“Now when they saw that Peter and John were without fear, though they were men of no education or learning, they were greatly surprised; and they took note of them that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 BBE).
After His resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus charged His disciples with a great responsibility, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matt. 28:19-20 NKJV).
This is the Great Commission of the Church. This is the primary calling, purpose and mission of the Church in the world. Unfortunately, the Church’s emphasis, goal or pursuit today is far from making disciples for Christ of all the nations.
The Church today is into making several things of the people except making them true disciples of Christ. What an utter disregard for Jesus’ command!
We may never experience true revival of Christianity in our generation unless we give “Great Attention and Commitment” to the Great Commission the Lord Jesus gave us.
In the first part of this piece we began to examine some things that we have erroneously considered as Discipleship in the Church today. Things like the New Birth Experience, Attending Bible College, Church Confirmation or Ordination, Commitment to Christian Service, and Mentoring or Coaching.
While these things are good, helpful and beneficial; they are not the same thing as Discipleship.
What then is true Christian Discipleship?
First, Christian Discipleship is Intimate Relationship with the Lord Jesus:
Discipleship starts with putting your faith in the Lord Jesus and His finished work, confessing Him as your personal Lord and Saviour, and surrendering your whole life to the Lord Jesus.
Discipleship is not a dormant relationship with the Lord Jesus, but a loving, living, active and dynamic relationship with Christ. It is not a one-time deal with the Lord, but a lifelong or ongoing commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
True Discipleship is being yoked together with Christ. It is yielding your neck voluntarily under the yoke of Christ, learning from Him, following Him, and walking in His footsteps.
The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 11:
28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV).
Having become born-again, you should voluntarily take the yoke of Christ upon you and commit yourself to learning from Him and walking in His footsteps.
Second, Christian Discipleship is a Process of Transformation into Christlikeness:
God’s ultimate plan and purpose for all His children is “to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29 NKJV).
While your recreated or born-again spirit is already fully conformed to the likeness of Christ at the New Birth, your soul (will, mind and emotions) and body are yet to be conformed fully to the image or likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:22-23, 1 John 3:1-3, Phil. 3:20-21, Jam. 1:21, 1 Pet. 1:9).
Discipleship is the process whereby “you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24 NKJV).
This process is personal, specific, progressive and cumulative. It is a process that will continue till you see the Lord Jesus face to face at His second coming (1 John 3:1-3, Col. 3:3-4).
The transformative process of the believers into Christlikeness is not automatic; it does not happen on its own. It involves the believer’s active participation, commitment, and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
If you want to be progressively transformed into Christlikeness in your will, emotions, conduct or character, you must seek to renew your mind increasingly by constantly beholding the glory of Jesus Christ in the pages of the Bible and abiding in the teaching of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18, Rom. 12:1-2, Jam. 1:21-25).
Third, Christian Discipleship is a Daily, Lifelong Walk with the Lord Jesus:
Discipleship is travelling daily with the Lord Jesus on the narrow path that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14). It is a lifelong spiritual journey. It is a daily commitment to deny yourself, to take up your cross and follow the Lord Jesus. It is choosing to learn from the Lord daily and to walk in His footsteps (John 14:1-10, 1 Pet. 2:21-24).
Although discipleship journey with the Lord Jesus starts when you deliberately, consciously and voluntarily accede or submit to the Lordship of Jesus; however, it is a lifelong journey that will culminate in reigning with the Lord Jesus when He comes back to set up His physical kingdom on the earth (Luke 22:28-30, John 8:30-32).
A true disciple of Christ never quits or stops learning from the Lord Jesus, denying himself, bearing his cross daily and following the Lord Jesus.
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (NKJV).
Fourth, Christian Discipleship is Christ Increasing and Self Decreasing in the Believers:
Discipleship is journeying from a self-centred, self-focused, self-dependent, self-driven or self-motivated lifestyle to a Christ-centred, Christ-focused, Christ-dependent, Christ-driven, or Christ-motivated lifestyle.
The mindset, desire, goal or pursuit of a disciple is “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV).
Lastly, Discipleship is Making Disciples for Christ:
Discipleship is raising or making disciples for Christ of all the nations. This is the Lord’s command to His disciples (Matt. 28:16-20).
Discipleship is the process of bearing or producing fruit for Christ.
The Lord Jesus commands His disciples in John 15:
16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (NKJV).
Discipleship is teaching others all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ has taught and commanded. It is supervising, helping and encouraging other believers in their discipleship journey to Christ-likeness. (2 Tim. 2:1-2, Matt. 28:19-20, Col. 1:28-29).
While teaching and helping others to become disciples of Christ, you must bear it in mind that Jesus Christ is the only true and ultimate Master.
Paul, a great discipler, said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1 NKJV).
You are only permitted to follow others as they follow the Lord Jesus. It is also not wise to compare God’s dealings with you with that of other disciples, for God’s dealings with each disciples are personal, unique and specific (John 21:20-22).
2 Corinthians 10:
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (NKJV).
Beloved, discipleship journey oftentimes involves rising and falling, making mistakes and learning from them, and learning from the mistakes of others, chastening, discipline, rebuke and correction from other mature disciples chosen and appointed by God to supervise and help you in your spiritual journey, growth and development into Christlikeness (Heb. 12:1-11, Gal. 4:1-2).
When you have made a significant progress in your discipleship journey or relationship with the Lord Jesus; your speech, values, pursuits, mindsets, character, conduct or lifestyle will undoubtedly show to those around you that you have been with the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Peter and John were arrested, interviewed and scrutinized by the members of the great council of the nation of Israel, it was obvious to the elders and rulers of Israel that they had been with Jesus.
13 Now when they saw that Peter and John were without fear, though they were men of no education or learning, they were greatly surprised; and they took note of them that they had been with Jesus. (BBE).
Friend, if you are interested in learning more about Christian Discipleship, or you desire to be in a discipleship relationship, visit our online School of Discipleship today for a free registration and discipleship training @ www.theschoolofdiscipleship.org.uk
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my eyes of understanding to what true Christian Discipleship is. Dear Holy Spirit, lead me into a discipleship relationship with those that you have ordained to help me make progress in my discipleship journey into Christlikeness, in Jesus’ name. Amen.