Whenever we talk about discipleship, it is helpful to start with defining what we are talking about.
Ann Swindoll defines it this way: “What is discipleship? Put simply, discipleship means intentionally partnering with another Christian in order to help that person obey Jesus and grow in relationship with Him—so that he or she can then help others do the same. Jesus taught His disciples to follow Him and obey His commands so that they could lead others to do the same after His death, resurrection, and ascension. The Apostle Paul continues the pattern with Timothy and encourages him to keep the cycle going: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).”
I love the reminder that one of my primary duties as a pastor is to equip the saints for service to God and his kingdom. But this service, to be precise, is not some new way for us to earn favor with God because good deeds do not save us. Discipleship is not some new code word or term for Salvation through adding new requirements on the backs of believers. Discipleship is a response to God’s love shown to us through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Foundational facts about discipleship
“Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together, to remain faithful to the gospel.” Phil. 1:27
“But stay away from the godless myths that are passed down from the older women. Train yourself for a holy life! 8 While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has the promise for this life now and the life to come.” 1 Tim. 4: 7-8.
This is the foundation that I will build on over the next four blogs. I welcome your thoughts and discussion on this. May God bless you and our country as we see every day the need for us to be prepared to witness in a hurting and broken world. Our responsibility as pastors is to prepare a people ready to face these days ahead grounded in the Word of God and strengthened for the journey ahead.
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