1. What is a disciple? The dictionary defines a disciple as,
"Someone who follows another person or another way of life and who submits
himself to the discipline (teaching) of that leader or way. (Bakers
Ency. of the Bible. Vol 1, pg629)
2. Note that is says, "who submits himself to the teaching of that leader."
a. There are many who call themselves by the name of Jesus Christ,
they call them selves Christians, yet do not necessarily called themselves
b. To be a disciple or bear the name of a leader one must
be to some degree following that leader or teaching. First you
are converted, and then the process of becoming conformed to that leader
or belief begins
ILLUS: The Moonies follow:
Tan Sun Moon
Mormons follow their
prophet and General authorities.
Darwin, Carl Segan and the teachers of evolution.
Masons follow: Teaching
of Masonic order.
follow the teachings of Russell Taylor and their leaders in Brooklyn, NY
You could in truth be a creationist
if you believed in evolution. You would be a evolutionist, right?
Would you call a person a Christian
who did not follow Christ or pattern their life by the teachings of
I. WHO RIGHTLY IS A CHRISTIAN?
A. New Testament tells us that
Christ began His ministry by calling "disciples." They latter were
called "apostles" which means "ones sent forth." First they were
disciples - the twelve were called apostles and they were then sent out to
Often we understand the disciples were
only the twelve, however, it was the name given to all who believed in Christ.
B. Acts 6:1-2, 7. All those who were
saved were called "disciples".
Acts 9:1,19,25-26,38. Paul is
said to have persecuted the disciples of Christ.
C. Acts 11:26. The disciples were then
begun to be
called "Christians" meaning "Christ like ones"!
D. It is unscriptural to teach that a person can be a "Christian"
and not be a disciple. I believe this to be one of the greatest
failures of Christian teaching.
1. It was not that way in the beginning, and
God has not changed His program. The name or title "disciple"
meant one who was totally submitted to the teachings of the people who was
disciplining them. Christ discipled or taught the twelve
men whom he called to follow and serve Him.
2. To use the name Christian also means to
be a follower of Christ, which is a disciple, but it defined the life
the disciple lived.
It was the world that gave disciples
the name Christians. Acts 11:26 records, " And when
he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that
a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.
And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
The name Christian means "Christ one."
The verse says that the disciples "were called" Christians, but it does not
seem to have been adopted in the early churches.
The name is only used three times in the New Testament in Acts 11:26, Acts
26:28, 1 Peter 4:16
In Acts 26:28, Agrippa after hearing
Paul example the Gospel said "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
This was lost King Agrippa using the name non-Christians called the
disciples of Christ.
In 1 Peter 4:14-16 Peter's statement
too is using the word from the world's perspective, "If ye be
reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory
and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your
part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief,
or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man
suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on
this behalf." The title Christian through the world's eyes
was on the same par as murderer or thief.
Tacitus who lived in the first century
wrote this interesting note: The vulgar call them Christians.
The author or origin of this denomination, Christus, had, in the reign of
Tiberious, been executed by the Procurator, Pontius Pilate" (Annals xv. 44).
However, after the first century the
followers of Christ accepted the name as a title of honor. (The above
from "Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words")
) In the New Testament the word "disciple" or "disciples" occurs a total of 256 times. I think we can see the significance of the name in how many times it was used.
The point is that in the beginning
believers in Christ were called disciples because they were those who followed
Christ. Only after the Bible was completed did they begin
to use the name "Christian."
3. A disciple is a follower of a person.
In New Testament times, the leader of a group was respectfully called,
"Lord," or "Master", or Teacher.
In Luke 6:46, "Jesus sharply
rebuked those who were incorrectly addressing him as "Lord" when
they were not following Him.
He said, "Why do you call
me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)
Note Luke 6:40.
Jesus said, "The disciple is not above his master but every one
that is perfect shall be as his master."
The word "perfect" i s the
Greek word, katartizw (kat-ar-tid'-zo) and means "complete."
In Romans 9:22 we can see how the word is used and is translated "fitted."
"What if God, willing to
shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering
the vessels of wrath, "fitted" to destruction:"
Word "fitted" is the same word, "katartizo," and shows
a relationship between character, and destiny.
The principle is that one
who is "perfect" or "fitted" in Christ, will be like Christ, and their destiny
is what Christ, determines, which is heaven.
4. It is not proper for anyone to call themselves
a Christian, if they do not follow Christ! Jesus
Himself stated this.
II. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A "DISCIPLE" OR "CHRISTIAN."
A. Answer is simple. To be a disciple you must submit
yourself to Christ, and F O L L O W" him!
We live in the day that some have termed,
"easy believism" In other words you can make a profession of
faith in Christ, but you do not have any real commitment to Him. This
is the problem today. Too many profess Christ, and yet their is no
change in their lives.
The can call themselves "Christians"
but not "Disciples."
God is in the life changing business.
Changing us from death to life, from sin to righteousness, from life of anxiousness
and uncertainty to no of peace and joy, of having only worldly purposes to
that of having and eternal purpose, from hell to heaven, as being of this
world, to that of being a citizen of heaven.
B. How then this done? Rom. 10:9-10
"If you will confess with your mouth the Lord
Jesus, and believe in your heart that God
has raised him from the death, you shall be saved. For with the heart
man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
1. So! The first step in becoming a
disciple of Christ, and calling yourself a Christian is to do TWO THINGS!
It would be dishonest and futile to try to follow a person and his teachings
if you did not believe them to be
If fact, honestly, would a person submit themselves
wholeheartedly to something they ready did not believe in???
THAT'S THE PROBLEM: MANY PEOPLE TRY TO BECOME CHRISTIANS
WITHOUT BEING TOLD THEY MUST FOLLOW CHRIST THE LORD OR BECAUSE THEY DO NOT
WANT ALL THE RESTRICTIONS.
Many become disillusioned. They go through
the motions of becoming a Christian, yet do not receive the blessing of God.
The blessings of God are only received with a person truly from his heart
believes on Jesus Christ, follows what the Bible says and then lives
his life as God instructs.
2. Some do not grow spiritually and
close to the Lord because they are not taught and they do not read their
Bibles which tells them what is best for them.
3. Others, are uncomfortable with the
new life that God wants for all his children. The give
into the flesh not willing to give up their old lives. They would
like to go to heaven, but do not want all the restrictions or do they obey
the Lord and live like Christ says.
You see there is a problem:
It is like a person who has a disease and needs to take medicine.
He doesn't like the taste of the medicine, but he wants the benefit of what
the medicine will do for him.
He buys the bottle,
pays money for it, but does not take the medicine. Foolish, huh?
Many want to go to heaven,
want the blessing of God, yet do not want all the restrictions being a Christian,
places on them. They enjoy sin. Remember the
verse I read earlier? Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?"
Do you understand that this is a question
Christ puts to all who use his name. Jesus would say to
the one who professed to be saved yet lives a worldly life..."Why are
you called me Lord, Lord and not living like I have instructed you?"
Our Lord, by whose name
we identify ourselves, in His word the New Testament say, "And this
is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men love
darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil" (John 3:19).
Isn't it worth noting this
verse follows John 3:16-18? Jesus in verse 16-18 tells us how we can
be saved and then explains why many are not saved.
Do you see why there are
so many who use the name yet do not live the life?
Do you see why there is
so much false doctrine, so many cults, so many false denominations
which use the name of Christ, but pervert or change what Christ says to suit
They pick and choose, instead
of following the whole counsel of the Word of God! They are not
following Jesus Christ, but making a false Jesus and following him.
Folks, you take it all,
or none of it!!!
You can't take the teaching
of the love of God, and his marvelous Grace and not also take the teachings
which tell of the wrath of God that will be revealed against sin!
have Heaven, without Hell!
What God wants to do is change your
life, and free you from the hurt, sorry, destruction and worthlessness of
III. JESUS COMMISSION TO HIS DISCIPLE IS TO MAKE OTHER DISCIPLES!
A. Matthew 28:19-20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost: teaching them to OBSERVE "ALL" things whatsoever I have
commanded you: and lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
B. NOTE, the church is to:
1. The word TEACH used in verse 19 is the
Greek word "Ma-thet-e-uo." It is not the same word as in verse
20 "TEACHING. (The going is assumed: "as you are going.")
"Teach" is the word, "disciple"
in verse 19 and means to make disciples of them.
First command of Christ.
Be baptized, as a public show of the disciples commitment to Christ.
This is often missed or not stressed when a person is baptized.
The act of baptism is a public declaration of one's identification
as a disciple to Jesus Christ.
It is the picture of the death of sin
in a believer's life. When we baptize a new believer we
say, "Buried with Him in baptism, raised to walk in the
newness of live." The statement is based on Romans 6:4
which says, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life."
3. TEACHING THEM: (Matthew 28:20)
Teach them what? What
is to be the course of study?
To study the Bible as literature?
Teach them to DO or "observe"
what I have been teaching you, my disciples to do!
We are to teach people to follow the Lord and that means obey the Word of
4. THOSE THAT OBEY THE LORD JESUS ARE
GIVEN A PROMISE!
In other words, disciples
do these things and Christ will be with you, that's his promise.
Don't do them, Christ is saying I will not be with you!
1. Are you a true following of Christ?? Are you a disciple?
The Devil, deceives so many, by saying you
can have heaven, without Christ...not so says the One who has the keys to
heaven, and also Hell.
2. Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other,
for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby
we must be saved".
3. Do you want Heaven? I'm sure you do. . !
The way is simple, believe on Christ and follow Him. You
will be instantly saved, the moment you believe and put your trust
in Him. The Lord gives you a NEW NATURE which is the very nature
of God so that now you can live a godly life. In fact the
life God would have you live is the very best life you can live.
It is so sad to see so many who profess
to know Christ living without Him, making their decision based on their carnal
nature and suffering greatly because of it.
Afraid, you can't live as a Christ?
Hindered by past sins,...He promised to forgive them all, wash you white
And to always be in you, at your side, to
aid, comfort and lead.
Why don't you turn you salvation over to Christ,
the very fact you now feel and see the need is because of the Holy Spirit
of God, working in your heart.
Let go...let Him save you.
To the Professing Christian: Can you honestly say the way
you live your life that you are following the one whom you profess is your
LORD? Do you pattern you life after His?
When you have to make decisions do you follow Jesus' words or your own carnal
Only a true Disciple lives for the
Lord and seeks to be a copy of the Master to whom they follow.
Any one who does not live for and like
the Master is not a disciple. If you find yourself in that position.
. .repent of your sin and right now being making the decisions a true disciple
would make....confess you sin and submit yourself wholly to Him.
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