Summary: This sermon looks at four aspects of discipleship. I. The PURPOSE of Discipleship II. The PROBLEM of Discipleship III. The POWER of Discipleship IV. The PARTNERSHIP of Discipleship (First sermon in this series)
The Importance Of Discipline In Discipleship
You hardly hear the word today. We just don’t like to use it. It has vacated almost every aspect of our living. We have almost abolished it from our vocabulary. Perhaps it is still used in some circles – such as sports – especially went it comes to Olympians. But in most of our culture it has all but disappeared. The word I am referring to is: “Discipline”.
The word “discipline” is used throughout the Bible though. Thirty six times it is used in the New American Standard version of the Bible. Many of the Proverbs speak of discipline. Verses such as:
“My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (NASV)
Proverbs chapter twelve says:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 (NASV)
And Proverbs chapter thirteen says:
“Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored.” Proverbs 13:18 (NASV)
In the New Testament Paul instructs Timothy to, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1st Timothy 4:7 (NASV)
This is our focal verse for this series. We are going to be looking at: “Disciplines Of Discipleship – Living A Godly Life”. We as followers of Jesus Christ must realize that discipline for the purpose of godliness should be our way of life. Today we are looking at the Importance Of Discipline In Discipleship.
Donald S. Whitney in his book, “Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life” has said:
“Discipline without direction is drudgery.”
He gives an example of a six year old boy named Kevin sitting one afternoon at guitar lessons. Outside are the other boys laughing and running – playing baseball – having fun. For Kevin the guitar lessons are drudgery. Then all of a sudden an angel comes and transports Kevin to Carnegie Hall where a guitar virtuoso is giving a concert. Kevin is amazed how the musician is able to play the guitar with fluidity and grace. Kevin gets excited and is enthralled by the concert. Then the angel tells him – “Kevin that musician is you – years from now.” Kevin says – “Wow!” and the next thing you know he is sitting back at his guitar lesson. The other boys are still outside playing baseball – but something has changed. Kevin now has a vision. He now has a direction. He now has a goal.
Proverbs chapter twenty nine and verse eighteen says:
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Many Christians don’t catch the vision of discipleship. Many don’t understand the importance of discipline in discipleship – they view discipleship as drudgery. But the Bible gives a clear vision as to the importance and purpose of discipleship.
I. The PURPOSE of Discipleship
Look with me at Romans chapter eight and verse twenty nine:
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28 (NASV)
Go ahead and circle the phrase “conformed to the image of His Son”. God is in the life change business. He has called us to change us. God became man in order that man could become more godly. We become more godly by becoming more like Jesus. We discipline ourselves to become more like Christ. Look at what First John chapter three verses two and three tell us:
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I John 3:2-3 (NASV)
Go ahead and circle the word “we will be like Him”. How do we become “like Him”? This verse tells us – we work at purifying ourselves. What this verse is telling us is that discipleship – holiness – godliness – will take effort and work. Purify yourself! Become a disciple of Christ. Discipline yourself in discipleship – in order that you may become more like Jesus – in order that you may be conformed to the image of Christ. Every Christian needs to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. We need to put on Christlikeness. This is the purpose of Discipleship. This is God’s goal you and it should be your goal as too.
I heard a story of a man who became a Christian. He was young and he was wild. His conversion took – it was real. Early on in his walk with Christ – he would pray this prayer. “Lord I want to be just like you – but not quite yet.” There are probably a lot of Christians who are praying that prayer. “O Lord, I want to be just like You – but not quiet yet. I want to live a life of holiness – but not quite yet. I want to live a life of purity – but not quite yet. I want to be Godly – but not quite yet.” Folks we should be praying – “Lord make me Godly now. Lord make me holy now. Lord make me clean now. Lord clean up my act. Lord clean up my life. Purify me – cleanse me – sanctify me – NOW!