What Is A Disciple?
At Ecclesia, we are not simply interested in drawing a crowd. We want to invite people into a lifelong, deep, transformative apprenticeship to Jesus. Our primary metric of success is not numbers of people coming to gatherings, but the amount of people who are living out of the deep well of relationship with Jesus, finding freedom and purpose. So if we are going to talk about being primarily interested in helping people to become disciples of Jesus, it would seem that it would be helpful for us to have a working framework of what it means to be a disciple.
What is a disciple?
A disciple is a lifelong apprentice to Jesus.
1.A disciple has heard the call of Jesus
Matthew 4v19: Follow me, and I will make you fish for people
The call of God is a call of grace. He has bestowed this grace upon the entire world (John 12v32) and as we respond to his call (repent and be baptized: Acts 2v38), we reorient our entire lives around his kingdom. John and Peter were fishermen prior to meeting Jesus. At the call of Jesus, they put down their nets to follow him. But the call is not just for them to follow Jesus, Jesus will shape them through his love, power, and example to fish for others.
2. A disciple loves Jesus
John 21v15: When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
Discipleship is the daily immersion in the love of God, received into our lives and then overflowing out of it. All of our work is grounded in the love of Christ. In John 21, Peter receives nourishment from Jesus and Jesus urges him to feed those whom he will lead. First we receive, then we give. Our giving back to God and to others is an expression of our love for God. (1 John 3v14, 16; 1 John 4v21).
3. A disciple obeys Jesus
John 10v4b: the sheep follow him because they know his voice
John 14v15: If you love me you will obey my commandments
Obedience is first recognition. The same voice that calls us by name to be fishers of people is the voice that leads us on. Therefore our first response to the grace and love of God is to be trained to hear the voice and to be people shaped by the ways that God speaks. The three primary ways that God speaks to us, all working in tandem, are prayer, Scripture, and the church.