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Discipleship

Modern Downfall One

Luke 6:40
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
NKJV

What exactly, then, is involved in being a disciple?

It should be obvious, but first, one must become a disciple. One must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is the evangelistic part of the Great Commission. All disciples are called upon to witness to Jesus – to go forth and help make disciples.

Once a person comes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, the discipleship process commences. The new believer must be taught what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to walk in His steps. This is the real downfall of the modern church. The downfall occurs on, at least, two levels.

First, there is a judgmental level. The church is so “brainwashed” on the need for immediate change that any residual sin is seen as evidence of a false profession of faith. While this could certainly be true, in a large majority of the cases, the issue is a lack of knowledge, not unbelief. 

Suppose you are a drunk – have been one for many years. You have never read the Bible and only been in church a couple of times. You are visited by a friend or visit a church and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now, it is true that God has the ability and power to wipe out any desires you might have for the major sins in your life. I have certainly heard of such cases. But this is the exception. Consider the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). 

The woman may or may not have understand that adultery was religiously incorrect as she committed it, but once caught she should have learned how wrong it was. Did Jesus cure her of her sin? No, He accepted her, but His words to her were “Go and sin no more.” The burden was upon her to avoid the sin.  True, the believer has the power of the Holy Spirit to draw upon, but there is the element of human responsibility. 

My point is that until we have taught the unknowing, unbeliever what sin is and how a disciple is to live, we must expect them to continue to act sinful. If the drunk does not know and understand the Bible speaks against being drunk, he will not understand his need to change. If the adulterous person does not understand it is wrong to continue living with someone not their spouse, they will continue to live together. Jesus did not condemn these people.  Jesus taught them the difference between right and wrong.

Too many people in the church assume the entire world understands the Bible. Yet, in today’s society, many, many more have never read the Bible than have. This is probably as true within the church as it is outside of the church.

As an example, I once worked with a young lady who clearly knew and understood that being “born again” meant accepting Jesus as God and having a special relationship with Him. Her best friend in high school got saved, as well as other members of her family. In other words, she understood the basis of salvation and the need to change your relationship. But, except perhaps when she was small, she had never attended church, did not own a Bible and had never read the Bible. If she were to be saved, how could she possibly know what the words of Scripture teach as to what is right and wrong?

This is the task of discipleship.  Disciples must be taught about Scriptures. Some new believers will know more than others, but that is not an assumption to be made beforehand.  All must come to understand the scriptural basis of the beliefs and come to know the manner of defending the Gospel. This is how one comes to be equipped to Contend for the Faith!

 

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