To Make (A) Disciple(s), You Must Be One! Pt 1
Christ has made us holy by His sacrifice and gift of grace on The Cross. In recognition of His great grace and mercy how are we to respond as believers and disciples? We are to offer what He has made holy back to God for His purpose in our lives and relationships. As we align our minds and lives with His Word rather than the culture we become living proof of His will!
A disciple is one who studies and then models whoever is Lord in his/her life. A disciple is one who disciplines his/herself according to the principles or standards of his/her Lord. A disciple is one who practices the disciplines of his/her Lord.
Discipleship begins with whoever is your Lord/lord and…in the mirror. It doesn’t begin with telling others about your Lord/lord but learning from your Lord so that when you begin to share about who your Lord is, you are actually living out a lifestyle that reflects that of your Lord’s!
Scriptural historians have determined that there was somewhere between 1 – 2 years between Jesus calling His disciples (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16; Luke 5) and sending them out (Matthew 10; Mark 6). Historians also set the time between the Apostle Paul’s conversion in Acts 9 and him publicly proclaiming the Gospel in the Jerusalem synagogue (Acts 9:26-29) was approximately 3 years (he proclaimed it briefly in Damascus after His conversion). It was another 10+ years before he is sent on his first missionary journey having been set apart by The Holy Spirit with Barnabas to do so (Acts 13).
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, …go and make disciples of all peoples… In order to make disciples we must first be disciples. In a previous article, “So You Got Grace, What’s Next?” I talk about this command being to all of us as Christ followers not just to trained experts. In the original language (Greek) it also means, “as you go along the way” emphasizing that it is much more about our lives than it is just telling people about Jesus (we need to do both). If our lives don’t match up with our words we may do more damage than good when it comes to “making disciples?”
First Be A Disciple
So what does it look like to be a disciple of Christ? There are many commands in Scripture that point to what it means to be His follower or disciple. I know we don’t like the word “commands” but that’s what they are and this was fully expected by the writers and understood and responded to by those who originally received the letters we’ve come to know as The Bible. We should take them just as seriously to honor our Lord!
I want to focus on 2 commands that I believe lay a strong foundation for living out the rest. We’ve already discussed that the 1st and 2nd (and 3rd) greatest commands deal with loving God, loving who we are in Christ so we can love our neighbors. We need to begin where God begins as we shared about His priority and order when it comes to commands and love. But, you may ask, “How do I get there?”
Living Sacrifice – Our Reasonable Response
Paul told the believers (disciples) in Rome what it means to be a follower of Jesus after all that He’s done for us (Romans 8-11). “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable act of service (worship). Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2.
Three things we are called to in this passage:
- Give my body (self/life) back to God as a living sacrifice as this is the “reasonable” response to what He’s (Christ) done for me;
- Don’t conform to the world’s way of doing things, but;
- Transform my way of thinking and living in line with His Word.
As we respond “logically” (reasonably) to what He’s done for us, we choose to think in line with His Word rather than follow the culture. In so doing we begin to recognize and live out His will in a way that others can see it, test it and realize it is from Him as well! That’s what disciples look like…and it takes time to mature in this and as we do, others begin to see more and more of our Lord!
Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Food for Thought – What has been your life and church experience when it comes to discipleship? How have you been discipled? How have you discipled others?
Love in Action –
- Spend some each day in God’s Word, in prayer and in listening to Him begin with the Scriptures found in this post.
- Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
- Read Luke 14:25-35.
- Compare and contrast your experience of church calls “discipleship” with Romans 12:1-2 and Luke 14:25-35.
- What needs to change for you to be a disciple according to Christ’s calling? Start today.
Love and Lordship Prayer Focus Heavenly Father, forgive us for minimizing discipleship as just being a good church convert. Help me/us to strive in The Holy Spirit by Your grace to be Christ’s disciples according to Your Word. In His Name, Amen.
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