True Discipleship

Dan Lenington on August 13, 2014

There is a misconception among many believers that views discipleship as merely a time to gain more Bible knowledge. We tend to think that the number of years we have attended church regularly or the number of messages we have heard automatically translates into spiritual maturity. However, this is not what the Bible teaches. 2 Timothy 2:2 states, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." Learning is only half of becoming a disciple of Christ! We must be teaching what we have learned and making disciples ourselves.

Lets examine the 12 disciples of Christ. His first invitation to these men was "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19; Mark 1:17). The definition of disciple is a follower of another. Christ's express goal for discipleship was to make these men able and willing to reach others. In fact, early in the process of their training, He sent them out without Him to preach and to practice what He had taught them (Matt. 10:5-8). Later, Christ chose 70 disciples to go ahead of Him to prepare the towns for His arrival (Luke 10:1). This task prompted Jesus to encourage them to "pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). Many are content to merely sit and soak up teaching without ever answering the call to go and make disciples.

Unfortunately, these believers are missing a great blessing! Luke 10:17 records the experience of the seventy on their return, "And the seventy returned again with joy saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Not only did they truly enjoy this opportunity to reach others but they were energized to know that they had to authority and power of Christ to impact the spiritual darkness around them! They were thrilled to know they were making a difference! But what about you? Are you making a difference in the lives of others with the truth that you have been storing up for years?

When Christ first gave the Great Commission, it was given to His diciples, but likely more than just the 11 (1 Cor. 15:6). Just three years earlier, these were the new recruits. Now they were tasked with reaching the world by teaching (making disciples of) them, baptizing them, and teaching (instructing) them everything in everything they had learned (Matt. 28:19-20). Being discipled should always lead to discipling others. That's why Paul commanded Timothy to teach what Paul had taught him to others and teach them to teach others. If that pattern of discipleship had been broken, the next generation would never have received the truth. That is why our churches must train our adults and youth to pass on what they are learning to others rather than simply soaking up Biblical data. Then they can experience the blessing and joy of having God work through them to impact their sphere of influence.