Are You A Disciple?

When we think of what it means to be a disciple perhaps concepts of living a disciplined life or the famous twelve come to mind.  Our Greek word for disciple in the New Testament actually means what our English word “student” communicates.  A student is one who hears the words of their teacher and learns so that they can do likewise.  When you sit in your math class, you are supposed to be hearing and watching the teacher so that eventually on the exam, you will be able to complete the same problem that the teacher taught days before.  It is this same picture that can help us understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

There are three places which stand out to me as teaching us what it means to be a disciple:

John 8:31-32 – So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

More than just a one time belief in Jesus or his teaching, those who continue in his word are those who are truly his disciples.  Perhaps the individual who shows up for class only on the first day could be considered a student (although that is debate-able), they certainly are not a very good one.

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.”

More than just hearing and continuing in the words of Jesus, Jesus also tells those who would be his disciples that our love for each other, after his own example makes us known as his disciples.  We see from this that following the actions of Jesus is as important as following his teachings.

John 15:1-7 – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 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 will be done for you.”

As disciples of Christ, we must make our home in him, through his words and the spirit.  If we are not connected to him in that way, we will not bear fruit and will be cast off and burned.  It is those who stay connected to the true vine and abide in his words that will cause the fruit to grow in our life.  It is the bearing of this fruit that brings glory to God and also proves that we are disciples of Jesus.

To sum this up, if we ask ourselves the basic questions WDJS (what did Jesus say?) and WDJD (what did Jesus do?) we are asking the questions of disciples – for it is the words he spoke and the things he did that we must learn, know and do, that is if we are truly his disciples.

So in light of this, I ask: How often are you spending time reading the words and observing the life of our Master and Teacher, Jesus the Christ?  Are you reading the Bible daily?  Are you meditating on his truth?  Many of us would boast of being part of the church for 20 years or more.  In light of that however, if in reading for just 15mins a day you can finish the Bible in the year, are we ready to boast of how many times we have read the entire Bible in those years?  How about even the entire New Testament?  My point in this is simple, if we call ourselves the disciples of Jesus we must show up and listen and observe the words and ways of our teacher.  The place that we do that is by reading the New Testament specifically (obviously the entire Bible is important, but that can perhaps be a topic for another post).  We must read our Bibles!  It is the very source for the words, commands, directions, encouragement, confrontation, challenge, comfort that we all need. 

I pray that we can fight against the temptations of busy-ness, selfishness and laziness and be committed to reading each day.  I know I do not want to be a mediocre disciple! I want to be a disciple who is intently focused on the teacher, watching his every move, listening to his every word – I want to be just like him!  If you share this heart, let us be people who daily read the words of our Lord and Teacher, Jesus, the King of the coming Kingdom.

  • What are your thoughts on being a disciple? 
  • What stops us from reading the Bible each day?
  • Why is reading the Bible each day important?

For more thoughts on this topic – listen to a sermon by this name here.

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One response to this post.

  1. I think to be a disciple means to not only listen, or read, or even hear to the end of understanding, but to actually do, by obedience, without any consideration for our own self interest. It means asking of the Lord the same question that Paul asked him on the road to Damascus.

    “Lord, what would YOU have for ME to do?”

    No “if’s”, “and’s”, or “buts”. No stipulations, no conditions, no guarantees, and no requests – even for illumination of the Word, understanding, or explanations.

    We need to ask ourselves, has there ever been a point, in the whole of our Christian life, where each of us has asked that same question of the Lord, holding nothing back, with the full intention of obeying, no matter what the consequences to our own comfort or ambition, and living thereafter each day, moment by moment, in light of that question.

    Until that “transaction” happens, until we die to ourselves and our own ideas on what it means to serve or follow Him, we can go through an entire lifetime with our self-interest preceding His interest. An entire lifetime of paying lip-service to the word “Lord”. Each one of us needs to examine his or her self in light of that one question, which should take precedence over every other question, before we go any further in our journey.

    Because until the Lord hears that question asked, He is not going to tell us what to do. Perhaps we don’t ask the question because we already know the answer?

    ” I must show him how great things he must suffer for my names’ sake.”

    Luke14: 26-33

    26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

    28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

    29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

    30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

    31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

    32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

    33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

    Reply

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