2 Timothy 2:2: And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Discipleship has one of the key functions in any local church and the Kingdom of God in general. When we closely observe the strategy of Jesus’ ministry, He was not focused on preaching to the multitudes but on gathering a small group of true disciples who would be trained, grew into the spiritual maturity, and took over the work that Jesus did on the earth. Discipling a small group is the most effective tool of evangelism.
No one wants to stay a carnal Christian. But in spite of this fact, many believers stagnate, either not having strength to press forth into discovering the spiritual freedom or just simply losing direction, unable to discern God’s will for their lives. Indeed, one cannot live an autopilot Christian life if he or she wants to live out the new identity in Christ and God’s promises. It is a neverending process of consecration when we as Christians commit ourselves to the teaching of the Scripture and to the fellowship with Holy Spirit in prayer. We grow spiritually only if we maintain God’s peace in our hearts and abide in Christ. While living in the difficult circumstances in the world that is ruled by the kingdom of darkness, we often need a little push from a more mature believer so that our growth does not vanish. Jesus states in John 15:5-8:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Obviously, being a disciple of Christ is different than simply being a child of God who is only saved. We know how we are saved: through simple faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work. But what is a disciple of Jesus Christ? Disciple literally means “a learner; a pupil.” A disciple is a person of concrete action and commitment. Disciples make themselves available for training and devote themselves to a lifetime of learning and growth.
Jesus is the wine and we are the branches. It means that our own will must flow out of God’s will. As branches, we absorb the DNA of the tree to secure the harmonious development, not vice versa. If we were the tree, then of course, we could do whatever we liked in order to grow spiritually. But is it not the case. Jesus is the tree. If the branch does its own will, it will lose contact with the tree and withers. It is no good than to be burned with fire. Therefore, we must always be connected to Jesus and His desires for our life.
Through different teaching series such as Cornerstone, Servanthood, or Prayer Afternoon, seminars, and eventually the ICS Empower conference, we have tried to ground believers more profoundly in the Word of God, to stir up their prayer life and to help them to discover their spiritual gifts and God’s calling upon their lives. We do not run our own race but our mutual gifts complete the whole Body of Christ in unity. We are joined together as the living organism of Christ, His Church. The sign of a mature disciple is to run with the vision of the (local) church that he or she is committed to and fill the spot that God has designed for him or her. This is how God’s glory will be manifested in our lives and the church will bear much fruit, as the Scripture promises.
As Christ’s disciples, let us be teachable and use the opportunities to nourish ourselves with the Word of God and prayer. God wants to give us His visions and dreams, and we can start to live it out already today. While serving God, a mature disciple is confident in faith and has also a mandate to lead other less mature disciples on the same journey to the spiritual growth. God is glorified when we serve Him and obey His word. There is no limit how God can use us, both individually and as the church, if we submit to His will as disciples of Christ!