In our religious world, the word disciple carries with it the idea of being a follower. Of course, what does it mean to be a follower? Here is where further insight into the word can be very helpful. For instance, Vine’s explains that the word disciple (mathetes) literally means a leaner; hence it denotes one who follows one’s teaching. As we have seen already from Luke 14:25-35 in the last two lessons, our intent is to be a disciple of Christ; thus, it is His teachings we should be following.
What does this have to do with bringing people to Christ? Remember, when Jesus gave the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, the first thing he wants us to do is to help reveal to others what God teaches about being a disciple. We will do this not only by revealing to them what God teaches, but also by modeling it before them. So, what are some characteristics of those who call themselves disciples of Christ? You know these already, I suspect, but they are worth mentioning.
One thing that comes to mind is found in Paul’s words to Timothy. He says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15) For the disciple, how we choose to treat God’s word is noticeable, for it is intimately involved in our transformation; something others can see.
Not only are we to do our best, but we are to make every effort. Peter exhorts the disciples saying, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith . . .” (2nd Peter 1:3) Because of our new found faith in Christ, disciples are to be intentional learners which will in turn help to keep them from being “ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2nd Peter 1:8)
As disciples, we should be seeking to become equipped to help make other disciples. This is part of the great commission which our Lord has given to us. The most effective way to help make one, is to live as one: Someone who is doing their best to add to their faith because they know and have been impacted by the love of Christ. I wonder, do you think people would notice? I suspect they would, and possibly even come and ask you about the hope that you have. Let us be convicted anew about what it means to be a follower of Christ: to the glory of His name and the furtherance of His church.