“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Matthew 28:18-20
Last week I accompanied a group of our students to a local Christian ministry to distribute backpacks that they assembled containing school supplies. These backpacks will be given out at the beginning of next school year to underprivileged children so they will have their own backpacks with the needed supplies for school. This ministry is one of the ways our students are trained as disciples serving others with the love of Christ.
Teaching and training students in the ways of the Lord is part of the process of making disciples. You may ask, “What is a disciple?” The dictionary defines disciple as “a follower, pupil, student, or adherent of a school or individual.” However, to a Christian, disciple has more of a distinctive meaning. A disciple of Jesus Christ is a follower of Christ. But, we can go even deeper than that if we refer to the verses noted above in Matthew 28:18-20. I like this definition of a Christian disciple. “A disciple is one who knows Christ, is growing in Christ, is showing the love of Christ, and is going and making more disciples of Christ.”
This definition pulls together what I believe to be the true definition of a Christian disciple. First of all, when speaking in the context of Christianity, a disciple is one who “knows” Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Not one who merely knows facts about Christ, but one who truly knows Christ and has faith in Christ. (Hebrews 11:1; 6)
A disciple who knows Christ is one who can grow in Christ. In other words, you can’t grow in your faith in Christ if you don’t even have faith in Christ in the first place. How does a disciple grow in Christ? A disciple grows in Christ from God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. God speaks to us when we read His Word, and we grow and mature in our faith when we obey God’s Word. (Psalm 1:2-3; Romans 12:2)
Also, a disciple shows the love of Christ. Listen to John 13:34-35:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
And finally, as you read earlier in Matthew 28:19, disciples are to go into all the world. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” A disciple is one who is going, wherever God leads, making more disciples.
Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? I hope and pray you know Christ, are growing in Christ, showing the love of Christ, and going and making more disciples of Christ.
May God bless you with His grace, love and truth!