Tag Archives: Religion

The Profile of a Disciple

So what does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? Well check out this article from Winfield Bevins and you’ll have a better idea of what it looks like.

Churches are growing larger than ever before, but thousands of professing Christians in North America do not fit the New Testament definition of disciple. One survey concludes that only 25% of evangelicals meet the biblical standard for disciples. Researcher George Barna reports:

The church in America is comprised of many converts, but shockingly few disciples.

It is imperative that we seek to discover and define what it means to be a biblical disciple of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.

What is the profile of a disciple? The word ‘disciple’ implies much more than its literal meaning of “a learner or a pupil”; it is someone who has totally committed their life to the training and teaching of a master or a school of thought.

What is a disciple?

Throughout the ages, different Christians have emphasized various marks for being a disciple. However, the most important factors in defining the true marks of a disciple are found in the pages of the New Testament. The New Testament offers several marks that should be common to all disciples of Jesus Christ.

A disciple studies the word

Disciples study the word of God. Studying the Bible is very important for Christians to grow as disciples. Jesus told his disciples, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Disciples need to immerse themselves daily in God’s Word, like the people who lived in Berea and who searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).

God speaks through his Word as believers read and study the spiritual truths of the Bible. There is nothing more important than a regular systematic study of the Bible. John Calvin tells us, “Scripture is needed as guide and teacher for anyone who would come to God the creator.” A daily reading of the Bible helps disciples to grow and mature spiritually. The Bible will strengthen your faith, speak to your heart, and guide you in all of life’s tough decisions.

A disciple knows Scripture is God-inspired

It is imperative for disciples to have a high view of scripture. The Bible was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21). The Bible says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Inspiration literally means God breathed. In other words, God supernaturally inspired the writers by the power of the Holy Spirit to write the books of the Bible.

Roy B. Zuck describes it in the following way: “Though human writers were used by God to record the Scriptures, using their own styles of diction and expressing their own personalities, their words were the ‘out-breathing’ of God. Inspiration then is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit whereby he guided and superintended the writers of Scripture so that what they wrote is the Word of God.”

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5 Ways To Get The Most Out of a Sermon

A great article from Ps. PJ Smyth The Art of Listening might well be the most the important skill a Christian must develop, because Christianity is at its essence all about the Word of God. In fact, God himself is the Word (John 1:1) and the Word became flesh (John 1:2)—safe to say that if God is the Word then how we use our ears is pretty important. Furthermore, you can only come to faith through hearing (Rom. 10:14) and then you grow mature through hearing (Matt. 13:23).

The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord (1 Sam 3:21).

Do you get it? Seeing God happens through hearing. Our vision is through our ears. My friend, if you have either not yet come to Christ, or you have but are frustrated, confused, and not really growing, then I would bet big money that your problem revolves around not listening as you should. Here are some tips on listening well to a preacher, or to the Word of God in any context:

1. Get in range regularly

The reason Zacchaeus collided with Jesus was because he climbed the tree. If the soil is not in range of the sower then it isn’t going to receive any seed. This first point isn’t rocket science: you need to be regularly exposed to God’s word. Try to do a few minutes of personal time each day with the Bible, and obviously ensure you are at church each Sunday. Get in range.

2. Be expectant to receive

The good news is that the Word of God is supernatural stuff. It is living and active and burrows right inside us, doing us good (Heb. 4:12) and it will always achieve its purpose (Isa. 55:11). So listen expectantly. If it is a topic or preacher that you are not too excited about, then pull yourself together and get excited—the issue is the pizza, not the delivery boy or the box it comes in.

3. Understand it

The Parable of the Soil (Matt. 13:23) stresses the importance of not just hearing but understanding. Take notes, listen again to the download, discuss it at small group, go over the Scriptures again. One way or another, check you that you ‘get it’.

4. Mix with faith

Hebrews 4:1-3 speaks about two groups of people who heard the same message. One group benefited big time. The others thought the message was useless. What was the difference? Only one group mixed the incoming word with faith. As you listen, be assured that God has your best at heart, and set yourself to receive the word and to obey it with joy and conviction. Not because you ‘have to’ but because you ‘get to.’ God isn’t looking for blind, begrudging obedience. He is looking for faith!

5. Actually do it

The difference between the foolish and wise builders in Matthew 7 was that one put the word into practice and one didn’t. If you don’t actually obey the word then your life and faith will be built on sand. You will continuously be unsure that ‘Christianity really works.’ So, if you hear a message on forgiveness but do not forgive, then your house may fall flat. James says that you will be a like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and then goes away and forgets what he looks like—you will be insecure in who you are and in who God is. Obey. Put it into practice. Then you’ll grow.

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