What is the biblical view of discipleship?

by Matt Slick
8/4/15

The following outline my notes that I used when speaking at a conference on discipleship.

 

What is discipleship?

  1. Discipleship is the practice of devoting yourself to the teachings of another so that the student might learn from that person and be like that person.
    1. The one we follow is Jesus.  It means being like Jesus.
      1. This is, of course, is easy and not easy.
      2. It is easy to follow Jesus by trying to be loving, kind, wise, and gentle.
      3. It is NOT easy to follow Jesus by trying to be loving, kind, wise, and gentle.
    2. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matt. 11:29).
    3. “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher…” (Matt 10:25).
    4. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked,” (1 John 2:6).
  2. Biblical discipleship is simple:  Look to Jesus, deny yourself, and follow Him.
    1. "And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,’” (Luke 9:23).
      1. In this is self-denial and our obedience in following Jesus.

 

Discipleship means...

  1. Jesus must be supreme
    1. “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple,” (Luke 14:26).
    2. “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,” (Eph. 4:21).
  2. Surrendering everything to Jesus
    1. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions,” (Luke 14:33).
      1. What does that mean?  Turn it all over to a TV preacher or your Church?
      2. It means that all you own belongs to Christ.
        1. Treating your possessions as though they belong to him and that they are on loan to you.
        2. Be willing to part with them.
          1. This is not easy
            1. 65 inch plasma TV, High speed internet, Computers, Cars, our home, our furniture
  3. Dying to yourself
    1. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24).
  4. Bearing fruit
    1. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples,” (John 15:8).
      1. There are different kinds of fruit.
      2. Gal. 5:22, ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
        1. The word "fruit" here is in the singular in the Greek.
  5. Continuing in his word
    1. “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine,” (John 8:31).
      1. Studying it, reading it, memorizing it.
      2. How many verses do you have memorized?
  6. Loving one another
    1. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:35).
      1. Now, this is one of the most difficult for us to do because we are selfish by nature.
  7. Serving one another
    1. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you,” (John 13:14-15).
  8. Suffering (expanded in other talk)
    1. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” (1 Pet. 2:21).

 

Jesus is our model

  1. Humility of Christ
    1. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... 14 and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:1, 14).
      1. This humility began in the Garden when the pre incarnate Christ lowered himself to our level to walk with Adam and Eve and to cover them with animal skins.
    2. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Philippians 2:5-8).
      1. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matt. 18:4).
    3. “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,” (Gal. 4:4).
      1. Under the law like us
      2. Required to worship God, like us.
  2. Authority of Jesus as God in flesh yet...
    1. He forgave, (Luke 5:20).
    2. He humbled himself, (Phil. 2:5-8)
    3. He healed, (Mark 2:1-12; 8:22-26)
    4. He taught, (Matt. 5)
    5. He died, (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
    6. He came not to do his will, but the will of the Father, (John 6:37-40).
    7. He did not use his authority in a demanding way.  Instead, he used his authority and position to help others, to serve, to teach, and to die.
  3. Teaching of Christ, so that we can learn from him. (mentioned above, expand here)
    1. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matt. 11:29).
      1. Learn from his teachings, beatitudes is a good place to start.
      2. But, learning from him is not easy.
      3. His yoke, is easy…. Not required to keep the Law.
      4. We ARE required to love and in so doing, we will accidentally keep the law.


Love of Jesus

  1. Loving Jesus means to keep his commandments
    1. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments," (John 14:15).
      1. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another,” (John 13:34).
      2. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you,” (John 15:12)
      3. To forgive
      4. To be patient
      5. To honor you mother and father
      6. To be honest
      7. Make disciples…we’ll get to that in a bit.
  2. Love is other-centered
    1. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).
    2. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).
  3. Loving God
    1. And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,’ (Matt. 22:37).
  4. Loving your neighbor
    1. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ (Matt. 22:39)
  5. Notice the aspect of Love that Christ calls you to.
    1. It is sacrificial, other-centered, and focused on God.
  6. Jesus said to make disciples of all nations.
    1. Matt. 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

Conclusion

  1. The biblical model of discipleship is simple and it also complicated.
    1. It is simple because it can be summarized in a single statement:  follow Jesus and be like him.
    2. It is complicated in that following Jesus and being like him requires our whole person, our whole heart, and our whole mind… And, sometimes it is difficult to see how all of it works.
    3. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” (Philippians 2:12-13).
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.