We will define discipleship the way Jesus did. From the four ‘Gospels’, we find five vital traits that describe a disciple of Christ, a person who would listen to Jesus, learn from Jesus following His teaching, make more disciples, love like Jesus, and remain relationally connected to Jesus all the days of their life:
- “Follow Me” Mark 1:17 Jesus “chose” His disciples (John 15:16) and called them to drop what they were doing and follow Him, and He would make them “fishers of men.” They were to “Come to Him” and He would give them “rest” and they were to “learn from Him” (Matthew 11:28-29).
- “Abide in My Word” John 8:31-32– To truly be a disciple of Christ, we must abide in the Word of God, its teaching is vital for knowing “the truth” not just some aspect of ‘truth’ but the very source or root of all truth (John 18:37) A disciple ‘listens’ to one’s teacher and ‘grows’ in their learning (Matthew 17:5; Ephesians 4:15). The words of Christ are “eternal life” (John 6:68-69)
- “I will make you” Matthew 4:19– Jesus is not only the ‘caller’ He is also the one that will provide ‘the model’ to live by as a disciple. Our discipleship with Jesus empowers us to call all people to salvation in Him so that they may receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. He makes His disciples “fishers of men.”
- “Love one-another” Mark 12:28-31; John 13:34-35 In Christ, a disciple receives the very love of Christ into his soul forever. We are to “prove” our discipleship by loving others, particularly, other disciples.
- “Abide in Me” John 15:4-5 –Jesus’ call of discipleship is highly relational. Jesus says, “I know My sheep” (John 10:27). He calls us to receive Him personally and redemptively. As a branch can only bear fruit if it remains connected to the vine, disciples must abide in Christ if they are to bear fruit. Jesus warns “for apart from Me you can do nothing.” No one can truly call himself a disciple of Jesus who is not willing to “obey” Him.
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls..
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 18:37 Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Matthew 17:5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
John 6:68-69 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Matthew 4:19 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Mark 12:28-31 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.