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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Becoming faithful learners and followers of Jesus Christ

by Jeff Hegstrom

What is discipleship?
It’s an organic process where believers lay healthy biblical foundations in their lives that bring growth and movement from spiritual infancy, to spiritual adolescence, to spiritual maturity … it’s becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ example of discipleship:
All throughout the Gospels, Jesus models what true discipleship looks like.  From his personal invitation to leave everything behind and follow him, to the way he walked and lived out his life.  With his disciples he taught, modeled, challenged, corrected, revealed, comforted, and empowered.  Jesus invited his disciples to be with him in every circumstance of life, to be transformed in personal character to be like him. That transformation is at the heart of biblical discipleship.

What do you think is the outcome of true biblical discipleship? 

Here are a couple of questions to ponder:

  • Who is the disciple learning from? 
  • Who is the disciple following?

A biblical disciple is a “learner and follower” of Jesus Christ.
For a Jewish disciple, it was their ambition to learn and grow to become a master teacher or a rabbi; and to have their own disciples who would follow and learn from them. But, Jesus called His disciples to remain His disciples and to be followers of Him only.  Following Jesus means being in relationship with him and wholeheartedly serving him while traveling in life’s journey.

Discipleship is all about learning from and living out life in the ways of Jesus, the Master Teacher.
John 13:13-15, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow.  Do as I have done to you.”
1 Peter 2:21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”

The goal of discipleship is to becoming more like Jesus.           
Luke 6:40, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Here are four responsibilities as a growing disciple of Jesus Christ?

  • Greatest Commandment:
    Matthew 22:36-39, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and Greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
    John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
  • A Life Surrendered and Centered in Christ:
    Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
  • Obedience to the Word of God:
    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
    John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.“
  • Great Commission:
    Jesus teaches us that as His disciples ... you and I are also called to be disciple makers. Jesus wants every believer to intentionally share what we are learning from Him with those that God has placed in our lives that they may also come to know Him and follow Him.

    As the Master Teacher, Jesus calls His disciples (every believer) in Matthew 28:19-20 to “Go into all the world and make disciples of every nation, 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.”
What is one area of personal discipleship that you would like to grow in?
What is God’s role in growing your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Learning from the Parable of the Growing Seed
Mark 4:26-29, “He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

1 Corinthians 3:6 and 7, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants not he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

What is God revealing to you about His role in your life in becoming more like His son Jesus Christ?
Taking it to the next level:
Mark on the line below at what stage of growth you relate to currently in this organic process of biblical discipleship.

-- Infant ------- Adolescence -------------- Mature --

Why did you choose to mark this place on the line?                                                            

Come up with two or three steps you could take toward growing as a disciple?

What one step will you commit to doing over the next two weeks to grow toward becoming a spiritually mature disciple?  

Discipleship is one of the evidences of what Relevant Ministry calls - the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health".  RM Coaching helps to assess all 7 Marks, providing an insightful check-up for personal spiritual health.  The RM team is writing about all 7 Marks, focusing on one topic a month with a new Blog article each week.  The topic this month is Ministry.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

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Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

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