Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the earth.”
In the previous four lessons we have studied about the Bible, God, our Sin problem, and Jesus, the answer to our sin problem. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven He gave orders known as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) to his apostles. Jesus commanded in the Great Commission that we make disciples of all the nations. Jesus wants you to become His disciple. It is important for you to understand what is a disciple, and what does a disciple do.
|The word defined:
Disciple – “A learner, pupil, one who follows one’s teachings, precepts and instructions.”
|The word disciple comes from the Greek language and means a learner, or pupil, one who follows the teaching of his discipler.|
|A DISCIPLE IS
|Jesus calls us to come and learn from Him. The word disciple has the meaning of one who is a learner. Jesus wants learners, people willing to listen, read, and study His words. Jesus called the 12 disciples and taught them many things and made learners out of them.||Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
|A DISCIPLE IS
ONE WHO FOLLOWS JESUS
|The word disciple means more than just learning about Jesus. A person must also be a follower (a doer) of Jesus to be His disciple. In other words not just a hearer of the Word but a doer of the Word. So a person must not only learn about Jesus but must also follow him in his daily life.||Matt 4:19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Luke 14:27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
|A DISCIPLE PATTERNS HIS LIFE AFTER JESUS||The word “disciple” in Greek meant thought plus action (a doing learner). Not only were the learners taught, they also did. They adopted the lifestyle of the discipler. To be a disciple of Jesus meant that one is stamped into the very likeness of Christ.||1 Pet 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
|A disciple therefore is one who learns about Jesus and follows His example and adopts His lifestyle. It is not the person who just learns about Jesus but the person who patterns their life around Jesus and is changing into the likeness of Christ.|
|COUNTING THE COST
Jesus’ method for changing the world was to make disciples. He chose a few men and spent time with them, demanded commitment and taught them by His example. Jesus first told people to count the cost before considering becoming His disciple. You need to know up front what is involved in being His follower so that you’re able to be ready for the hardship and not be embarrassed by quitting when it gets hard. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about the cost of following Jesus. In our last lesson we learned that belief in Christ consisted of not only trust but obedience. It will cost us to believe in Him, repent of our sins, be witnesses for Him and be baptized into Him. Listed below are a few of those verses.
|TOWER||Luke 14:26-30 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’||Jesus is letting us know what it will cost to follow Him. He says we must first sit down and calculate the cost. Are you willing to pay the price in following Jesus?|
|BATTLE||Luke 14:31-33 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace. So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.||Before a battle you sit down and take counsel in determining if you have what it takes to fight the battle. So with being a disciple of Jesus, He is calling us to a war.|
|CROSS||Luke 9:23-25 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?||Being a disciple of Jesus is a daily dying to yourself and a daily living for Him. You give up your life to live for Him.|
|Mat 10:24-25 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become as his teacher, and the slave as his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.
Mark 13:13 “And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.
|Jesus says that His disciples will be treated the same as He was. People hated Jesus, and they will hate you also. No one likes to be disliked but this is part of the cost of following Christ.|
|POSSESSIONS||Luke 14:33 “So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Mark 10:29,30 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
|Jesus doesn’t mean that you have to sell all you have but He does want you to place Him above all your possessions. (Acts 5) Be willing to lose them if necessary.|
|A DISCIPLE MUST FIRST REPENT
When one believes in Jesus, and is willing to follow Him through obedience, the first thing Jesus calls us to is repentance. A disciple of Jesus must first repent. What is repentance? What are we to repent of? Repent literally means “a change of thinking that produces a change in behavior”. Change in your thinking and in your actions is what Jesus commands of all his disciples.
|JESUS PREACHED REPENTANCE||When Jesus first began His ministry he preached to people telling them to repent.||Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”|
|REPENTANCE IS ESSENTIAL||Jesus said we must repent or perish. God is patient and does not desire that any person should perish but that all should come to repentance.||Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish
2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
|REPENTANCE BRINGS GOD JOY||When a person repents it brings great joy in Heaven. We have a picture of the joy that it bring in the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15.||Luke 15:7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.|
|YOU MUST REPENT TO BE FORGIVEN||Our repentance is connected with God’s forgiveness of our sins. Repentance not only brings about forgiveness but also times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.||Luke 24:46,47 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
|REPENTANCE IS NOT JUST BEING SORRY||The right kind of sorrow leads to repentance but sorrow is not the same as repentance. Sorrow can lead a person to changing their thoughts and actions but sorrow is not the change in and of itself.||2 Cor 7:9,10 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.|
|REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF YOUR THINKING||The word repentance means literally to change your thinking. As we understand God’s kindness towards us we begin to change our minds concerning God’s goodness. This lead us to changing our thinking about God and it is this renewing of our mind that transforms us.||Rom 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Rom 8:5-7 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
|REPENTANCE MEANS CHANGE IN BEHAVIOR||To be a disciple of Jesus you must be willing to repent of your sins. This means that any sins you know of in your life you ask God for His forgiveness, and determine not to do them again with the help of the Holy Spirit.||Luke 3:8 “Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
|DISCIPLES MUST REPENT AND CHANGE THEIR
THINKING AND ACTIONS IN THESE AREAS IN THEIR LIVES
|Of all the changes one must make dying to self is the biggest. We no longer live for ourselves but we live selflessly.||Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
Col 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
|LOVING OTHERS||Another change that disciples make is to live a life of love. We are to love both our friends and enemies.||Mat 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
|FORGIVING OTHERS||Another change one must make is learning to forgive others. We must learn to forgive people from the heart.||Mark 11:25, 26 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.
Col 3:12,13 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
|HUMBLENESS||Another change we must make is learning to live as a humble person. God wants us to rid ourselves our arrogant pride.||Mat 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
|FRUITFULNESS||Another change that a disciple must make is to become fruitful. He wants us to produce fruit, (i.e. other disciples, and Christian characteristics)||John 15:5-8 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.|
|PURITY||A disciple must learn to live a holy and pure life. This means being separate from worldly things, like lust and adultery.||Heb 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Mat 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mat 5:28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
|PRAYER & BIBLE STUDY||Another change is becoming a student of God’s word and a person of prayer.||John 8:31,32 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
|CONFESS CHRIST||A disciple must be willing to openly and verbally speak up for Christ and not be a shame to Him or ashamed of Him.||Rom 10:9,10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
|THE NEXT STEP – BAPTISM|
|A disciple needs the Holy Spirit in His life to have the power to live the way Jesus commanded. Paul found some disciples who did not have the Holy Spirit in their lives. Remember Jesus commanded in the Great Commission to make disciples and then baptize them. In our next lesson you will see the importance of baptism in the life of a disciple.||Acts 19:1-5 And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. “And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.|