Resources for Discipleship
Discipleship is about following Jesus Christ. Obviously, this begins with surrendering to Christ for salvation, which involves believing, repenting, and calling on Him (Romans 10:9–13).
As a Christian, you still make the choice every day to follow or not to follow Jesus. Those who follow Him are called Spirit-filled Christians or disciples. Those who do not follow Him follow their self-indulgences of the flesh and are called carnal Christians. The remedy to carnality is a love for God. For this reason, Jesus said that the first and great commandment of all commandments is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:36–40). This first commandment defines Christ’s disciples and prioritizes their goals and activities (John 13:34–35; Matthew 6:33; First Corinthians 10:31–33).
Helping others live better requires that you live better. You must be the example. And there is no better way to live than as a disciple of Jesus Christ. So, be a disciple and teach others how to be disciples, and you will help others live better.
Discipling others boils down to three basics: pray, befriend, and teach.
Prayer reminds you that you are doing God’s work, not your own. Seek His plan and direction. Follow His lead. Jesus demonstrated this in His life as He discipled the men around Him. Prayer was a visible and obvious part of His life. The disciples saw Him pray in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening. He prayed to His Father to help those He ministered to with insight, healing, and guidance. His relationship with His Father was real, and it was evidence to everyone who saw Him. Your prayer life not only will serve as a resource to aid your ministry, but more importantly, will demonstrate your love for God. And it is your love for Him that is the most important thing Jesus said you can do and teach others to do.
Second, being a friend is showing the love of God that comes from your own relationship with Him. God’s love is summed up in John 3:16, saying, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When you love God and walk with Him, you will possess His love for others and His concern for their souls. God’s love in you will help you to win souls and then disciple them. It is this quality that Jesus said is a distinct trademark of His disciples. He said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” As with prayer, your love for others will be a testimony of your love for God, which is the first and great commandment to apply in your life and to teach your disciples to apply in their lives.
The third basic element of discipling others is to teach them the Word of God. God’s Word is food for the soul. It gives instruction for doctrine, character, and skill development. It is the standard by which attitudes, ideas, and actions are to determine whether they are right or wrong. And as such, it should come as no surprise that you should follow Paul’s example described in Acts 20:27 where he says, “…I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” This means that you too need to be a student of God’s Word. Obviously, you can’t teach what you do not know. Fortunately, there are many great teachers to learn from. Take your disciples along with you and talk about what you are learning.
Like anything else learned in life, learning the whole counsel of God is accomplished one step at a time. Isaiah 28:10 puts it this way: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” The wisdom of teaching is matching the appropriate lesson with the disciple. Time to pray! Time to find out what God’s Word recommends to teach first!
Jesus told His disciples in John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
Pray for wisdom to personalize lessons, and understand how God prioritizes topics. According to Hebrews 5:13–14, there is milk for the babe and immature, and there is meat for the mature. Knowing this helps us understand that having the wisdom to match appropriate lessons to the needs of disciples is important. Fortunately, God has named and prioritized in His Word some lessons that are appropriate for everyone to be taught first. Let’s consider what Jesus did.
What was Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth?
In Luke 19:10, He said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
As His disciples, our purpose is the same. This is your calling in life: to seek and save that which was lost.
What did Jesus and His disciples do to seek and save the lost? They taught His Word, spoke of His Spirit, and built His church as it was appropriate for those they met.