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It will do us good this week to consider that Jesus wants us to be His disciples. Sometimes we think that when we obeyed the first steps of the gospel we did all that is necessary to attain heaven. We may think that, having obtained membership in the Lord’s church, our salvation is certain. But there is a big difference between becoming a “member of the church” and becoming a disciple. It is discipleship that the Lord wants, and without that, nothing else matters very much.

In Bible times, the idea of discipleship was more familiar than it is now. In those days, before the existence of universities and trade schools, if one wanted to become learned in a certain field or skilled at some craft, one found a scholar or master craftsman and became his “disciple.” The disciple often lived with his master. He and the master became intimate friends. The disciple not only learned the information available from his master, but he also patterned his life after him. He ate and drank with his master. He traveled with him. He emulated his master’s words and actions and attitudes. He tried to become like his master, believing him to be worthy of such imitation. There was a personal relationship of friendship and trust, in which the master shared what he knew with his disciple and the disciple patterned himself after his master.

We ought to seek that kind of relationship with Christ. He wants us to follow Him and learn from Him, to become His friends. He wants us to “walk” with Him, to live with Him day and night, absorbing His skill in living and adopting His way of thinking. He desires that we become so devoted to Him as our Master that it becomes the height of our ambition to be just like Him. And doing that is a far more personal thing than we often make it out to be. It is more than the dry and dusty obligation of doing what He demands. Instead, it is the privilege of learning life from the Lord of life in a relationship of closest intimacy. Discipleship is not a hoop we have to jump through to gain heaven. Even in the here and now, the requirements of discipleship are a blessing.

Without genuine discipleship, the thing many people call “Christianity” is worthless. Many have thought that having their names on the roll of some faithful congregation assured their entrance into eternal glory. But the gospel which saves is the gospel which produces disciples (Mt. 28:19). So the question this week is: are we disciples? Let’s think about it.

Monday: Matthew 28:16–20

Key Idea: When we obey the gospel of Christ, we enter into a discipleship.

Questions for Family Growth: In vv.18,19, what did Jesus command His apostles to do? What were they to teach those who were baptized? On the basis of this passage, what would you say a “disciple” is?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:5,6.

Tuesday: John 8:31; 15:14

Key Idea: A disciple is one who learns from and obeys his master.

Questions for Family Growth: If we say we are Jesus’ disciples but we do not obey Him, is that not contradictory? In Jn. 15:14, what did Jesus say we are if we do what He commands us? How can we know what Jesus wants us to do?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:7.

Wednesday: John 15:1–11

Key Idea: Jesus’ disciples are those who bear much fruit for Him.

Questions for Family Growth: In practical terms, how do we “bear fruit” for Jesus Christ? What will happen if we say we are Jesus’ disciples but do not bear fruit? Will Jesus help us do the things He wants us to do?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:8.

Thursday: Acts 9:36–43

Key Idea: There are things all of us can do to demonstrate our discipleship.

Questions for Family Growth: Who is called a “disciple” in this passage? In what ways did she “bear fruit” as a disciple? What are some activities we can engage in today to show our discipleship to the Lord?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:9.

Friday: Acts 11:19–26

Key Idea: The disciples of Jesus Christ are called Christians.

Questions for Family Growth: Can a person be a faithful Christian without being a disciple? What does the term “Christian” mean? If we wear the name of Christ, what sense of responsibility should we feel toward Him?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:10.

Gary Henry — +

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