Praise the Lord saints.
The forgotten command of Discipleship for personal growth, multiplication and health of the church.
We are to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9). Paul explains God’s preservation process for the church is to continue, “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
The modern church has a problem: few are able to teach, few are faithful men.
Jesus’ command to the church Matthew 28:19 “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” “As you go on your way, teach all the nations making them your pupils (of Jesus), baptizing them.”
We tell them of Jesus, we baptize, but we neglect the teaching of them personally. Christ commissioned His disciples to go and teach, make disciples, learners of him. This means they were personally involved in people’s lives, not just preaching a sermon from the pulpit on a Sunday. Some churches take this to extremes to say one is not saved unless they are being discipled and pair them up with others. Other churches avoid any type of discipleship so they are not accused of heavy shepherding. The Bible does teach to disciple others and either of these views are wrong, one is abusive the other is neglect.
Discipleship is not about one’s relationship with another Christian, it is about their relationship to Jesus (Mark 2:18, John 9:28 they are called disciples of Jesus.) In its context it means a follower, a learner of Jesus, not other men. We can understand this better by going to Acts 19 where Paul met disciples of John, those who were baptized by John and had never heard of the one whom John spoke of that was to come. So they were still following John’s teachings. Paul explained to them Jesus came and what he did and they were baptized as believers in Jesus. They then were to follow Christ.
Disciple is used only once with the same intent in the Old Testament Isa. 8:16 “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” Hebrew- limmuwd -taught, learned, discipled – taught. In the synoptic gospels the term disciples is used approximately 160 times, John 78 times, Book of Acts after the church began 28 times.
The Gospel is preached for one to be saved; then what? As one is born into the new family it is up to us to be there for them, to train them by word and example so they go from being a newborn to a mature believer. Unfortunately this is what is missing.
When we accept belief in Christ as the goal without discipleship, how can we expect growth afterwards? People cannot be equipped to do what God has called them to do when they are untrained. The whole purpose of leadership in the church
is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). For this to happen they have to actively be serving others. Because most are not taught the Scriptures properly, they have a lack of knowledge and motivation. This is why we find ourselves not being as effective as we once were.
Oftentimes we are being taught by opinions, what works, not by what is Biblically based. Our evangelism and discipleship are not outdated but there are those who claim this. Instead they offer a method base church; they are willing to borrow from business models and new age concepts because they have seen results. The church today has become very open to new ways; we borrow new methods and strategies from the world. Inside the church there are all sorts of programs used that are well intentioned but are not biblical. From bettering our relationships with other people, to guides on how to live a purposeful life or be a success in business. Self-help, self-improvement are the focus; Jesus was “other” focused.
These programs are accepted because they are wrapped in biblical language but not in Biblical doctrine. When these things are practiced and are used they diminish the churches outreach and real discipleship. Sermons are given without the teachings found in Scripture and yet we expect great results.
Taking the Church away from the Word as our basis for doing and using something different made us powerless not powerful. The spiritual power is in the word and it is seen when it is applied in our lives.
Till next week,
Rev. Dr. Robert L. Harrison, PhD – firstname.lastname@example.org, @drrobharrison (Twitter), Robert Bob Harrison (Facebook)
District Elder | Pastor – True Holiness Worship Ministries www.trueholinessworshipministry.com coming soon! – 2800 41st Ave. N, St. Pete – www.opendoortrueholinesschurch.org
Church of God and True Holiness, Intl. www.trueholinesschurches.org
The Gathering of Pastor Member – Chairman, Outreach and Political Action Committee
Chaplain – SCLC of Pinellas
Parent Support for Education Council Executive Board Member
Chaplain – Dept. Juvenile Justice for Circuit 6