Introduction to Discipleship
What is Discipleship?
A disciple is one who is born again, and has a strong desire to grow and be like Jesus. No matter what level he is at spiritually, he always wants to find out what his next step is and takes it. He is not complacent. Rather he is actively following in the Master’s footsteps. He is diligent to apply himself to all he’s taught.
Before we can make a disciple, we need to be committed to disciplining ourselves. You cannot take someone beyond your own spiritual level.
The Bible paints the picture of a disciple who has reached the end of the road to perfection. These are God’s goal posts for us to shoot for. Don’t be disheartened and say you’ll never get there. No one ever completes the discipleship road. It is a lifetime goal to become more and more like Jesus.
Provided we’re living in a state of repentance and keep enduring to the end, we shall be saved. God’s grace is bigger than our sin. However, the man who sits back in idleness and does not press on toward the goal of his high calling in Christ Jesus will never discover or fulfill God’s purpose for his life or make it to heaven. (Matt 25: 26,30)
WHAT ARE THE TESTS OF A TRUE DISCIPLE?
4 Key Characteristics of a True Disciple
- Obedience to Jesus Christ, the head of the Church
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep my Commandments”
- Faithfulness to labor diligently to bear much fruit
John 15:8 “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so you will to be My Disciples”
- Perseverance to work for Jesus through all adversity, until the end of the age
2 Tim 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”
- He displays the sacrificial, unselfish, unchanging, constantly caring love of Jesus Christ (i.e. he is constant – always the same – not subject to change in various circumstances or moody)
Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us
WHAT IS THE COST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP?
LUKE 14:25 -35 “Now great multitudes were going along with him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish. “ So therefore, no one of you can be My Disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile, it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Many want to follow Jesus but are not prepared to take up the cross of self -sacrifice as true committed disciples. Many are cap followers, but not soldiers of the King. Others are hangers-on in some great work, without pulling their weight to help in the work.
Being A Disciple Of Jesus Christ Is Not An Easy Life, But A Forfilling Life
The teachings and requirements of Jesus are not always easy to accept. We must be careful that a spirit of rebellion (the anti-Christ Spirit) does not churn on the inside of us at Christ’s commands.
John 6:60 & 66-68 “Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement, who can listen to it? But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, does this cause you to stumble? As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore the twelve; you do not want to go away also, do you? Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life”
DO WE REALLY WANT TO BE DISCIPLES OF JESUS?
Everyone, who is truly born again, should have a strong desire to be a disciple of Jesus. If we have had a genuine experience with God through true repentance, and grown spiritually by disciplined praying and Bible study – then we’ll have the heartbeat of the Good Shepherd for the lambs.
Matt 16:26 “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
To a true committed Christian following in Jesus’ footsteps of self-sacrifice, laboring to extend the kingdom is not a consideration but an essential part of his life. The decision is ours. Do we really want to be disciples of Jesus, no matter what the price? Can we echo the works of Joshua, “… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Jos 24:15)
There is no greater privilege than working side by side with Almighty God to fulfill His purpose. He only works with those who work with him.
WHAT MUST A DISCIPLES PRIORITIES BE?
God’s priorities need to become each disciple’s priorities. So many say they want to obey Jesus BUT always have something else that they must do first before they will fit time in for what God requires them to do. Even Jesus had to lay down natural desires to put God’s purposes first.
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
Matt 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF A DISCIPLE
To follow so closely in the footsteps of his Master that he becomes as his teacher. The more we become like Jesus, the more the world will hate and oppose us as they did Jesus.
Matt 10:24-26, 28,32-39
We need to fear (have reverence) and obey God as Jesus did, never fearing man, which causes many to shrink back from obeying God. He who lives for himself has lost his life and he who dies to himself and lives his life for Christ’s cause to obey His calling, has found the true meaning and purpose of life, and will be eternally rewarded with Jesus in Heaven. Our goal is to get as close as we can to the end of the road of discipleship, by living out in obedience all the claims Christ has over our lives.