Discipleship-What is it or was it? I am curious. Have you ever thought about the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20? Jesus told his disciples to go make disciples? What do you think He really meant. Where and how have we failed in this.
What do you think? I am really curious as to your comments. Please comment!
6 thoughts on “Discipleship-What is it or was it?”
Ron think you are asking the right question. “Discipleship-What is it or was it?.”
What is it? It is not in the evangelical church on a consistent basis?
What was it? I the church wanted Sunday School to be the “discipleship” wing of the church, but Sunday School was intended for evangelism.
It is interesting that you metioned the Great Commission because that text has been hitting home with me for a long time. We are to go and evangelize and do missions, but sometimes people think well they have been saved their safe from Hell. That is where we fall short. They are not being taught the basics of Scripture. That’s the start. You can ask Zach and Jason, I always want to go back to the basics because I had to teach myself the basics, so that I would have a deeper understanding of Christ.
That’s my short answer for now, but I am sure I will talk about the subject again very soon in the blog.
Disciples of Christ and Christians – two things very similar but one should be aware of their difference.
A Christian you could now a days find anywhere in the world, but actually very few of them would actually be a true Christian.
A disciple is a true Christian, a follower of Christ.
That is why Christ called us to make disciples and not Christians. It is true that the disciples were called Christians.
Well lets check on ourselves if we are just Christians or true followers of Christ.
One of the biggest churches in America repented for not making disciples…their method of ministry encouraged people to cross the line of faith, but never move beyond milk, so to speak.
An article about it is here.
I think many churches have followed their example, given their influence on the American church today. I hope many will also follow their example of repentance.
Discipleship is the focus of the Great Commission. Although most people think of the word “go” when they think of Matt 28:18-20, the primary command is to “make disciples”; that’s WHY we are commanded to go.
So, what is discipleship? I believe discipleship involves what Christ says it involves in the Great Commission: “teaching them to OBEY everything I have commanded you.” Discipleship occurs when a follower of Christ learns what the Word of God says, and then follows that up by a life of obedience to the teachings of Christ. It is not enough to know what Jesus says, commands, and teaches, but we must live out what He says, commands, and teaches.
Consider just a sampling of the NT teaching on discipleship and obedience:
Matt 7:24-27 – “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mind and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
John 8:31-32 – “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 15:7-10 – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
1 John 2:3-6 – “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
So, discipleship, in essence, is obedience to Christ.
Where have we failed in this in the church? I think a huge point is that we have very little accountability in the church anymore. No one is called out if they are in sin. In our postmodern age of relativism, church discipline is non-existent. There’s so many reasons that I could list that have added up to the sad state of discipleship in the church, but I think the apostle Paul sums it up nicely in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” Sadly, I think that describes many church members.
Sorry for the long response. Your thoughts?
The North American church has done a great job in fulfilling the first part of the great commission up until recent days. The North American Church has failed in the second part:”teaching them to obey.” Maybe its because we’ve only memorized this passage from verse 19-20 and seldom speak of verse 18. It is vs 18 that puts it in context and instills in them and us why this overwhelming task can be accomplished. Instead of hanging on that verse churches have squeaked by attempting to do this task alone with methodologies, systems, 101 classes, blogs, and bumper stickers, but no vs. 18. I’ve always encouraged people when quoting the great commission to include vs 18. It couldn’t hurt.
(I emphasize the North American Church because Christianity in places like China and N. Korea continue to see enormous growth, underground, in spite of religious persecution. I suspect they don’t forget vs. 18 though).
Apostles, Disciples, Followers, On-Lookers? Hmmmmm?