This is a Disciple!

Mark 8.27–38

Gentlemen, this is a football …
Legendary coach, Vince Lombardi would gather his players for training camp. These guys were some of the best athletes in the world; they had played football all of their lives. And the coach would stand up in front of them, hold up a football, and say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” It’s not that he had to tell them what this object was. He wasn’t making fun of them; he was simply making the point that they were going to go back to the basics!

This is a disciple!
Today, we’re going back to the basics:

  • What is a disciple?
  • What does a disciple do?
  • What is discipleship?

Revolutionary Discipleship …
I could have simply called this sermon series, “Discipleship 101,” but Christian discipleship is either revolutionary, or it is nothing! Christian discipleship is revolutionary because Jesus was revolutionary.

Mark 8.34–38 [NLT]: That sounds pretty revolutionary to me!

Follow me …
I believe this is one of the greatest phrases in all of the Scriptures: “Follow me.” That’s what Jesus says as he invites us to join him on an adventure of a lifetime, a relationship with God.

  • You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. (John 15.16, CEV)
  • If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10.37–39, NLT)
  • Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8.12, NLT)
  • My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10.27, NLT)
  • Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me, the Father will honor them. (John 12.25–26, NLT)

Discipleship Questions …
For last month’s Charge Conference, the DS asked you to prepare responses to six discipleship-related questions. I want to talk about the first two of those questions:

  • “What is your definition of a disciple?”
  • “What does a disciple do?”

What is a disciple?
You wrote: “A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ, who develops a faith relationship with God through prayer and Bible study.”

A disciple is …

  • One who responds to Christ’s call, “Follow me.”
  • Learner/Student/Apprentice
  • Devotee
  • Follower

Rabbi’s Questions …
In Jesus’ day, rabbis chose disciples based on two things: “Does this kid know what I know (Torah)?” and, “Can this kid do what I do?” It is not enough to be a “believer.” We must be “followers”!
If you are a Christian, then you are a disciple. If you are a believer, then you are a disciple. We don’t get to choose our commitment level! We are either fully committed, or we are not faithful, obedient disciples!

What does a disciple do?
You wrote: “A disciple puts his/her faith into action by obeying God’s Word, modeling his/her life after Christ, and sharing his/her faith story with others.”

Are you going to be a spectator or a participant?
The reason I don’t care for the term “believer,” is that “believers” sometimes stop at being “spectators.” But to be a “disciple” or a “follower” means something more. You stop being just a spectator, and you start being a participant in what God is doing! And there is nothing greater than that!

A disciple …

  • Follows
  • Surrenders
  • Obeys

Ultimately, a disciple does what he/she sees Jesus doing …
This implies intimacy! For us to “see” what Jesus is doing in the world, we must be close to him, and we must pay attention to what he is doing. We must be intimate with Christ!

A pre-commitment to obey …
And the kind of disciples Jesus looks for is the kind that are ready to follow and obey. IOW, they possess a pre-commitment to obey.

The Great Commandment & the Great Commission …
Our lives are a continuation of the ministry of Christ. That’s why we’re called the “body of Christ.” We are Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. Jesus sends us into the world with the same mission he had. (Matthew 22.37–40 and Matthew 28.18–20)

What is discipleship?
Discipleship is the process of becoming like Christ. It is an ongoing process.

“If you stop learning, you will forget what you already know.” (Proverbs 19.27, CEV)

Discipleship is at the heart of who we are as Christ-followers, and it is at the heart of who we are as a church. We are disciples of Jesus Christ, growing in our personal relationship with God. We are also disciples of Jesus Christ inviting and welcoming others to join us on the Christian journey, the way of Christ!

“Follow me …”
Again, I can’t think of a greater phrase in all of Scripture than Jesus Christ, the Savior inviting us into a relationship with God, and to a life of following him! Today, I want to invite you to join me on this amazing adventure we call discipleship — revolutionary discipleship!

At the close of life, the question will not be, “How much have you gotten?” but “How much have you given?” Not “How much have you won?” but “How much have you done?” Not “How much have you saved?” but “How much have you sacrificed?” It will be “How much have you loved and served,” not “How much were you honored?” (Nathan C. Schaeffer)

1 thought on “This is a Disciple!”

  1. Enjoyed your sermon material on “Discipleship”. We just finished our series on a similar topic, discerning & distinguishing the difference between biblical discipleship and the doctrine of salvation! God blessed our studies and opened our hearts & eyes to some real essential differences. See the Chart below that we studied:
    SALVATION in contrast with DISCIPLESHIP

    Salvation is FREE and “without price” (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 55:1), although salvation is certainly not cheap (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:20).
    Discipleship is COSTLY and the cost must be counted (Luke 14:25-33).

    Salvation takes place in an instant of time (Acts 2:47).
    Discipleship is a life-long PROCESS (John 8:31; Matt28:19-20).

    Salvation is BELIEVING on Christ (Acts 16:30-31).
    Discipleship is FOLLOWING Christ (Matt 4:18-22).

    Salvation is coming to Christ and finding rest from the burden of sin (Matthew 11:28).
    Discipleship is taking Christ’s yoke and learning from Him (Matthew 11:29).

    Salvation involves CHRIST LOVING ME (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20). Discipleship involves ME LOVING CHRIST (Matthew 10:37).

    A truly saved person is one who believes the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 6:17).
    A true disciple is one who continues in Christ’s Word (John 8:31).

    To be saved a person must fall before the feet of Christ crucified and claim the mercy of God (Luke 18:13).
    To be a disciple a person must sit at the feet of Christ and hear His Word with a meek and teachable heart (Luke 10:39).

    A saved person is a BELIEVER (1 John 5:1).
    A disciple is a LEARNER [the word “disciple” means “a learner, student, pupil, adherent”].

    A saved person CONFESSES CHRIST (Rom. 10:9-10).
    A disciple DENIES SELF (Luke 9:23).

    A saved person POSSESSES CHRIST (1 John 5:12).
    A disciple FORSAKES POSSESSIONS (Luke 14:33).

    Being saved involves TRUSTING (Eph. 1:13).
    Being a disciple involves TRAINING (Matt. 28:19-20).

    Salvation involves receiving God’s gift (John 1:12; Eph. 2:8-9).
    Discipleship involves receiving God’s instruction (Acts 2:42).
    Every believer measures up to the full demands of God’s righteousness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
    Believers often do not measure up to the full demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).

    Salvation involves one’s STANDING in Christ (one’s perfect position in Him).
    Discipleship involves one’s STATE (one’s actual practice or condition).

    With salvation the emphasis is upon WHAT GOD HAS DONE (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
    With discipleship the emphasis is upon WHAT MAN MUST DO (Luke 14:25-33).

    The focus of salvation is upon the WORK OF CHRIST (1 Cor. 1:18). The focus of discipleship is upon the WORD OF CHRIST or His teaching (John 8:31).

    Salvation is GOD’S COMMITMENT to His Word based on the work of His Son (Rom. 3:24).
    Discipleship is THE BELIEVER’S COMMITMENT to Christ’s Word based on His relationship to Christ (John 6:68).

    The saved person is a SAINT (1 Cor. 1:2).
    The disciple is a STUDENT (Matt. 11:29). Some believers are better students than others.

    The invitation to salvation: COME UNTO ME (John 6:37; Matt11:28).
    The invitation to discipleship: COME AFTER ME (Luke 9:23).

    Salvation requires obedience to the command to BELIEVE (1 John 3:23a; John 3:36).
    Discipleship requires obedience to ALL of Christ’s commands (Matthew 28:19-20).

    Salvation is the sinner hearing His Word and believing on Him (John 5:24).
    Discipleship is the saint sitting at His feet and hearing His Word (Luke 10:39).

    The SINNER must not try to fulfill the demands of discipleship in order to be saved.
    This would be salvation by works.
    The SAINT seeks to fulfill all the demands of discipleship because he is saved.
    This is being saved “unto good works” (Eph. 2:10).

    Salvation involves a faith response to the message of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18; 15:1-4). Discipleship involves bearing one’s cross daily (Luke 9:53).
    God’s salvation is PERFECT, lacking nothing (Col. 2:10; 1 Cor. 1:30).
    My measuring up to the full demands of discipleship is LESS THAN PERFECT, but “I follow after” (Phil. 3:12-13).

    To be saved a person must believe on Christ (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). The requirement for salvation is simple “child-like faith” that i, trust in the all-sufficient Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
    However, To be a true disciple a person must continue in Christ’s Word, love Christ supremely, deny self, forsake all that he/she possesses, bear his/her cross daily, etc. The requirements of discipleship are many and they are difficult.

    Discipleship (and all that it involves) is not a requirement for salvation.
    Discipleship is the obligation of every saved person.

    Every saved person is saved by faith and faith alone (not by obedience or by surrender or by submission or by love for Christ or by giving up possessions, etc.).
    Every saved person is a follower of Christ because Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
    In this sense every saved person is a disciple (follower of Christ).

    Salvation relates primarily to JUSTIFICATION.
    Discipleship relates primarily to SANCTIFICATION.

    Justification and sanctification are related but they must not be confused. They must be kept distinct.
    The same is true for salvation and discipleship.

    Salvation puts a person into a right relationship with Christ the Teacher.
    Discipleship is an ongoing relationship and interaction between Teacher and student (a lifelong PROCESS).

    In His Grace & Grip,
    bruce <><


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