FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

"Are You A Disciple of Christ?"

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 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, 20 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.

 

There are virtually millions of people, who attend worship services, who believe, and may even attempt to know the scriptures. However, have no concept of what it is to be a disciple of Christ!

In our opening text, Jesus commanded His chosen Apostles to go into the world and make disciples! Making disciples is the goal of evangelizing the world. He didn't send them out to tell nice stories:

2 Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

He did not send them out to teach human wisdom or educate according to the wisdom of men (they were educated by the Spirit of God, Who gave them the words of Christ):

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 11:6 “Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.” (the Apostle Paul)

 

He did not send them out to create charities :

Acts 6:2 “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.”

 

No, He sent them to make disciples !!!

Our purpose in this lesson is to make clear what is involved in being a true disciple of Jesus Christ!

 

1) What is a Disciple?

The word comes from the Greek, “ Manthano ”, which means, ‘a learner'. It is always used in reference to a pupil of someone or teacher, in contrast to the teacher or instructor.

In the New Testament its meaning often differs from that of everyday Greek use. In all contextual application, it implies that the person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but that he is also in practice, an adherent.

For this reason, disciples were spoken of as imitators of, or those that pertain to Christ. From this point we would see the term ‘disciples' change to that of Christian or saint (those that pertain to Christ, or are set apart to Him):

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”

 

2) What is the Purpose of a Disciple?

Simply put, a disciple is to be like his teacher! In Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount, he would record the teachings of Jesus, note:

Luke 6:40 “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”

This would be the focus of Apostolic instruction, note:

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”

 

Since a disciple is to be like his teacher, the portion of the word disciple that means to adhere; the application portion, is what completes the disciple of Jesus Christ. To learn without application, is to discredit the wisdom of the teacher as unworthy of your support!

Hebrews 5:8-9 “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”

It is through the teachings of Jesus Christ that we become disciples and the disciples of Jesus Christ are zealous for good works :

 

Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that , denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

 

To those who have taught that obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an option, this passage to Titus, who is teaching Christians on the isle of Crete , must be taken special note of.

Jesus Christ appeared to all men, and now instructs them (teacher, instructor). Note that there is a specific lifestyle that He expects those who learn from Him to live towards. When we fall short of that lifestyle patterned after Him, He redeems use from our missteps, so that we can continue to be zealous for good works!

But only for those who are truly disciples of Christ!

 

3) What Are Some Identifying Marks of a Disciple?

One of the most important marks of a disciple of Christ is that they abide in the doctrine of Christ, only! These have not chosen two masters; they have not undermined the wisdom of the teacher by supplementing His teaching with another.

2 John 9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

To abide in something is to continue in it with all perseverance. In other words, not just begin something but see it through to its completion.

 

Another important mark of a disciple of Christ is their willingness to love their brethren. The disciples of Christ are as diverse a group of individuals as can exist; however, the master teacher loves them all! As a disciple of Christ, we must likewise exhibit this same trait, note:

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus gave this command to His chosen on His last night with them. Just prior to giving this command, He donned the towel of a servant and washed their feet. This display from the master to the student would become the illustration for a disciple of Christ. The Old Testament standard of treating others as you would like to be treated has been significantly upgraded. Not just as you want to be treated, but esteem your brethren better than yourself (you might say from golden rule to platinum rule or Jesus rule!).

Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

 

Finally, and probably one of the most important marks of a disciple of Christ is that they are to bear fruit:

Colossians 1:9-10 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Did you notice that this is a continuous process? As you are filled with knowledge of His will you are to be fruitful in every good work, then learn more, then produce more fruit, then learn more, etc…

Many a Christian establishes their service to the Lord based on what they want to do in contrast to what they can do or even what they can be trained to do ! A true disciple of Christ will not only do what they like to do, but all they can learn to do!

 

The point should be crystal clear, a disciple of Christ means far more than just a casual church attendee. It requires commitment, especially in regard to the teachings of Christ, the love of the brethren, and bearing fruit to the glory of God.

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Jesus told His Apostles to make disciples in every nation. He would command them to go into the world and preach the Gospel so that the world could believe that He is the Christ (Mark 16:15 -16). He would enhance this process by stating through His Apostles that all men were to repent (turn away from sin).

Acts 17:30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,”

 

As in the commands of the commission itself, Jesus would teach through His Apostles that one must be Baptized for the remission of sins and to be added to the body of Christ.

Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

 

Finally, the disciple of Christ becomes a servant of righteousness by obeying the doctrine of Christ (their teacher).

Romans 6:17-18 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

Then based on what we have learned from this lesson, continue to learn, grow, and improve your service to the Lord bearing fruit to the glory of God!