So you wish to obey the Great Commission and have found someone you can disciple but you want to know what should you do?
For too long churches have been under the delusion that discipleship is a 16-lesson course published by someone and you just meet an hour or so each week until the lessons are done, then VOILA! The person is discipled. Nope.
Discipleship is investing your life into another person. Jesus invested into the lives of 12 men primarily. He taught them biblical theology and life application. They watched how He interacted with people and they asked Him questions.
Granted, you won’t probably head off with a group of 12 guys following you around as you travel the countryside homeless. But, you can invest in one or two people at a time while maintaining your other responsibilities to your spouse, job, family, etc. So, here are some requirements and suggestions:
- Once someone comes to Christ in faith, the first step of obedience is Baptism (i.e. immersion) as a public demonstration of one’s new identity with Christ. You really can’t begin the next steps if the person starts out of the gate in disobedience.
- Ensure you only disciple males with males, females with females, or with others as a couple. Never get yourself in a compromising position that could lead to impropriety.
- From there, you will want to balance academic training in doctrinal truth with how to live a Christ-honoring, Christ-imitating life.
- Emphasize Bible reading and memorization. A person will learn more by reading large chunks of Scripture than by doing anything else.
- Instruct on prayer. People need to understand that prayer is talking to God. Daily repentance needs to be in place, worship of the Savior, requests (especially for salvation in others), and thanksgiving are key traits.
- Teach doctrine (the Bible says that all Scripture is to be taught for the purpose of doctrinal instruction, correcting people, and encouraging to live righteously—II. Timothy 3:16). The primary categories are:
- Bibliology: We need to teach people as to why the Bible is our sole rule of truth and practice, emphasizing its inspiration, infallibility, and sufficiency for living.
- Theology Proper: “Theo” means God, and “ology” is the study of. Here we study God, His attributes, His righteousness and holiness, etc. Theology should be one of the most exciting things a Christian partakes in as it means we are learning more and more about our Great Lord!
- Christology: Studying the Second Person of the Trinity is essential to the Christian faith as biblical knowledge of Who Jesus is should be paramount to those of us who claim His name as our identity.
- Pneumatology: “Pneuma” means air or spirit (where we get such names as pneumatic tools in the secular world). The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity and has a role in convicting us, leading us to righteousness, securing our salvation, and providing us understanding of the Word.
- Angelology: Christians need to understand what angels are, that they are notto be prayed to or worshiped, and that someday we will rule over and judge them.
- Satanology: Simply, Satan is a real person, known to be the chief fallen angel, and major opponent to God and righteousness. His beginning, fall, schemes, and end should be studied.
- Demonology: Demons are real. What are they? Most believe they are the angels who fell with Satan, but more importantly we must know how the operate under Satan’s authority and how to use our Spiritual Armor against them.
- Soteriology: This is the study of salvation. A Christian must know what salvation is (the 5 Solas we’ve discussed), Who enacts it in a person’s life, and how the believer must respond. Furthermore, the exclusivity of the Gospel is in view here as Jesus is the only way to the Father.
- Hamartiology: Sin is a common theme from Genesis to Revelation. This is why redemption is the common emphasis of Scripture as Jesus came to save sinners. We must understand what the Bible teaches on this subject.
- Anthropology: Studying man helps us understand Adam and Eve’s fall, and ultimately mankind’s relationship to God which was ruined by sin and thus needing redemption. The goal is to emphasize a low view of man in contrast to a high view of God, and man’s inability to choose God or even be saved, thus his total dependence on God for life and salvation.
- Ecclesiology: Christ died for the church, and we must understand all aspects of church from its importance, its purpose, its unity in the Spirit, its Pastor (Jesus Christ), and its mission to the world.
- Eschatology: The study of end things is exciting, and many get too wrapped up in studying the end times. Yet, there is a need to know the future, to know how God will judge sin, and will bring the universe back into a sinless state. Revelation 1:3 even tells us we will receive a blessing for reading God’s last revealed prophecy in said Book.
- Demonstrate how to share one’s faith with the lost.
- Teach how to live righteously as the Christian must be authentic and not hypocritical.
- And, instruct on how to study one’s Bible so that the errors of improper interpretation are avoided (not only are we held accountable for how we handle God’s Word, but many devious cults have been formed by improper exegesis).
Book Suggestion: One of the best Baptist theologies out there is Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. In fact, I knew a lady once who had her children read it for their homeschool Bible education. It’s a worthy investment for anyone serious about learning more about God.
- Many people erroneously believe that theology and doctrine are not important. If God put so much emphasis on providing us 66 books written over 1,500 years on 3 different continents, and then tells us that we must learn and teach correct doctrine, then how is it people believe it is not important? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Look up the word “teach” in your concordance (or again, blueletterbible.org) and notate 3-4 passages that instruct us to teach others: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Look up the word “learn” in your concordance and notate 3-4 passages that instruct us to develop our knowledge of God: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- If you have time, read I. Timothy and II. Timothy this week and notate how many times Paul instructs Timothy to be learning, teaching, preaching the Word: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- If you had a new disciple who was recently saved, where would you go in your Bible to answer questions he might have on:
- Can I lose my salvation? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Where does it say in the Bible that white lies are wrong? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Does the Bible teach that there’s a Trinity? If so, where? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Why is pornography a sin? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- God is confusing. How is it He hates my sin enough that I have to go to Hell but loves me enough to save me from my sin and thus from Hell? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Why do good people go to Hell? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Why should I forgive someone who did evil against me? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Using a Bible Dictionary (you can find some at blueletterbible.orgunder the Study tab), write out a basic definition of a disciple (i.e. not a definition of the 12 Disciples, but as it would relate to us as Christians): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I Love to Teach the StoryHymn by J.B. Atchinson
1 I love to teach the story Of Jesus and his love;
Of free and full salvation That comes from God above;
I love to teach the story Of Jesus’ saving grace,
Of mercy, peace, and pardon For all who seek His face.
I’ll teach the old, old story,
The precious, precious story,
Of Jesus and his glory,
‘Till he shall call me home.
2 I love to teach the story—Oh, precious, sweet employ!
It fills my soul with glory, It fills my heart with joy;
And oh, how very precious This story seems to me,
When Jesus and his glory, By faith I clearly see.
3 Oh, precious, precious story! ‘Tis always just the same
Whenever I have taught i—The story, and the Name;
It always makes me happy, This story to repeat,
And every time I teach it, It seems to me more sweet.
4 I love to teach the story, How Jesus died for all;
How we may enter Heaven, And crown him Lord of all;
I love to teach the story, And shall until I die.
And then with saints and angels I’ll sing it up on high.