Just what do you mean Discipleship??
Let us start by sharing what discipleship is not.
1John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen
I was in a church one Sunday and just happened to have my study bible open to 1st John, chapter 5. I glanced down at verse 21 and the Holy Spirit began to give me a Teaching of what this means to us today. The church that I was attending at the time was following closely a Teacher from another area and reproducing his teachings themselves on cassette and in printed form and of course sermons and pretty much functioning by his guidelines. Can you begin to see the problem already? Now this Teacher's material was, and is very good in and of itself. But, let me share what I discovered by doing a word study on the word translated idol. An idol is reflected light as opposed to the source.
Scripture says that the Light of God has never been kindled and can never be quenched. That contrasts with the light of man which had to be kindled and can be quenched, (Hebrew lexicon).
We are to seek the Radiance not the reflection. Let me further illustrate. I just read an article in a newsletter that is from a church that was founded over a hundred years ago. Their founder had some light and wrote a number of books, including a bible dictionary. A teaching was given referring back to this dictionary as the source for several definitions of what some words meant. Now this founder's word studies are not necessarily based on scholarship, you basically take his word, his light, that these are the true meanings of the words. Do you see how generations of his followers are getting their light from his source. I assure you that he is not 100% accurate in his conclusions. They are building on another man's foundation. And if the foundation be faulty, the whole building will be off course.
One last illustration. I also received a letter from a very renowned minister. It was written on the subject of giving, listing numerous Scriptures and asking me to give to his ministry as a means of me worshipping God through my giving and he said it would bring the "blessings of heaven" into my life that are promised to me. No mention about hearing God and following His voice and coming into a closer relationship with His Son. He simply offered me the inheritance without the Son. Now, this minister is a precious man of God. I am not referring to the fact that he did not offer Christ to me as Saviour. He had me on his mailing list as a believer. And I acknowledge that giving is a principle of spiritual life, however, it is IDOLOTRY if it becomes emphasized to exclusion of seeking God first and His righteousness being establihsed in our life, as it was in this letter. Kingdom-seeking, establishment in righteosuness, and then all these (blessings) begin to be added.
After years of bible study, especially the requirements of discipleship, the only thing I see that God wants us to give first is our self. The laying down of our self-life and the daily taking up of OUR cross and following Him. He said, you are clean through the Word I have spoken to YOU, John 15:3. He might speak to me about my need to give because that is an area of my life that needs dealing with, and never emphasize that to you. He will be putting His finger on areas of our lives that require His dealings for He is the knower of hearts. And when the heart is right, all else will be right, including finances.
We are not speaking here of the tithe, the tithe is your requirement to God as firstfruits of the increase He has increased you with. The tithe is also your acknowledgment that He is the Lord of the harvest. And when we tithe, we acknowledge that it is God that gives the increase and that we did not create any wealth by the power of our own hands.
No, what we are speaking of is relying on other folks' light to the exclusion of searching out Scripture for your self and reading your bible in context. Rather than just blindly following someone. Pray:
Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto YOU the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Phi 1:9 And this also pray, that your love may yet abound more and more in full knowledge and all perception,
Phi 1:10 for you to distinguish the THINGS THAT DIFFER, that you may be sincere and without blame for the day of Christ,
Phi 1:11 being filled with fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
My point is, you can know Christ personally. In fact knowing God, and Jesus Christ intimately, is ETERNAL LIFE, John 17:3.
Discipleship is the discipline to continue on His Word and to apply the Scripture(s) in your life, family, and business until the Word of God becomes flesh in your experience. Jesus Said, "IF you CONTINUE in My word, you will be my disciples indeed, you will know (intimately) the Truth and the Truth (then) will make you free."
In Hebrew culuture, when the word "hear" was used in relation to God, the Jews understood that it had the connotation of obey. God's complaint all through the Old Testament was that they did not OBEY Him. They igonored His word and went their own way.
Please pause just a moment and ask your self a question that, in my opinion, is vital to you: Does the Era of grace make it OK to go your own way, ignore the word of God concerning the areas of your life such as, family, finances, business, etc?? We say that we believe, however, are we obeying His Voice, His Word. Do we even know our way around the Scriptures well enough to have a relationship to His Word? We know sports by heart! The players, the coaches, etc. We know movies, television, and our favorite passtimes very well. Intimately, in fact!
Do we know God, and the Son He sent to us? Are we operating in the realm of the soul, our own life? Then we will surely LOSE our life: Mat 16:25 For whoever may desire to save his life will lose it. But whoever may lose his life for My sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will a man be benefited if he should gain the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give as an exchange for his soul?
Eph 2:10 for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them.
Pray that God would reveal those good works that He has foreordained that you should walk in. All else will be dead works. Selah.
More to come.