Four Biblical Descriptions of a Disciple:
1. A disciple has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
It is very clear, by the 269 times “disciple” is mentioned in the New Testament, that a disciple is a believing and committed follower of Jesus.
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
According to the Scriptures, a potential disciple must realize they are a sinner under God’s judgment (Rom 3:23; 6:23); need to confess their sin to God (1 John 1:9); must repent or turn away from their sin (Matt 3:2, 8; 4:17; Acts 2:38); and believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was payment for their sin. When a person truly believes in Jesus, that He was crucified for their sins, buried, and rose from the dead as the Bible describes, then they are restored to a relationship with God and granted eternal life in His presence (Rom. 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 2:1-2). At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters a person and the Bible describes this as having the mind of Christ within (Acts 2:38). No person can be a true disciple and child of God without salvation according to God’s plan. And this is essential before proceeding to teaching, or discipleship, because the Bible states that the “natural” or unsaved person cannot understand the things of God.
2. A disciple is a student of the Word.
A disciple invests the necessary time to learn the will of God for every aspect of life.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
John 8:31 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, (If) you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
It is the will of God that every believer learns:
- The truth about who Jesus is and what He has done
- How to abide in Jesus Christ each day
- The foundational principles of our Christian faith
- The promises to us as His children
How to walk in righteousness
Countless Churches are doing a good job in accomplishing this, but being a student of the Word includes learning how to tend correctly to all responsibilities God has given to us. As we mentioned before, the concept of discipling as Jesus did is not commonly practiced and not commonly recognized as an aspect of His Great Commission. Because we believe that this discipling is essential to the growth that God wants to see for His children, we have developed materials as God has led us and have made them available.
If you do not have a discipleship program in your Church explaining the fundamentals, we offer a start-up workbook for this purpose, titled A Strong Foundation, which is available on our website for free, at www.FDM.world or www.discipleshipworkbooks.com.
Discipleship keeps believers connected and accountable to one another which is in line with scriptural teaching. God does not only want us to hear the Word, but He instructs us to search the Word and to be ready to help others with that process. God tells us to confess our sins to one another, to pray for each other, and to support one another in this life as Christians, followers of Christ. This requires personal relationships; relationship means to come together again and again. Many people spend years attending college, studying, and being mentored for a vocation. They look for ways to improve so they can aspire to promotions and more challenging jobs. We practice to get better at sports, hobbies, and read up on information to preserve our physical health. But how much time and effort do we spend getting to know the God who created us and who is sovereign over every aspect of life on this planet?
To Tend– means to take care of or manage according to its needs, purpose and priority.