FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, February 2, 2020
amos.dada@gmail.com
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MY MONTH OF DISCIPLESHIP

t is with great delight that I welcome you to the month of February our month of discipleship. No doubt Jesus ministered to multitudes but he always spends more time with his disciples for obvious reasons. Jesus wants us to be his disciples and as his disciples he wants us to disciple the nations. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to leave their fishing nets and follow him, he called them to a whole new life likewise, he is calling us to a whole new life. "And Jesus said unto them, come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." Mk 1. 17. Becoming a disciple has to be intentional and in our year of greatness, I urge you to be intentional in becoming Jesus' disciple if you are not yet one. This is an adventure I guarantee you can never regret.

What does it mean to be a true disciple?

Webster's definition of a disciple is "a pupil or follower of any teacher or school." A true disciple is not just a student or a learner, but a follower: one who applies what he has learned. A disciple of Jesus is a follower of Jesus. In the Christian parlance a true disciple will ask, "What would Jesus do?" A disciple in the New Testament is simply a Christian Acts 11:26. "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." That was a common name for all Christians. It cannot be some people who are just Christians by mouth and by name and far form living the Christian life. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who embraces him as Lord, Saviour and Treasure. One of the most important characteristics of being a disciple (a student or pupil), is to develop an intimate relationship with God through Christ rather than just learning about Him. A true disciple must be willing to pay the price.

Who is a discipler? A discipler is one who helps people attain servant team status by both ministering in a general way in the church, and by holding specific meetings for study, coaching, counseling, and prayer, all in the context of a close personal relationship, just like Jesus did. A discipler is the one that disciples a disciple.

What is Discipleship?

Discipleship is teaching biblical precepts, while modeling and guiding others toward living righteously as followers of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is an ongoing process. We should never quit learning and growing in our walk with Christ. Just as the New Testament disciples who chose to follow Jesus, we too should continually learn and grow stronger in our personal relationship with Him. Discipleship is simply living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. Many don't want to hear that word; it is a road less taken. People want to avoid any hardship or difficulty. They want to take the path of least resistance instead. Discipleship is challenging but fulfilling, it's hard but it is more than worth it. It is the road to life. Anything short of living the discipleship life is disobedient to what God wants us to do.

Discipleship should be a cyclical process-meaning once we are discipled, we are to disciple others, and so on. Discipleship equips the Christian with God's Word, prayer, doctrine, worship, encouragement, and service.

Purpose, goals and objectives of discipleship.

  1. To ensure we are truly saved. We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven. It is to accept Jesus as our Lord follow him and teach others to follow him.

  2. Become disciples to disciple nations. Discipleship is not just an option for believers it is mandatory. "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. "This is the mission and purpose of the Church. We are to equip and grow disciples who in turn go out to equip and disciple others. Unfortunately, many churches today have neglected this mandate.

  3. That we develop our Skills. The goal of discipleship is not only teaching ministry skills, but developing someone to be like Christ. True discipleship is about who we are. Jesus taught his disciples three qualities. Faith: Mk 4:35-40, Hope: Rom 8:20-25 and Love: Matthew 22:36-40 Through faith they were able to do exploits like the Master (Acts 3) Hope sustained them to the end and landed them in heaven (2 Tim 4:7-8) and Love and compassion drove them to win souls for the master no matter the suffering and even death.

  4. That we become Soul Winners. If you claim to be a disciple of Jesus and you are not winning souls, then this article is for you. You are not yet a disciple. You are a nominal Christian. Do not merely occupy space because Jesus promised to cut such off. John 15:1-2. When Jesus, Ananias and Barnabas discipled Paul he said: "Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn't preach the Good News!" 1 Cor 9:16. That need not dissuade us though as individuals. To paraphrase Luke 12:48, it says that to whom much is given, much is required. In other words, those who have received the knowledge of salvation through Jesus are required to share it with others. This is how we add souls to the Kingdom of God. We must be obedient and move from "just playing church to really being a church."

  5. To grow the Church of Christ. The purpose of Christ coming to this world is to save the world from sin as prophesied before his conception. Matt 1:21. God did not hide his purpose for Christ- he was born to prevent you and I from perishing. (Jn 3:16) When Jesus came to this world, he did not hide his mission on earth. - "For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost." Lk 19:10. He was very emphatic in telling the disciples his mission. For the Church to grow we must continue to tell others so that there will be more of us saved. Acts 1:8

  6. To develop Joy in serving the master and looking towards eternal life. Finally, when we experience a joy-filled, love-filled heart with the excitement of a better life and promise of eternity with Christ, how can we help but to want to share it with the world? "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17). Now as much as any time in history, we and our morally, spiritually declining world are in need of repentance, transformation, and becoming equipped for a better life.

MULTITUDE VS DISCIPLE- What disciples do: A video of Late Archbishop Idahosa recently went viral and caught my attention, he compared a disciple to a multitude as follows: Multitudes in a church come to sit on a chair that is arranged; Disciples arrange it. Multitudes come late and leave first; Disciples come first and go last. Multitudes complain; Disciples complement. Multitudes come to collect Miracle; Disciples perform Miracle. Multitudes give offering; Disciples pay tithe. Multitudes complain about the House of God; Disciples are concerned about the House of God. Multitudes come to find fault; Disciples come to find what to do. Multitudes say I have gone, if you need me send for me; Disciples say here am I send me. Multitudes say I used to be in that Church; Disciples say when the work started, I was here. Multitudes Prostitute; Disciples proclaim, and the church is full of multitude. Multitudes come for bread and fish; Disciples come to give their lives, they come to serve, they meet the need, they offer their time. Multitudes march the floor; Disciples clean the floor. Multitudes are those that can jump from one Ministry to the other; Disciples stay to build a Ministry. Multitudes go away when bread and fish is over; Disciples wait to clean the floor. Multitudes are dismissed to leave; Disciples are concerned to go. Multitudes may end in hell; Disciples will make it to heaven Are you a disciple or multitude?

The Process of becoming disciples and disciplers

Training: People become whom they are by training in addition to qualities at birth. Jesus took time to train the people he chose before calling them disciples. "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils" Mk 3:14-15. Training can be in praying and fasting, godly living, formal or informal. etc

Relationship. Relationships are developed through devotions, care, visitation, teaching, mentoring and by encouraging each other toward living Christ-like every day. Very often the best teachers share from experience and testimonies of their own journeys. Telling others what following Christ has done for you personally can have a great impact on those who are yearning for the same kind of transformation in their lives. This is a vital part of discipleship. A good discipler will always say like Paul "Be imitators of me as I am like "Christ"

Examples of Disciples and disciplers.

  1. Titus 2:4- Older Christians to train younger ones

  2. 2 Tim 2:2 Paul trains Timothy to train others who trained others and on and on

  3. Eph 6:4 Fathers to train Children

  4. Heb 3:13 All Christians are to train themselves

  5. 1Pet 4:10 -All Christians are to use their gift to serve one another

  6. Acts 18:24 -Aquila and Pricilla discipled Apollo

Characteristics of True Disciples.

In addition to bearing the fruits of the spirit as spelt out thus "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Gal 5:22-24. Let us extract some characteristic from the following scripture.

  1. Mt 10:10- True disciples trust God for their needs, shelter, clothing, food and finances.

  2. Romans 10:15. Matt 28:19, 2Pet 3:9. They know they are sent and the do everything possible to win souls, plant churches, go on missions, raise disciples.

  3. Romans 15:10. They are always rejoicing not because the times are pleasant but because they are privileged by God to be chosen and do his bidden.

  4. 1 Cor 16.16- They understand the principle of submission to the Lord Jesus and to the earthly discipler.

  5. Gal 4:14. They are not perfect but deal with sin and temptations with the help of Holy Ghost.

  6. 1. Th 5:12, 13. They labor in the church to see members grow.

  7. 1 Ti 5:17. They are prayer warriors. Praying for souls to be saved. Praying for the saved to be established. Praying the established to be prosperous. Praying for the prosperous to be givers.

The Cost of Discipleship.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about the dichotomy between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." "Cheap grace," Bonhoeffer wrote, "is the grace we bestow on ourselves...grace without discipleship....Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life." Everything worth doing has a cost-a price tag. Jesus says "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" Lk 14:28. It will cost you leaving sin, persevering, separating yourself from worldly attractions. It will cost you your possession. In the bible days it cost possessions-it was a common occurrence to sell their houses and give the money to the common purse. Cost comforts. Peter was in prison, Paul was there, it may cost us our lives' Act 9:15-16. The price difference between a queen bed and king bed was high at a time for me. But I struggled to pay it. Every time I need to sleep, I thank God for that decision. You will always thank God for paying the price of discipleship. It will make room for you on earth and in heaven! Mk 10:28-30.

From My Heart to You.

Conclusion; There is so much triviality, loathing, lukewarm attitude in the body of Christ that I think is capable of making Jesus to throw up or spew out people Rev 3:16. The church today is full of multitudes not disciples. Only one-third of the world have any relationship with Christ by name, by birth and by genuine conversion. Two-thirds are in the spiritual cold hands of the devil and hell. Stir up yourself this year to become a true disciple and become a discipler. You cannot afford just to be occupying space on earth and in the body of Christ. The reason many people are in the multitude category is failure to grow in Christ. The coming of the Lord is imminent. There are 12 hours where we can do the work the night is here not approaching any more. Revelations and revelations are pouring out as to the coming of the Lord, get up friend and become a disciple. John Maxwell gave what he calls law of growth I recommend some of them for you below. Be intentional. Find area of growth. Create a growth environment for yourself. Is it being involved in evangelism, going for missions, or becoming a missionary, prayer, giving to the gospel? Develop a system to help someone be a river not a reservoir. I developed my spiritual wings when many decades ago in the university days a lady was accused of being a witch. Two of my prayer partners and I took it upon ourselves to fast for 7 days for her. At the end of the seven days when in an exam hall and I was about to pray for God to help me pass the exam it was prayer of deliverance for the woman that came from my mouth! My life changed forever. Discipleship is important because Jesus commanded it, modeled it and rewards it. Find a reason and means to grow and become a disciple and a discipler. Learn new things. Read books. There is cause and effect. We have waited and prayed to God to perform miracle to fill the church it's like God is saying "I have given you all you need go and perform the miracle yourself". Follow any of these two-prong approach, be a disciple or a discipler or vice versa.

Shalom.

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