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Effective Discipleship

Bible Study by Deacon Wise

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) The Great Commission

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This scripture is a direct command from Christ himself! If we’re not doing this scripture, we need to re-evaluate what we are doing with the time He gives us each day!

Each one of us should be picking up our corner to fulfill this commission.

Many Christians drop the ball on this commission is because there is no one to lead and there is an extreme lack of real disciples in the church; that is, people whose lives are surrendered to Christ and out of gratitude to Him are modeling and teaching Biblical precepts to others. If we’re not making disciples, the lost is getting picked like low hanging fruit! Even the Apostle Paul spent three years being discipled by Barnabas, and he received his call and was empowered directly from Christ Himself!

Then secondly, he says, we need to be humble, not only toward one another, but toward God. This is so straightforward. This is so essential to be a blessed church, to be a growing church, not in numbers, but in discipleship!

Making disciples takes vision and the understanding of scripture. It gives the church a purpose to forms leaders who grow other leaders in an outgrowth of their growth. The Christian, especially the leader, who disciples and equips others is a person who is living the faith for themselves and setting goals for their personal growth before they set goals for others. Their skills and abilities are growing them to be a better worker because first, they are striving to be a better child of God.

From the character of Christ would come the conduct of Christ if we chose to follow Him. Then, those values of our daily walk, which drive our behaviors, will, in turn, influence others. You cannot lead where you have not been, or where you do not know the direction to go. Therefore, discipleship is so essential to the aspect of being a Christian. We are called, not to just visualize discipleship, but to do it; not to just talk about it, but to do it. One cannot just think about dinner and satisfy hunger; the meal must be prepared, then eaten! The effective church will take scripture and the call of our Lord seriously, and then implement it into functioning!

Jesus' purpose for His three years of earthly ministry was the discipleship and equipping of the twelve disciples. This was His drive and where most of His time was spent. He was focused on the teaching of the kingdom of God, teaching men to see beyond their present situation to the life to come. With His teaching, Jesus entrusted His church and people to the care of the people He taught. They were to replicate themselves to others. The objective was that every believer was an equipper, every member a minister, every Christian involved in the life and gifts of the body to influence the world.

The word must touch who we are and transform the very core of our being. This is the knowledge that leads and transforms. One cannot lead where he does not know the way, and to know the way you must have knowledge. Knowledge comes from experience, and experience comes from discipleship. The will of God is for us to study His Word, which will change our behaviors. A Christian and especially a leader in the church must have the knowledge and experience to put into practice the work that needs to be done. The disciple will be studious so that the Word nourishes him. He must study and apply the scriptures, not just read it occasionally like a novel. The Word must touch who we are and transform the very core of our being. This is the knowledge that leads and transforms.

Q: After doing a personal inventory of myself about my faith, have I truly become His disciple or am I just wearing the uniform?

Q: Do I love Him wholeheartedly? Then what is the obstacle to obeying Him?

Q: Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of a sin or a bad attitude that I need to confess and submit to Christ?

So, what are we to do?

God does not ask us to seek converts, He simply asks us to do discipleship. Discipleship is modeling and teaching Christians the precepts of the Bible-mainly prayer, doctrine, Christian living, and worship. Yes, we are still to evangelize, but that is not our main mission and call! When we evangelize, we must realize that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring people into an intimate relationship with God. This is an act of divine intervention and grace. He uses us as the tools, but He is the means! We are to care and share with others His love and character. We obey and reach, but we cannot lead people anywhere. He is the One who leads!

This leads us to our role, which is to model to the convert Christ-like character, encouraging others to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20-21). However, this is only the beginning! Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Surrender is the process in which we grow toward Him and His will and away from our Will. Surrender is making Christ Lord of all our life. We must get rid of our perceptions, reckless ideas, faulty thinking, and other such things that are barriers to our growth, so we can make room for Him. Jesus authors our faith and teaches us how to run the race according to God's will, His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King, as our Love, and our reason for being. In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment.

What is a Disciple?

A Disciple is one who models Christ-like behaviors and the precepts of the Bible, prayer, doctrine, relationship, Christian living, service, and worship.

· A disciple is willing to grow in Christ! 2 Peter 1:5-7

· Discipling is not an option--it is a command!

· A disciple has surrendered himself to His Lordship! Romans 8:28-32, 12; Galatians 2:20-21; Philippians 3:1-10; 1 Peter 4:2

· Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 2:2 all tell us that it is a lifestyle that moves us deeper into prayer and into worshipping Christ!

· A disciple makes good decisions and is focused on God's will!

· A disciple is honest with God and others! 1 John 1:9

· A disciple knows his abilities, gifts, and talents! Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4:10

· A disciple is willing to submit to Authority! 1 Peter 2:13-15

· A disciple is infused with humility! Psalm 149:4; Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 18:4; Ephesians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:12-14; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10

· A disciple will not be critical or have a bad attitude! Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Ephesians 4:29-32

· A disciple is not greedy! Luke 12:15; Romans 12:14-15

· A disciple is willing to wait on God's timing! (Saul versus David)

· A disciple is a listener! (James)

· A disciple confesses sin and repents from it! Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Q: Do I have a good understanding of God's calling, and am I obediently pursuing it?

Q: Who is really in charge of my decisions, me, or the Lord?

Q: Do I constantly remind myself what I am living for, a future hope in eternity?

Q: Am I willing to do whatever it takes to become more like Jesus?

Q: Set goals for me, as it is better to prepare than to repair! St. Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

To reach the goal set before you, there are three P's you need to seek and pray about:

1. Preparation--never go off and do what you are not led and equipped to do!

2. Process--following a strategic plan from His precepts!

3. People--encircle yourself with good God-fearing Christians to help you see possibilities and directions!)

Q: Is my family in good shape?

Q: Have I discovered my spiritual gifts and then prioritized my ministry to complement them?

Q: Do I have prayer partners to provide essential support?

Q: Am I afraid of failure? (If so, remember that God understands the difficulties, and it is OK to fail if you tried and were obedient! Remember, Jeremiah was a big failure in the eyes of his county and world, but a great man of obedience in God's eyes!)

As we walk the Christian life, we must be careful that in our strategies and struggles, we do not lose sight of God and His purpose. We typically try to come up with some type of short cut for success. However, in Him, there are no shortcuts. Maturity and discipleship are lifelong pursuits, and we are to always be growing and bettering ourselves through the Word, prayer, spiritual disciplines, and our Godly relationships.

Take this to heart: Jesus never asked anyone to do anything without enabling them with the power to do it. Let this be your encouraging motive!

About the Author

Ron is the CFO of Wise Choice Ministries Inc., which he founded with his wife Shana in 2016. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2014 under Bishop Izell Kirkpatrick. Ron worked in the medical field for 10 years for the State of Michigan until 2011 when he sustained a spinal cord injury that left him disabled. His book, From Tragedy to Triumph, was written by Ron to share his life-changing experience after his car accident. He is married to Shana Wise and they have four children, Chris, DeVon, Imani, and Justin. You can find Ron Wise on Facebook and Instagram. You can purchase his book From Tragedy to Triumph at

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