Divine Discipling (As Jesus Is, So Are We – Set 9) – April 15, 2023 (115-117/365)

Jesus, The Disciple Maker

As Christ Is, So Are We In This World

Facilitated by Pastor Joedy

We aren’t focusing on us making disciples. We’re focused on Jesus Christ, who is the Disciple Maker. Just as we’ve taken imitating Christ out of context, we need to realize that making disciples isn’t our work either.

And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.Mark 3:13

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men. Mark 1:17

The focus shouldn’t be on how to disciple or how to be a disciple, but the focus, again, should be on Jesus, who is the Disicple Maker.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”John 20:21

What is the true picture of discipleship, with the consideration that it’s Jesus who is the disciple maker? This is important for us to know, just so we know what and how to pass it on.

Jesus chose disciples to be with Him and to send them out in the same way. This is the essential definition or description of His way of discipleship. Discipleship leads to John’s vision of multitudes coming to worship Christ.

What happens in discipleship? The true picture of discipleship is simply to be with Jesus. People may have all sorts of theological and educational titles, but the real question is, is he with Jesus, or is he walking with Jesus?

Manthano (Greek): The process of acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge

Manthetes: A learner or apprentice, who binds himself to a master or teacher.

Other ‘disciples’ may go so far as to try to copy as much as the accent of the teacher. But Biblical discipleship goes one step further – It takes a life to change another. In our case, in the Christian life, it’s the Life of no less than the Son of God that replaces our own.

It’s definitely not just about Biblical knowledge. Jesus had this rebuke to give:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

John 5:39-40

We’re grateful because we haven’t seen Christ literally, but the Spirit has revealed Him to us, and we have been brought to believe; indeed, blessed are we who have not seen, but believe! We have seen the Word testify to more than eternal Life, but towards Christ Himself.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.

Mark 1:17

When Christ called the disciples, He clearly said that it is He who makes us fishers of men. He called us and chose us and will take responsibility over us, but making us disciples – not us being disciples on our own. Christ is the one who builds the church – He’s the One who takes responsibility.

Discipleship is a journey with Jesus, who is, among other things, a Teacher. Our walking with Christ doesn’t end with us being like Christ, but, simply to talk with Him. Walk with Him. We be ourselves with Him, and He walks with us, pouring out what we need, helping us and aiding us and correcting us accordingly.

Before we do, we be. It’s not the other way around – we don’t do what we do in order to define who we are… but we appreciate who Christ has made us, and then we do. And then we work.

What has Christ made us to be?

First of all, you have been made to be God’s choice. We shouldn’t be the first ones to look so critically at each other, to tell each other that we aren’t performing well. No, on the other hand, just as The Voice judges turn their chair, so God indicates that He wants us. And just as the Voice judges choose us, so God chooses us, and trains us. But God doesn’t drop us like these judges would have to do… No, He chooses all of us, and He keeps choosing us forever.

People struggle with rejection and competition and inferiority and insecurity. We’re in a world that encourages these feelings as the norm. However, we are not basing our own acceptance on our own performance; No, we’re only accepted because of Christ’s performance – His finished work!

Jesus chose us because He wanted us. Don’t think otherwise. This is grace as it purest. God chose us, and it was never based on our own performance and our own insistence on excellence. He chose us because He wanted us.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 15:16

And see, when Jesus chose them… They naturally came to Him. Why is this significant? Well, it just affirms the truth that when grace is given, the people would be drawn to us. Contrasting with the Law: When the Law is given, people are repelled. Christ gave grace, and we were attracted to the Lord.

The message of condemnation never helped anyone. It’s not about following or knowing the Bible, but it’s all about Jesus Christ.

They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 7:53 – 8:12

We all love to quote John 3:16, but we should also add 3:17. Here are both verses:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:16-17

Jesus took the initiative, and He was following the Father’s heart. He wants all of us to become His children.

Now, discipleship has a beginning, progress and end goal.

The beginning is Christ’s invitation; He calls us to come: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

It’s God who takes the initiative. It’s God who calls us to come, and to reason together, as in the book of Isaiah. Let’s reason together, He says – though our sins are red, He would make us as white as snow. Let’s talk about it, God calls out, and He calls out for repentance – Change of our way of thinking.

“Come, let us bow down and kneel before the Lord, our Maker”: On top of repentance, we’re called to reverence and worship.

“Come, those who are weary”: Christ calls us to rest.

“Come, return to me and I will return to you.”: On top of rest, we have restoration. He shall bring back what we have lost.

We ought to tell people we call our disciples, that it’s not us who called them, but as we can see clearly, it’s Christ who calls us to come.

As we go along, discipleship has its progression. Christ first says ‘Come’, then He says ‘Follow Me’: He calls on us and now gives us instruction and intimacy, as if to say, “Adhere to me, be intimate with me.”

Akoloutheo (Greek): To follow, not literally, but to be with.

Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

John 1:38-39

People were following Jesus and they wanted to honor Him by asking Him where He stayed… And all Christ told them was, ‘come’.

The disciples saw all the works of Christ, but they never asked Him how to do what He did… save for asking Him how He prayed, because He made sure that He was away from them every time.

After ‘come’ and ‘follow me’, Christ says, ‘I will make you’: This is demonstrative of the son-ship we have in God through Christ, introducing the Father working in their own lives. And He was clear to Philip, as He was clear to the rest of the disciples: If you have seen the Son, you have seen the Father.

True discipleship is adhering to the Father’s teachings:

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “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

What’s the main teaching, in the first place? Well, we need to answer the following questions, and follow them with Scripture:

Was Jesus close to the Father?

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John 1:14-18

Where did Jesus get His power?

Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.John 3:33-35

Where did Jesus get His teachings?

I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”John 8:26

This is eternal life, that they may know You and the One you sent. Simply acknowledge and yield to Jesus’ faithful work of introducing the Father. After all, Jesus said, “I will make you.”

Pastor Joedy shared at this time: Everlasting life is forever life, according to quality; Eternal life is forever life, according to quality. So not only do you have life beyond time, but life beyond power as well.

The Good News:

The Father is offering the same relationship Jesus had with Him to us, through Jesus Christ:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.Galatians 3:13-14

We live as children of the living God. See Romans 8:14-15:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Jesus Christ says ‘come, follow me, and I will make…’

He would make us fishers of men, or sent ones. Fishers of men are disciples of Jesus who discover the beauty of intimacy with the Father, knowing His love. They live as God’s beloved and treads the pathway of the Sent ones (The paths of righteousness, according to His name’s sake!).

As Jesus Christ is the Soul winner, we too become soul winners.

As Jesus is the beloved Son of God, so we are God’s beloved children.

As Jesus preaches the good news to the poor, we herald the Gospel as well.

As Jesus walked in humility depending on God’s grace, so we reign in life through His abundant grace.

We sang after this session – Pastor Joedy had us sing of how God isn’t just our Father, but our Good Father, and much more than this, He is a Good, Good Father! This One whom angels proclaim as not just holy, but THRICE holy – the Holy Spirit has revealed to us through worship, that He is also our Good, and TWICE Good Father.

And I think that’s a good, good revelation, especially considering the bridge. We’re singing not only of God’s goodness, see, but we also proclaim that, indeed, God is ‘perfect in all of (His) ways’.  With that being said, we put into consideration what was mentioned and consequently discussed in Mark 1:17.

“Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”, Jesus says. Religion would have us assume that we’re the ones who would do the calling, we would be the ones who would to the compelling of others and ourselves to follow… and as if that wasn’t difficult or impossible, we also put even heavier burdens on ourselves, taking on the challenge of making other people, and making ourselves fishers of men.

But I guess what I had to learn from this is just as Pastor Joedy shared – that is, that it’s Christ who does the disciple making. It’s Christ who does the calling. It’s Christ who calls one and all to follow Him, and finally, it’s ultimately Christ who makes each and every one of us fishers of men. I mean, when you think about it, who else is more equipped to do all of these things, than Christ Himself? He’s the One whom we proclaim as being perfect in all of His ways – Just as we shouldn’t jump the gun in trying to copy Him to ‘imitate Him’, so we should also recognize His willingness, His ability – no, His abject PERFECTION, in making us His disciples!

In my writing prior to this meeting with Pastor Joedy, I talked about how Christ appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and spoke to the disciples. He presented Himself with the greatest of disciples, and He spoke the most appropriate and applicable words to them, at the right time… And I believe He did these things in dependence to God as His Father.

I believe He was also flowing in dependence to His Father when interacting with Thomas. He was led to show him His wounds and His scars, more than appealing to his eyes and ears, and got an even more explosive response from him – ‘My Lord and my God’, he said!

I bring all of this up only to say that just as it was Christ who convinced us, just as it was Christ who called us, and called us to follow Him. It’s Christ who ministered to us first, just as it was Christ whom we trust to make us fishers of men.

All our efforts to make disciples, and really, all our efforts as ministers in our own fields and areas of influence – ALL of it starts from our dependence of God, made possible through Christ, who was born, died, rose again and ascended into heaven, just so we have the boldness to run to Him, no matter what.

I told someone recently that we shouldn’t be living as if we were going to die tomorrow, but we should live as we are alive today. Then I considered other ways of saying that second line. The thing is, I thought that it would be counterproductive to say that we should live as if we were born yesterday, what with all the stigma related to how we use that statement. I think we can still say it without sounding stupid – we can say it, and we would mean that we would see and experience things with less contempt and more wonder.

Friends, if you’re going to be learning anything from this, I’ll say this – You don’t need to start off on your own. It will always start from God’s love for us, proven and guaranteed by Christ and His finished work. This is certainly the case with discipleship – a word, a principle, a method we’ve placed in our list of shiny things to have. Let Christ do the discipling…

…just as I’m letting Christ work in you to be patient with me after going through all of this drivel. Really, thank you so much, you dear reader.

Until the next post coming very soon, God bless you.

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