Defining Disciple

discipleTherefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19 NLT

Over the years, definitions of words have changed. Artificial once meant full of artistic or technical skill. Now it means not real. A nice person was someone who was ignorant or unaware. Now nice people are sweet. To be awful meant something was wonderful, delightful, or amazing. Awful now means terrible. When something was manufactured, it was created by craftsmen. Manufactured items currently include items created by machines. Counterfeit meant a perfect copy of something, but now something counterfeit is not a perfect copy. Tells original meaning was to count, like a teller. Sharing information is now considered telling.

Individuals and churches that want to be transformational must know an accurate definition of disciple. A disciple is someone who trusts Christ as Savior, grows in their relationship with him, and follows his guidance in witnessing and serving.

Disciples Have Trusted Christ as Their Savior

Recognizing one’s sinfulness, repenting, and following Christ are necessary to become a disciple of Christ. Apart from doing those things, no one can be a Christ follower. Family heritage, baptism, church membership, good works, or charitable giving have no bearing. It’s all about a relationship. No one can make disciples who is not one first.

Disciples Grow in Their Walk with Christ

People pass through spiritual stages: spiritually dead, spiritual infant, spiritual child, spiritual young adult, and spiritual parent. Everyone must determine where they are. Am I where I am because I should be or because I’ve failed to do some things that propel me forward? Am I an infant or child when I should be a young adult or parent? Am I where Christ expects me to be?

But how do we grow? Growing is an individual responsibility. No one is responsible for us, nor will God make us grow. God’s desire is to conform us to his Son’s image, but we must cooperate in the process. When we don’t grow, we are challenged.

The requirements for growth are simple but challenging: Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and using our gifts.

Disciples Follow God’s Guidance as They Witness and Serve

Disciples want to follow, learn, and impact. They are spiritual parents, or at least moving in that direction. They want others to experience what they have and are not interested in keeping the good news to themselves.

Questions to consider include whether or not hell is even aware of our church, or whether the demons discuss it and conclude it’s not a threat? If our church shut its doors, would anyone notice? And then there’s the matter of my personal life.

Discipleship is not an option, nor is it synonymous with entertainment. It is the business of the church. Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples.

What are some steps you could take to increase your discipleship activities?


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