Additional Discussion Questions and Topics to be used with Disciple-Makers-to-Be
POTENTIAL CHURCH GROWTH THROUGH
(rather than just through addition)
God designed a system of multiplication whereby humans have populated the earth. A married couple incapable of having children is often viewed as sad, yet there is little surprise in many churches when believers are not spiritually reproducing or being involved in the spiritual growth of others / making disciples.
Consider that church growth through multiplication is much more productive over the long term than just addition. This is very important, because the seeming short-term ineffectiveness of personal discipleship has led many to the illusion that it really is not the best method.
The figures in the column on the left represent the number of converts if a Christian were able to win one person to Christ each and every day of the year. (addition)
The figures in the column on the right represent the number of fruitful disciples if each Christian was faithful during each 6-month period to mentor just one new convert to a level of spiritual maturity whereby that Christian could be used by the Lord, in turn, to mentor another convert. (multiplication)
At the beginning, the figures on the right are less impressive, because growth takes time. However, it has a much greater long-term benefit. Where should you spend the most energy?
2 Timothy 2:2 And what you (Timothy) have heard from me (Paul) in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
POINTS TO CONSIDER AND DISCUSS
1) Many times, a new believer (after accepting the gift of salvation by grace through Christ) is simply given a Bible and expected to effectively grow to spiritual maturity. Is that realistic?
While it is possible, we think it is the exception. Because some new believers appear to grow spiritually with little individual mentoring, wrong conclusions may be drawn.
We are tempted to ask, “Why can’t more Christians grow like that?” In the secular world there are those who excel without much help from others, but they are the exception.
For instance, we can hand a computer manual to 100 people who have no prior computer understanding. A few will manage, with difficulty, to eventually figure things out. But the vast majority will become frustrated and decide that a computer really isn’t worth all the hassle.
Many Christians left on their own, reach the same conclusion regarding the Christian life.
Which would you prefer: to be given a computer manual to learn on your own, or to have someone take the time to personally tutor you through the beginning phases and answer your questions?
We could truthfully state that the manual has all the knowledge you’ll need, and it is clearly presented.
If you were building a house but were inexperienced, how many people could do a decent job with just being handed the blueprints and instructions for building a house? Not many.
2) Can’t the Holy Spirit teach / mentor a new believer?
While the Holy Spirit is promised to teach us and help us understand, the Biblical analogy of a new believer being like a baby in 1 Thessalonians 2:3-13 shows us that they will develop more quickly and healthier with individual care.
The command to “make disciples” conveys much more than the idea of just handing someone a Biblical manual. The Holy Spirit expects older Christians to be available for His use in the process of spiritual coaching / mentoring / parenting, just as He wants them to be available as witnesses when He chooses to convict an unbeliever.
In this transition, your congregation becomes spiritually healthy, and spiritual reproduction should be observable and measurable, and everyone should be in the process of either being spiritually mentored or mentoring someone.
As believers grow spiritually, we should see the transition from simply being a convert to becoming a Biblical disciple of Jesus Christ.
3) Isn’t a Spiritual Gift needed to disciple?
MISCONCEPTION: There is a common misconception that the average Christian cannot effectively mentor another believer unless they are “spiritually gifted.” We don’t believe there is scriptural basis for that belief.
REALITY: Most Christians correctly believe that they should be available to the Lord to be a witness to the unsaved, even though there is not a “witnessing” gift. Likewise, there is not a “discipling” gift.
This misconception can be a convenient rationale to excuse the lack of discipleship. Church leadership ought to convey to congregations that every Christian should be available to the Holy Spirit as a witness and a spiritual mentor.
God has not intended for every believer to be gifted as an “evangelist”.
Ephesians 4:11 And He personally gave … some evangelists, …
But God has intended for every believer to be available to Him as a “witness” (not a spiritual gift.)
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses …
1 Peter 3:15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
God has not intended for every believer to be gifted as a “teacher”.
Ephesians 4:11 And He personally gave … some pastors and teachers
Romans 12:6-8 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: … if teaching, in teaching;
But God has intended for every believer to be available to Him as a “discipler / mentor” (that is, a “spiritual parent”), which is not a spiritual gift.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-13 … instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. … like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you …
John 12:24-26 I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.…
Matthew 28:18-20 (Command to the Church) Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
Both the command to be witnesses, as well as the command to make disciples, were given to the Church at large, not just to those who were physically present at the time. (Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8)
Every believer should be seen as a potential witness, as well as a potential discipler (“spiritual parent / spiritual mentor”).
4) Some reasons why Christians may be reluctant to make a commitment to personally mentor a new believer:
I don’t feel adequate
That’s not my gift
I don’t have enough Biblical understanding
I don’t want to be a hypocrite
I’m too busy, over committed
These reasons are usually based on the appraisal of their personal capabilities, rather than faith in God’s capabilities. Many Christians would greatly benefit from being equipped as spiritual mentors.
How many parents would have children if they had waited until they felt their parenting skills were adequate?
Have any of these reasons affected you either in the past or in the present?
Have you surrendered (Lordship) to His leadership?
Are you presently seeing God’s victory in your life?
5) Many churches don’t have an intentional process and expectation for spiritual mentoring. It often is not promoted and modeled by many older believers nor the pastors and church leaders.
The typical newer believer will imitate older believers who they look up to, or with whom they associate. Thus, every believer is a role model for other believers, even if they don’t want to be.
1 Peter 5:1-3 (leaders are told) … I exhort the elders among you: Shepherd God’s flock among you, … not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Leadership cannot just tell people what to do, but rather, show them what to do. Can Christian leaders realistically expect followers to imitate what they themselves are not modeling (by example)?
6) The church community typically focuses on making converts rather than making disciples.
Jesus, in giving us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), said to go into all the world and make disciples, not just converts. This, then, brings up the need to distinguish between a “disciple” and a “non-disciple”. We believe it is true to say that not all believers are disciples, from the Biblical standpoint.
7) Biblical truth is often presented in isolated (topical) form, without a good understanding of how it fits into the Christian life as a whole. This leads to the believer’s life becoming compartmentalized.
Imagine watching a Power Point presentation of a project, a medical procedure, or someone’s family vacation. You would normally expect the presentation to begin with an objective or an overview, and then proceed in a progressive and sequential manner.
But what if the order of the presentation was random? The presenter would be able to explain each individual picture but would generally have difficulty presenting a progressive narrative. The more complicated the material and the greater the unfamiliarity of the viewer, the more difficult it would be to try to make sense out of the presentation.
Many times the Christian life is presented in a similar random order. Thus, the newer believer may have a difficult time trying to fit the isolated pieces together in a sensible way. That is why we recommend that the mentoring relationship begin with a visual overview, Lesson 1-1 (Overview of the Normal Christian Life), followed by a progressive and systematic arrangement of lessons in Phase 1 (Understanding the Christian Life), proven to help make disciples who are a reflection of Jesus and become disciples who make disciples.
ANALOGY: You don’t begin building a house by picking out curtains or putting on the roof. What do you have to do first?
Look at the plans – and lay the foundation.
Then you construct the house in the proper order by putting up the walls before you put on the roof - so it will be a sturdy building.
Likewise, the lessons in Phase 1 are intentionally designed to allow the Holy Spirit to form mature believers by beginning with foundational concepts of the Christian walk.
8) Why do children of believers often become resistant to the values of their parents?
We suspect that in many cases what the child sees modeled in the home has more impact than what the child is told. In other words, a parent may make declarations of Biblical values and convictions, but the child may not adopt those same stated values and convictions if there is not a consistency in the everyday living out of those values, if “the walk doesn’t match the talk.”
If I tell my child about the importance of living for eternity, but then demonstrate by my life that this temporary life on earth is of greater importance, which will they believe, my words or my life? It is relatively easy for a Christian to portray a consistent spiritual life to those with whom they only have short periods of contact each week (Sunday mornings), but it is very difficult to hide the real life values and convictions from children who are continually watching, and imitating.
Keep in mind, however, that children have free will – and the enemy will work on them. Pray for your children (and grandchildren) daily, as you walk out your journey of Lordship (surrender) and Abiding daily (living in constant fellowship with the Lord), allowing Him to continue His transformation of you. Children will be impacted. And we have His promise: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV)
SPIRITUAL FORMATION – HOW NEW BELIEVERS GROW SPIRITUALLY
1) How does a new believer acquire spiritual understanding?
If new believers are not instructed otherwise, they will typically appropriate the values and convictions of the Christians they associate with during the formative first period of their new spiritual life, just as children tend to adopt the values and convictions (worldview) of their families and peers.
Let’s say a new Christian begins meeting with a spiritually mature small group, who immediately begin to challenge the believer’s former values and convictions That believer is either going to adopt the worldview of this group, or he will become so uncomfortable that he will seek a more “friendly” and less intrusive and prohibitive environment.
But what happens if there is not such a group of mature Christians who will take the new believer under wing? Often, the newer believer will simply attend church services, assuming that “sitting under the preaching of the Word” will lead to a spiritually mature walk.
However, negative actions and traits he observes in some members of the congregation may distort the new believer’s understanding. We believe most new believers will be impacted more by what they “see” other believers do, than what they “hear” from the pulpit. Or they may develop a list of “do’s and don’ts” and focus on behavior rather than their relationship with God, often leading to compartmentalization of their life into “God’s part” and “my part.”
If the congregation is more spiritually mature, then perhaps the combination of “hearing” Biblical truth from a pastor/teacher, together with “seeing” Biblical spirituality modeled from members of the congregation, would be a tremendous help in the healthy spiritual growth of that new believer.
Realistically evaluate the spiritual health of your congregation, and ask yourself, “Do I want a new believer to become like the ‘typical’ member of our congregation?” If the answer is no, then consider implementing a method to impart Biblical values to new believers.
Example – Modeling affects how newer believers interpret the Bible. A woman attended a one-day workshop on Discipleship and the Christian life, and later shared with her husband some of what had been discussed. That caused him to take another look at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. He had always interpreted it as saying, “go and make converts”, but now realized that it indeed said, “go and make disciples”. He was surprised that he hadn’t been reading it correctly. How had this happened?
We believe what is emphasized or de-emphasized in teaching and preaching (for instance, by omission or neglect) will bias the listener’s interpretation of the Bible (especially an impressionable newer believer) as to what is important. This Christian had read the word “disciples” but substituted “converts” in his mind.
Ideally, we should be able to incorporate new believers into a congregation and have healthy spiritual growth with a Biblical worldview. Shouldn’t a new believer be able to assume that older Christians have it all figured out? Are you satisfied with the spiritual growth, values and convictions of your congregation? In many cases the answer is “no.”
When a newer believer is simply placed in the congregation without personal mentoring, that believer will naturally feel “free to adopt” whatever they choose to. We shouldn’t expect otherwise. Would I expect my child to acquire acceptable values and convictions if I allow him/her to associate with children whose values and convictions are unacceptable, yet I don’t object? By not saying anything to the contrary, I convey that their association meets my approval.
We should not expect the newer believer to understand initially much about the Christian walk. It is only natural for newer believers to be mainly concerned with doing the right things, which means their focus is on external behavior. As stated previously, a newer believer should be able to make the assumption that if he behaves like “older” Christians, then logically he’ll be behaving in an acceptable Biblical fashion, since those older Christians have “obviously” styled their behavior on Biblical patterns. Right? NOT!
Unfortunately, many older Christians have adopted their behavior from previous older Christians who they “assumed” to be spiritual. And so, one generation follows the next. Unwittingly, many Christian leaders are “conveying” approval of this natural human process, by not ensuring that each new believer is personally helped through the formative and critical period of the Christian walk.
While it is totally natural for new believers to begin their Christian walk focusing on “external behavior”, we believe it is God’s purpose for those believers to be transformed and quickly begin to focus on living by “Biblical principles.”
More than 90% of typical daily external behavior is not addressed specifically in the Bible. The typical Christian will not transition from focusing on external behavior to focusing on Biblical principles and depending on the Holy Spirit, unless another more mature Christian is willing to put the time and energy into helping them to understand God’s purposes and His process for producing spiritual growth.
2) Let’s look at several examples of adopting “external behavior” patterns:
How does a new believer evaluate the Biblically acceptable car to drive? Clearly it is not a question addressed specifically in a Bible verse. While the Bible doesn’t say, “thou shalt not drive a car valued at more than $100,000”, many Christians wouldn’t feel comfortable driving to church in a Rolls Royce. But who can find a verse that says it’s wrong? A new believer walking through the church parking lot cannot avoid noticing that most affluent believers drive more expensive vehicles and less affluent believers tend to drive less expensive vehicles -- just like the “real” world!
How about Biblically acceptable houses? Same as for cars. Most believers choose their houses using the same principles as unbelievers do. Unless a new believer is personally instructed to pray about the decision and apply Biblical values, why should we think they’ll come to any other conclusion than, “it must be okay, since older, wiser Christians have made that determination. They know the Bible better than I do. I’m just a new believer, what do I know?”
How about Biblically acceptable eating behaviors? How obese is obese? Is it normal to be 19% over normal? How about 20% over normal? Who decides what is "normal?" If there are so many overweight believers (just like in the world), then obviously the new believer has to assume that Bible verses referring to eating were really meant for believers in a different era, since the subject is seldom addressed in most congregations.
What about smoking, drinking alcohol, wasting time, excessive working, neglect of spouses and family, financial investment in possessions, the stock market, …and the list goes on. If the new believer is allowed to continue focusing on outward external behavior, rather than on Biblical principles or asking guidance from the Holy Spirit, there is a high probability that the believer will grow into a “self-dependent” and “worldly-minded” Christian, practicing an externally acceptable spiritual life on the one hand (acceptable to Christian peers), while at the same time pursuing worldly goals of possessions, pleasures, power and popularity (to the extent they’re not offensive to Christian peers).
3.) What do we mean by the terms “self-dependent” and “worldly-minded?”
In the Bible we see a contrast between “God-dependent believers” and “self-dependent believers.” This, we believe, is the contrast brought out in Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)
We also want to distinguish between “disposition” and “acts of behavior”. What we “do” is an expression of what we “are.” See the two examples below.
1. Example: King David and King Saul
(for a deeper discussion go to Lesson 3-3)
King David was described by God as a “God-dependent believer” (referring to the disposition of his heart).
Acts 13:22 – After removing Saul, He made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’(NIV)
But nobody would suggest that David's behavior was pleasing to God when he committed adultery and murder.
On the other hand, King Saul’s heart disposition was characterized by a pattern of “self-dependence.” As a result, when faced with decisions related to behavior, King Saul consistently “leaned on his own human understanding”, rather than walking by faith in God’s leading.
I Samuel 15:10-11 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.”
It is important to note that God-dependent believers do not always trust God in every situation, and self-dependent believers often call upon the Lord in times of distress and crisis.
2. Example: Joshua and Caleb
(for a deeper discussion go to Lesson 3-4)
There is a clear contrast between Joshua and Caleb and the other ten Israelite tribal leaders. All were sent by God to survey the Promised Land. All twelve men saw the same things, but only two men, Joshua and Caleb, had a “faithful” heart disposition that led them to trust God’s promise. The other ten had a disposition of trusting in their own human reasoning, which led them to forfeit God’s intended blessings.
Joshua 14:7-8 (Caleb relates) I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. (NIV)’
Numbers 14:24 God says of Caleb, …But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. (NIV)’
In the DTI discipleship materials, we use the terms “God-dependent” or “spiritual” to describe believers who have chosen to acknowledge God as the One who can best oversee and manage their lives, and who view themselves as “servants of God their Master” (Lordship).
We use the terms “self-dependent” and “worldly-minded” to describe believers who have either willingly, or ignorantly, not chosen to acknowledge and accept the authority and Lordship of Christ over their life.
Unfortunately, we believe the Biblical concept of “self-dependence” would characterize many believers in the American evangelical Christian community today. What about your church?
Again, we want to clarify that the terms “God-dependent” and “self-dependent” apply to “heart attitude” (disposition) rather than to “external behavior.” If we convey that the Christian walk is mainly about rules, we will be unconsciously promoting the misconception of focusing on external behavior, rather than the Biblical concept of focusing on the “internal transformation,” from which external behavior is derived.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Matthew 12:34 … For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.
ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND TOPICS
1. DTI’s desire is to present the concept of discipleship as a commitment to spiritually mentor or “spiritually parent” a disciple-in-the-making, in contrast to the prevalent idea that discipleship is simply a “transfer of Biblical knowledge” that takes place, usually in a classroom or group setting. We believe that group meetings do play an important part in healthy Christian growth, but they should not take the place of personal one-on-one mentoring, which includes individualized teaching, modeling, encouragement, exhortation, etc.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of corporate meetings such as a classroom setting, or a small accountability group, and the advantages and disadvantages of one-on-one meetings?
What is the importance of each of the four major components of personal discipleship? Why is the initial period in a new Christian’s life so important for spiritual development?
2. How have I been personally impacted by the modeling of other Christians? Has it had a positive or negative impact on my life?
3. If someone were to ask me to describe a “biblical disciple”, how would I respond?
4. Do I see new believers as “spiritual babies” in Christ? Wouldn’t it seem logical to look at the characteristics of a typical human baby and compare them to new believers? Consider these three notable traits. Are there others?
1) They’re hungry
2) They’re dependent on others
3) They are self-centered.
5. Often new believers are not presented with essential spiritual concepts because there is a fear of overwhelming them with too much complex Biblical information, concluding that the Christian life can really only be understood by advanced believers.
None of the spiritual concepts presented in the DTI discipleship curriculum are overwhelming if prayerfully and clearly explained. However, if left on their own, many newer Christians will conclude that God’s provision for a healthy Christian life is totally dependent on their outward obedient behavior and/or Biblical knowledge and understanding. That is overwhelming.
6. The excitement commonly observed in a new Christian’s life is often mistakenly taken to indicate a measure of spiritual understanding. They hear that they are “new creatures in Christ,” yet soon find themselves with temptations similar to what they experienced as unbelievers.
Is it any wonder that so many Christians find themselves living like unbelievers after a few months of striving to live the “new” life that seems to be expected of them, in their own strength? Many continue to attend church services, and may be involved in Christian events and programs, but inwardly are defeated and struggling, “doing their best!” Does this resemble your personal experience in any way?
7. Personal discipleship serves to acquaint the newer believer with the general goals that God has for their life and with the process by which God typically accomplishes spiritual growth. Because each Christian is unique, only the Holy Spirit can be in charge of the spiritual growth process. Through personal discipleship, our intent is to shorten the time required for the newer believer to learn how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of spiritual growth. What should be the anticipated spiritual results of healthy discipleship? Why?
8. Ideally every new Christian should be individually mentored in order to help them in the transition from self-reliance to an increasing God-reliance, as clearly contrasted in Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.’ (NKJV)
Sadly, older Christians, who have not yet acknowledged His Lordship, will often be resistant to changes, since they typically will have become accustomed to a somewhat manageable Christian lifestyle.
Persecution and crisis are instruments that God uses to accelerate the transition to God-reliance.
Am I alert for Christians who have recently passed through a crisis and are now ready to acknowledge His Lordship over their life?
It is the Holy Spirit’s role to coordinate crisis, and my responsibility is to be available to Him when He wants to use me in the life of another who is responding to Him.
9. Do I know what spiritual gift (or gifts) I have been given by the Holy Spirit? If so, how did I come to this conclusion? Is it from observing the Lord’s involvement in my life? How has He been using me to spiritually benefit others? Has anyone else commented to me regarding my spiritual “giftedness?)
CHARACTERISTICS OF A BIBLICAL DISCIPLE
1) A pivotal issue that I must deal with is Christ’s lordship over my life.
In other words, I have considered the claims of Christ, and have concluded that the best workable relationship is for the Lord to be in charge of my entire life. One of Christ’s claims is that of ownership (having authority over that which is owned).
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
God’s ownership of me is a factual truth, which is not dependent on my acknowledgment of it. I do not bestow ownership, I can only acknowledge and act upon what He states to be already true.
New believers will typically not be resistant to this truth, because they don’t have preconceived ideas of God’s expectations. In contrast, older believers tend to accept this truth intellectually, but be resistant to the implications. What are the implications of ownership? What rights or authority are generally conveyed by ownership? Does an owner have the right to do whatever he wants with his property?
He Owns Me (Whether I Believe It or Not). His Ownership is Not Dependent on My Acceptance
It (being a disciple) involved personal allegiance to Him, expressed in following Him and giving Him an exclusive loyalty. In at least some cases it meant literal abandonment of home, business ties and possessions, but in every case readiness to put the claims of Jesus first, whatever the cost, was demanded. Such an attitude went well beyond the normal pupil-teacher relationship and gave the word ‘disciple’ a new sense. (The New Bible Dictionary)
2) A Biblical disciple has reconciled Christ’s command for His followers to accept a Master-servant relationship with Him.
Luke 14:25-33 Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. … In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
NOTE ON LUKE 14:25-33 The stress here is on the priority of love. (Compare Matthew 10:37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”)
Romans. 6:19 … so now offer them (members of our physical body) as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.
1 Corinthians 7:22 … he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave.
1 Peter 2:16 As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.
One’s loyalty to Jesus must come before his loyalty to his family or even to life itself. Indeed, those who did follow Jesus against their families’ desires were probably thought of as hating their families.
(Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Ill: Scripture Press Pub., Inc.)
3) A disciple has a desire to know God, not just know “about” Him.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 This is what the LORD says: … But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me—that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the LORD’s declaration.
Luke 10:38-42 … He (Jesus) entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
John 17:3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
4) A disciple has the attitude of one who follows the Lord, not one who “leads” the Lord.
Luke 5:10-11 … “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.
Luke 9:23-24 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.”
John 12:24-26 “I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
These four characteristics of a Biblical Disciple should not imply that as a disciple of Jesus I’m “super spiritual” or beyond the capacity to sin.
Although my acceptance of Christ’s yoke gives the Holy Spirit the freedom to mold me, I still have the capacity to disobey, and can submit to my sinful human nature for varying lengths of time.
When I make the choice to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over my life it has set the general direction of my Christian life. The everyday application of assimilated convictions will depend on my continual willingness to yield up areas of my life to His authority. The battle has been won, but there are many skirmishes.
Caution: I can find myself in a quagmire of defeat if I do not understand how to consistently abide in fellowship with the Lord. (See Lesson 1-9)
One of the responsibilities of Church leadership is to convey to the congregation that each believer should aspire to be used by the Holy Spirit as a “witness,” and also as a “discipler” (spiritual parent or mentor)
Acts 13:22 … He (God) raised up David as their king and testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man loyal to Me, who will carry out all My will.