Monday, September 25, 2017

Introductory Thoughts on Discipleship

I’d like for you to give some thought to what the Bible has to say to you about discipleship. I know you’re busy, so I’ll make this brief and to the point so that when you have some quiet time in the next few days, you can come back to this and think thru these points with Bible in hand to consider the magnitude and practical nature of this subject.

1.     Discipleship is not an option, this was his last command to His followers. If you say you are a Christian, your responsibility is to be involved in making disciples.
18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

The Greek word mathetes, (to be a learner, pupil or disciple), appears 269 times in the N.T. it refers to anyone who was a follower of Christ. This concept is integral to the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19; (see also Ezek. 44:23; Matt 5:19b; Acts 5:42; Acts 18:11; Acts 20:20; Col 1:28; Col 3:16;1 Tim 4:11;1 Tim 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:2)

2.     Discipling might not be as complicated as you think. Consider discipleship as simply speaking the truth in love in all aspects of your normal, everyday life.
15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph. 4:15)

Discipleship involves speaking into others’ lives as well as allowing others to speak into your life every day.
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3:12-4:13)

3.     You might struggle with knowing what to say and how to say what needs to be said. First, we’re better off not speaking at all if there’s a lack of biblical wisdom and knowledge
2The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (Pr. 15:2)

To put it another way, I need to pursue wisdom by learning doctrine so I will know how biblical truths relate to life. I do not want to give unbiblical, hurtful advice like Job's friends.
11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. (Eccl. 12:11)
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. (Pr. 4:7)
14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:14)

4.     Wisdom learns to listen carefully to gain an accurate perspective of the person and their needs before speaking.
13If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Pr. 18:13)

5.     Commit to growing to become more like Christ, so you can say with Paul, "Follow me AS I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).
6.     Commit to critical, intentional thinking of how you might incite passion in others to grow in love and obedience.
 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb.10.23-24)

7.     You can be and must be confident in the grace of God to empower you to pursue all the above. "Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Heb. 10:35).

Yes, but how?

1.     Ask about one’s personal life.
     a.     Ask about their Past. "What 2 things has God been up to in your life?" (teaching them to be intentional about      
             trusting God to work for "My good, His he conforms to the image of Christ - Rom.8:28-29)
     b.     Ask about the Present. "If I could call God and ask Him, 'What 3 things are you pleased with re: ______"s walk',
             what do you believe He might say?"
     c.     Ask about the Future.  How will you intentionally seek to grow and change?
     d.     Ask about their family and their home life.

2.     Ask about one’s church/ministry involvement.
     a.     Ask about their involvement in the Great Commandment.
     b.     Ask questions that help you understand their love for God, their love for others, especially their closest
             relationships. (Lu.10:27)
     c.     Ask about their involvement in pursuing the Great Commission.  How are they helping others learn to grow and  
             change? (Mt.28:18-20)
     d.     Ask about their spiritual gift(s). Ask them how God is using them to help build the local church. (Eph.4:11-16)
     e.     Ask about how their school/studies are progressing.
     f.      Ask what books they’ve been reading.  A person’s involvement with learning helps you understand their interests
             and commitments to personal growth.
    g.      Ask how you can pray for them.

Kent Kloter

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