Discipleship is an essential part of being a follower of Christ. But what does it really look like to be a disciple – or to make disciples?
Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV) As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
There is a call to be a disciple of Jesus before we are commissioned to make disciples.
- “Come” – leave your position.
- “Follow” – let me lead.
- “Me” – shift your focus.
“Come follow me” is a calling out. “And I will send you out” is a calling out that results in a sending out. “To fish for people” is a calling out that results in a sending out on a spiritual mission.
To be a disciple is to be a student, a pupil, and a learner. You can’t be a disciple if you are not teachable. And you won’t be teachable if you think you know best. A disciple is marked by humility, surrender and discipline. Discipleship is not about life skills – it is about spiritual growth. So, how closely do you follow Jesus? How completely do you follow Jesus?
The call to be a disciple precedes the commission to make disciples. We must follow before we lead; and we must follow as we lead. The commission to make disciples will always be the result of the call to be a disciple. There comes a point in our spiritual journey that if we are not making disciples, then we are not being a disciple.
MAKING FRIENDS OR MAKING DISCIPLES?
God created us for relationship, and friendships are important. Yet within the Church, and within groups of believers, friendship can easily rise to the forefront of our focus and intention, and discipleship can get neglected or ignored. One of the main reasons that we may not be making disciples is that we focus too much on being liked.
If we are doing what God has commissioned us to do, not everyone will like us. We need to settle this issue. Have you read about the life of Jesus and the early apostles?! The world won’t always like us.
John 15:18-19 (NIV) If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
But Jesus likes you, and Jesus calls you friend! Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, and He chose us to go and bear fruit that will last. There are certain things that you won’t say or do if your primary focus is on making friends rather than making disciples. The moment we make it more about making friends than making disciples, we lose our way.
WHAT DOES MAKING DISCIPLES LOOK LIKE?
Making disciples is walking with people towards God. Making disciples involves corporate learning and private learning. Making disciples involves baptising people into the fullness of who God is.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Discipleship should explore the question, “Who do you say God is?” Discipleship involves talking about the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Making disciples includes teaching people to obey everything God has commanded.
- Explore questions such as, “What has God said about…salvation, righteousness, sanctification, justification, atonement, forgiveness, grace, faith, love, purity, spiritual gifts, eternal life, etc.”
- Look together at truth that matters from the Word of God, and look at present issues through the lens of what the Bible says, not through what other people are saying.
The primary commission of a godly leader is to make disciples, not to lead a department or to make decisions.
Discipleship means that every believer is:
- Equipped to have a deepening relationship with the Father
- Equipped to be a more accurate reflection of Jesus
- Equipped to have a greater dependence on the Holy Spirit
WHO ARE YOU BEING DISCIPLED BY?
- Being discipled is not vague, it is intentional and relational.
- Discipleship means giving someone authority to speak into your life.
- A disciple submits to their teacher’s authority, and receives insight, training, and correction from them. Submitting to authority is God’s protection in our lives – it helps us to see our blind spots, and therefore, helps us to walk in greater freedom. Submitting to authority guards against pride and helps us to walk in humility.
WHO ARE YOU DISCIPLING?
- Discipling others takes time and intentionality.
- Discipling others involves living a life worth following.
- Discipling others involves speaking prophetically into God’s intention for them.
- Discipling others involves direction and correction when necessary.
- Discipling others is always fueled by love and by a holy sense of divine commission.
Imagine what the church globally would look like if every believer picked up the commission of discipleship! The Church is Jesus’ bride. We want to be prepared for the return of Jesus – and our role as believers and disciple makers is to prepare as many others as possible to live in the divine power of the Holy Spirit and to walk in spiritual authority.
What is the next step that Father wants you to take on your journey of being a disciple?
What is the next step that Father wants you to take on your journey of being a disciple maker?
HEAR STEVE SPEAK ON DISCIPLESHIP HERE.