Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Importance of Discipleship

I. The Importance of Discipleship

God intends for the Christian faith to spread around the world as a result of discipleship. Making disciples is the method Jesus told his closest followers to use in order to build healthy churches in Matthew 28, and we need to take some time to consider carefully the importance of discipleship.

We need to make it a priority to understand the practical aspects of what Jesus Christ meant.

II. Defining the Work Involved in Making Disciples

In John chapter 3, Jesus Christ describe the process of becoming a citizen of the Kingdom  as being born again. The new birth experience is the foundation of the discipleship process: we are beginning to have a new life in Christ.

The reason discipleship is so important is because when the new birth experience happens, the person we become is like a new born baby: it is completely helpless. The only thing a new Christian is good for is making weird noises with their mouth and dirty diapers that someone else has to come and change on a regular basis. When God accepts someone as a citizen of his kingdom, regardless of their age, they are reduced to lying on their back like a baby and in desperate need of someone else to help them survive in this world.

The English Standard Version of the Bible mentions this in 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 2 which says "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation."

The thing that we tend to miss is that in order to grow up into salvation,we begin our new lives in Christ by being nourished the same way a new born baby is: someone has to come and hold us close to their heart and provide for all of our needs BEFORE we can reach our potential.

The practical aspects of ministry work used in Western Christianity have skipped this part of God's plan. When Jesus Christ was busy doing the work of making disciples, he limited the size of his congregation to 12 people.

Jesus Christ limited his time and energy to helping 12 people learn how to drink pure spiritual milk so that they could grow up into salvation. In contrast to that, the basic Western strategy is to have as many people as you can, which makes the quality of the person's spiritual progress diminish. The larger the group a single Pastor is leading, the easier it is for spiritual malnourished people to become stuck spiritually.

III. The Difference Discipleship Makes

I want to take some time to explain what is happening when a person is born again. The English Standard Version of the Bible says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" in Romans chapter 3 verse 23. The English Standard Version of the Bible also says "and you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 2.

When Jesus Christ spoke about being born again, he was referring to the context of death we read about in Ephesians chapter 2. Jesus wanted us to know that God has a way of taking someone who was dead and giving them a new life - they are born again.

Every person who has been born again has access to the Holy Spirit, but they have to learn the discipline involved in letting the Holy Spirit control the different parts of their being. The way the Holy Spirit interacts with a human spirit is different from the way he interacts with a human soul and a human body.

Discipleship is a process of learning how to surrender our independence to the Holy Spirit, and when we are just getting started, a brand new Christian will need help learning how this works.

Let me explain.

When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit of God baptizes their human spirit in His Presence. The end result of this is that the Holy Spirit can speak to my human spirit any time, any where.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to my human spirit, the information my spirit is receiving is shared with my human soul. Here is where the problem begins because my human soul is easily confused, it can be distracted and deceived. When the Holy Spirit uses His Presence to speak to my soul, my soul can choose to ignore what the Holy Spirit is trying to say.

This is where Satan comes into the picture; Satan is always trying to put pressure on our lives to make listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying hard to accept. Discipleship involves living in community with people who have more experience than you do bearing the burden Satan crreates to make us disobedient to the Holy Spirit.

The end result of this struggle affects our human bodies: it reveals itself in how we treat other people. So when you hear reports of people who compromised their faith in some way and became a moral failure, what happened was the person whose faith was compromised stopped listening to what their spirit was being told by the Holy Spirit, and Satan was able to move in and take over their lives.

IV. Starting Discipleship Groups

Now that I have gone into great detail to explain clearly and simply what happens in an individual person's life, we should consider if one-on-one discipleship is a good idea. The answer to that is no.

Let me explain why. There are many places in the world where it would be better to share your faith with your friend, his wife, his parents, her parents and all of their living relatives. This is important because in many places it is considered wise to ask people who are older for help thinking about these kinds of choices because they have more experience in life. The collective group might see something an individual could overlook or misunderstand.

So when you want to reach out to people, include as much of their family and as many of their neighbors as you can, so that the person you want to reach and the people he or she has to share life with after they are reached can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved together.

No comments:

Post a Comment