17)
5. Be heavenly-minded.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil 3:20-21)
You may be thinking that you cannot be a disciple because you have strayed from Christianity. The people of Israel often strayed away from worshipping the true God and being faithful. But God always brought them back.
In the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles, we read of King Hezekiah. When Hezekiah became king, because he loved God, he determined to bring the people back to the worship of the true God. He destroyed the idols on the high places. He opened the temple and had the priests clear out the rubbish and false idols and offer sacrifices – first to cleanse the temple, then to sanctify the priests, then for the people.
For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him. (2 Chron 30:9b)
When the people were summoned to celebrate the first Passover for many years, some who came had not performed the cleansing rituals. But they were accepted because their hearts were right.
For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. (2 Chron 30:18b-20)
Do not be afraid to come to God. Your offerings will be acceptable if they are given with a sincere heart. It is never too late, and you are never too far. He is waiting for you.
[Taken from a sermon by Uzo Iwobi and Week 6 of Discipleship Explored]