Friday, October 31, 2008

Discipleship, "What Is It?" part 3

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19 ESV

Once we have recognized that our character is in need of ongoing development, discipleship is the “vehicle” for the Godly development of our character!

This term “make disciples” has much more to do with developing lasting relationships then it does with simply making converts! “Make disciples”, suggests the deep shaping of one’s character and the cultivation of one’s world-view through a close, personal relationship between the discipler and his disciple.

Discipleship is the process in which one is transformed, over time, into Christ-likeness.

“The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down.”

George Whitefield

In a nutshell, discipleship is...

·         REPRODUCTION!! – “LIFE giving LIFE”

·         learning and teaching “Life Principles of the Kingdom

·         the empowering of others as God has empowered us

·         a committed relationship through which an individual receives ongoing council, instruction, encouragement and correction—enabling growth and maturity in Christ, thus becoming a fully devoted follower of JESUS

“It’s the biblical means to bring about positive change in the everyday lives of believers—or in the lives of everyday believers.” Bill McCartney

The disciple is a learner, open and teachable. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”. Proverbs 9:9-10 The disciple seeks to be proficient* in his walk with the Lord, it’s not at all about perfection—for we are made perfect only in Christ but a disciple does need to strive to do his best for the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:22-24

* Proficiency comes from trying to do everything well through commitment to excellence. God has equipped each of us with skills and He gives us gifts for the complete accomplishment of His will, in us and in the world. The only hindrance to proficiency is ones level of commitment to excellence—we MUST find out what God’s will is for us and be about His business! For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8-11

A great deal of what discipleship is… is learning to view life through the eyes of God. A disciple will find it extremely hard to be successful in the walk of faith without proper “Perspective & Vision”.

-         perspective - the aspect in which things or circumstances are mentally or naturally viewed

-         vision - the aspect in which things or circumstances are viewed otherwise than by ordinary sight

For the disciple of Jesus Christ, it’s not a matter of either/or but a healthy blend of the two aspects for viewing life—God created us with the capacity to see in the natural, but He wants us to come and gain His perspective, “God-vision”, for walking through what we see in the natural (the stuff & circumstances of life). Unfortunately, good clear perspective mixed with “God-vision” are rare commodities among Christians, we tend to get stuck in the here and now—our immediate circumstances and situations…we must decide to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5


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