Summary: A Disciple is one who is a lifelong learner and follower of Christ determining to go where He goes, do what He does, and to say what He says.
Discipleship: What A Way To Live!
Scripture Reference: Acts 11:19 – 26
I believed today that a church should require dynamic worship, dynamic fellowship, dynamic opportunities to understand and apply the word, dynamic opportunities to serve the Kingdom of God both locally and globally, and dynamic principles for living out the faith visibly and deliberately in the context of daily living.
There are principles for living out our faith visibly and deliberately. This should be done in the context of daily living. And that is where I want to focus our attention today.
When you hear someone call himself or herself a Christian what comes to your mind? What beliefs, convictions, or lifestyles become visible across the screen of your thinking? How do you define what a Christian is? After the images and the defining, would you define yourself as a Christian and if so how does anyone know you are one?
We have a lot of people today calling themselves Christians, but their life is or has become suspect. Is it because they have a false definition of what it means to be a Christian?
“A mother was telling her little boy what manner of person a Christian should be. When the lesson was finished, the mother got a stab she never forgot, when her boy asked seriously, “Mother, have I ever seen a Christian?”
Christian was a name or title that caught on after the first century church here in the book of Acts was formed and the multitudes of people, Jews and Gentiles were being converted to Christ.
But you have to understand this morning that they weren’t call Christians merely because of their conversion, but because of their belief, their conduct, and their life in Christ.
And since they were not overwhelmingly called Christians how were the early believers, the early converts described, defined, destined? – They were called Disciples.
Let me give you a definition of a Christian that I developed for our sharing this morning because of all the confusion in the world today about what one is… a Christian is one who has come in faith to the Savior. He has come to the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. Belonging to the party of Christ.
You are not a Christian because you come to Church. You are not a Christian because you were baptized or took your first communion. You are not a Christian because you are in the children’s choir or work on a committee. You are not a Christian because you have cleaner thoughts than your co-worker or more morality than the rapist, murderer, thief, or tax cheats.
You are a Christian because you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now you will have to agree with me that becoming a Christian is not where it stops. But coming to Christ is where it actually begins.
Now a Disciple is something different. Here is a working definition of a disciple for the message of the hour…A Disciple is one who is a lifelong learner and follower of Christ determining to go where He goes, do what He does, and to say what He says.
So we will define Discipleship as the process of being a lifelong learner and follower of Christ determining to go where He goes, do what He does, and say what He says.
It is necessary this morning to distinguish between the position and the practice. Christianity is my position in Christ; Discipleship is my life for Christ. I have to say this again…the defining of the two is not an act of splitting hairs by this preacher.
But with all the claims of being a Christian by people whose conduct many of us would be ashamed of this is needful work. I cannot argue whether or not someone is a Christian, but being a Disciple is a whole different game.
Why talk about discipleship? What is discipleship to those of us who come to church on any given Sunday? Where does discipleship fit into my lifestyle? Is it a requirement? Is it necessary? What will it cost me and how long will I have to do it? I want you to understand…
The Christian received the life of Christ.
The Disciple gives a life for Christ.
The Christian is one who professes faith.
The Disciple is one who practices faith.
The Christian is internal in his/her conversion.
The Disciple is external in his/her conduct.
The Christian talks about being saved.
The Disciple lives like they are saved.
In the context of the Kingdom of God, a Disciple is a Christian, but not every Christian may be a Disciple. You will find in our text today that the lifestyle defined the name and not the name defining the lifestyle.
I. The People of Discipleship