Podcast: Being Disciples
Learning One’s True Identity
Introduction to Discipleship
What is a disciple?
A disciple is a person who learns the ways and beliefs of a mentor and adopts them, applying them to his or her own life, thus becoming like that mentor.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth that they should imitate him as he imitates Christ Jesus.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV
Paul praised them for remembering him and holding the traditions and following the teachings that he passed onto them.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you.
1 Corinthians 11:2 KJV
Paul was an apostle and a disciple of Christ Jesus. He is calling the believers to be disciples just as he had become. It is a choice each of us must make whether we will be followers of Christ or if we will be followers of someone or something else. The choice will be to either follow the Creator, or to follow after some aspect of His creation.
In another of his letters to believers in Christ, Paul wrote that they should not follow after the ways of the world systems, rather, they should discover and follow the perfect will of God for their lives.
And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2 KJV
The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the elders, prophets, priests and people that had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon. He sent a letter that contained the word of the LORD for them to give them hope and a promise of deliverance. A portion of this letter involved the personal relationship between the people and God.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 KJV
We see that the desire of God was to have a personal relationship with the people, and that remains His desire to this day. Paul was pursuing such a relationship and was encouraging others to follow his lead and establish that relationship as well.
The personal relationship is one of love: this is a pure love for one another and for God, not romantic love based upon lust. Scripture instructs us as to how we should act and what we are to believe, revealing what is acceptable to God, our Creator. We exhibit our love for Him in our obedience as we follow His ways, His teachings, and His example, through Christ Jesus.
And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.
1 John 2:3-6 KJV
Christ Jesus calls us to follow Him. He displayed His great love for us through His actions and calls for us to display our love for Him through our actions. What were His actions? Christ Jesus left the throne in heaven and came into this earth to rescue us from the result of our sin in order to restore us to a loving relationship with Almighty God. He laid down His life to pay a debt He did not owe. Through His death on the cross He paid our debt that we could not pay, thus delivering us out of the hands of our enemy and into the loving embrace of God.
Here is how it works:
- We had been separated from God because of our sin, and due to this, we had no way of restoring our relationship with God.
- The Father, Almighty God, had such a great love for us that He sent His son, Christ Jesus, as our Savior, our Redeemer, to restore that loving relationship.
- It is the love of the Father that draws us to the Son. He initiates the restoration of the relationship, and without Him we have no hope.
- We decide whether or not to accept that restoration through our decision whether or not we will answer the call to follow Christ, apart from whom we cannot know the Father.
- The Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, provides the faith we need to believe through the grace He shows toward us.
- We simply need to surrender to the Lord, Christ Jesus, and choose to follow Him.
- His promise is to give to us eternal life in a loving relationship with God, our Creator. His grace will give us the strength and ability to see it through to the end.
We see this throughout the Word of God, the Scriptures:
- But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:2 KJV
- For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV
- No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 6:44-45 KJV
- If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: If any man serve Me, him will my Father honour. John 12:26 KJV, and, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. John 14:6 KJV
- Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3 KJV, and, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
- Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For mu yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 KJV
- That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:15 KJV, and, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:27-29 KJV
With this foundation of understanding laid, in future episodes we will progress to discover what the life of a disciple ought to look like. We need to know our identity in Christ in order to live out the plans that He has for us; both individually and corporately.
The totality of the disciples of Christ Jesus is known as the Body of Christ. We will first explore the body through the fitting together of the individuals into one body. Peter the apostle describes us as living stones. He describes a spiritual house built of these stones with the apostles and prophets being the foundation. We will cover that in a couple of weeks. Peter also speaks of Christ Jesus being the cornerstone. We will begin there on the next episode of Being Disciples.