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What is Discipleship?- The Meaning and Purpose of Discipleship

What is Discipleship?

The ultimate goal of the great commission is not just to get souls saved or invite them to come to our church services. The central goal of the great commission is to make disciples of all nations. But to make disciples, you must first become a disciple. Because only a true disciple can make disciples. Jesus said in Matt 28:18-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….”

In this post, I want to share with you what discipleship is all about from biblical perspective and how you too can help others to become disciples of Jesus Christ. Read carefully to the end.

What is Discipleship?

“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 my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30

Salvation and discipleship are not the same thing.  There is a spiritual experience or encounter after salvation, it is called discipleship. The first call Jesus makes to every sinner is the call to salvation. After the sinner has answered the call to salvation, Jesus makes another call to the repented sinner to become His disciple.

Discipleship is a process by which a new Christian willingly takes the yoke of Jesus Christ and yields Himself to follow the steps of the Lord, to learn from Him in other to become like Him.

Discipleship is not one time event, it is a lifetime venture. In agriculture, a yoke is a wooden bar that is crossed over the neck of two animals, for instance two carmels or donkeys to make both walk at the same pace. What the yoke does is that it limits you from doing your own things and compels you to walk in the steps of your yoke fellow. Discipleship is not by force. It is by choice. Jesus doesn’t force His yoke on anyone. Only those who are willing and determined to become like Jesus can take His yoke and learn of Him.

What is Discipleship

Discipleship is a spiritual school of training where a new believer submits himself to be tutored, mentored and trained by the Lord in the ways and lifestyle of Christ, so that the new believer will grow and develop into a mature Christian and a disciple of Christ. Sometimes, the lord Jesus Christ can do the discipleship for the new believer by Himself or use other mature Christians to do that.

Who is a Disciple?
A Disciple is a student, an apprentice, a learner and a follower of Jesus Christ. He is a new Christian undergoing the process or training of discipleship under the tutelage of a more experienced Disciple, Mentor or Christian leader. Apostle Paul was a disciple of Jesus Christ, Timothy was a disciple of Apostle Paul etc.

Who is a Discipler?
A Discipler is a man or woman, probably a mature Christian, a Christian leader, Mentor, Coach or more experienced disciple who offers to render the work of discipleship to a new Christian.

What is discipleship?

Discipleship is the process of nurturing, grooming and training a new Christian in the ways and principles of Christ until the new Christian grow up and develop into a mature Christian and a disciple who can train others.

“Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father” Gal 4:1-2

Discipleship is not only by the words of the mouth. In discipleship, a Discipler models with his own life the real life and character of Jesus Christ, so that the new believer can vividly see Christ lived out in a human flesh. Discipleship is not a cheap talk. It is a  life transfusion. The discipler opens up his life for the disciple to see the life and character of Christ. Discipleship is teaching and leading by example.
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray by praying before them. He taught them how to fast by fasting Himself. He taught them to live a holy life by living a holy and righteous life before their eyes. He was with them in the secret and in the open. They saw Him cast out devils with a word, healed all manner of sickness and diseases. They entered into His life and little wonder people called them Christians. Because they were actually living and behaving like Christ. Except you knew Jesus by face, if you meet Him with His disciples, you will find it difficult to differentiate him from his disciples. He poured His life into His disciples. Jesus’s kind of discipleship was not only by words of the mouth, it was by example.

Discipleship is to model Christ so that others can see Christ through you and become like Him as well.

The Purpose of Discipleship

What is the intention of God towards Discipleship? When God thought of discipleship as a system for raising leaders in the kingdom of God, His goals are as follows:

1.    To raise and train Believers who will be like Christ.

“The disciple is not above his master, but everyone that is perfect shall be as his master” Luke 6:40

The purpose and intention of God in discipleship is to raise and groom Christians who will become like Christ in words, thoughts, Character and actions. Discipleship is God’s vehicle for raising “many Jesus” on the earth. When this purpose is achieved in your life as a believer, people don’t need to look too far to see Christ, they will see Him living and working in you.

2.    To raise and train Christians who will continue the works of Christ on the earth.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my father” John 14:12

God’s purpose of discipleship is to raise and train Christians who will continue the greater works of Christ on the earth. When Jesus was here on the earth, He was only at one place per time. Like every other human, His human nature restricted Him to a particular geographical location at a given time. So He didn’t have enough time or chance to reach the entire world at a time. He promised that His disciples who believe in Him will do greater works than He did. Take note, He didn’t say that His disciples will become greater than Him. He said greater works. During the time of Jesus on the earth, there was no internet, Television, Satellite or these mind blowing technology that we have today. So actually many disciples of Jesus Christ around the world are doing greater works than Jesus did. Thousands and millions of souls are saved in great gospel campaigns, thousands of sick people are healed and several blind eyes open. The gospel of Jesus Christ is working.

3.    To perfect the redemptive plan of God for man.

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” Heb 2:10

Another goal of discipleship is to perfect the redemptive plan of God for man. The full package of salvation is perfected through discipleship. Until discipleship is in place, it may look as if your salvation is not profitable. The system that God uses to bring many of His Sons unto glory is discipleship. The glory and benefits of salvation is made perfect in a believer through discipleship.

4.    The purpose of discipleship is geared towards redeeming and reconciling the lost back to God.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” Rom 8:29

The purpose of discipleship is to redeem and reconcile the lost back to God. God’s ultimate desire is that all men everywhere should repent and come to the knowledge of Christ. God does not want anyone to perish, because Jesus Christ died for everyone. So discipleship is the system through which God raises many brethren of Jesus who have been conformed to the image of His son.

5.    To raise kingdom minded people who will represent God in every sphere of human existence and do His will on the earth.

“Then said I, lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” Heb 10:7

God’s purpose of discipleship is to raise and groom kingdom minded believers who will intentionally and deliberately represent God everywhere they go and do His will on the earth. The will of God can be thwarted by wicked and evil people in the corridors of power. Hence discipleship is God’s system of raising kingdom minded Presidents, governors, Senators, Commissioners, Businessmen and women, Billionaires and Leaders of all cadres whose life purpose and assignment is to represent God and enforce His will and agenda on the earth.

We must quickly come to a realization that God is in the business of raising disciples. Therefore, anyone who is not ready to submit to discipleship will be fighting against the tide in the move of God. Be discipled and become an instrument of discipleship in the hands of the lord. You’ll be glad you did. God bless you.

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