Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)
TITLE: True Discipleship Is Abundantly Obvious
By Doug Laird
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Our discipleship is something that should be abundantly clear to all who observe us as we go about our daily routines.
If it is necessary for a believer to announce the fact that he is a Christian, it is clear that he has not entered into or remained in discipleship. The fact is, most Christians don't.
The majority of believers will attempt to compensate for rejecting the call to true discipleship by being relatively moral and religious producers of “righteous acts (Isa.64: 6)” amounting to no more than "filthy rags (Isa. 64:6 NIV).” Such things impress Man, but not God.
There is a world of a difference between being a Christian that ALL believers are, and being a disciple. Both are forever saved and will spend all of Eternity with God, but only the true disciple lives the true post salvation spiritual life that glorifies God.
Just as salvation is what distinguishes believers from unbelievers, experiential sanctification is what distinguishes the disciple from all other believers.
Experiential sanctification, simply put, means to be prepared by God and to be set-aside for His purposes (1Cor. 12:11) while living here on this earth during the post salvation spiritual life. God’s purposes are always related to the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt.28: 19, 20) and that is to announce the Gospel to unbelievers and to make disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God) out of born again believers.
What is it about this “experiential sanctification” that distinguishes the believer from the disciple?
Is it moral standards?
In the American society, conventionally moral lifestyles are becoming more and more a "hard find", but while morality can be the result of discipleship, it is NEVER the means to acquire it.
Atheists and non-Christians can choose to have moral lifestyles for a variety of reasons, yet still burn forever in the fire Hell. The Pharisees that conspired against our Lord were among the most "religious" and "moral" peoples of that day. They wouldn't even consider committing many of the sins that the followers of Jesus were involved in, but they would conspire to commit murder in the name of religion (Matt. 5: 20).
Is it secular success?
While material blessings and success may be a part of the plan of God for some Christians, many of the greatest Christians, past and present, live in some of the poorest socio-economic environments that this world has to offer. Jesus taught that, "... a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15 NIV).
Well then, exactly what IS it that makes up this abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10: 10 (KJV)? "... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
If the answer is to have universal significance, it must be applicable to all Christians regardless of their individual environment or circumstances.
Discipleship is dependant on the intake and application of the Word of God on a daily basis. Our ability to apply it in the worse of circumstances as well as in the day of blessing is what opens the doors to greater opportunities in the post salvation spiritual life.
The word “disciple” in the English Bibles is a translation of the Greek word "mathetes" found in the original manuscripts that became to be what we now refer to as the "The Bible". One of the definitions of this word "mathetes" means to be technical student in a teacher-pupil relationship.
The abundant life to which God calls all born again believers is the life of discipleship, developed through the intake of the Word of God and executed by the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit.
“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body (2Cor. 4: 11 NV).”
When as disciples, we learn what the Bible means to die daily (1Cor. 15: 31), the abundant life that we are called to will in fact be abundantly evident to all who observe us as we go about our daily routines.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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