The Greek term for discipleship is called μαθητής (mathētēs). It simply means a student, or a follower. Jesus set the following standard for His followers (read Luke 9:23-24).
To understand Discipleship, we must first understand the purpose why Jesus came to this earth. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, Luke 4:43. That is God’s rule in the heart of every believer manifested to the world in their words and actions.
The word Kingdom is made up of two words: king and domain. A kingdom is a country that has got its own laws, customs, culture and of course citizens. Every king demands full submission and commitment from their subjects. The Romans subdued the people of Israel by force; anyone that rebelled against Rome was punished by crucifixion. Yet Jesus as a King, though he demanded full submission from his followers, he did not force it on them. Everyone wilfully carry their cross by crucifying their earthly sinful desires (Galatians 5:24).
Discipleship therefore, is our naturalization process to become the Kingdom citizens and members of the royal family. In discipleship, Jesus was teaching his followers the culture, the laws, the custom and the way of life of His new country (Heaven). (Matthew 5:43-48; 18:21-22, 6:29). He wants his followers to do the same across all nations on earth (Mat.28).
Jesus pointed out that the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is what mankind is seeking for. There is a seeking in everyone (Matthew 6:33). Mankind lost their domain and dominion after the fall (Genesis 1:26, 3). All other creatures are still in their designated domain and they are functioning well, while only man was dislocated and has become dysfunctional. What man lost was God’s presence that would have brought him righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). The world has been and is looking in vain for righteousness, joy and peace in religion, political systems, money, sex, drug, alcohol addiction etc. Righteousness (sinlessness, guiltlessness, shamelessness) can only be acquired through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9) and it is the basis for our peace and joy.
The world could not have known the blessings and power of heaven if Jesus did not come to earth. His disciples (new citizens of His kingdom) saw and witnessed that life (1 John 1:1-3). The world will not know the Kingdom blessings and power unless it is demonstrated to them through total incarnation/identification by the disciples of Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:17-23). Often they want to taste and feel the kingdom blessings and power in his followers before they have an interest in the King (Jesus). The world also wants to prove the authenticity of the Kingdom citizens (to prove that they are heavenly ‘material) before they buy into the blessings of their kingdom and their King. This proving process often is perceived as persecution or rejection. Jesus’ sonship of God was tested on the cross (Luke 23:34).
If we live as kingdom citizens showing heavenly values & cultures, the lost people would easily encounter their Saviour (Matthew 5:43-48; John 15:8). Jesus wants us to be fruitful, so that our fruit could be ‘tasted’ by the lost world (John 15:1-15). We are God’s fruit farm so to say.Discipleship Spectrum: Religious ‘disciples’
– believers who are isolated from the world & fail to impact the world. The Drowning ‘Disciples’
– believers who are blended with the world. Kingdom Disciples
– believers are who live Kingdom culture & impact the world.Steps to becoming Kingdom Disciples:
1. Receive Jesus as your personal Saviour so that the Spirit of God will dwell in you.
2. Make a commitment to becoming a disciple of Christ – take water baptism, involve in a Life Group, and enrol in LifeTrax.
3. Commit today to engage with the world and make a difference. We can be in the world without being worldly; and also accepting sinners is not necessarily approving their sins.Discussion Questions
1. How do you understand the demand of Jesus on discipleship in Luke 9:23-24?
2. Discuss the values, cultures, laws or customs that Jesus thought his disciples (Matthew 5-6) to naturalize them as Kingdom citizens.
3. Describe your discipleship journey here in CityLife Church? (eg. water baptised, LIFETRAX, etc).
4. What ‘next step’ do you plan to take in your discipleship journey as a follower of Christ?