By Charles Box
Those who became disciples of Jesus learned His doctrine and followed Him as teacher. Christ must be viewed as Master and His followers must be "learners" or "disciples." "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20) On what possible basis do we have any right to tell anybody they should change their whole way of thinking and acting and become a disciple of Jesus Christ? We teach based on the authority of Jesus Christ. Disciples are to be made for Jesus all over the world. By the authority of Jesus Christ we can preach His message to person in every place. True discipleship is expressed in Luke 14:27. Jesus said, “"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Bearing your cross means dying to the old life and living a new life for Christ. When a person becomes a disciple they die to their old, destructive ways and live for Jesus, who loved them and gave Himself for them. Those who become disciples are baptized into the death of Jesus. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4) After baptism we continue learning and observing all that Jesus commanded. It is worthless to acknowledge the lordship of Christ in baptism and then ignore His commandments.
Those who would be Jesus’ disciples fall at His feet for forgiveness. Forgiveness is only "in" and "though" Jesus and only on His terms.
Jesus intentionally called His disciples into a spiritually relationship with Him.
A disciple is obedient in life. “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciple.” (John 8:31) Discipleship is not about my opinions, ideas, or words. Discipleship is about knowing and obeying Jesus and His words. John 8:32 we learn that a real disciple is someone who has been liberated or freed by the truth of Jesus’ words. The message of salvation is the message of the cross. The desire of Jesus is to make disciples. In humble obedience all should fall at Jesus' feet for forgiveness. "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." (Hebrews 5:9)
Those who would be His disciples must be fashioned and formed in the likeness of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus is a person who has been formed and fashioned to His will. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18) Let us learn Jesus' will and be formed in His likeness. It is God's desire that Christians conform to the image of His Son. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
Those who would be disciples must be fitted for service to the Master. Once a person is converted he becomes profitable to God and to others. Such was the case as Paul wrote to Philemon concerning Onesimus. He "who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me." (Philemon 11) Only a true and faithful disciple is fit for service to Jesus. Come to Jesus to be forgiven. Stay with Jesus to be formed and fashioned to His will. Go for Jesus as one fitted for His service. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Colossians 3:9-10)
Those who have allowed their lives to be transformed from an old life to a new and conformed to the image of Christ are useful disciples. May we all bow in humility before the Mighty God of Heaven. To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) After baptism, live in Christ and have Christ in you. (Galatians 4:19) Are you fit for the Master's use?