A Christian yes, but am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?
by David Leach
A Christian yes, but am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?
It is quite an extraordinary thing when you ponder it but there are many born again Christians who are not yet disciples of Jesus Christ. What is a disciple? Here are the six basic truths that Jesus said characterize and are the requirements to be His disciples:
Lu 14:26 Whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple unless he loves me more than he loves his father and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and his sisters, and himself as well (because none of them died for my sins) TEV
Lu 14:27 And whoever of you does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (meaning he knows that he has died to his sinful human nature, by
believing God’s words that say Christ died to sinful flesh on his behalf - Rom 6:6).
Lu 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has, he cannot be my disciple (he surrenders his ownership claim, knowing he has been bought with a price, he is not his own, so he and what he has belong to God, he is now just the steward).
This is my unconditional surrender to God of all my relationships, my human nature, my will, and all my possessions. This makes Jesus Lord. If I love Him, by His Spirit I can do it.
John 8:31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him "You are truly my disciples if
you keep obeying my word” (believing, being changed by and doing His word). NLT
John13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another (and this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands - 2 Jo 6 NIV).
John15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit so shall you be my disciples (the fruit of our lips speaking and praying God’s words, by the Holy Spirit);
Feeding on and living by God’s words brought to me by His Spirit, then loving others with God’s words by my mouth bearing the spiritual fruit of those words, made living by His Spirit. So that the hearts of others can feed on them and by which I minister Christ to them.
What’s the point of being a born again Christian if it isn’t to become a true disciple of Christ?
Why are there so many Christians who are not yet disciples of Jesus Christ?
In the great commission in Mat 28:19 Jesus told His disciples “Go and make disciples of all nations”. God makes new disciples when they’re willing to be discipled by existing disciples. Many Christians today are not disciples. Why not? Maybe because they weren’t interested in becoming a disciple? Why not? Perhaps because many Christians have learned some untruths about God that now act as a barrier to their wanting to learn the truth about being a disciple. What are some of these untruths that a Christian will have to unlearn before they can believe the blessed truths of becoming one of Christ’s disciples?
Some of the untruths a Christian may need to unlearn in order to become a disciple:
1. Unlearn that God is in control of this world, scripture says Satan is the god of this world:
1 Jo 5:19 ...The whole world is under the rule of the Evil One. TEV The Lord’s Prayer tells us; God’s will is done in Heaven, on earth only as we obey and pray believing prayers
2. Unlearn that stealing, killing and destroying is by God’s hand when it is by Satan’s hand:
John 10:10 (Jesus) The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy. I have come that they may have life, and …have it more abundantly.
3. Unlearn that Satan is God’s agent, for he is God’s enemy and mine, whom I am to resist:
1 John 3:8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (If God destroys His agent’s works then God’s kingdom is divided)
4. Unlearn that God guides, leads and corrects His children through their circumstances:
Ps119:133 Direct my steps by Your word…
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for...correction
5. Unlearn that the Bible is a rule book that can be understood by normal human means:
1 Cor 2:14 The unspiritual self...by nature, can't receive the things of God's Spirit... Spirit can be known only by spirit, God's Spirit and our spirits in communion. MSGE
Prov 20:27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord...(where scripture is revealed) NASU
6. Unlearn the assumption that we received the Holy Spirit when we were born again:
Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles back in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God's message, they sent down Peter and John. As soon as they arrived, they began praying for these new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come upon any of them. For they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. TLB (what does it take to receive the Spirit)
• We must passionately want the Holy Spirit: Luke 11:13 ...How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
• We must be willing to be governed by the Holy Spirit: Acts 5:32 ...The Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.
• We must believe that we have received the Holy Spirit: Gal 3:2 NIV ...Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
7. Unlearn Calvinism. The five points of Calvinism are known by the acronym “TULIP”.
(1). Total Depravity and Total inability Calvin taught that man is so depraved that he is totally incapable of repenting or believing the Gospel. Therefore God chooses who He will save and only those He saves can then believe. Calvin wrote: “Who then shall be saved? His (God’s) sovereign will decides and nothing else”. (Calvin's Institutes III, xxiii, page 10).
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (So a sinner can indeed choose to believe and be saved)
(II) Unconditional Election. Calvin taught that God elects or chooses certain people who are to be saved and go to Heaven, and that this has nothing to do with God foreknowing if such people would choose to believe in Christ. Calvin wrote: "The unsaved and the elect
alike are appointed to be so by the secret counsel of God's will" (Institutes II, xxii, Page 11).
1 Tim2:3-4 …God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (No arbitrary selection by God of some and rejection of others)
(III) Limited Atonement. Calvin taught that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed only for the elect and not for the non-elect. But the truth is:
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus who by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
(IV) Irresistible Grace. Calvin taught that if a person was one of the elect for salvation, when God is ready for that person to become a Christian, the person would come to Christ not by choice, but by God’s decree since they cannot resist the grace of God. The truth is:
Isa 30:15 For thus says the Lord GOD…In returning and rest you shall be saved…But you would not (in other words you resisted),
Acts 7:51 …You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
(V) Perseverance of the Saints. Calvin taught that a person who is of the elect and saved will automatically persevere to the end and can never lose their salvation: But the truth is:
Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted…the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance… If we can choose to believe we can choose not to.
The appeal of Calvinism like fatalism is that it removes me from any personal responsibility.
8. Unlearn that when I’m in my flesh and doing wrong that I’m in God’s permissive will:
Rom 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (we are out of His will)
Rom 8:9 You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if...the Spirit of God dwells in you.
9. Unlearn that I cannot stop yielding to the sin nature of my flesh:
Gal 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Rom 6:11 ...Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. NIV
10 Unlearn that Paul’s thorn was sickness, came from God and that God denied his prayer
2 Cor 12:7-9 …There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger from Satan to persecute me, I sought the Lord...and he said to me; My grace is sufficient for you.
Rom 5:17 …Those who receive abundance of grace…will reign in life…by Christ…
2 Tim 3:11 (Paul) Persecutions, afflictions…out of them all the Lord delivered me.
It’s when my heart hears the truth and goodness of God’s words that I’m motivated to unlearn
And another word for unlearn is repent. For to repent means to have a change of mind. It’s only the goodness of God’s truth that leads me to repent. Meaning, I’m willing to unlearn the deceptive lies I may have believed and to acknowledge the truth of God’s words. If the untruths, that have hindered me from wanting to become a disciple, are gone, then it is certain that I will want to learn how God can make me one of Jesus Christ’s true disciples. Why else would I be a born again Christian if it isn’t to be Christ’s disciple now and forever?