The writers of the New Testament show an importance in discipleship using the word “disciple” over 260 times and the word “Christian” only 3 times. We echo that discipleship is important, but do we know why it’s important, what we should teach, or how to do it?
Download Handout – PD 04- Discipleship in the NT
“Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Discipleship is important because Jesus commands it. Jesus models it.
- True disciples of Jesus should be growing in areas where He set an example including discipleship.
- It must be difficult for non-Christians to understand Christianity since few “Christians” model a biblical faith.
There is a reason to be concerned about what believers claim Scripture teaches.
- While 99% of Christians in America own 3 or more Bibles, 40% do not believe it as the inerrant Word of God.
- 80% believe Scripture teaches that God helps those who help themselves.
- 47% believe Jesus committed sins while on earth.
- 62% believe that the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence but not a living entity.
- 44% believe all people experience the same outcome after death, regardless of spiritual belief.
- 46% believe Christians have a responsibility to tell others about their beliefs.
- Disciples must learn assurance of Salvation by grace alone. (Luke 13:1-5, 22-30; 24:46-47; John 3:16-21; Acts 2:36-39; Rom. 3:10-24; Gal. 3:1-5; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:4-10; Titus 3:4-7)
- Principles of the Christian life are vital for growth of a disciple. (Matt. 6:33; Luke 14:25-35; Phil. 4:8-9; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 5:11-6:3; James 1:5)
- Disciples must learn to obey God’s laws and commands.(Luke 10:25-28; Acts 5:29; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 5:16-24; Eph. 4:20-5:21; Col. 3:1-17; 1 Thes. 4:7; James 1:22-25; 1 John 3:16-24)
- One of the most important jobs for a disciple is to represent God in the world.(Matt 10:16; 28:17-20; Mark 5:18-29; John 17:14-18; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; 1 John 2:15-17)
- Representing God in the world includes serving others.( Matt. 16:24-28; 20:25-28; Luke 9:1-6; 10:30-37; Acts 6:1-3; Eph 2:10; 4:11-12; Phil 2:1-4; Heb. 13:16; James 2:14-24)
- A true disciple is making more disciples.(Matt. 28:19; John 15:8; Matt. 9:35-38; Acts 4:1-11; 5:42; 13:47)
There is no greater example to follow for making disciples than Jesus.
Jesus’ model for making disciples:
- The most important aspect of calling a disciple is prayer. (Luke 6:12)
- We must be willing to seek out those to disciple. (Mark 3:13-15)
- Discipleship involves a commitment to one another. (Mark 3:14)
- Discipleship requires responsibility and accountability. (Mark 3:14-15; Matt. 26:36;40)
- Discipleship must progress to making more disciples and entrusting others to carry on the work. (Matt. 28:18-20)
Paul’s teachings about discipleship:
- Be strong and teach others who will then teach others. (2 Tim. 2:2)
- Older generations are to teach younger generations. (Titus 2:1-6)
- Pastors/ teachers are to equip believers for the work of ministry. (Eph. 4:11-12)
How did Paul model discipleship?
- Paul sought out Timothy (Acts 16:1-2)
- Paul recognized Timothy’s challenges and loved him as a son. (1 Tim. 4:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:22; 1 Tim. 5:23; 1 Cor 4:17; Phil 2:19-24)
- Paul allowed Timothy to share in ministry and expected much from Timothy while challenging and encouraging him. (Acts 16:1-5; 2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:1-2; 2 Tim 4:1-5)
- Paul could die well knowing his disciple would carry on the work. (2 Tim. 4:6-8)
The goal of NT disciple making is not that they remember my name or your name, but that the name of Jesus is remembered.