“Sold-Out” Disciples (A Historical Article from May 2007)

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published May 27th, 2007. It covers powerfully the concept of being a “Sold-Out” disciple. It is a fitting topic as we continue our study over the “Five Foundational Soldout Movement Convictions” because today we will be covering #3—”The Church is composed of only sold out disciples in discipling relationships.” The “42 Portland disciples” mentioned below that planted the City of Angels International Christian Church in 2007 have multiplied – in just seven years – into over 3,000 disciples, with an attendance of 5,000, in 55 churches, in 26 nations, on all six populated continents of the world! To God be the glory! ~JMC) “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46

Joseph Ewing is appointed Web deacon of phxicc.org!

Joseph Ewing is appointed Web deacon of phxicc.org!

It has now been seven weeks since the Holy Spirit sent a Portland Mission Team to plant the City of Angels International Christian Church. During this brief time, God has more than doubled our number from 42 to 87 sold-out disciples! On Sunday May 20th in our Joshua Sermon Series, we studied Joshua 7-8, entitled “Sin in the Camp.” This text illuminates the essential principles for God to lead His people to victory. In Joshua 7, God disciplined all Israel by allowing Ai’s few soldiers to defeat Israel’s mighty army. God did this because Achan, one of the Israelites, had sinned by secretly stealing some of the devoted treasures of God from the plunder of Jericho. From this we can be sure, when the miracles of God cease, there is sin among God’s people. God desires a holy people, totally devoted to Him and Him only. Interestingly, though Achan’s family presumably did not steal the “devoted things,” they lived in the same tent and surely must have known about it. Leviticus 5 and Ezekiel 3 teach that if one knows about sin and is silent, God holds that individual responsible, because they are not helping to keep God’s people holy. Therefore God commanded Israel to stone Achan and his family. When the “sin in the camp” was purged from Israel, Israel was once again victorious!

Ryan Sullivan is baptized into Christ!

Ryan Sullivan is baptized into Christ!

After years of prayer the entire Sullivan family is in the light!

After years of prayer the entire Sullivan family is in the light!

In the lesson, I paralleled Israel’s lack of holiness the battle of Ai to Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 5. Sadly, the Corinthian Church was “proud” of their toleration of a man in their congregation who was being immoral with his father’s wife. Paul called the Corinthian Church to “expel the wicked man” from their fellow-ship, because “a little leaven works through the whole batch.” If immorality, greed, idolatry, bitterness or lukewarmness is tolerated in individual members, in time these sins will spread and destroy that entire congregation. Therefore, I explained on Sunday that in the City of Angels Church, each baptism, each restoration and each person placing membership is called to the same “sold-out” standard of holiness. This stand-ard is the same in the Old Testament and New Testament, “to love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength.” I believe this call of discipleship is one of the main reasons our 87 members, all “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), saw God work through them as 257 people were in attendance this Sunday! Jesus calls every man and every woman to be a radical, sold-out disciple. In Luke 14:26, Jesus pro-claims, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus is emphatic that to follow Him one must love Him more than any person. Interestingly, the word “hate” did not have to be used, yet our perfect, sinless Savior did not tone down His teachings to become “PC,” “politically correct.” As a matter of fact, Jesus called those with lust “to gouge out their eyes,” (Matthew 5:27-29), those who do not practice what they preach, “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27-28), and on at least one occasion turned to Peter, a best friend and said, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23) John records in his gospel, “The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John [the Baptist], although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized but His disciples.” (John 4:1-2) As one of His apostles, John fully understood that Jesus’ ministry baptized only disciples. This begs the question, “To be ready to be baptized, what does it take to be a disciple in one’s heart?” In Luke 14:33 Jesus clearly taught, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” The account of the rich young ruler in Mark 10 again reinforces the concept of giving up “everything.” The Bible reads, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ He said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’” Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to “sell everything” thus the term “sold-out.” Later in this same passage Peter exclaims, “We have left everything to follow you.” Clearly, Peter understood Jesus called each of His followers to give up “everything” Today, Jesus is still calling each person who would follow to be sold-out. To be noted, there was a time in the ministry of Jesus when some of “His disciples turned back.” “On hearing it, many of His disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ Aware that His disciples were grumbling… Jesus said… ‘Does this offend you?’ From this time many disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” (John 6:66) Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked them if they wanted to leave as well. “Peter answered Him, ‘Lord to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (John 6:60-68) Both then and now, grumbling and bitterness among disciples indicates a “non-sold-out” heart. These sins cause people’s hearts to drift from God (Hebrews 2:1-2) and their sold-out commitment of “Jesus is Lord” confessed at baptism. (Romans 10:9-13, Acts 22:16) Ultimately, if there is no repentance, they will lose their salvation. (Hebrews 12:15) When Jesus’ call to be sold-out is preached in a lukewarm or dead church, the message will appear “divisive” and “harsh” as many will choose to turn back and not follow Him. In some cases, two churches will be created; one that is composed of only sold-out disciples and the other church will be those who love the status quo.

The Miami=Ft. Lauderdale Mission Team!

The Miami=Ft. Lauderdale Mission Team!

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” To be “fully committed” is to be sold-out. Several months ago on the internet I read an account from the Muslim nation of Indonesia of three “Christian-oriented” teenage girls who were be-headed. In the book of Revelation, to be “fully committed,” to be faithful, is defined as holding to “the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”(Revelation 1:2, 9; 2:13; 6:9; 12:11, 17; Revelation 19:10) In fact in Revelation 2:10 Jesus says, “Be faithful, even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.” In the first century, to be baptized meant you could be killed the next day! I still remember “counting the cost” with a Chinese student from mainland China. (He happened to be a Clint Eastwood movie fan!) At the end of this session I asked, “If you return home to communist China and the authorities put a gun to your head and demand that you renounce Christ or die, what do you say?” He calmly replied, “Go ahead. Make my day!” Wherever I go people ask the question, “Where does Jesus teach we must be ‘sold-out’ disciples?” I usually do not directly answer the question but ask them to read out loud Matthew 13:44-46. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Then I ask them, “What kind of disciple does Jesus want us to be?” Almost always they answer, “A sold-out disciple!” Yes, the term, “sold-out disciple” is redundant. So, why do we use it? In 1980 shortly after the Lord started the Boston Movement, I met a student at Harvard who said, “The only difference between your conviction and my conviction on salvation is that you believe you have to be baptized to be saved.” I said no and showed her several of the pas-sages about being a disciple. (A short time later, I made “discipleship” one of the studies in our new study series.) In the world back then and presently, `so many people have so many definitions for “Christian.” Yet in 1980 the term “disciple” was quite distinct. Sadly today the term “disciple” has been watered-down. Therefore, since so many have cheapened the word “disciple”, in order to draw a Biblical distinction, we call those who follow Jesus, “sold-out” disciples, because as in the two parables of Matthew 13:44-46, the individuals “sold everything” they had to have the treasure of God, salvation. Let us never forget our salvation is priceless and cannot be bought, but Jesus requires us to give up “everything” in response to this “gift.” Jesus reasons with us in Luke 9:25 (Phillips), “For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul?” Jesus pleads with everyone not to “sell-out” to the world, but to be “souled-out” to Him! City of Angels Church, let’s remain humble yet unapologetically sold-out disciples willing to go anywhere, do anything and give up “everything” for Jesus, His church and His mission! And to God be the glory!

Kip McKean
World Missions Evangelist
(May 27th, 2007)

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2 Comments

  1. by Sydney on September 19, 2014  11:34 am Reply

    I love this article, because it's a good reminder that I must continue to count costs and be sold-out every day. Sometimes it is tempting to stray away from the radical stance each disciple takes at baptism, and move towards comfort in life. This article is a good heart check- to follow Jesus, it truly requires being sold-out in every aspect of life. As I try to follow Jesus, I must remember exactly that- the standard that Jesus put on his disciples is "sold-out", and nothing less.

  2. by Yvonne Namungoma on September 24, 2014  5:59 pm Reply

    If there is one thing i believe Kip Mckean has mastered, it is the understanding of God's sovereignty. He will always make sure he does not waver God's standard for the sake of relationships or men and that is why this bit of "now history" is so inspiring. He called a congregation to total commitment and the same “sold-out” standard of holiness out of reverence for Christ and this allowed God's hand to work powerfully in their congregation. I am so blessed to be a member of God's modern day movement and i hope i can imitate this standard of total and utter "soldoutness" so God can work in my life. Thank you for this :)

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