What is a Disciple?

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“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as you read this article. May He give us understanding.”

 In the Gospels it is recorded about 20 times that Jesus says “Follow Me”. This is His invitation to become one of His Disciples.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells His Disciples to “make disciples.” Disciples are what Christ wants.

In Acts 14:21-22 it is recorded that Paul made “many disciples” when he was in the city of Derbe. Paul told those disciples, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Modern preaching does not place much emphasis on difficulty; Biblical preaching does.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:  

  • Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Life is difficult with or without Christ because we live in a fallen world (Matthew 7:24-27). However, if we will choose to “Follow Christ,” He will show us the path of life and unfold to us the mysteries of the Kingdom of God as we go through the difficulties life will throw at us. We will discover the abundant life (John 10:10).

There are three classes of people attracted to Christ in the New Testament:

  1. The Masses: interested but non-committal; amusement seekers; wanting whatever Jesus is giving away; go along with the crowd; easily swayed; indecisive. From “Hosanna in the Highest” one week to “Crucify Him” the next week. (These are fans of Jesus, but not followers.)

  2. Believers: Christ has their attention. They believe He is who He says He is. They receive Him as Savior, but are not committed to Him as LORD. They want Jesus along for the ride. (These too are fans of Jesus, but not yet committed followers.)

  3. Disciples: A learner; one who seeks to understand; a true follower of Jesus; a believer who presses into relationship with the Father and the Son. Christ is LORD of their life. See Philippians 3:8, 10, 12, 14. (Paul is a disciple who pressed into knowing Christ.)

Disciples “press in” to know Christ and the Kingdom!

  • Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.

To “press in” to the Kingdom of God means a person wants it more than anything else. He/she sees the high value of it and will give up all to have it.

Six times in the New Testament Jesus clearly uses the phrase, “My Disciple”.

  1. Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (The word “hate” means to love less; to preference one over the other)

  2. Luke 14:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

  3. Luke 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

  4. John 8:31 ..., "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

  5. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

  6. John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

So, what is a Disciple?

1.      A person who has answered the call of God:

  • 2 Timothy 1:9 (God) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, …..

  • Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, …..

  • Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

  • Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

    • The call of God is an invitation:

      • To make Christ Lord of their life

      • To enter the Kingdom of God (be born again to “see” and “enter” the Kingdom of God – John 3:3-5).

      • To become a disciple and to make disciples

2.    A person who commits to knowing Christ.

  • Example of Paul pressing in. (Philippians 3: 8, 10, 12, 14)

  • Conforms to Christ. (Romans 8:28-29)

3.    A person who gives himself away

  • dies to self – Luke 9:23-24

  • serves others – Matthew 20:28

4.    A person who has been empowered: Matthew 28:19-20

  • immerse them in all three – Father, Son, Holy Spirit

  • teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you

It is disciples who change the world! (Acts 17:6)

The Bonus Disciples receive: The mysteries of the Kingdom of God are given to disciples. (See Matthew 13:10-12 and 16.)

The Masses miss the reason for the Christ.

Believers accept Christ and get to go to Heaven, but miss their purpose for being on earth.

Disciples are light in a dark world, change the world in which they live, make this world a better place and will hear the Master say, “Well done!”

The Parable of the Soils (Matthew 13:3-9) expresses all three classes of followers of Christ.

  1. The wayside soil is the Masses

  2. The stony place is Believers with little depth.

  3. The thorny ground is Believers who are more world conscious than Jesus conscious.

  4. The good soil is Disciples who bear fruit.

In Christ is everything we need!

  • Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

  • Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (10) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Disciples are committed to a strong personal relationship with Christ. Disciples live according to Christ’s teachings (Luke 6:46, Matthew 28:20). Disciples know the Father. Disciples are led by the Holy Spirit. Disciples trust God (Psalm 34:8). Disciples discover the true meaning of life. Disciples persevere. Disciples change the world!


For Coaches of the Significant Life: One of our objectives as a significant life coach is to help our coachee to understand what a Disciple is. A Disciple is a committed follower of Christ. The Apostle Paul and the twelve Jesus chose (except for Judas) were committed followers of Christ. They changed the world. We can do it again! But it will take people who understand the cost of discipleship to do it.

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