1. Readings on Discipleship
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to give you biblical understanding of the nature of discipleship. These two readings will introduce you to the characteristics of a disciple and the primacy of discipleship in your Christian life.
1. The disciple will know the source of our calling.
2. The disciple will understand the characteristics of a disciple according to the scriptures.
3. The disciple will see the importance of producing reproducers in the process of discipleship.
4. The disciple will be challenged by these two readings to obey Christ’s call to be active throughout your life in personalized discipling.
Going on a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother in their boat mending nets. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
1. Mutual sharing, accountability, and prayer.
2. Discus the readings.
3. Discuss the questions.
4. Share Scripture memory.
The Marks Of A Disciple
By Lorne Sanny
Lorne Sanny headed The Navigator ministry in Seattle, Washington, served as vice-president of The Navigators, and worked closely with Billy Graham. Mr. Sanny became president of The Navigators in 1956, after the death of Dawson Trotman, the founder. Mr. Sanny served in that position until 1986.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:18-20).
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations", or as another translation puts it, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."
Jesus came to this earth to be an example. He came here to show us the Father. He came here to take our sins in His own body on the cross and He came to destroy the works of the devil. And while He went about His ministry, along the way He also gathered up people to follow Him - called disciples.
Jesus was popular. "And there went great multitudes with Him” (Luke 14:25). Yet He told them, "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26-27). He also said, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33).
He turned to the crowds that were following Him and three times He said to them, "...cannot be My disciple," "...cannot be My disciple," "...cannot be My disciple." It's as if He said, "I am not looking for crowds; I'm looking for disciples."
Columnist Walter Lippman once said, "There are only two kinds of people in the world that really count today, and they are the dedicated Christians and the dedicated communists." And Time magazine reported that the French columnist Roger Garaudy feels that there are only two major forces in the world today - communism and Christianity.
And I know that among the Christians, the ones who really count are the disciples. As a friend of mine, a Christian leader, said, "Lorne, you don't find many disciples. But when you find one, there's almost no limit to what God can do through him."
How do you recognize a disciple? What does he look like? What are his characteristics? Are you a disciple? Am I a disciple?
I have studied seven or eight passages in the Scripture having to do with the characteristics of a disciple. They can conveniently be boiled down to three marks of discipleship. When you see these three, you have a disciple.
Copyright ©1975 by Lorne Sanny; re-printed with permission from The Navigators, all rights reserved.
Identified with Christ
The first mark of a disciple is that he is someone who is identified with the Person of Jesus Christ - someone who will openly admit that he belongs to Christ. Now whatever else you may think about baptism, it is a public identification with Jesus Christ. When you are baptized, you are saying I take my stand with, I am on the side of, I belong to Jesus Christ.
A friend of mine told me of a Jewish man he led to Christ in Dallas. A few weeks later my friend told another Jewish man, a non-Christian about the first one. Immediately the second man asked, "Has he been baptized yet?" When my friend said, "No, he hasn't," he replied, "Well, he'll never last." It was later, when the first Jew was baptized, that his family cut him off. He had made open identification with Jesus Christ.
"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9,10). An open identification with Jesus Christ. Jesus promised, "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).
A friend told me that when he went with Billy Graham, who was to speak to 500 men at the Jewish Rotary Club of New York City, he wondered what in the world Mr. Graham would speak on to a Jewish club. When the time came, Billy stood up and spoke on "Christ, the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Prophecies". At the close they gave him a standing ovation. He had identified himself unashamedly with Jesus Christ.
On one occasion Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:29). It seems everything in His ministry led up to this.
But the thing that strikes me is that then "He began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”
(Mark 8:31). A little later He called the multitude and His disciples to Him and said, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me...Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:34, 38).
Some years ago when I was with the Billy Graham team in a crusade, a businessman came forward one night and received Christ. The following Sunday night he went to a church that he sometimes attended. After the service he walked up to one of the leading elders in this church and told him, "I was at the Billy Graham meeting last week out at the ball park. I went forward and received Christ."
"I heard about it and I am delighted," the elder replied.
Then the businessman asked the elder, "How long have you and I been associated in business?"
"About 23 years, I think."
"Have you known Christ as your Savior all those years?" the man asked the elder.
"Yes, I have," he answered.
"Well, I don't remember your ever speaking to me about Christ during those years," the man said. The elder hung his head, and the man continued, "I have thought highly of you. In fact, I thought so highly of you that I felt if anyone could be as fine a man as you and not be a Christian, then I didn't have to be a Christian either."
This elder had lived a good life before his friend, but he had not taken the added step of openly identifying with the One Who enabled him to live that kind of life. Here was a fine man, but he did not have this first mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus asks you to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him, what do you think it means? Whatever else it means, I think it means to be identified with Christ, not only when it's popular but when it's unpopular. Not only when it's the thing to do but when it seems as if it's not the thing to do. I like the way the New English Bible puts Revelation 1:9. John writes, "I was on the island called Patmos because I had preached God's Word and borne my testimony to Jesus.”
I once talked to the Chief of Police of Stockholm, who was a Christian, and discovered he had been a delegate to Panmunjom back when the Korean truce was first signed. He had interviewed some of the Chinese soldiers as to whether or not they wanted to be repatriated. He told me about a soldier who came through one day and gave his testimony to the interrogators concerning his faith in Jesus Christ. There in the Red Chinese army was a disciple.
A friend of mine traveling by train from Finland to Moscow tried to smuggle in three suitcases full of Bibles. But the Russian colonel at the border took rather unkindly to this idea. In fact, he was a little upset. My friend Jack asked him, "Well, what are you so worried about? Why do you get so upset about someone bringing a Bible into your country?"
"It's a fairy story, nothing but fairy tales," the colonel replied.
"Don't you have fairy story books in Russia?" Jack asked.
"Well, what's the matter with another one?"
"Ay," said the colonel, "if they believe that Bible, they won't believe in communism."
So after warning him not to preach and scaring him a little bit, Jack said they let him go on his way.
A few hours later a couple of conductors came by and began to sell them on the merits of communism. It wasn't long before Jack couldn't stand it any longer. He began to preach back to them. After he'd preached to them for awhile, one of the conductors pointed to another conductor at the other end of the car and said, "Now, he's one of yours. That conductor, he's one of your kind."
Later Jack talked to this conductor. Sure enough, he was a born-again Christian. They asked him if he had a Bible. He replied, "No, the last Bible in our town was owned by my grandmother. She tore it up into segments and distributed it to Christians around the town so it couldn't be confiscated all at once."
They asked if he'd like a Bible. (The colonel had confiscated only two of the suitcases of Bibles they had with them.) When they handed him a Bible, he wept and kissed it. Then he wrapped it in newspaper to take it off the train so it wouldn't be taken away from him.
I believe the striking thing about this story is that not only was there a Christian conductor on that train, but the other conductors knew he was a Christian. There was a disciple, identifying himself with the Person of Jesus Christ.
Do you take an opportunity to admit that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? Why not determine that at the first opportunity this week you will quietly, graciously, but openly identify yourself with Jesus Christ? I believe this is a mark of a disciple.
One morning I spoke to the SWAP (Salesmen With A Purpose) Club in Colorado Springs. They call in various speakers to tell how selling applies to their business. I spoke on how it applies to the Gospel. In the process I explained the Gospel. After I had spoken, they introduced the guests. One of them was a friend of mine, Will Perkins, a Plymouth dealer. It was his first time there. When he was introduced he stood and said, "Gentlemen, two years ago I heard a presentation similar to the one you heard this noon. I bought it, and it has changed my life." Then he sat down. I thought to myself, how many Christians would have taken that little opportunity to identify themselves with the Person of Jesus Christ?
Obedient to the Word
A disciple is not only a believer who is visibly identified with the Person of Christ, he is also obedient to the Word of Christ - to the Scriptures. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Jesus said, "If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8:31). If you observe it and apply it to your life, then you are My disciple.
Luke records what happened one day when a crowd of people listened to the Lord Jesus preach. One woman in the crowd was probably middle-aged or a little beyond (I'm interpreting a little bit here.) As she listened to Jesus, something welled up within her. Perhaps she had a son who was wayward, and as she looked at the Lord Jesus, she wished her son were like Him. Or maybe she had never had a son and had always wanted to have one. Anyway she spoke up - she sort of burst out - and said, "Happy is the woman who was Your mother" (Luke 11:27).
Jesus' answer to her was significant. He said, "Yea rather, blessed are they (or happy are they) that hear the Word of God, and keep it" (Luke 11:28). That's real happiness. That's real blessedness - to hear what God has to say and to do it.
I enjoyed reading a book by the late Sam Shoemaker, Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Men. In it he says that Christians who are half-committed are half-happy. But to be really happy you need to go all the way in commitment. And this means to be obedient to the Word of Christ.
Obedience is necessary also for stability. The greatest sermon ever preached was the Sermon on the Mount. And notice how Jesus concluded it. He said, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:24-27).
What made the difference between the wise man and the foolish man? It wasn't knowledge, because they both heard the same sermon. They went to the same conference; they had the same knowledge. They both heard the Word. Not only that, they had the same circumstances. It says that the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and beat upon the house of the foolish man. The circumstances were the same. One couldn't say, "Well, you don't know how tough it is where I come from." "Well, you don't know what kind of a family life I've got." "You don't know how I suffer down at work." It wasn't their circumstances that made the difference. One thing made the difference between wisdom and foolishness. One obeyed the Word; the other one did not.
Jesus said, "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). What does that mean? It means Jesus will make Himself real to him. To whom? To the one who has His Word and keeps it.
So a disciple does more than attend meetings. He does more than take notes. (He does that, incidentally, in my opinion, though I don't have any Scripture to prove that.) But he finds out what the Bible says and does it. Suppose he's going through Proverbs in his morning quiet time, and he comes to Proverbs 3:9,10, "Honor the Lord with thy substance; and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
Early in my marriage, a Christian doctor in Seattle said, "Now let me make a suggestion about handling your family finances. Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase. Set aside money for the Lord before you pay the rent. Before you buy the food. Even when you think you don't have enough money left to pay the rent and to buy the food. You watch. God will see to it that you have money for the rent and for the food."
Now will He or won't He? Well, the Word promised that He would, and He did.
A friend of mine was looking over the family bills and they looked pretty big. He and his wife prayed and decided that the first thing they ought to do to get out of debt was to increase their giving. And they are out of debt. They proved that God can fulfill His Word.
Another illustration of the truth that a disciple must be obedient to the Word of Christ is in these words of Jesus, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee: leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23,24).
When was the last time you went and made something right with someone else? When did you admit to your wife or your children that that fit of temper was sin? It's amazing to me when couples say that neither one has ever asked forgiveness of the other. If you don't find some times when you've got to make some things right, you're about ready for heaven right now. A disciple has a conscience void of offense toward God and man.
Let's go back to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." I don't know why it is that some people think the day of missions is over. In one recent year, independent missions in America, not the denominational but independent missions, needed 4,000 missionary candidates that they didn't get. Have you ever considered the possibility that obedience to the Word of Christ might mean leaving your business?
Bob Potter owned a supermarket down in Oklahoma City. If he and his wife hadn't sold it and gone into the Lord's work, maybe God would have used someone else. But many people have been blessed by the ministry of Bob Potter through The Navigators.
The Navigators could use double our number of representatives right now. But don't apply. We don't take applications. Many times as I've gone around with the Billy Graham Crusades, young fellows have come up and said, "Mr. Sanny, do you know of any openings in Christian work?"
"Yep, I do."
They'd ask, "Where?"
And I'd say, "Right where you live. Your neighborhood. Where you go to school." I find that God usually leads you to the next step after you take this one. That's where you start.
I'm not speaking of going to the mission field because you're so sick and tired of the office you can't stand it, or because the boss has bugged you for two years and any change would be an improvement. I'm speaking of obedience to the Word of Christ, wherever it may lead and when the going is tough. That's a mark of a disciple.
After Moses died, Joshua had the job of taking three million people into the Promised Land. That included women, children and livestock. God gave him some instructions. You'd think the Lord would say, "Now, look, here's how you'd handle this problem, here's how you do this, here's how you do that." But, no. He said, "Joshua, one thing above all else is going to take a lot of courage — and it's not leading all these people and facing all the enemies that are in the land. That isn't what's going to take courage." But, "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law" (Joshua 1:7).
You may think it doesn't take courage to be obedient to the Word of God. But I wonder how obedient we really are to the Word. We live in a Christ-rejecting world, and anyone who lives in obedience to this Book is going to come into conflict with it. That's how you recognize a disciple. He does more than hear the Word. He puts into practice what he's heard.
The Navigators are kind of rabid on this subject. Year after year you'll hear us beat certain drums all the time. One is that we need to come to know the Bible and apply it. That's why we publish Bible courses and Scripture memory programs. We need to make up our minds that God helping us with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are going to be obedient to the Word of Christ. That's a mark of a disciple. He seeks to follow the Bible and do what it says.
Fruitful for Christ
So a disciple is one who is openly identified with the Person of Christ. Second, he is obedient to the Word of Christ. And third, he is bearing fruit in the work of Christ. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:8).
Now it seems to me that there are two kinds of fruit here. First, the fruit of character, the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22,23). And, second, there's fruit by way of influencing the lives of others for Christ. "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16).
I really threw a curve ball to my Sunday School class one Sunday morning. I intended to. We were talking about Jesus sending out the twelve two by two. He gave them authority over unclean spirits. They went out and preached that men should repent. They cast out demons and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. Then I asked, "Do you think Judas did this? Do you think Judas went out and preached to people to repent? Do you think Judas cast out demons and healed the sick?"
Some feel they can prove that Judas was never saved. Let's assume they're right. Did Judas then preach that people should repent? Did he cast out demons? Did he heal the sick? Could he have?
Look at Jesus's words: "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22,23).
My point was that we get so carried away with the spectacular that we think the spectacular is the supreme evidence that we are real disciples or Spirit-filled. But the real evidence is shown in our character - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. We're considering here the character of a disciple.
I've heard it said that the Apostle Paul before he was converted, would pray something like this every day, "God, I thank You that I am not a Gentile, that I am not a slave and that I am not a woman." But look at how God changed his attitude. In his first letter he wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ" (Galatians 3:28). Here is evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in the way of character.
This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It includes one's whole attitude, outlook, character and relationship to others. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you can work great miracles? No. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:55).
When Jesus talked about His ministry and what He came to do, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1,3, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound...to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
Take this world in which we live with all of its glitter, and its tinsel and veneer. Strip all of this away, and how would you characterize the real world underneath? Brokenhearted, captive, bound, anxious, sad, depressed.
A disciple is one who gets involved in that kind of world, who is bearing fruit in the work of Christ. He shows the fruit of the Spirit in a Christlike character - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. How we need that in the world in which we live!
The Greatest Is Love
What did Jesus say was the greatest identifying mark of all in a disciple? Love. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples" — if you do what? "If ye have love one to another."
One of the greatest illustrations of this that I have seen was on the television special "James Emory Bond". It was an entire one-hour interview with a black man who was an ex-truck driver. He was in his seventies at the time of the interview. Apparently he lived in Baltimore. One night he watched a panel discussion with some of the city leaders, mayor, chief of police and others on television. They discussed the race and juvenile delinquency problems in Baltimore. As he watched, his heart was really moved.
The next day he went down to the television station. He wanted to talk to somebody because he had been so moved by their discussion. He said he knew the answer, but he didn't know whom to tell. At the station they had the good sense not only to interview him, but also to videotape it. All you saw was this gray-haired gentleman as he answered questions coming from off camera.
He said, among other things, that when he was a young fellow growing up on the edge of Baltimore, the white boys would throw rocks at him as he was on his way to school. He began to hate white people. As a young man he started working as a truck driver. One morning when he saw the milk truck go by, he thought how nice it would be if he could just have a little milk before he went to work in the morning.
He stopped the milkman, who was a white man, one day and asked him if he would leave him a quart of milk. He said, "No, I don't deliver milk to niggers."
"So," Bond said, "I called up the milk company, and I asked the man I talked with if this was true, that they didn't give milk to black people. He said, 'No, that's not right. We do deliver milk to black people, and we'll see that he delivers the milk.'"
"So," he said, "the milk came, a quart each morning. Several weeks went by and I realized that he wasn't leaving me a bill, and I wanted to pay for it. So I stopped him one morning and said, 'I want you to give me a bill so I can pay for this.' And the milkman said, 'I don't take money from niggers.' So I said, 'Well, I've got to pay you, you've just got to let me pay you.'"
"Well," the milkman said, "tell you what you do. You put the money on the fence post."
James Emory Bond said, "I thought I'd have a little fun with him, so I said, 'Now I won't feel like I paid you unless I put it in your hand.' 'Nossir,' he said, 'put it on the post.' So I said, 'OK.' And I put it on the post. When the milkman reached out to take the change, I just laid my hand on top of his. And he jerked it away."
Then he said, "Later on, one of God's servants by the name of Billy Sunday came to our town, and he told how Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away man's sin and his enmity of heart toward his fellowman. As I heard that, I realized that I needed this, and I walked the sawdust trail. And you know, God took the hate out of my heart for the white man. He put love there."
Apparently a few days later, unknown to him, the milkman went to hear Billy Sunday. He went forward in the meeting, received Christ, and a couple of days later pulled up in front of James Emory Bond's little place. With tears streaming down his face, he apologized for the way he had treated him. And this dear old black man said, "I have loved him, and he has loved me ever since."
Now that's what discipleship means. There is a mark of a disciple. Bearing fruit in the work of Christ. By this shall all men know that ye are Christ's. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." When we begin to see more disciples sprinkled around America and around the world, what a difference it will make! Real genuine disciples who will turn the world upside down. There are many already, and we ought to be praying for them.
But not only is there the fruit of Christ-like character, but also the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of others. Jesus said, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16).
Go and bring forth fruit. Paul wrote to the Romans of his desire, "That I might have some fruit among you also" (Romans 1:13). I think he meant lives influenced for Christ.
Once while I was thinking about this, two events took place that drove the truth home to me. One was something I read about Dr. Charles F. McKoy of Oyster Bay, Long Island. After fifty years of fruitful ministry as a pastor and evangelist, this 71-year-old bachelor began looking around for a retirement home. A bishop from India came to his church to plead for missionary help for India. Dr. McKoy prayed earnestly that God might lay it on the heart of someone in the congregation to respond to this call and go to India. After the third message the bishop turned to Dr. McKoy and said, "I don't think God is looking for someone in the congregation. I think he is looking for the man in the pulpit."
Dr. McKoy could hardly believe his ears. He said, "Bishop, are you losing your mind? I'm 71, I've never been overseas; I've never been on the ocean. The thought of flying terrifies me." But soon a new missionary was on his way to India, green and seasick, but on his way - at age 71. Fifteen years later, Dr. McKoy died. Between the ages of 71 to 86 he had gone around the world nine or ten times winning people to Christ in the most difficult places. He was a real disciple in old age also. And I think one reason it struck me was that I was reading in Psalm 92:14, "They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green." Your life can be fruitful to the very end.
The same week, we received word from Virginia that a young fellow named Teed Radin, 23 years of age, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, who would soon be on The Navigator staff, had been in a head-on collision. Teed was killed instantly and his fiancée died within the hour. One of the fellows wrote that while at V.P.I. Teed had led 25-30 men to Christ. Among them, five were dedicated, trained, effective men of the Cross who, according to this person, would be willing at a moment's notice to die for the cause of Christ.
Dr. McKoy — an old man, a disciple to the end. Teed Radin — a young man, a disciple early in life. In fact, there's no better time to become a disciple than right now. But deep down in our hearts - that's where real business is done with God — we must determine that by God's grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be true followers of Jesus Christ.
Let's ask ourselves, Am I a true disciple?
Am I willing to be openly identified with the Person of Jesus Christ?
Am I seeking to be obedient to the Word of Christ in my everyday life?
Am I bearing fruit in the work of Christ by way of Christlike character and by influencing the lives of others?
I want to be a disciple. I want to have these marks and characteristics in my life. The only thing I'd like to do beyond that is to help make disciples and to get them to help make others. That's what Jesus wants done. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."
Copyright ©1975 by Lorne Sanny; re-printed with permission from The Navigators, all rights reserved.
Born To Reproduce
By Dawson Trotman
Dawson Trotman, converted at age 20, gave 30 years to vigorous pursuit of the goal "to know Christ and make Him known". Daws was a man who believed God, who asked Him for great things and saw God answer. The ministry of The Navigators is one of those answers. It began when another man asked Daws to teach him what he saw practiced in Daws' life.
A few years ago, while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, I stood on High Street just down from the castle. As I stood there, I saw a father and a mother coming toward me pushing a baby carriage. They looked very happy, well-dressed and apparently were well-to-do. I tried to catch a glimpse of the baby as they passed and, seeing my interest, they stopped to let me look at the little, pink-cheeked member of their family.
I watched them for a little while as they walked on and thought how beautiful it is that God permits a man to choose one woman who seems the most beautiful and lovely to him, and she chooses him out of all the men whom she has ever known. Then they separate themselves to one another, and God in His plan gives them the means of reproduction! It is a wonderful thing that a little child should be born into their family, having some of the father's characteristics and some of the mother's, some of his looks and some of hers. Each sees in that baby a reflection of the one whom he or she loves.
Seeing that little one made me feel homesick for my own children whom I dearly love and whose faces I had not seen for some time. As I continued to stand there I saw another baby carriage, or perambulator as they call it over there, coming in my direction. It was a secondhand affair and very wobbly. Obviously the father and mother were poor. Both were dressed poorly and plainly, but when I indicated my interest in seeing their baby, they stopped and with the same pride as the other parents let me view their little, pink-cheeked, beautiful-eyed child.
I thought as these went on their way, "God gave this little baby whose parents are poor everything that He gave the other. It has five little fingers on each hand, a little mouth and two eyes. Properly cared for, those little hands may someday be the hands of an artist or a musician."
Then this other thought came to me, "Isn't it wonderful that God did not select the wealthy and the educated and say, 'You can have children,' and to the poor and the uneducated say, 'You cannot.' Everyone on earth has that privilege.
The first order ever given to man was that he "be fruitful and multiply". In other words, he was to reproduce after his own kind. God did not tell Adam and Eve, our first parents, to be spiritual. They were already in His image. Sin had not yet come in. He just said, "Multiply. I want more just like you, more in My own image."
Of course, the image was marred. But Adam and Eve had children. They began to multiply. There came a time, however, when God had to destroy most of the flesh that had been born. He started over with eight people. The more than two billion people who are on the earth today came from the eight who were in the ark because they were fruitful and multiplied.
Copyright ©1975 by The Navigators; re-printed with permission from The Navigators, all rights reserved.
Only a few things will ever keep human beings from multiplying themselves in the physical realm. One is that they never marry. If they are not united, they will not reproduce. This is a truth which Christians need to grasp with reference to spiritual reproduction. When a person becomes a child of God, he should realize that he is to live in union with Jesus Christ if he is going to win others to the Savior.
Another factor that can hinder reproduction is disease or impairment to some part of the body that is needed for reproductive purposes. In the spiritual realm sin is the disease that can keep one from winning the lost.
One other thing that can keep people from having children is immaturity. God in His wisdom saw to it that little children cannot have babies. A little boy must first grow to sufficient maturity to be able to earn a living, and a little girl must be old enough to care for a baby.
Everyone should be born again. That is God's desire. God never intended that man should merely live and die—be a walking corpse to be laid in the ground. The vast majority of people know that there is something beyond the grave, and so each one who is born into God's family should seek others to be born again.
A person is born again when he receives Jesus Christ. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God...Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13)—the new birth. It is God's plan that these new babes in Christ grow. All provision is made for their growth into maturity, and then they are to multiply—not only the rich or the educated, but all alike. Every person who is born into God's family is to multiply.
In the physical realm when your children have children, you become a grandparent. Your parents are then great-grandparents, and theirs are great-great-grandparents. And so it should be in the spiritual.
Wherever you find a Christian who is not leading men and women to Christ, something is wrong. He may still be a babe. I do not mean that he does not know a lot of doctrine and is not well informed through hearing good preaching. I know many people who can argue the pre-, the post- and the amillennial position and who know much about dispensations, but who are still immature. Paul said of some such in Corinth, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual (or mature), but as unto carnal, even as unto babes..." (1 Corinthians 3:1).
Because they were babes, they were immature, incapable of spiritual reproduction. In other words, they could not help other people to be born again. Paul continued, "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it...ye are yet carnal (or babes): for...there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions..." (1 Corinthians 3:2,3). I know a lot of church members, Sunday school teachers and members of the women's missionary society who will say to each other, "Have you heard about so and so?" and pass along some gossip. Such have done an abominable thing in the sight of God. How horrible it is when a Christian hears something and spreads the story! The Book says, "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him...a lying tongue..."(Proverbs 6:16,17). Oh, the Christians I know, both men and women, who let lying come in!
"...he that soweth discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:19) is another. This is walking as a babe, and I believe that it is one of the basic reasons why some Christians do not have people born again into God's family through them. They are sick spiritually. There is something wrong. There is a spiritual disease in their lives. They are immature. There is not that union with Christ.
But when all things are right between you and the Lord, regardless of how much or how little you may know intellectually from the standpoint of the world, you can be a spiritual parent. And that, incidentally, may even be when you are very young in the Lord.
A young lady works at the telephone desk in our office in Colorado Springs. A year and a half ago she was associated with the young Communist league in Great Britain. She heard Billy Graham and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. Soon she and a couple other girls in her art and drama school were used of the Lord to win some girls to Christ. We taught Pat and some of the others, and they in turn taught the girls whom they led to Christ. Some of these have led still other girls to Christ, and they too are training their friends. Patricia is a great-grandmother already, though she is only about a year and four months old in the Lord.
We see this all the time. I know a sailor who, when he was only four months old in the Lord, was a great-grandfather. He had led some sailors to the Lord who in turn led other sailors to the Lord, and these last led still other sailors to the Lord--yet he was only four months old.
How was this done? God used the pure channel of these young Christians' lives in their exuberance and first love for Christ, and out of their hearts the incorruptible seed of the Word of God was sown in the hearts of other people. It took hold. Faith came by the hearing of the Word. They were born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They observed those Christians who led them to Christ and shared in the joy, the peace and the thrill of it all. And in their joy, they wanted someone else to know.
In every Christian audience, I am sure there are men and women who have been Christians for five, ten or twenty years but who do not know of one person who is living for Jesus Christ today because of them. I am not talking now about merely working for Christ, but about producing for Christ. Someone may say, "I gave out a hundred thousand tracts." That is good, but how many sheep did you bring in?
Some time ago I talked to 29 missionary candidates. They were graduates of universities or Bible schools or seminaries. As a member of the board I interviewed each one over a period of five days, giving each candidate from half an hour to an hour. Among the questions I asked were two which are very important. The first one had to do with their devotional life. "How is your devotional life?" I asked them. "How is the time you spend with the Lord? Do you feel that your devotional life is what the Lord would have it to be?"
Out of this particular group of 29 only one person said, "I believe my devotional life is what it ought to be." To the others my question then was, "Why is your devotional life not what it should be?"
"Well, you see, I am here at this summer institute," was a common reply. "We have a concentrated course. We do a year's work in only ten weeks. We are so busy."
I said, "All right. Let's back up to when you were in college. Did you have victory in your devotional life then?"
"Well, not exactly."
We traced back and found that never since they came to know the Savior had they had a period of victory in their devotional lives. That was one of the reasons for their sterility—lack of communion with Christ.
The other question I asked them was. "You are going out to the foreign field. You hope to be used by the Lord in winning men and women to Christ. Is that right?"
"You want them to go on and live the victorious life, don't you? You don't want them just to make a decision and then go back into the world, do you?"
"Then may I ask you something more? How many persons do you know by name today who were won to Christ by you and are living for Him?"
The majority had to admit that they were ready to cross an ocean and learn a foreign language, but they had not won their first soul who was going on with Jesus Christ. A number of them said that they got many people to go to church; others said they had persuaded some to go forward when the invitation was given.
I asked, "Are they living for Christ now?" Their eyes dropped. I then continued, "How do you expect that by crossing an ocean and speaking in a foreign language with people who are suspicious of you, whose way of life is unfamiliar, you will be able to do there what you have not yet done here?"
These questions do not apply to missionaries and prospective missionaries only. They apply to all of God's people. Every one of His children ought to be a reproducer.
Are you producing? If not, why not? Is it because of a lack of communion with Christ, your Lord, that closeness of fellowship which is part of the great plan? Or is it some sin in your life, an unconfessed something, that has stopped the flow? Or is it that you are still a babe? "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again..." (Hebrews 5:12).
How to Produce Reproducers
The reason that we are not getting this Gospel to the ends of the earth is not because it is not potent enough.
Twenty-three years ago we took a born-again sailor and spent some time with him, showing him how to reproduce spiritually after his kind. It took time, lots of time. It was not a hurried, 30-minute challenge in a church service and a hasty good-bye with an invitation to come back next week. We spent time together. We took care of his problems and taught him not only to hear God's Word and to read it, but also how to study it. We taught him how to fill the quiver of his heart with the arrows of God's Word, so that the Spirit of God could lift an arrow from his heart and place it to the bow of his lips and pierce a heart for Christ.
He found a number of boys on his ship, but none of them would go all out for the Lord. They would go to church, but when it came right down to doing something, they were "also rans" (ones who make a weak attempt and fail). He came to me after a month of this and said, "Dawson, I can't get any of these guys on the ship to get down to business."
I said to him, "Listen, you ask God to give you one. You can't have two until you have one. Ask God to give you a man after your own heart."
He began to pray. One day he came to me and said, "I think I've found him." Later he brought the young fellow over. Three months from the time that I started to work with him, he had found a man of like heart. This first sailor was not the kind of man you had to push and give prizes to before he would do something. He loved the Lord and was willing to pay a price to produce. He worked with this new babe in Christ, and those two fellows began to grow and spiritually reproduce. On that ship 125 men found the Savior before it was sunk at Pearl Harbor. Men off that first battleship are in four continents of the world as missionaries today. It was necessary to make a start, however. The devil's great trick is to stop anything like this if he can before it gets started. He will stop you, too, if you let him.
There are Christians whose lives run in circles who, nevertheless, have the desire to be spiritual parents. Take a typical example. You meet him in the morning as he goes to work and say to him, "Why are you going to work?"
"Well, I have to earn money."
"What are you earning money for?" you ask.
"Well," he replies, "I have to buy food."
"What do you want food for?"
"I have to eat so as to have strength to go to work and earn some more money."
"What do you want more money for?"
"I have to buy clothes so that I can be dressed to go to work and earn some more money."
"What do you want more money for?"
"I have to buy a house or pay the rent so I will have a place to rest up, so I will be fit to work and earn some more money." And so it goes. There are many Christians like that who are going in big circles. But you continue your questioning and ask, "What else do you do?"
"Oh, I find time to serve the Lord. I am preaching here and there." But down behind all of this he has the one desire to be a spiritual father. He is praying that God will give him a man to teach. It may take six months. It need not take that long, but maybe it takes him six months to get him started taking in the Word and giving it out and getting ready to teach a man himself.
So this first man at the end of six months has another man. Each man starts teaching another in the following six months. At the end of the year, there are just four of them. Perhaps each one teaches a Bible class or helps in a street meeting, but at the same time his main interest is in his man and how he is doing. So at the end of the year the four of them get together and have a prayer meeting and determine, "Now, let's not allow anything to sidetrack us. Let's give the Gospel out to a lot of people, but let's check up on at least one man and see him through."
So the four of them in the next six months each get a man. That makes eight at the end of a year and a half. They all go out after another and at the end of two years there are 16 men. At the end of three years there are 64; the 16 have doubled twice. At the end of five years there are 1,024. At the end of fifteen and a half years there are approximately 2,147,500,000. That is the present population of the world of persons over three years of age.
But wait a minute! Suppose that after the first man, A, helps B and B is ready to get his man while A starts helping another, B is sidetracked, washes out and does not produce his first man. Fifteen and one-half years later you can cut your 2,147,500,000 down to 1,073,750,000 because the devil caused B to be sterile.
God promised Abraham "...in Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Genesis 21:12), so Abraham waited a long, long time for that son. God's promise to make Abraham the father of many nations was all wrapped up in that one son, Isaac. If Hitler had been present and had caused Isaac's death when Abraham had his knife poised over him on Mount Moriah, Hitler could have killed every Jew in that one stroke.
I believe that is why Satan puts all his efforts into getting the Christian busy, busy, busy, but not producing.
Men, where is your man? Women, where is your woman? Where is the one whom you led to Christ and who is now going on with Him?
There is a story in 1 Kings, chapter 20 about a man who gave a prisoner to a servant and instructed the servant to guard the prisoner well. But as the servant was busy here and there the prisoner made his escape.
The curse of today is that we are too busy. I am not talking about being busy earning money to buy food. I am talking about being busy doing Christian things. We have spiritual activity with little productivity. And productivity comes as a result of what we call "follow-up".
Majoring in Reproducing
Five years ago Billy Graham came to me and said, "Daws, we would like you to help with our follow-up. I've been studying the great evangelists and the great revivals and I fail to see that there was much of a follow-up program. We need it. We are having an average of 6,000 people come forward to decide for Christ in a month's campaign. I feel that with the work you have done you could come in and help us."
I said, "Billy, I can't follow up 6,000 people. My work is always with individuals and small groups."
"Look, Daws," he answered, "everywhere I go I meet Navigators. I met them in school in Wheaton. They are in my school right now. (He was president of Northwestern Schools at that time.) There must be something to this."
"I just don't have the time," I said.
He tackled me again. The third time he pled with me and said, "Daws, I am not able to sleep nights for thinking of what happens to the converts after a crusade is over."
At that time I was on my way to Formosa and I said, "While I am there I will pray about it, Billy." On the sands of a Formosan beach I paced up and down two or three hours a day praying, "Lord, how can I do this? I am not even getting the work done You have given me to do. How can I take six months of the year to give to Billy?" But God laid the burden upon my heart.
Why should Billy have asked me to do it? I had said to him that day before I left for Formosa, "Billy, you will have to get somebody else."
He took me by the shoulders and said, "Who else? Who is majoring in this?" I had been majoring in it.
What will it take to jar us out of our complacency and send us home to pray, "God, give me a girl or man whom I can win to Christ, or let me take one who is already won, an infant in Christ, and try to train that one so that he or she will reproduce!"
How thrilled we are to see the masses fill up the seats! But where is your man? I would rather have one "Isaac" alive than a hundred dead, or sterile, or immature.
Beginning of Follow-up
One day years ago, I was driving along in my little Model T Ford and saw a young man walking down the street. I stopped and picked him up. As he got into the car, he swore and said, "It's sure tough to get a ride." I never hear a man take my Savior's name in vain but what my heart aches. I reached into my pocket for a tract and said, "Lad, read this."
He looked up at me and said, "Haven't I seen you somewhere before?"
I looked at him closely. He looked like someone I should know. We figured out that we had met the year before on the same road. He was on his way to a golf course to caddy when I picked him up. He had gotten into my car and had started out the same way with the name "Jesus Christ." I had taken exception to his use of that name and had opened up the New Testament and shown him the way of salvation. He had accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior. In parting I had given him Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." "God bless you, son. Read this," I said, and sped on my merry way.
A year later, there was no more evidence of the new birth and the new creature in this boy than if he had never heard of Jesus Christ.
I had a great passion to win souls and that was my great passion. But after I met this boy the second time on the way to the golf course, I began to go back and find some of my "converts". I want to tell you, I was sick at heart. It seemed that Philippians 1:6 was not working.
An Armenian boy came into my office one day and told me about all the souls he had won. He said that they were all Armenians and had the list to prove it.
I said, "Well, what is this one doing?"
He said, "That one isn't doing so good. He is backslidden."
"What about this one?" We went all down the list and there was not one living a victorious life.
I said, "Give me your Bible." I turned to Philippians and put a cardboard right under the 6th verse, took a razor blade out of my pocket and started to come down on the page. He grabbed my hand and asked, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to cut this verse out," I said. "It isn't working."
Do you know what was wrong? I had been taking the 6th verse away from its context, verses 3 through 7. Paul was not just saying, "All right, the Lord has started something, He will finish it." But you know, that is what some people tell me when they win a soul. They say, "Well, I just committed him to God."
Suppose I meet someone who has a large family and say to him, "Who is taking care of your children?"
"My family? Oh, I left them with the Lord."
Right away I would say to that one, "I have a verse for you: 'But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he...is worse than an infidel' (1 Timothy 5:8)."
Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "Take heed...to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers..." (Acts 20:28). You cannot make God the overseer. He makes you the overseer.
We began to work on follow-up. This emphasis on finding and helping some of the converts went on for a couple or three years before the Navigator work started. By that time our work included fewer converts but more time spent with the converts. Soon I could say as Paul said to the Philippians, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:3-5). He followed up his converts with daily prayer and fellowship. Then he could say, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). In keeping with this the 7th verse reads: "Even as it is meet (or proper) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart..."
Before I had forgotten to follow up the people God had reached through me. But from then on I began to spend time helping them. That is why sometime later when that first sailor came to me, I saw the value of spending three months with him. I saw an Isaac in him. Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had the twelve, and all the rest of the nation came through them.
It Takes Time to Do God's Work
You can lead a soul to Christ in from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. But it takes from 20 weeks to a couple of years to get him on the road to maturity, victorious over the sins and the recurring problems that come along. He must learn how to make right decisions. He must be warned of the various "isms" that are likely to reach out with their octopus arms and pull him in and sidetrack him.
But when you get yourself a man, you have doubled your ministry—in fact, you have more than doubled your ministry. Do you know why? When you teach your man, he sees how it is done and he imitates you.
If I were the minister of a church and had deacons or elders to pass the plate and choir members to sing, I would say, "Thank God for your help. We need you. Praise the Lord for these extra things that you do," but I would keep pressing home the big job—"Be fruitful and multiply." All these other things are incidental to the supreme task of winning a man or woman to Jesus Christ and then helping him or her to go on.
Where is your man? Where is your woman? Do you have one? You can ask God for one. Search your hearts. Ask the Lord, "Am I spiritually sterile? If I am, why am I?"
Don't let your lack of knowledge stand in the way. It used to be the plan of The Navigators in the early days that whenever the sailors were with us for supper each fellow was asked at the end of the meal to quote a verse.
I would say it this way, "Quote a verse you have learned in the last 48 hours if you have one. Otherwise, just give us a verse." One evening as we quoted verses around the table, my little three-year-old daughter's turn came. There was a new sailor next to her who did not think about her quoting Scripture, so without giving her an opportunity, he began. She looked up at him as much as to say, "I am a human being," then she quoted John 3:16 in her own way. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." She put the emphasis on the "whosoever" because when she was first taught the verse she could not pronounce that word.
Days later that sailor came over and said to me, "You know, I was going to quote that verse of Scripture. It was the only one I knew. But I didn't really know it, not until little Ruthie quoted it. When she said 'whosoever', I thought, 'that means me'. Back on the ship I accepted the Lord." Today that young man is a missionary in South America.
Until several years after we were married, my wife's father did not know the Lord. Here again God used children to reach a hungry heart. When Ruthie was three and Bruce was five, they went to visit Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa tried to get them to repeat nursery rhymes. He said, "Mary had a little lamb" and "Little Boy Blue", but the children just looked at him and asked, "Who is Little Boy Blue?" He thought they did not know very much.
Their mother said, "They know some things. Quote Romans 3:23, Bruce." This Bruce did. Then he asked, "Shall I quote another one, Grandpa?"
"Sure," said Grandpa.
Bruce began to quote verses of Scripture, some 15 in all, and Ruth quoted some in between. This delighted Grandpa. He took them over to the neighbors and to the aunts and uncles, showing them how well these children knew the Scriptures. In the meantime the Word of God was doing its work. It was not long before the Holy Spirit, through the voices of babes, planted the seed in his heart. "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength..." (Psalm 8:2).
Soulwinners are not soulwinners because of what they know, but because of the Person they know, how well they know Him and how much they long for others to know Him.
"Oh, but I am afraid," someone says. Remember, "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25). Nothing under heaven except sin, immaturity and lack of communion will put you in a position where you cannot reproduce. Furthermore, there is not anything under heaven that can keep a newly born again one from going on with the Lord if he has a spiritual parent to take care of him and give him the spiritual food God has provided for his normal growth.
Effects obey their causes by irresistible laws. When you sow the seed of God's Word you will get results. Not every heart will receive the Word but some will and the new birth will take place. When a soul is born, give it the care that Paul gave new believers. Paul believed in follow-up work. He was a busy evangelist, but he took time for follow-up. The New Testament is largely made up of the letters of Paul which were follow-up letters to the converts.
James believed in it. "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only," he said in James 1:22. Peter believed in it. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). John believed in it, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (III John 4). All the writings of Peter, Paul, James and most of John's are food for the new Christian.
The Gospel spread to the known world during the first century without radio, television or the printing press, because these produced men who were reproducing. But today we have a lot of pew-sitters—*-people think that if they are faithful in church attendance, put good-sized gifts into the offering plate and get people to come, they have done their part.
Where is your man? Where is your woman? Where is your boy? Where is your girl? Every one of us, no matter what age we are, should get busy memorizing Scripture. In one Sunday school class a woman 72 years of age and another who was 78 finished The Navigators Topical Memory System. They then had something to give.
Load your heart with this precious Seed. You will find that God will direct you to those whom you can lead to Christ. There are many hearts ready for the Gospel now.
Questions for Review and Discussion
1. Consider the three marks of a disciple discussed by Lorne Sanny.
Someone who is:
a. ______________ with Christ.
How would you describe your identification with Christ?
How would you like to see yourself?
b. _____________ to the Word.
Describe how you would like to live.
c. ______________ for Christ.
How would you portray your fruitfulness?
2. Is it reasonable to conclude from Scripture that God wants only a few Christians to disciple? Matthew 10:32; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 8:34, 38; John 8:31; Hebrews 5:12a.________________
3. Christ calls us to prove to be His disciples in John 15:8. He has chosen believers to “bring forth fruit...[that] should remain,” John 15:16. Think about the calling of believers to discipleship.
a. What can you conclude about being called to a lifestyle of discipling others by the Great Provider?
b. Of those of us who trust in Christ, He says that His Father is glorified when we bear much fruit. Complete and personalize the logic statement: If God calls us to bear ______________, then ______ can have the resources to bear much fruit—various references including John 1:12-13.
4. In all likelihood, you received the Lifestyle Discipleship materials because of someone who has become a discipler. As you consider Dawson Trotman’s mathematical progression of bearing fruit that will last, what do you think of your personal priorities as reflected in your calendar and your checkbook? If they are not where you want them, what would be the change you would make to them?
This is a significant moment in each person’s life. Which way shall I go? Whether I’ve just met Christ or have known Him for many years, what shall I do with this material? This material is not for everyone at every time. If you are not involved in reproducing spiritually mature Christians, perhaps it is because your own spiritual maturity is not developed. This course may be just what you need. Or, perhaps you already have other commitments—perhaps you are even discipling others. The possibilities are endless yet the calling remains the same: One who trusts Christ is called to make disciples and to bear fruit that continues to produce. Remember the words of Christ in Luke 14: 26, 27 and 33 where we are tested in our faith to count the cost, and upon considering it, to commit ourselves fully to Him and to His commands—or we cannot be His disciple. The materials in Lifestyle Discipleship are for those ready to be discipled, or put another way, for those ready to know a systematic way of learning about Him and a good method for passing it on to others.
Our goals are as Lorne Sanny said, to be identified with Christ, obedient to his word and bearing fruit that lasts. If you are not ready for one reason or another, please talk with your discipler about it so he can move to someone who is ready. A last thought: Being ready is not the same as being prepared. Your discipler and those who have gone before him or her have prayed for this moment of your decision. We are eager to make disciples for His glory—and eager for you.
Discuss this item with your discipler. How would you describe your readiness to begin the journey of discipling?
Related Topics: Discipleship