I think I’m ready to be a disciple. I have been a Christian since 1969; maybe it’s time to move forward now. I have attended Christian fellowships my entire life. I have been a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, minister of music, and preached on occasion. Is it possible to have done all that and not be a disciple? It sure feels like it.
During the same 41 years, I have failed more than I have succeeded. I have been more interested in the world than the Word. Broken some of the commandments shattered some of the others. The bible tells me not to be overcome by the world, yet the world has run me down more times than I care to count.
I hold onto God’s grace. I rely on scriptures such as, “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Am I sure of my redemption through Christ? Yes. Am I confident that I am a Christian? Again, yes. The issue is not am I saved, it’s have I found my noble purpose.
A Christian Disciple is a student of Jesus. It is our job to learn what He wishes to teach us. Then it is our responsibility to act on what we know. Like myself, I know many Christians, who have spent a lifetime learning what the Bible has to say on a whole host of topics. However, few ever seem to apply what they learn.
Are you a Disciple of Christ, or a cultural Christian? The majority of Americans call themselves Christian, who I believe are actually cultural Christians. They exhibit some traits of discipleship. They attend church on a frequent basis. They know Bible stories, and verses. Have been baptized. They believe many tenets of the faith. A cultural Christian looks like most any Christian. They are nearly impossible to pick out of a Sunday crowd. Most do not know the difference themselves.
Today’s postmodern culture allows anyone to claim “Christian” status. However, culture does not determine this, the Bible does. My goal is to build from the ground up an understanding of what it means to be a true Christian. With the Bible as our guide, discipleship as our benchmark, we can learn what it truly means to be a disciple.
In John 8: 31-33 we read, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” The “children of Abraham” built their assurance on the fact that they were Jews. Just professing being from Abraham, like professing you are a Christian, is like saying you’re a Big Mac because you eat at McDonald’s daily. Just saying it does not make it so. Jesus said the requirement to be a true disciple is to continue in the His word.
In 2 Timothy 2: 15 we read, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” It seems clear to me that to know what our purpose in life is about, requires some diligence on our part. Careful reading of the Word of God is crucial if we are to find our noble purpose.
To be a disciple we find our noble purpose in God. 2 Peter 2: 20- 21 says, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” Many who call themselves Christian have not found their noble purpose.
It is God’s desire that we find our purpose. God made us unique. He gave us the tools (will, intellect and emotions), to accomplish our purpose. I believe our purpose is to live life as thought it means something. The only way to live this way is to follow after God. The only way to accomplish that is to be diligent in the study of His word and to act upon what we know to be true.
It is important to understand how to navigate the road ahead. This is the purpose of Disciple Life, to journey through Scripture and explore creation learning the truth of God and His plan for man along the way. Following God’s plan we will find eternal joy, everlasting satisfaction, a ceaseless, noble Purpose to life.
The heart of every theist, atheist and agnostic wants to know, “what’s my purpose?” The Dalai Lama said, “One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth, every human being wants meaning and does not want to suffer in obtaining it. From the very core of our being we simply desire answers to the big questions. ” Whether you are Buddhist or Baptist we all long to know how to move our journey along.
The plan is…
•Find common ground that Christian and hopefully non-Christian can agree on.
•Build each study upon the foundation of the previous studies.
•We must go where our God-given reasoning skills lead.
•We must avoid forcing the evidence into our denominational box.
•Use, but don’t be fooled by our emotions.
•Apply what we have learned to our daily lives.
Though this would seem obvious from the Scripture many Christians believe following Christ on some journey is optional. Only Jesus freaks and pastors need go down the narrow road. Some think they are not capable of making the journey; others are satisfied with their eternal life assurance. However God reveals throughout the Scripture that eternity starts here and now (John 17:3).
In the seventeenth century John Bunyan in, The Pilgrim’s Progress, wrote of a man named Christian, clothed in rags and weighed down by a great burden on his back. He stood facing away from his house. He opened the Bible he held in his hand and as he read, he wept and trembled. Finally, no longer able to contain himself, he cried, “what shall I do?” The bible revealed to Christian the reality of the world, and his wretched condition in it. Christian also found his purpose in the Bible. So he starts off on his epic journey of discovery that will, in the end, leave him stronger, happier and with a noble purpose.
First study: 1.05 The pursuit of happiness?