Characteristics of a Disciple of Jesus Christ

The evidence of salvation is a transformed life. Without obedience to Christ we cannot claim to be a His disciples. If we are not His disciples, then we are not actually saved.

(Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. {19} “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(1 John 2:4 NKJV)  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

(Luke 6:46 NKJV)  “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?

Unknowingly, we have allowed a dumbing down of biblical discipleship.

“Christianity is not a school for the teaching of moral virtue, the polishing of our manners, or forming us to live a life of this world with decency and gentility. It is deeper and more divine in its designs, and much nobler ends. It implies an entire life, a dedication of ourselves, our souls, our bodies unto God in the strictest and highest sense of the words.” William Law

“Jesus in His extremism insists that we surrender all our relationships, our resources, our careers, our futures-our total lives-to His lordship…In becoming Christian it appears that many of us have unquestionably attempted to layer our faith right over the top of the secular values with which we have been raised. We have simply accepted cultural expectations as largely unquestioned givens. For many, this business of following Christ seems to be placing a little “Jesus veneer” over middle- and upper middle-class lifestyles and their implicit values. That simply won’t work.” Tom Sine,Taking Discipleship Seriously

To be a disciple of Christ, one must actually follow Christ. “When someone claims to have faith in Christ, he must also commit to follow Christ. Remember, Jesus taught that faith meant to follow Him. Anything less is something else – a wish, a desire, or a good intention. But it’s not faith, because faith means to follow. Bill Hull ‘The Complete Book of Discipleship’

(Luke 9:23 NKJV)  Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

What are the specifics of discipleship?

1. Going public: While salvation must be personally received on an individual basis, the idea of our faith in Christ as a private matter is completely contrary to the teachings of Christ Himself.

(Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV)  “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. {33} “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

2. Knowing the truth: If we are to be followers of Christ, we must know His word.

(John 8:31-32 NLT)  Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. {32} And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(Matthew 11:29-30 NLT)  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. {30} For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

3. Mentors: A disciple must have those who demonstrate following Christ.

(1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT)  And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s

(2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)  You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.

4. Accountability: A disciple must have those to whom they give account.

(Hebrews 13:17 NLT) Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

(1 Peter 5:5 GWT) Young people, in a similar way, place yourselves under the authority of spiritual leaders. Furthermore, all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble.

5. Structure: Structure gives us boundaries, and a format for developing godly habits, and character.

(1 Corinthians 14:40 NKJV) Let all things be done decently and in order.

(Titus 1:4-5 NKJV) To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. {5} For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;

6. Godly fellowship: A disciple needs relationships, where they experience love and security.

(Acts 2:42 NKJV)  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

(Philippians 2:20-22 NLT)  I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. {21} All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. {22} But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News.

A disciple abides in Christ through the Word and prayer. (John 15:7)

A disciple bears much fruit (John 15:8)

A disciple demonstrates his/her love for God through obedience. (John 15:9)

A disciple possesses joy.

A disciple loves as Christ loves us. (John 15:12-13)

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