It has been neat walking through these lessons on Discipleship. I hope that these articles have been as helpful to you as you read them, as they have been as helpful to me as I think through them and write out what I have been learning.
In the previous lesson, we saw that Christ commissioned His committed followers and equipped them with the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, they are ready to go out and work with the Lord to accomplish this great calling.
In order to get caught up to speed with this lesson, please take a moment to read the previous articles on this study.
- Lesson 1 – The call to follow Jesus
- Lesson 2 – The cost of following Jesus
- Lesson 3 – Difference between a genuine follower of Christ and a false “follower”
- Lesson 4 – Are you totally committed to following Jesus?
- Lesson 5 – The Commissioning
I. Committed to the commission
The passage that I would like to consider is Luke 9:57-62. In order to accomplish this great commission, the disciples have to have total commitment. You may have to leave your home or never even own a home. Many times, people claim to want to serve the Lord but cannot because they are tied down to paying for their homes and daily lives. What is your commitment level? If God called you, what would be the only thing that could be you from going? What about something as noble as family relationships? These are great things and must be honored but not even they should keep you from being totally committed to the calling. in fact, you cannot be useful to the kingdom if you are not totally committed to the kingdom and the calling. You have an idol and it will hold you back from total commitment. One of Jesus disciples, John, actually tells us this very thing when he warns the believers to keep themselves away from idols. Are there any idols in your life?
II. Committed to the message
When Jesus sent out His disciples, He sent them with a purpose. The purpose was to take the message of the Gospel to the world and disciple people from all the nations. Everything that they needed was in the message of Christ, the Word of God, the Bible as we call It today. The apostle Paul took this commitment to the message very seriously. Let’s take a look at a couple of passages that show how committed Paul was to this message. They are found in one of his epistles to one of the churches that he planted while on his missionary journeys to the Gentiles. Take a moment to read these verses, I Thessalonians 1:5-8.
When Paul traveled on his mission trips to preach and teach the Gospel, he preached with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Helper that we learned about in the previous lesson. He preached the message of the Gospel from the Word of God and he preached what he lived and lived what he preached. Paul used this message to disciple the members of the church in Thessaloniki. The learned to imitate Paul which meant that they were following Christ. Paul was so committed to the message that he was willing to face and endure persecution. Not only was Paul ready to face and endure persecution, so were the Thessalonians, for the sake of the Gospel. In fact, the commitment of the Thessalonians became an example to others believers in neighboring areas and cities. The Thessalonians were committed to the message and spread that message everywhere that they went.
III. Committed to mentoring
Paul and his team mentored the Thessalonians. The Thessalonians mentored others with the Word of God. Paul was committed to the process of mentoring the people around him. Mentoring is almost a lost art in our Western world, yet if you open the Bible to any section, you will find mentoring taking place.
- Abraham and Lot, as well as Abraham and Isaac
- Jonathan and David
- Daniel’s parents and Daniel
- Mordecai and Esther
- Eli and Samuel
- Moses and Caleb
- Moses and Joshua
The list could literally go on and on, but we will stop here, for now, and shift our focus to Paul and Timothy. Let’s take a look at Acts 16:1-3. Paul was on a mission for the Lord. He was a great missionary. As he was going and making disciples of the pagan Gentiles, he came across Timothy, a believer because of the example of his mother and grandmother. His father was a Greek and probably not a believer. Timothy was already walking with the Lord so Paul invited him to join in on what God was doing. Paul took Timothy under his wing and taught him how to minister, specifically, how to make disciples. Paul was taught directly by Jesus Christ and worked according to the discipleship plan that Christ modeled for us.
Let’s take a look at what Paul taught Timothy. Take a moment to ready II Timothy 3:10-17. Paul starts off with teaching, which is exactly what God does when He mentors us. Paul taught Timothy the Word of God and how to serve according to It. The teaching influenced Timothy’s conduct. As Timothy was learning from Paul, he attained a purpose in life; to serve the Lord by making disciples of the people around him. As he served, his faith increased and he learned how to have faith by being with Paul. I have been in situations when I must confess, I did not believe that things would work out. I did not see hope or light at the end of the tunnel. My mentor did have faith and encouraged me to do the same. I trusted him and it happened just as we hoped. That definitely increased my faith. The more that you serve and teach others to serve, the greater patience you need to endure the growing pains of your disciples. As you endure, your love for the people around you also increases. Paul took advantage of the User’s Guide that God has given to us, His Word. As we are mentored and mentor others, we stay in constant contact with the Word of God and this is very beneficial to us because as He teaches us, we get rebuked. The word rebuke means to be shown where you are wrong. Many times we think that we are right until someone pulls back the curtain to show us how wrong we are. God does this for us in His Word. Once we understand that we are wrong and need to be corrected, God corrects us via His Word. He does not leave us in our mess and mistakes. Once He sets us back on the right path, He trains us to stay there, also via His Word. As we walk on His path, He equips us to serve Him by serving the people around us.
In conclusion, God calls us, trains us, commissions us, and equips us with the Holy Spirit to be able to make disciples of all the nations, those in our own back yard and those around the world. Have you answered the call? Are you being discipled? Are you making disciples? Are your disciples making more disciples? May the Lord help us all understand discipleship and orient our lives around this amazing process.