39. A Biblical Profile of a Disciple
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to help you understand the term “disciple” and show operationally the distinct characteristics of such a person.
1. The disciple will understand that a disciple is more than a believer in Jesus Christ.
2. The disciple will understand that being a disciple involves dedicated discipline and pursuit of the purposes of our Heavenly Father.
3. The disciple will see that discipleship is both an Old and New Testament principle.
4. The disciple will experience a reinforcement of the principles Jesus had in mind for reaching the world.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
1. Prayer and sharing
2. Discuss topic for this session.
3. Discuss questions.
4. Interact over the book Disciples are Made — Not Born, Leroy Eims.
5. Review Scripture memory.
I. The Lord put great emphasis upon teaching and the making of disciples in His Great Commission to the Church. See Matthew 28:19-20.
A. Make disciples (more than believers).
II. What is a disciple? A learner who submits to discipline, or one who becomes a disciplined learner.
A. Must be willing to suffer ridicule, Matthew 10:24-25
B. Must be willing to forsake earthly ties, Luke 14:26.
C. Must be willing to lay down his life in following Jesus, Luke 14:26.
D. Must be willing to forsake things, Luke 14:27.
E. Must be willing to continue in His Word, John 8:31.
F. Must bear fruit, John 15:8.
G. Must be teachable, John 14:26.
H. Must be one whose life is characterized by love, John 13:35.
III. Discipleship is modeled in Paul’s ministry with Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:2.
A. Commit (entrust) to others what you have heard. The privilege of receiving the Word bears the responsibility of sharing it as well.
B. Faithful men are to be involved — not necessarily enthusiastic men, but those who persist.
C. They are to be committed with the idea of passing the Gospel on to others, Acts 19: 9-10.
IV. Moses used this method in the Old Testament, Exodus 18:18, 21, 22.
V. Christ’s relationship with His disciples is a further and brilliant example, John 17.
A. He chose a few — twelve.
B. He dealt with them on the basis of the Word, John 17:8, and “they received them.”
C. He prayed for them, John 17:9.
D. He invested everything He had in them, John 17:19.
E. He devoted all of His time to them, yet one proved to be untrue.
VI. Hence, if we are going to win men, we are obligated to care for them spiritually, Colossians 1:28-29; John 15:16.
VII. So what is really involved in the making of disciples and caring and nurturing them?
A. Praying for them, having patience and showing grace toward them.
B. Giving clear instruction from the Word of God.
C. Making the teaching practical — teaching them how to do things.
The Essentials of a Reproductive Disciple Making Ministry
God desires that all be saved.
1 Timothy 2:4: “since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
God desires that all grow.
Colossians 1:28: “We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ.”
God desires that all serve.
1 Peter 4:10: “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.”
The following variables are descriptions of a disciple— one who truly follows Jesus.
I. A disciple is a learner, Proverbs 9:8-10; Matthew 4:19; John 6:60-66. As such, he is open and teachable. He does not have an attitude of “knowing it all.” Learning and growing is a lifetime venture.
II. A disciple is one who has made a firm commitment to the Lordship of Jesus, putting Him first in every aspect of his life. This commitment is for a lifetime, Matthew 6:9-13, 24, 33; Luke 9:23; John 13:13; 2 Corinthians 5:15.
III. A disciple is committed to a life of obedience, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 4:22-5:5.
IV. A disciple has a daily devotional time and is developing his prayer life, Psalm 27:4; 42:1-2; Mark 1:35; Luke 11:1-4.
V. A disciple demonstrates faithfulness and a desire to learn and apply the Word of God through hearing it preached and taught, reading it frequently, Bible study, Scripture memory, and meditation on the Scriptures, John 8:31; Acts 17:11; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15.
VI. A disciple has a heart for witnessing, gives his testimony clearly, and presents the Gospel regularly with increasing skill, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
VII. A disciple is a regular attendee of church services, where his spiritual needs are met, and where he makes a contribution to the body of believers, Psalm 122:1; Acts 16:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Hebrews 10:25.
VIII. A disciple fellowships regularly with other believers, 1 John 1:3.
IX. A disciple is a servant and is actively engaged in helping others in practical ways, Act 6:1-4.
X. A disciple honors God with his finances, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
XI. A disciple practices spirituality and demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit in His life, Galatians 5:22-23.
This is a careful look at Scripture and what it means to be a disciple. You are encouraged to look up the following verses and see the characteristics of a disciple. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus has told us to go into all the world and make __________. We might look at the word disciple itself and see that it is the word from which we get the word _ _ _ _ _ pline. Discipling suggests something more active. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:3 to ______________ _____________as a good soldier. It is interesting that the word “suffer” is the word hupomeno, which means to “bear up under.”
There are many fitting descriptions of a disciple in Scripture. Look up these verses of Scripture and see characteristics of a Biblical disciple. Study each verse carefully and see if you can identify the characteristic of a disciple.
1. Proverbs 9:8-10 say that I will be _______________ if I am truly a disciple. Being teachable involves a willingness to submit to another. It acknowledges a need to learn ________________ through the fear of the Lord. A disciple, therefore, does not have the attitude of “knowing it all.” He is open and teachable. Jesus said, “____________________________________,” Matthew 4:19. According to this verse, what is involved in following Him?
In summary, then, a disciple might be called one who is a disciplined ____________. Surely, there is a willingness to continue to ____________ throughout one’s lifetime, Matthew 11:29.
2. Read John 13:13; 2 Corinthians 5:15; and Luke 9:23. What thread of truth concerning what a disciple is can be found in these verses?
Having thought this through, what can be inferred about the behavior of a disciple that would typify one who is a genuine disciplined learner?
3. Acts 1:8, Romans 1:16, and Matthew 28:18-20 suggests another aspect of a true disciple. See if you can find this characteristic and state it clearly.
What practical steps are you taking in your own life, being a disciple, to fulfill this characteristic of true discipleship?
List the names of others you are actively praying for and witnessing to.
If you could not answer the question immediately preceding this, please indicate your reason for not being able to answer.
4. Hebrews 10:25 and Psalm 122:1 indicate that true disciples will be faithful in?
5. Matthew 10:24 seems to imply that a disciple is a _____________ and that as a servant, he is willing to minister in very basic ways. What are some “servant” behaviors you have been willing to do? See also Acts 6:1-4.
6. Luke 14:26 tells us some very difficult things to hear. How do you explain this Scripture in ways that describe a disciple?
7. John 13:35 says the mark of discipleship is ________________ one another. What problems do you have loving others?
8. John 8:31 says that a mark of a disciple is one who _______________ in the Word. This involves not only study but obedience to the Scriptures.
9. John 15:8 indicates that _____________________ is a mark of disciple ship. What kind of fruit is this?
This is one of the chief ways we demonstrate we are His disciples.
10. Acts 11:26 says that disciples were first called ________________ at Antioch. What does this indicate concerning being a disciple?
11. Acts 13:52 says that the disciples were filled with ____________ and the __________ ________________. Does this mean that there is never a lapse in the life of a true disciple? ___________ What should a disciple do if he finds himself devoid of joy and lacking the fullness of the Spirit?
See Session 9 on spirituality and meditate on Galatians 5:22-23.
12. 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 tells us that we should _________________________
_______________________________________ and this probably translates itself into a simplicity of life for disciples. Certainly disciples through the centuries have not lived complicated lives, nor have they been tied into the world system. There is a need today to live uncomplicated lives and move toward simplicity. What does Colossians 3:1-3 say to us about simplicity and the urge to have?
See also Luke 12:15 and write briefly about what it says concerning the attitude of us who are His disciples regarding money and earthly possessions.
To be a disciple of Christ is quite different from the walk of most of us in the world. It is choosing to be different. It is intentionally moving toward a different dimension than adjustment to the world-system which is all around us. After doing this session, write some of the most difficult things involved from your standpoint.
For future Scripture memory: Luke 12:15; Colossians 3:1-3; John 15:8; and John 8:31.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46.
Questions for Review and Discussion
1. List some people you know who fit this description of a true disciple?
2. What will be the major adjustments in your life related to your becoming a true disciple of the Lord Jesus?
3. Some have considered the cost of discipleship too great. Where are you in relation to this cost?
4. Joe desires to go to heaven when he dies. He has come to believe in God, and he goes to church each Sunday morning except when something special comes up. He has said that he doesn’t want to “mix his religion” with his daily and weekly activities. Comment on Joe’s spiritual condition.
Summary and Key Concepts
Being and making disciples is not an optional decision we make. The imperative of the Great Commission is that, as we are going, to make disciples, baptize them and teach them. We are not to consider bringing Christ into our lives in some incidental way. Choosing to be a disciple is a choice that we commit to in a radical way. Each one of us is in this world to live for Jesus Christ and do His will straight forwardly without reserve. This may bring us to a simple lifestyle with spiritual concerns as our primary focus. We need to remember —our Lord had no place to lay His head.
Write a paragraph on how your life is going to be different after this session. Think deeply and speak of how your life’s commitments are changing. What aspects of a true disciple seem to be most difficult for you at this point. What are you going to do about these things?
Related Topics: Discipleship