Discipleship: Correcting Our Definition

For the last four weeks, we have spent time in the Scriptures and, hopefully, in personal prayer about the ramifications what it means to be a disciple. The word disciple is an extraordinary word. We usually say that it’s someone who is a student of a master, and that’s correct. The word is also found in other places. Once such place is Matthew 13:52, “And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven … .” That phrase, “who has been trained,” is from the same word as the word ‘disciple.’ That enlightens much.

George McClellan was a Union general during the Civil War. I just elaborate, McClellan ended up being the Commander of what was called the Army of the Potomac during the first part of the war. He commanded over 100,000 soldiers, gave them instructions on how to fight, had them ready to fight. The problem? At the slightest notion that Lee (the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia) was in the area and ready to pounce, McClellan did nothing. He so frustrated Lincoln (you know, the Commander-in-Chief) that he said, “George, if you’re not going to use that army, I’d like to borrow it for a little while.” McClellan loved his men and his men loved him–and the thought of losing any of those men was just not worth the cost.

Again, we’ve been told, and to a degree rightly so, that a disciple is one who sits at the feet of the master to learn. Actually, that makes the Christian life a bit sedentary, as if the extent of discipleship is to learn information. Show up to a sermon and hear information. Come to a Bible study and learn more information. We know what to do, we know how to do it, we know some basics on what the Scriptures say. But is this discipleship? No! Discipleship is being trained for war. Against whom?

Verse 18 says, “And Jesus says to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” We as Baptists value missions, not just learning about missions and giving to missions but being sent on-mission. That’s our DNA. Yet the struggle to be a disciple who is being trained to make, multiply, and send disciples is an act of war. And what the enemy will do is distract us in a myriad of ways to keep us away from chasing hard after Jesus and running hard away from sin. But Satan wants us to do the opposite, but even if we do not run hard after sin and stay good moral Christians with good Christian values, he will settle for that as long as we do not run hard after Jesus. Albert Mohler once said, “Hell will be filled with people who were avidly committed to Christian values.” Values do not save us. A rescue from brokenness by Jesus from sin and into his design is what saves us.

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