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What is a Disciple?

Disciples

Since the beginning of the year, I have been participating in a discipleship process with Gerry Lewis from the Harvest Baptist Association – Dangerous Pastors. Part of the process was to come up with a definition of a disciples. For the last nine months or so I have been thinking about my definition. What I have come to is that:

A disciple is someone who follows Jesus in loving God, loving others, serving the world, spreading the gospel, and bringing others along to do the same.

I believe Scripture supports this definition. So let’s break that definition down using God’s Word.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Loving God.

We see evidence that this is what a disciples does in Matthew 22. If you remember, a lawyer, one of the Pharisees, comes to Jesus to test Him.

In verse 36 he says,

““Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Mt 22:36)

To which Jesus replies,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Mt 22:37–38)

So Jesus tells us that a disciple is someone who loves God.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus  in Loving Others

The second thing Jesus says to the lawyer who questions Him in chapter 22 is:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:39)

Which is the second greatest commandment. Then He goes on by saying,

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” (Mt 22:40)

So according to Jesus, a disciple is someone who not only loves God, but also loves others.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus  in Serving the World

In Matthew chapter 20, the mother of the sons of Zebedee come to Jesus asking if her sons could be placed over everyone else in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus responds by telling her He can’t do that because it is up to His Father who gets those seats.

Hearing this, the other disciples get mad at the two brothers for trying to edge them out, for trying to use their mom to get a position they wanted, so a fight ensues among the disciples.

Seeing His disciples fighting, Jesus steps in and says,

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mt 20:25–28)

So Jesus tells us a disciple is one who serves, just like He is one who serves, which means it shouldn’t be about us and our comfort. Rather it should be about others and what we can do for them. How we can serve them.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, but they are also someone who serves the world.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Spreading the Gospel

Matthew 28 tells us we are to go and spread the gospel, to bring the good news to our neighbors, to our family, to our friends, to our co-workers, to city, to our state, to our country, and to the nations. Jesus is commanding us, He is commissioning us, to spread the good news just as He has been doing throughout His entire ministry.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, serves the world, but they are also someone who spreads the gospel.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Bringing Others Along

If you think about it, that is what Jesus has been doing throughout His entire ministry. Almost right away, He called Twelve Men to follow Him, and He brought them along on the journey with Him. As He did, He taught them what it meant to Love God, Love Others, Serve the World, and Spread the Gospel.

We are to imitate Jesus. We are to bring others along on the journey with us to help them grow in these areas as we are growing in these areas.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, serves the world,  spreads the gospel, but they also bring others along to do the same thing they are doing — Loving God, Loving Others, Serving the World, and Spreading the Gospel.

Question for Reflection

  1. What is your definition of a disciple?

Resources

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Where Do We Find Wisdom?

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Man is always searching. Searching for happiness, understanding, knowledge, wisdom. Sadly, for most, their search will never end. That’s because they are looking in the wrong place – the world. You see, the things of this world can’t provide us with ultimate satisfaction, understanding, knowledge, or wisdom.

Job Speaks Up

Thankfully, someone who understands that speaks up and tells us that this world can’t provide what we seek.

““Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.” (Job 28:9-11)

Where Do We Find Wisdom?

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.

“From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. Abaddon and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

“God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”” (Job 28:12–28)

According to Job, we can’t find wisdom in this world. Wisdom is only found in the Lord. It’s only for those who fear Him and turn from evil.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you agree with Job that Wisdom is found in the Lord?

Resource

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On God’s Grace

Quotes

Isaac Watts wrote a hymn in which he takes up our Lord’s image of salvation being like a great banquet. Picture yourself coming into a grand banqueting hall where a marvelous feast is spread out for you.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry, with thankful hearts, 
“Lord, why was I a guest?”

Does this not amaze you? Lord, why me? Why am I in Christ? Why did you bring me in? Why has your grace laid hold of me?

Why was I made to hear thy voice
And enter while there’s room
When Thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste
And perished in our sin

Apart from God’s grace, you would never have come to Christ, and neither would I. Our sinful hearts would have taken us away. We would be outside, like thousands of others, still refusing to come.

So let God’s grace lead you to worship. Once you taste God’s grace, you will spend the rest of your life coming back to this question: ‘Why me?’ The staggering answer is that He loved you simply because He loved you.

Question for Reflection

  1. Does your unworthiness of God’s grace drive you to worship Him?

Resources

Colin Smith, Jonah: Navigating a God-centered Life, 99.

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On Being Apart of God’s Grand Drama

Quotes

The Word of God invites us into the unfolding cosmic drama of which we have always played a part, even without being aware of it.

Our childhood experiences, triumphs, and tragedies are all part of God’s shaping of our lives, which are, more importantly, about the shaping of His story.

When we understand that our lives are not a random collection of experiences but rather a part of God’s grand drama we discover that we are gifted by God, blessed with talents and treasures, not for our own ends, but as resources to contribute to His plan to redeem the world by His Word.

Leaders then begin to recognize the design and purpose inherent in their lives.

Question for Reflection

  1. How have your life experiences shaped the way the Lord uses you today?

Resources

Quoted from Mark Sayers, Facing Leviathan, 70

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The Gospel and the Christian Life – Part 6

The Gospel and the Christian Life

Over the next several weeks we are going to follow the story line of Scripture from Creation to Jesus’ return in an effort to deepen our understanding of the Gospel and how Christians are to live after they have professed Christ as Lord and Savior. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

What do those who profess Jesus as their Savior believe?

When you profess Him as Savior, you are saying you believe several things:

  • You believe if it weren’t for Jesus and His death on the cross, you would receive punishment for your sins — When Jesus dies on the cross, He is punished in your place.
  • You believe you can’t save yourself — There is nothing you can do. No amount of good works (service, helping others, living right) will ever be able to pay for your sins.
  • You believe you are not good enough to have a relationship with God — You are a sinner whose sin hinders your relationship with God. We can only have a relationship with God through our belief in Jesus.
  • You believe you are a sinner who must turn from (repent) of your sin — Christians don’t continue to live a life of sin. Instead they turn from their sin and try to live like Jesus.
  • You believe nothing else is needed for salvation but belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior — All that is required of you to be saved is to believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior. There is nothing else we must do in order to be saved.
  • You believe your salvation is a gift — You did nothing to earn your salvation. God gave you the faith to believe in Jesus as your Savior, which means your salvation was a gift from God.

Reflect

  1. Do we need to do anything more than believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior to be saved?
  2. What would happen to us if we did not believe Jesus was our Savior?
  3. Do you believe Christians should live differently after they have professed Jesus as their Savior?
  4. Do you believe salvation can be earned?

Resources

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Some posts’ structure influenced by Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware

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On the World’s False Promises

Quotes

De Maupassant’s narrative begins with a pretty woman living in the country who dreams of Paris whilst sleeping next to her snoring husband.

She had never “known a thing beyond the hideously banal monotony of regularly performed duties, which by all accounts was what happily married life consisted of.” For her, Paris is a dream world of escape – the city of lights, “representing the height of all magnificent luxury as well as licentiousness.”

The Promise

The woman’s lusty view of Paris has been cultivated by a steady diet of newspaper gossip, creating in her mind the model of a very different kind of man to her white-collar, small-town, conservative husband. Instead she dreamed of

“Men who made the headlines and shone like brilliant comets in the darkness of her sombre sky. She pictured the madly exciting lives they must lead, moving from one den of vice to the next, indulging in never-ending and extraordinarily voluptuous orgies, and practicing such complex and sophisticated sex as to defy the imagination. It seemed to her that behind the facades of the houses lining the canyon-like boulevards of the city, some amazing erotic secret must lie.”

The Fear of Missing Out

The woman, no longer able to resist the lure of the city, gripped by a nineteenth-century version of “the fear of missing out,” concocts an excuse to travel to Paris.

Giving Into the Allure of the Promise

Once arrived, she searches the streets looking for tantalizing scandal and spectacle. She fruitlessly searches the cafes, “Nowhere could she discover the dens of iniquity about which she had dreamed.”

Her dreams decomposing, she by chance happens upon an aging celebrity writer in one of the new department stores. Throwing aside her usual reserve, she aggressively flirts with him. The writer takes her on a tour of the sights and sounds of Paris.

At the theatre, thrillingly, “she was seen by the entire audience, sitting by his side in the first row of the balcony.” As the entertainment ends, the writer bids her goodnight. She, however, is determined to cross for the first time into the landscape of adultery and offers to accompany him home.

The Let Down

After an awkward and unsatisfying sexual encounter, the woman lies awake in the writer’s bed, wondering what she has done. She spends the night staring at the unattractive features of the man who, like her husband, snores and snorts through the night. She continues to stare, repulsed as the man’s saliva dribbles down his mouth as he sleeps. She flees home feeling as though

“Something inside her, too, had now been swept away, through the mud, down to the gutter and finally into the sewer had gone all the refuse of her over-excited imagination. Returning home, the image of Paris swept inexorable clean by the cold light of day filled her exhausted mind, and as she reached her room, sobs broke from her now quite frozen heart.”

Question for Reflection

  1. When did you discover this world cannot satisfy us?

Resources

Quoted from Mark Sayers, Facing Leviathan, 55-56

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On the Power of God

Quotes

If one wished to contend with him (God),
one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
when he overturns them in his anger,
who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble;
who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
who seals up the stars;
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the sea;
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
10  who does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
11  Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
12  Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

Question for Reflection

  1. Have you tried contending with God? If so, what did you discover?

Resources

Job 9:3-12

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