Discipleship – a series in 2 parts on personal discipleship

1. TRAVEL PLANS

In our lives as Christians we are faced with many challenges. At times these challenges seem to overshadow us completely and we loose sight of the principles of our faith. Challenges should not be something we fear and try to avoid. God puts these challenges in our lives to help us grow and become victorious. A challenge of any kind or magnitude is not only a test of our faithfulness but also an opportunity for victory.

The things life throws at us can be compared to a person who wishes to go on a boat trip. First he needs to decide where he wants to go, then makes his travel plans, and finally he buys the ticket.

You and me needs to decide where we want to go in our lives as children of God. It has been said that God is a gentleman. We need to understand that He will not force us to go anywhere unless we express the desire to do so. You have the choice to stay right where you are or to go the extra mile.

You can choose your destination, He already bought the ticket!

One of the major challenges we face as members of the body of Christ is personal discipleship. We are faced with a seemingly impossible task when we hear the word. It makes us cringe and hide. There seems to be a continuous series of things that we must do, lay aside, remember, walk by, run away from, let go of, nurture, treasure, put behind us, etc, etc.

In order to understand the true meaning of discipleship, we need to understand the origin and meaning of the word. And no – it is not a ship full of disciples, or the fishing boat of St. Peter!

Let us start with the root of the word:

The first and only time we encounter the word ‘disciples’ in the Old Testament is in Isa 8:16

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.”

The Hebrew word for disciple is למּד    למּוּד

limmûd  limmûd – (lim-mood’, lim-mood’) which means: instructed: – accustomed, disciple, learned, taught, used. (Strongs)

This means that a disciple is someone who is instructed, told how to, taught, learned but also accustomed to do things in a certain way. A true disciple will therefore form certain habits after he has received instructions or knowledge

In comparison we can also look at the Greek word for disciple:

μαθητής

mathētēs (math-ay-tes’) – a learner, that is, pupil: – disciple. (Strongs)

The word has its origin in the Greek word for ‘learn’ or ‘understand’

manthanō

Thayer Definition:

1) to learn, be appraised

1a) to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge

1b) to hear, be informed

1c) to learn by use and practice

1c1) to be in the habit of, accustomed to

Once again we see that a disciple is not only someone who just learns and gains knowledge but is applying this increasing knowledge in his life and gets accustomed to it or is in a habit of doing it the right way.

Although the word ‘discipleship’ is not found in the King James version of the Bible, we can come to the conclusion that it is meant to be a process of hearing, learning, instruction, forming habits and becoming accustomed with something. This will of course include correction and reproof! We can not learn the habits of our Master Jesus Christ unless we are instructed and corrected!

REFLECTION

Take a look at the verses below and discuss the answers to the questions that follow:

“3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

2 Peter 1:3-10

Questions:

  1. What does “divine nature” (v 4) imply?
  2. Why do you think does Peter use the words “giving all diligence” (v 5)?
  3. What do you make of the sequence of the words used in verse 5 to 7 (faith to charity)?
  4. What is the final target that Peter wants the church to achieve according to this passage?

2. ARE YOU ON BOARD?

We have seen from the previous  part of this lesson that to become a disciple does not mean to just gain knowledge or be instructed, but the main idea is to do the things the Master does in the way the Master does it. The question that one needs to ask oneself is: Am I willing to get on board and face the different kinds of weather that comes my way – or will I stay on the pier and do harbor patrol?

It is easy to stand on the shoreline and watch as the different ships go by to their various destinations – unfortunately you will gain nothing by making that choice. So are you standing on the shoreline, wishing for a better life or on board with the Captain of Hosts, ready to set sail for the Eternal shores of Paradise?

In the biblical account of Noah and the Ark, we find that the only people who were saved where those who got on board. They were the only ones who saw the new earth after the flood. We also need to be in the right boat as we get ready to set sail for Paradise. If you bought a ticket to sail to Europe, you won’t have much change of reaching the Bahamas!

God does not want us to be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, He wants us to grow in the knowledge and stature of Christ, each member must be in place and functioning according to His divine plan.

Unfortunately the Church has arms moving one way and feet moving the other way. There is no harmony and no direction. Some body parts have not even grown to the correct size or are malformed and cripple.  The body of Christ needs instruction, direction and correction. We can only find our destination if we get in the boat with Jesus Christ and allow Him to be the Captain, the navigator and the tour guide! Are you on board?

Part 2 – STEP by STEP – available on 23 June @7:30

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