DISCIPLESHIP: What the Bible says
Paul, in his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church, urged its members “… examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith, prove your own selves…” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Today’s lesson and discussion is to stimulate some individual self-examination. Looking inward, read the following in application to yourself and fill in the blank with the name that the Holy Spirit puts on your heart as a future “Disciple” that YOU are charged with the command to disciple:
- If I don’t teach (fill in the blank: ____________________my son or daughter, my grandson / granddaughter, my neighbor) …then WHO will?
- For whosoever (fill in the blank ________________) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall (fill in the blank ________________) call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall (fill in the blank ________________) believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:13-14)
- Have I been called to be a Disciple?
- Do I know what a “Disciple” is?
- Have I submitted to the call of being made a Disciple?
- In what ways is the cost of being a Disciple manifested in my own life?
- Do I have any responsibility to “reproduce” Disciples?
- Am I making Disciples as I am going about? (Go therefore…as YOU are going… and make disciples of all nations… Matthew 28:19)
- Am I teaching others to follow Jesus? Or am I simply teaching others what to believe? (If we simply teach people “what to believe”, people’s belief will last only until someone else comes along to teach them something different to believe.
GOD’S PART: HAVE I BEEN CALLED TO BE A DISCIPLE?
“Discipleship” is a calling of God. “…God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, to which He called you by our gospel…” (2 Thess. 2:13-14) a “calling” that demands obedience. The “calling” to Discipleship is:
- A calling of God (Romans 8:30) whom He predestinated, these He also called
- A calling that was redestined by God (Romans 8:30)
- A calling to those having been justified by God (Romans 8:30) whom He called, those He also justified
- A calling to become conformed by God (Romans 8:29) He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son
- A calling to be in fellowship with God (1 Cor. 1:9) God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son
- A calling upon the “owned” of God (Rom. 1:6) you also are the called-out ones of Jesus Christ
- To be a saint (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2) those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called-out saints… who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called-out saints
- A calling to holiness (1 Thess. 4:7) For God has not called us to uncleanness, but in sanctification.
- A calling to patient endurance of suffering (1 Peter 2:20–21; 3:9) For what glory is it if you patiently endure while sinning and being buffeted? But if you suffer while doing good, and patiently endure, this is a grace from God… Never give back evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, giving blessing, knowing that you are called to this so that you might inherit blessing.
- The calling to Discipleship is an act of God that guarantees a response!!
MY PART: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY IS A “DISCIPLE”?
- One who is devoted…
- to the Scriptures and,
- to the body and,
- to serving one another and,
- to praying for one another (Acts 2:42) And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
- A disciple is one who denies himself(Luke 9:23) “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself…”
- A disciple is one who abides (John 8:31-32) “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples…”
- A disciple is a cross-bearer (Luke 14:27) Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…
- A disciple is a fruit-bearer (John 15:5, Galatians 5:22) He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit;
- A disciple is one who loves (John 13:34-35) (love expressed in actions of patience, kindness, forbearance, forgiveness, charity, selflessness, good conduct, not easily provoked, etc.) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- A disciple is one who becomes like Jesus: (Luke 6:40) everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
- A disciple is one who imitates Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
- One who is a “fisher-of-men”: (Mark 1:16-22) Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men
- A disciple is one who sets aside the world’s notions as to the purpose of one’s work and labor, and who labors to follow Jesus: (Mark 1:16-22) And immediately they left their nets and followed him
- A disciple is a body-builder, a truth-speaker; a disciple is stable and mature in the Word and to Christ; a disciple grows up to become no longer like children (Ephesians 4:11-17) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…
IN WHAT WAYS IS THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE BEING MANIFESTED IN MY OWN LIFE?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “The messengers of Jesus will be
- hated to the end of time. (Am I hated?)
- They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. (Am I blamed among brothers, sisters, loved ones, for being divisive?)
- Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; (Am I condemned for splitting my family and refusing to compromise on national issues?)
- they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace. (Am I considered “fanatical?”)
- The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord. (Am I tempted to quit?)
But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes. Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end.” (Matthew 24:13)