What Should a Disciple Look Like?

What Does a Disciple of Jesus Look Like? A great question. We often attempt to develop new believers into what we think is a good disciple, but at the end of the day, our product looks more like the chief opponents of Jesus rather than his disciples. [ for example, see here ]

It is so important to see the end from the beginning, so we know what we desire in a follower of Jesus. Then we can take positive steps to see that vision come to fruition. Let me suggest these characteristics that should be developed into a disciple…

DDecided Faith – He or She Has Unwavering Assurance of Salvation in Jesus Christ Alone (1 John 5:13, John 1:12-13, 1 John 5:11-12, Ephesians 4:14, Romans 8:16, 1 Corinthians 2:14)

IInward Growth – He or She is Developing Devotional Practices for Spiritual Growth (Mark 1:35, Genesis 19:27, Exodus 34:2-3, Psalm 5:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Timothy 4:13, Acts 17:11, Proverbs 2:1-5, Psalm 1:1-6, Joshua 1:8)

SSeparated from Sin – He or She has Embraced the Practice of Repentance and a Life of Sanctification (1 John 1:5-2:2, James 1:22, 2 Timothy 2:19-22, Romans 6:12-14, 1 John 2:15-16, Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:9-10, 1 Peter 1:14-16, Ephesians 6:10-20, Romans 13:14, Mark 14:38, 1 John 1:9)

CCommitted to Community – He or She is Small Group Focused and Does not Neglect the Gathering of Saints (Acts 2:42, Acts 17:11, 1 John 1:3, 7, Hebrews 10:24-25, Psalm 122:1, John 15:12, Romans 12:10, Romans 14:9, 15:7, 14, 1 Corinthians 12:25, Galatians 5:13, 6:2, Ephesians 4:2, 25, 29, 32, 5:21, Colossians 3:13, 16, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11, 13, James 5:16, 1 Peter 4:9-10, 1 Peter 5:5)

IInvesting in Eternity – Uses Their Time, Talent, and Treasure for Things That Will Last (Ephesians 5:15-17, Psalm 90:10, 12, Ecclesiastes 3:1, James 4:14, Romans 13:11, Romans 12:4-8, Ephesians 4:11-13, Proverbs 3:9-10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Luke 6:38, Proverbs 3:27, Galatians 6:6, Malachi 3:10, Proverbs 11:24-25, 2 Corinthians 8:9)

PPersonal Testimony – He or She is Committed to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, Luke 8:38-39, Acts 26:1-23, John 9:25, 1 John 1:3, Colossians 1:28-29, Romans 1:16, 2 Timothy 4:1-2, Acts 8:35, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45)

LLordship of Christ – He or She Pursues Obedience to God’s Word and Self-control in This Life (Luke 6:46, Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 1:2, John 14:21, 23, John 15:10, 14, 1 Samuel 15:22)

EExtending the Love of Christ and his Kingdom – He or She Embraces the MVPs of Mission, Vision, and Proclamation (John 13:34-35, 1 John 3:16-18, John 15:13, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 John 4:7-21, Matthew 9:35-38, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:47, John 20:21, Isaiah 6:8)

Being a Man of Prayer

The disciples specifically asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, so what does he tell them? Take a look at Luke 11:1-4 (I’ve typed out the NASB).

An introduction to the Lord’s Model Prayer:

  1. Revelation of Prayer:  “after he had finished” praying (Luke 11:1): We often don’t realize that prayer is a practice in which we need to engage. The discipleship are now aware that Jesus is a man of prayer and want to become like him. I was responding to a friend on Facebook and mentioned that I would pray for an upcoming interview. Another person responded that he did not believe in prayer but told her “good luck.” Many people are simply ignorant to the power of prayer and ridicule those who engage in the practice.
  2. Rule of Prayer: “When you pray, say” (Luke 11:2): notice that Jesus did not say “if” you pray, but “when.” This tells me that prayer is a rule of life, a practice that spiritual people engage in. It will come to us more naturally the more we practice prayer.
  3. Relationship of Prayer: “our Father” (Luke 11:2): The Christian faith is one of relationships, not a list of rules. If God is our Father, we are supernaturally made one of his children, adopted into the family of God, heirs with Christ himself. We must never forget that religion saves no one, it is only by a relationship (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
  4. Reverence of Prayer: “hallowed be your name” (Luke 11:2): Hallowed is not a word used much in everyday language but it simply means to have reverence for God. We approach him as one of his children, but we cannot strut into his presence. We bow low recognizing the fact that we do not deserve salvation or to come into his presence.
  5. Resignation of Prayer: “your kingdom come” (Luke 11:2): Pride is one element of the human experience that prevents many people from following Jesus, and if we have a prideful attitude, this part of the prayer is disingenuous. We must actively believe and live the fact that God’s kingdom is more important and significant than our personal agendas. We must resign our personal will and agenda in order to embrace God’s purpose and mission for the world and our participation in it.
  6. Request of Prayer: “Give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3): It is sad to say but true, this is the only part of prayer that we seem to believe, practice, and expect. Notice that “give us” is not at the beginning, perhaps we should follow the order of this prayer more closely. I believe that God desires that we develop relationship with him through prayer; when that happens, the “give me” request should become more in line with God’s character and mission.
  7. Repentance of Prayer: “and forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4): It seems to be especially difficult to request to be in God’s presence through prayer all the while knowing that we are unrepentant. God desires to forgive, and can do so only on the basis of the sacrificial substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross. We are never perfect in this life, but we should work toward sinning less as we grow in godliness. Repent of known sin and ask God to help you sin less.
  8. Responsibility of Prayer: “for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4): Jesus was pretty direct about this, we are to forgive others because God has graciously forgiven us (Luke 6:37, 17:4). That is our responsibility, forgive others when they have wronged us. The result of not forgiving is that a root of bitterness will begin to grow (Ephesians 4:31-32, Hebrews 12:15).
  9. Resolve of Prayer: “And lead us not in to temptation.” (Luke 11:4): One reason that prayer is vital to our spiritual life is that we all like sheep are led astray (Isaiah 53:6). We are tempted to go in our own direction and forsake the guidance of the Lord. We need for God to lead us in the right direction and keep us in the ruts of righteousness (Psalm 23:3). Men, resolve to avoid temptation!

The P-attern of Prayer:

  1. To be Definite in our Asking: no more generic prayers, let’s get specific.
  2. To be Desperate in our Approach: desperation often drives us to our knees. Let’s not wait that long.
  3. To be Doubtless in our Attitude: asking in faith is the way to go; the more we know God, the better we pray.

The R-equirement of Prayer:

  1. Requires Time: set aside a definite time and place; make prayer a habit.
  2. Requires Toil: it is important to work at getting better at praying; don’t expect an easy path.
  3. Requires Tears: pour our your heart to him, that is where the relationship develops.

The A-ction of Prayer:

  1. Power for our Work (Philippians 2:12-13, Ephesians 2:10): for God to work through us in the marketplace.
  2. Power with our Witness (James 5:16): effective and answered prayer gives us a testimony.
  3. Power in our Worship (John 4:23-24): as we pray, we open our spirits to God’s will and direction, and we are able to worship him in spirit and truth.

The Y-earning of Prayer:

  1. A Desire for Secret Prayer: have alone-time with God, where you find solitude in the midst of a busy life.
  2. A Desire for Scriptural Prayer: use God’s word and pray it back to him, I like to say, “use God’s own words against him” meaning, he cannot refute or diminish his own words.
  3. A Desire for Spiritual Prayer: the Bible mentions praying in the spirit (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20) which means to allow your spirit to commune with the Holy Spirit, because sometime the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).

The E-nlistment of Prayer: (Matthew 9:38)

  1. Our Master’s Orders: “Pray” – global evangelization is not up to us alone, God wants us to pray, as well as go.
  2. Our Master’s Ownership: “Lord of the harvest” – Jesus is the only one who can bring lost people unto himself.
  3. Our Master’s Option: “send” – sometimes God asks us to go, and we must be ready and obedient. I’ve heard Keith Green say that “we should all plan to go, until God specifically calls you to stay.”

The R-esults of Prayer:

  1. It was the magnet that drew Eliezar and Rebekah together: Genesis 24
  2. It was the mystery that opened the Red Sea: Exodus 14
  3. It was the medicine that added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life: Isaiah 38
  4. It was the muzzle used on the lions’ mouths for Daniel: Daniel 6
  5. It was the messenger who delivered Peter from prison: Acts 12

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Being a Disciple of Jesus

This is a poem written by Jefferson Bethke to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the Bible, Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it’s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification.

Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights his journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God.

With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you; you don’t represent yourself. His sacrifice is perfect, putting us in perfect standing with God!

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