A Study of The Ministry of Discipleship - Feeding Hungry Hearts
Lesson Twenty One
Memory Verse: Romans 12:11 Lesson Verse: 2 Timothy 2:2
A. There is no shortage of Biblical materials in our Western world: Bibles, books, tapes, Gospel tracts, study helps, and the like are found in plentiful supply. If there is a missing ingredient, it is the process of Biblical discipleship, i.e., a loving, caring, selfless Christian, who is committed to teach another person "all things whatsoever Jesus commanded" (Matt 28:20).
B. The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint the Christian with the principles and importance of Biblical discipleship. Revival, evangelism, discipleship and missions are the life-blood of the church, and are all energized only by effectual, fervent prayer, in a spirit of charity.
C. Up to this point, you have been discipled. With the completion of this study lesson, you will see the importance for you to go and yourself become a discipler! Ready, setÖ
II. Discipleship's Purpose
A. As you now know, all Christians are not disciples! Discipleship, like salvation involves a conscious decision to follow the Saviour, no matter what the cost (Lk 14:26-33). You became a Christian when the word of God was extended to you through someone who cared to tell you about the gospel. Becoming a disciple of Jesus was the next step for you after you got saved. But now the Lord extends His word through you to reach others, and to disciple them.
B. There are five primary goals that serve to fulfill the Biblical command of what we call the "Great Commission" of Matthew 28:19,20. They are the very purpose of us being on earth, and are as follows:
1. Evangelize the lost (Acts 1:8; 26:18; Mark 16:15) - bring them to repentance, and total dependence upon Christ.
2. Establish growing churches by gathering together regularly to worship God, and minister to one another (Acts 11:19-26). This means more than Christians just getting together for fellowship, but as a unified body of believers, set on growing, and living the Christian life!
3. Build-up (strengthen) the disciples of Christ (Mt 28:18-20; Eph 4:11-16; 2 Tim 2:2). This is discipleship's role!
4. Bring churches and disciples to Christ-likeness (Rom 8:29; Gal 4:19) - become mature! This takes a lot of time, and personal experience.
5. Bring glory to God (Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 10:31; Isa 43:7). All that we as Christians do is to bring glory to God!
III. Where Discipleship Fits in a Christianís Life
A. Although Christ certainly evangelized and established His church, He never built what we would call a "big" church during His ministry, for it was not His immediate intention to do so. His goal was to leave behind twelve men that could do what He had done, and reproduce it on a world-wide scale until He returned (Jn 14:12).
B. In the establishment of New Testament churches, Paul the apostle understood and taught this principle when he said, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same _______ thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2:2). The command being, what you have learned and lived, now must be taught to someone else!
C. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, "__________ them to observe all things..." This is not only to be from the pulpit, but rather by way of a personal, people-oriented process, one-on-one! It cannot only be done by the Pastor!
D. Letís compare what Discipleship IS, and what it is NOT:
E. Discipleship is intended to establish all new Christians in the following Four Foundations of the Christian life:
1. In the ________ of God (Matthew 4:4)
2. In fellowship with other __________ (Hebrews 10:25)
3. In the structure of the New Testament ________ (1 Cor 12:27)
4. In the ministry for Christ (Romans 12:11)
You may remember, the above four areas were covered in the previous pages of this Discipleship Study Guide.
IV. What Discipleship Accomplishes
A. Discipleship establishes the new Christian in the foundational truths of Biblical Christianity (the principles you have learned over the previous lessons).
B. Discipleship provides the new Christian with a caring, comforting friend to help him through the difficulties of spiritual transformation from baby to mature. You have been helped along by your discipler, but are now becoming ready to fill the role of a caring and comforting discipler yourself.
C. Discipleship affords the new Christian additional spiritual protection through the counsel and prayer support of a mature Christian.
D. Discipleship provides mutual accountability between you and your new disciple, which will help keep you motivated, and will motivate your disciple to grow in Christ, and walk in faith.
E. Discipleship provides personal Christian fellowship, which you know to be so important for a new Christian to have.
F. Discipleship provides encouragement while the world goes out of its way to attack and discourage all young disciples of the Lord.
G. Discipleship also brings the new Christian to "perfection" or maturity in Christ, so that he or she also becomes a discipler of the Lord Jesus.
V. How Discipleship Works
A. Christ started with 12 students. Those twelve men took Christís words to the world and turned it "__________ down" (Acts 17:6).
B. If every Christian, who has repented of their sins, and asked Christ to save them (Rom 10:13), would become a disciple in order to become a Discipler, then the world could be turned to Christ in just 65 years. Watch:
C. This goes on with everyone, every two years winning someone else to Christ, training them in the Bible, and then encouraging them to win someone and train them, and so on, until year 65, when 8,589,934,592 will have been reached!
D. The above number is based upon every Christian doing his or her part, and on every Christian living more than 65 years! Obviously, that wonít happen, but truly, we can do what Christ said must be done, even with 6 billion people on this planet - but only if we would set out to do it with all our heart (Dt 5:29; Luke 1:37)!
VI. What Discipleship Involves
Luke 9:23 can be correctly called the Disciple's Motto, and expresses what Discipleship involves for both the discipler and the disciple.
A. "If __________ man..." - Your Desire - especially if you are a Christian!
B. "will come after me..." - Your Decision - It is up to you if you will or not
C. "let him ___________ himself..." - Your Denial - Make the necessary time
D. "take up his cross daily..." - Your Dedication to the cross instead of a crown.
E. "and ____________ me..." - Your Determination to keep your eyes on Jesus, no matter how hard the path becomes.
VII. So, How Can You Be a Discipler?
A. Teach a Sunday School Class in church. No matter what age group you teach, you will be making investments into lives that will last an eternity.
B. Be a committed friend to a new Christian. Listen to them and work with them through their struggles in prayer, and discussion, always encouraging them that they are not alone, and that with a full confidence in Christ, they cannot fail!
C. Provide helpful materials. Use select videos and maybe cassette tapes that have helpful information for new Christians. Get these from your church, or maybe purchase them yourself, so that you have them on hand.
D. Use this or another Discipleship Course. You have worked all the way through these lessons, so you at least are familiar with the material. You would need to go back through the material before each time you meet with a spiritually hungry Christian. If you are not confident in understanding certain things, then, pray and search out the answers, or call on the Pastor.
E. Have your own Bible Study. Ask the pastor to help you start up a simple Bible study in your home, or at work during breaks. There may be an opportunity for you to regularly get together with another young Christian in Godís word, feeding them, and training them in living the Christian life. Hey, if you have the time, use it wisely for the Lord! Don't leave it only to the pastor, or his wife!
VIII. The Final Challenge is to You!
Just as you have been discipled...
Go, and do thou likewise!
Lead someone to Christ, and then disciple THEM!