The Great Commission provides the basics of what constitutes being a disciple.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
A disciple must be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This means that they have heard the gospel and responded to it with repentance and faith. Jesus made this very clear.
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
A disciple is also one who is learning and observing all that God has commanded. This is very important to understand. A true Christian (disciple) will have a desire to learn and practice God’s word. The same grace that brings salvation to a sinner also brings sanctification.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no difference between a person who claims to be a Christian and one who claims to be a disciple. They are one and the same. The following text describes how a true Christian (disciple) will live.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
The evidence of true conversion is a desire to learn and obey God’s word. This is not an oppressive obedience. Rather it is the delight of the disciple’s heart.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
In the coming weeks we will consider how Jesus equipped His disciples. This will help us understand what a true discipleship relationship looks like.