As I recently described discipleship as a love relationship, I wanted to further that discussion about discipleship in a manner that might disturb some. Discipleship has been seen as a concentrated focus on knowing God, and following His commandments. I had defined that process in light of love from 1 Corinthians 13. However, I there is another side of discipleship that I would like to addresses and that comes from Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
This was the last thing the Lord told His disciples to do. It is the working out of faith they had in Him, and the practical side of Christianity. Now going into all the world basically means, whatever you find to do with your life make it your priority to live out the gospel. So whether you are in business, education, entertainment, politics, or you are in full time ministry, be a witness to the teachings of Christ.
Discipleship must have a practical application, the kind of discipleship that makes a difference according to of 1 Corinthians 13. The foundation of our discipleship is love, but the way it is lived out is seen in whatever you do everyday. What it means is simple:
- In whatever you do, you have integrity
- In whatever you do, you have respect
- In whatever you do, you are not silent about what you believe
- In whatever you do, you don’t compromise on your values
- In whatever you do, you are first a disciple of Christ
- In whatever you do, you do not live in fear
- In whatever you do, those who oppose you, do not let them intimidate you.
- In whatever you do, you love, forgive, and restore relationships
- In whatever you do, you keep Christ first, ahead of your own dreams and aspirations
- In whatever you do, your discipleship is your number one pursuit.
It is not easy, nor can you do it by seer strength of will power. God’s Holy Spirit must empower you to live your life as a disciple of Christ. This is why Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide you into all truth and minister to you about sin, the righteousness of Christ, and the judgment of the world. (John 12:25-26 & 14:8-14)
25“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you
So when we consider all of what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, He was indicating to us that the Holy Spirit is our partner in the discipleship process. That to me is a game changer, to know that God Himself is my partner in helping me to be a follower of Christ. When discipleship is not founded in love, it is something we have created and it is not founded upon the Holy Spirit. No wonder non-Christians say they like Jesus, but not His Church. As important as having a good Biblically based theology is, it is no substitute for love. People will not know we are followers of Christ by how good our theology is, they will know we are Christians by our love. I think the best way to live out discipleship is by Paul’s words in Ephesians 4. By loving people we don't compromise the truth, but truth and love work together to present the truth in love.
15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ
Keeping it honest and truthful….K