New Beginnings In Discipleship
Walk In Truth Ministries
Dr. James Sutton II
Max De Pree)
I believe this was a great quote to get started on the next installment of new beginnings. I must recognize who I am now and decide that I want to be something else other than what I am today. Am I satisfied with being a fan in the stands, member, or fallout? Is there something that I can work on to become a face in the race and a disciple of Jesus Christ. The word member does not conjure up intimacy or significant relationship based on love and trust. But, a disciple reminds me of Philip as a disciple of John the Baptist seeing Jesus and deciding to follow (having an intimate teacher-student relationship) Jesus. There really is nothing wrong with the word member, but disciple is much more personal and intimate.
As Andrew became fascinated with Jesus and started to follow him Jesus told him that he would make him, “a fisher of men”. In a discipleship relationship the teacher is willing to not only show the way, but become the example of the way to follow. (Matthew 4:18-22, John 1:35-42, John 1:37)
A good teacher to become the example for the students and will stand as much time as necessary in their discipline and care. The sole purpose of the teacher is 20,
Just as Jesus said to his disciples that he will send back the Holy Spirit in his name the advocate/Holy Spirit will bring back to remembrance all the lessons the teacher has taught them. Every good Christian teacher believes that the journey for their students begins when they leave or reassign them to someone else. There will come a time where you will have the opportunity to have all that is taught to come back into your mind and use it to further the gospel. (John 14:26)
So again, I ask you, do you really want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ or just a member of a church. Before you answer that I want you to get a taste of what it will cost you to become closer to Jesus as a disciple. (Luke 14:25-33,2 Corinthians 11:23-30, Matthew 8:20). In modern churches today most people look at discipleship without discipline. They believe their religious activity will make them a disciple versus a member. Let’s look at what the word of God says about becoming a disciple. (2 Timothy 3:16-17,1 Corinthians 12:28-30)
“For many disciples the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we settle for a mediocre version of it”. (John Otrberg)
In the first sentence I took the liberty of removing the pronoun we and put disciples. I see this quote as very enlightening. Often times when we have the desire to be a student, especially of Jesus Christ we get distracted. The temptation to allow the teacher to carry the full load and the student relaxes in it. A disciple listens well and spends time thinking on all the subjects presented by their teacher. Learning how not to be distracted is a hard discipline to master. In 2015 the world system is designed by Satan to give us a lot of information but no substance. No one has time to digest what is being said to them before something else moves them away from what has been said. The classical definition of a debate or argument has been turned into something Christians avoid at all costs. We fall for anything and everything and stand for nothing. The way we make decisions is based upon what is popular at the time and if everybody likes it. As a disciple of Jesus Christ you are commanded to contend for the faith. Your discipline revolves around getting ready and prepared to go into battle. You can’t put on the armor of God without first mastering each and every piece and how it connects. (Jude 1: 3,1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7, Ephesians 6:10-18)
Even David as a young man decided that no one would disrespect his God and was willing to fight and die for his honor. Because most so-called Christian disciples have very little to no biblical knowledge they cannot fight. Unity is not the body coming together, to have food, fun and foolishness. The disciplines you learn as a disciple are taught to you to be able to withstand all evil, while you are on the battlefield saving others. Goliath is too big and we are grasshoppers, always looking forward to saying there is no more moves we can make. I simply give up. A distracted disciple will show up at every activity and cannot put one coherent thought together when it comes to salvation. A distracted disciple will be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine they will vacillate on every major Christian doctrine depending upon who they are around. The greatest teacher of all said about one of his churches, he wished that they were either hot or cold. But, lukewarm is an abomination.
A good teacher will allow their disciples to make decisions and have responsibility and authority in their journey. When the task is given to you as a disciple, it is your responsibility to accomplish it within the boundaries of the authority given to you by the teacher. The teacher’s job is to evaluate your decisions and encourage you when you make mistakes. You will make mistakes, but don’t be scared of them. Mistakes help you grow into stronger disciples if you are not distracted enough by them and learn quickly. You will settle for mediocrity out of yourself and therefore promote the best in others.
Peter made so many mistakes with Jesus and even when rebuked, Peter appreciated his teacher. A good disciple can’t stand criticism and understands that what worked yesterday may not necessarily work today. It is the teacher’s responsibility to continue to challenge the disciple and never allow them to get comfortable over all that they accomplished yesterday. There is value in yesterday only as it pertains to propel you forward into your today. If you hang around yesterday and continue to make excuses, everyone will eventually pass you up and leave you behind. We all have some friends and family members that are members of the human race, but not disciples of Jesus Christ. They’re not living the abundant life and the peace of the rock keeps falling on them. The Bible tells us that disciples of Jesus Christ are more than conquerors and the head and not the tail, lenders instead of borrowers. Sadly to say, we have become indebted and not good stewards of our time and resources. (Isaiah 41: team, Romans 8:37, Revelation 3:21,1 Peter 5:8, Philippians 4:13, Exodus 23:30, Joshua 5:13-)
“Some tell us that following Jesus is a simple matter of inviting him into our hearts. But, Jesus always ask, may I bring my friends”? And when we look at them, we see that they are not the kind of company we like. Friends of Jesus are the outcasts, marginalized and the condemned, they are the rejected lepers of life. We hesitate and ask, “Jesus, must we really have them too”? Jesus replies, love me, love my friends!” (Peter Storey)
Discipleship is serious business and should not be decided upon lightly. Also deciding who was going to teach you is just as important. It hurts me personally to know that so many eager disciples of Jesus Christ have fallen prey to teachers that are not dedicated to God’s plan of discipleship. At one time they were zealous and excited, now their dead and delusional. They are saved but because of bad teaching and false doctrines they are apprehensive about getting on the good ship of discipleship versus staying on the drifting ship lollipop. They will miss out on the exciting journey of discipleship and just stay members in church. I encourage you to get off the lollipop ship of false teachings and adhere to the sound teachings of Scripture. The Bible predicts there will be a time when even the elect of the saints may be deceived. The deception will cause us to fall just as it did in the garden of Eden with one question, “Did God really say that and if he did, did he really mean it”?
(2 Timothy 4:1-4, 1 John 2:18-19, Matthew 24:4-5, 2 Peter 21-22, Jeremiah 5:31, Psalms 119:5 Revelation 14:6, Hebrews 10:39, 10:26-29)
What are you willing to sacrifice to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ and not just a member or a fan, but a face in the race!