First Steps in Christ–Step Ten–Discipleship

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STEP10--DISCIPLESHIP

 

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Discipleship

Jesus promised His disciples that He would make them fishers of men. He also taught them how to make fishermen. You see, not only are you a fish, but also a fisherman. When you came to Christ for salvation, you were a fish. The person who shared the Gospel with you was the fisherman. Because of the vast schools of fish in the world, and God’s great love for all fish, He wants every believer to fish. Not only does He want you to fish, God also wants you to help fish grow up to become fishermen themselves. Jesus also used other analogies. He likened the kingdom of God to a small seed planted in the earth that grows up to a huge tree. As a child of King Jesus, every believer has to learn to live in majesty. He want us to live regal lives, full of abundance and blessing from God. But just as Jesus, the King, learned obedience through suffering, so also God allows believers to suffer in Christ. God always helps us grow to maturity through all the events He brings into our lives. Although God never tempts anyone, He does control every temptation, and never allows you to be tempted beyond what you may endure. He faithfully provides a way of escape from every temptation, so that you never have to sin. As you can see, we all depend upon God for help in living royal lives, because He alone is our King. Blessedly, God has many children, and every one needs discipleship. As a disciple of Christ, we learn from Him and He expects us to teach others also.

All Authority

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'” Matthew 28:18, Page 1557

Jesus proclaimed that all authority had been given to Him as the risen Lord. Because He had received all authority, He delegated authority to His disciples. As we hear the voice of Jesus Christ today, we must realize the power and authority in that call to action. Jesus will explained precisely how He intends to use all authority. Notice also that the authority He received operated both in heaven and on earth. The spiritual forces opposing His disciples, causing a spiritual struggle, were not and are not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 4:12, Page 1834). The spiritual authority of Jesus empowers us to be more than conquerors against every evil force arrayed against us.

Make Disciples

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” │ Matthew 28:19-20, Page 1557

Go Therefore

God draws believers to learn from Him. A “disciple” means that you learn from a master. You will never be greater than your master, so be sure that your only Master is Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded all of His disciples to make more disciples. The same holds true today. As believers, we must go into all the world to make disciples. We go out because Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. He has sent us using His authority, and empowered us with His love.

Make Disciples

Jesus intends that we make disciples. We make disciples by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers, explaining to them how to become a Christian. If a person receives salvation by faith alone by believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then the discipleship process starts immediately. Making disciples means spending time with the new believer, reading the Bible with the new believer, and letting them know that Jesus expects them to share their faith also and make disciples in the name of Jesus.

Baptizing Them

Every believer should be baptized by immersion in water. Notice that only believers may be baptized, because baptism requires saving faith first. Baptism identifies believers with Jesus Christ, and proclaims to the world faith in Jesus Christ. See Step Three on Baptism.

Teaching Them

Jesus also commanded His disciples to teach the new disciples all that Jesus had commanded. Jesus taught many things, and issued many commands. Each command provides an expression of God’s will for our lives. The command also comes with a promise of God’s power to fulfill the command. As we believe that God will provide the power by faith for us to obey each command of Christ, our lives change and we love God and people more and more. We become more stable in our faith and happier in our lives, no matter what comes.

Come, See

“He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about he tenth hour.” │ John 1:39, Page 1655

Jesus extends a personal invitation to every one to come and see. If we will accept His invitation, we can spend time with Him and learn from Him. We will abide with Christ as believers, and He will live within us. For all eternity, we will stay with Jesus. He will never leave us or forsake us. We remain eternally secure in Jesus Christ.

Follow Christ

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” │ Matthew 16:24, Page 1530

Jesus also demands our entire lives. He means that we must deny ourselves and follow only Him. Many distractions will arise in our lives, so that we will be tempted to stop following Jesus. Being a disciples means that I follow Jesus all the time. If I catch myself wandering away from Jesus, then I will confess my sin, receive the joy of His forgiveness, be cleansed from all unrighteousness, and continue my walk with Jesus. Being a disciples means that I follow only Jesus and I count upon Him every day to lead my way to His glory, both today and forever.

Disciple’s Duties

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” │ Matthew 10:16, Page 1557

Jesus sent out His disciples as sheep into the midst of wolves. In the same way, Jesus sends out disciples today into the midst of wolves. Make no mistake. You live among wolves every day. The only question will be whether you will live as a disciple, trusting Jesus and following Him, among all those wolves around you. As disciples, we must be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. I see two birds frequently who eat out of my lap. They are very cautious about people, because they live in the wild. Yet, we have become friends. I feed them and they come to see me. Jesus combined the innocence of doves with the shrewdness of serpents. Serpents can be very careful in approaching prey and be quiet and cautious. Shrewd means aware, perceptive, wise, alert and intelligent. We must be careful to be all of those things as disciples, so that we can be careful of the wolves, and yet minister to both wolves and sheep.

Spiritual Multiplication

“The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” │ 2 Timothy 2:2, Page 1862

Discipleship always involves multiplication. Jesus directed His disciples to select faithful men. Following this divine pattern, the disciple then entrusted faithful men with things he had received from the Word of God. Notice that one of the qualities of faithful men is that they will be able to teach others also. This process of multiplying disciples allows Jesus to spread His Word throughout the entire world. Jesus did not envision only seminary-trained men spreading His word. Instead, He trained a group of very diverse men to teach other men. In fact, male and female believers have a duty to be disciples spreading the Word of God. Just because someone prays with you to receive forgiveness from Jesus does not mean your duty has ended. In fact, it represents a new beginning. You now have to disciple that person to follow Christ. If the new believer proves faithful, then you will entrust to him more truths and help him become a discipler who will share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and see new believers carry on the ministry of Christ on earth. Instead of just one disciple spreading God’s love, now there will be two, then four, then eight, and so on in geometric progression. Jesus loves the world and to His glory we labor for Him, remaining firm and always knowing that God will reward our labor.

 

Spiritual Life

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.”  │ John 6:53

Jesus focused upon the spiritual life of His disciples. He spoke to them frequently in spiritual terms. When Jesus said people must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, He spoke in spiritual terms. He meant that Jesus must be born again by believing His words as if they were eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Notice too the symbolism of the flesh and the blood. Jesus used this same symbolism at the breaking of bread with His disciples. He explained that His body bore our sins on the cross. His blood cleansed us from all sins. In order to gain spiritual life, people must receive Jesus spiritually, in their hearts, minds and spirits. 

Spiritual Love

“Jesus Wept.” │ John 11:35, page 1678

Jesus also had great love for people. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus wept. He was moved with compassion for the suffering of His friends, and concerned about the unbelief of all the people. Even so, Jesus displayed true tears, expressing true human emotions. God also weeps over our sins (Ephesians 4:30, page 1831).

Spiritual Truth

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” │ John 8:31-32, Page 1671

Jesus taught the truth, because He was the truth. Jesus also declared that His word was truth. Through His words, people may hear those words and believe them, gaining eternal life by faith alone. Jesus also explained that only people who continue in His word prove to be true disciples of Jesus. If they continue in His word, they will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Jesus means especially freedom from the bondage of sin.

Spiritual Unity

“that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You snet Me.” │ John 18:21, page 1690

Jesus prayed that the world would believe in Him because of the unity of all disciples. Jesus wanted all of His disciples to be one with Him, and to abide in Him, just as He is one with the Father. This standard of absolute unity must be a goal of every disciple. We unite around the Person of Christ and His doctrine. Doctrinal error often divides believers, but accurately handling the Word of God will bring unity among disciples. Remember, this passage reminds us that Jesus prayed for the unity of disciples as a testimony to the world. He valued that unity highly and intended for disciples to multiply in number.