The church is an organism (a living thing) more than an organization, and since all living things grow, what does that same about a church that doesn’t grow? Growth is called discipleship. It is a life-long process we call sanctification, becoming more like Jesus over a lifetime.
The Meaning of Discipleship: Listen Watch, and Follow (Acts 9:10, 26, 36).
- Listen to Jesus’ teaching (Luke 6:40, Mark 1:14-15, John 16:12-15, 5:39).
- Watch Jesus’ life (Matthew 9:35-38, 10:5-9).
- Follow Jesus’ footsteps (Luke 9:23-25, 1 Peter 2:21-25) We follow his life but also his suffering.
How to Grow as a Disciple: Instruction
- Why learning is crucial to discipleship: (Acts 20:32, John 17:17, Romans 12:1-2) God’s Words builds us up and sanctifies us. Our mind leads the way for our actions. It is God who speaks to us, bringing conviction, comfort, corrections, and encouragement.
- Who does the teaching? (1 Timothy 5:17, Titus 1:7-9, Romans 15:14).
How to Grow as a Disciple: Imitation
- Some things are better caught than taught.
- Timothy’s Models (2 Timothy 3:10-17, 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:2).
- The benefit of multiple models (Philippians 3:17-4:1).
A Culture of Discipleship: Culture defines what we think is normal; habits, expectations mores.
- Older teaching the younger (Titus 2:1-10)
- The centrality of the church in discipleship (Ephesians 4:11-16) There are many ways and functions but we cannot do everything outside of the local congregation. The main way to grow in Christ is through the church body. Church relationship should be as normal as breathing. The church permeates everything, it is not a club or a program.
- Ar you making disciples? (2 Peter 1:5-8) Are these yours and increasing? Everyone called by Jesus is to be used by Jesus to reach others.
Others-focused Growth and a Focus on Growing Others: The New Testament is other-focused. We must seek to serve others, especially those in the faith (Galatians 6:10). Every Christian has a part to play on this team.
- How does Jesus define greatness (Mark 10:42-45)?
- How do we embody the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?
- Who must we strive to please (Romans 15:1-2)?
- Disciples made simple: it doesn’t take a super-Christian, and you can’t make the excuse that you have nothing to offer someone else. We are gifted to serve (1 Corinthians 12:7).