John Starke: Sermons, talks, and books on discipleship usually give a basic definition of disciple as “learner.” But the New Testament gives us a more thrilling and dynamic definition of a disciple and the cost that follows. Take for example the parable of the soils in Matthew 13. How do we know a disciple from merely a “learner”? Matthew 13:23 says, “He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” A disciple is, by nature—by definition!—a multiplier. Disciples are not merely learners but fruit-bearing disciple-makers; they multiply themselves. Dynamic Definition As you read the New Testament, you see that discipleship is complex and thrilling. Hans Kvalbein wrote in 1988 a Themelios article on the concept of discipleship in the New Testament (see the entire archive of Themelios articles) that gives strength and depth to how local churches should think, talk, and teach about discipleship. He gives 13 theses on discipleship. Here are several of them in summary form: The first word for Christians
From Jared Wilson: Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. — 2 Timothy 2:3 Have you ever seen a military recruitment poster or TV ad that showed wounded soldiers? Ever seen one that showed soldiers taking bullets, medics administering morphine to blood-gushing comrades, or an array of battle-hardened quadriplegics? No, you have not. We recruit soldiers by showing shiny weapons, technologically advanced machines and systems, adventurous locales, and strong, healthy men and women using them, engaging in them, and bravely enjoying them. But not Paul. He will not whitewash the mission. As Christ says, “Count the cost” and “Take up your cross” and “Die to self,” Paul’s recruitment slogan is: Share in suffering. In 2 Timothy 2:7, he writes, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” He wants disciples of Jesus to consider what he’s just laid out for them, which is that Christianity is about suffering like a soldier,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 When asked what God had taught him most deeply about life, George Mueller (1805-1898), pastor and philanthropist, explained: “There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.” Quoted in A. T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol (London, 1899), page 367. (HT: Ray Ortlund)
By John Piper: In New Testament times swords were not for digging, shaving, or whittling. They were for killing. The only reason Peter cut off Malchus’s ear was that he missed (John 18:10). But Herod didn’t miss: “He killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). Many saints have felt the full force of the sword: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword” (Hebrews 11:37). So it was and will be: “If anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain” (Revelation 13:10). That’s what swords are for. So when Paul calls the word of God the “sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17, he is serious—something must be put to death. And it is not people. Christians don’t kill people to spread our faith; we die to spread our faith. The link in Paul’s mind is given in Romans 8:13. If by the
See this previous post called ‘Make War!’ Here’s the video.
“…thought my past made me unworthy. But decided, He is worthy.” “…dad said I would die in Africa. He was right, I died to self. “…affraid to leave the comfort of home. Found something more important than comfort.” I love this video! (HT: Allsufficientgrace)