The Importance of Discipleship in the Life of a Christian
DATE: 7 April, 2002 PM PLACE: BBC Blarney
Introduction (John 8:31)
A. Do you know what the New Testament church was full of in the first century? Disciples! (Acts 1:15; 6:1; 9:1,26)
B. Go back to Matthew 10:1.
1. Start off with 12 DISCIPLES - learners, followers of Jesus.
2. Luke 10:1 says next there were 70.
3. Acts 1:15 says after the resurrection, there were about 120 dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.
4. Then in Acts 2:41, 3,000 joined up!
5. Each time someone got saved, they were known as disciples!
6. They weren’t just “saved” – they were on their way to becoming something more than just heaven-bound!
C. Come to Antioch, some 10-20 years later, and the disciples were being called "Christians" by the world’s crowd (not by themselves) - a derogatory term (Acts 11:26)!
D. Today, everybody calls themselves Christians, but so few are disciples of the Lord. The work of Discipleship has been neglected (Heb 5:12-14)!
A. Let’s define what a Disciple is:
1. One willing to be taught (Mt 11:28,29, “...and learn of me...”).
2. It is more than just “teaching”
a. Associated with Discipline – order, hard work, regulation (Philp 4:5)
b. Being a careful, and consistent STUDENT of someone else (Matt 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; John 12:26), who has “mastered” something worth teaching.
c. Not hit-and-miss, like most people, even in this church
d. We need to be reading and studying our Bibles page by page, chapter by chapter
e. We need to be in church every Sunday, morning and evening
f. We need to be in the mid-week Bible study, every Wednesday!
g. We need to be being discipled, or discipling every week
B. Let’s define what a Discipler is: A Trainer, a Coach, someone whose life, and not just words are an example to someone else: as Jesus was!
C. The importance of the work of discipleship:
1. 1 Tim 3:2
2. 2 Tim 2:2
3. 2 Tim 2:24,25
4. This is the only “occupation” that I know of that has as its primary goal Relegation (losing your job) instead of Domination!!!
D. The purpose of discipleship then is the reproduction of the disciple!
1. The original source of discipleship for the Jew was Moses (John 9:28).
2. The original source of discipleship in Christianity is Jesus Christ, the Master (Luke 6:40).
3. The role of this relationship is that the Master produces another master like unto himself! In the case of New Testament Christianity, the reproduction of the master is to be LIKE the Master (a “copy” should be in the likeness of the original master, not of the copy – think about it).
4. Discipleship takes a person and equips them not just to be saved, but with the goal of them producing a Christian that is able to produce another Christian (1 Thess 1:6-9)!!!!
A. The Disciple’s Birth – Beginning (Acts 9:1-6, 17-22)
1. Nobody is just born a Christian
2. Nobody IS a Christian at first
3. You start off as a baby, hungry, and someone feeds you milk
4. And you grow
5. But you HAVE to have had a BIRTH (new birth)
6. Question is:
a. Are you ONLY saved and that’s it?
b. The life of the believer is that of being a disciple of Jesus
B. The Disciple’s Calling – what is it that God wants us to BE?
1. To humble yourself
a. Enough to start over
1) It doesn’t matter how many times
2) EX: of a woman I met who had left the RC church to become a Mormon, only to realise she had messed up again
3) Remember that the Ethiopian Eunuch had left paganism to become a Jew, and then upon meeting Philip, started over again!
b. Enough to allow a pastor, or a mature Discipler to teach you all over again – no matter even if you ARE a rocket-scientist!
2. To learn solid truth – not live in darkness – this is no game!
a. Learn it from this Book – line by line, little by little
b. Learn from the lives of these people in this Book - pondering
3. To continue in God’s word – to stay at it – perseverance (Jn 8:30-31)
a. This is sickening to see so many get excited one week, and then disappear a few weeks later
b. If God’s word is not exciting enough for you, then good-riddence (so long charismatics, and ritual-loving catholics, etc)!
4. To become known as Christ-like (Acts 11)
a. Too many, if not most are attempting to be a Christian, without ever learning what that involves
b. When a person gets saved, they should submit to being a LEARNER
c. It’s after maturity, and experience, that a disciple gets known as Christ-like!
C. The Disciple’s Classroom
1. A Local Church (Acts 13)
2. Every day life
3. Every trouble (Rom 8:28)
4. Every blessing
5. Until you see everything in your life as having a big purpose, you are going to stay STUCK in the quagmire of your problems
6. When Jesus became your Saviour, He knew He would have to take you through some hard times to toughen you up, and strengthen you – why not let Him do what He does best (Philp 1:6)?
D. The Disciple’s Burden – the Cross
1. No easy task – to take up our cross along side Jesus’
2. The cross is our close association with our Teacher, which results in being
d. Fought against
3. Amen! That’s our cross
4. Yet, there is no greater task
a. That results in my life being changed
b. That results in the world seeing Christ in me
c. That results in eternal souls getting saved
E. The Disciple’s Calamity (Jn 19:38-39; 12:42,43)
1. To be stagnant – like the Dead-Sea
a. Lots of knowledge – but only pride
b. No output, no application, no passing it on!
c. An awful waste if God’s work started in you, only to end with you! Think about it!
2. To be stunted – hindered, diverted, cast-away
a. By fear
b. By disappointments
c. By diversion (2Tim 4:9,10)
3. There is no defeat in the Christian’s life, except when that Christian decides to give up
a. No amount of failure can limit God’s ability
b. Only unbelief limits God (Ps 78:40,41)
c. This is going to be made into a whole message soon folks, so stay tuned)
A. Do you see any part of your life as God’s classroom for your discipleship?
B. Are you part of a regular discipleship class?
C. Are you a dead-sea, and in need of starting to teach a new believer?
D. Do you have a burden to teach, or to preach, or to witness?
1. Then don’t wait on ANYBODY else
2. Take a bunch of tracts
3. Get you a New Testament
4. Talk to somebody today, tomorrow
5. Ask them if they would like to learn a bit of the Bible in a Discipleship course?
E. Are you aware of all the calamities that are occurring all around us, in most “christians” lives? It’s all because they did not FIRST become disciples – they graduated ahead to being a Christian, without any understanding of how to be Christ-like to begin with!