About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Meaning Of Discipleship
Just before Jesus
returned to heaven He gave His disciples this command.
Matthew 28:18 reads:
"Therefore go and
make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
The Greek word
"mathetes" is translated into our English New Testament as
Greek word means "one who learns from another and endeavours to put
into action what he learns." Mathetes
emphasized continual learning and continually living what you learn.
Is that you?
Our present-day, and I
believe, dumbed-downed Evangelical gospel that emphasizes getting saved so
we can go to heaven destroys the meaning of being a disciple of Jesus, and
why? It negates our
present-day responsibility to continually learn and live what we learn.
Learning implies the exercise of our brains.
What we learn in our minds, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit
and legitimate Bible teachers, must sink into our hearts where it forms
the convictions by which we live. To
be precisely accurate, Jesus mandated that we be His disciples, not
Christians. You may ask,
"What's the difference?"
The singular noun
"Christian" is found only two times in most versions of our
English Bible (Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16). Its
plural form is found in Acts 11:26 where we learn the disciples of Jesus
were first called "Christians" by non-believing Gentiles in the
Gentile city of Antioch. The term
"Christian" was commonly understood to be a derogatory
designation, a designation that King Agrippa seems to have used when he
asked Paul if Paul was trying to make him a Christian (Acts 26:28). Likewise
Tacitus, a first-century Greek historian, seems to have used the word
"Christian" in a derogatory sense, as seen in this quote.
"The vulgar call
them Christians ... (Annals 15:44)."
With the above in mind,
I ask this question. In the western-world
church, does the designation of Christian imply that everyone who calls
himself Christian is a disciple of Jesus?
Do we have two classes of believers, that is, Christians who have
adopted a Biblical belief system and disciples who continually learn from
Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit live what they learn?
The New Testament says nothing about two classes of believers.
In Biblical terms, a Christian is a disciple of Jesus.
Jesus has not called us
to be western-world style Christians who merely acknowledge a Biblical
belief system. Such
acknowledgement is the first step in becoming a disciple of Jesus.
The next step is to repent of your sinful, humanistic ways, trust
your entire life with Jesus, and receive His Spirit into your life.
Only then can you begin to walk the path of Biblical discipleship
where we continually learn from Jesus and continually live what you
learn. Is that you?