Leslie Lyons 06.06.2019
Are You a Disciple of Jesus Christ? Characteristics of New Emerging Church Members
“Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20 MKJV)
Our Lord commanded us to “make disciples”. What is a disciple? It is obviously one who learns about and follows the Lord. If a person does not care to follow nor care to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ then they cannot be “disciples”.
But the spiritual meaning of the word “disciple” is deeper and more beautiful than the natural meaning of one who learns and follows the Lord.
Jesus said in verse 20, “and teaching them (“disciples“) to obey all that I have commanded you“. So the disciple is taught to obey all the commandments. And all the commandments are found in the Ten Commandments or what is also called the “Decalogue”, which was written back in the Old Testament.
Jesus shed more light on the teaching of the Ten Commandments while He was in the earth;
“And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 AMPC) (Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5)
So we can plainly see from the teaching of Jesus to the religious leaders of that day, the highest and the most esteemed value of heaven is LOVE. For God is LOVE.
“He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love” (1 John 4:8 AMPC)
Children of God are images of God, and that created image is LOVE
So if I may paraphrase and give a simple meaning to the word “disciple” it means one who LOVES because the Father LOVES and He commanded the disciples to do the same.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]” (1 John 4:7 AMPC)
The “disciple” in the highest spiritual sense is one who LOVES the Lord.
If the disciple LOVES the Lord, in return the Lord LOVES them. This returned LOVE produces FAITH in the disciple
“But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. (1 Corinthians 8:3 AMPC)
Then, the “disciple” is able to learn and follow the Lord. So spiritually everything flows from the top and flows into the lowest places to be filled. The “disciple” starts at this low place to learn from and to follow the Lord. The “disciple” continues to learn and follow on and into eternity. It is a perpetual experience that never ends. Because LOVE is without end, it is limitless.
So the “disciple” is more than someone who memorizes, learns and attempts to follow the Ten Commandments
The disciple has to learn that they can do nothing in their own power and strength.
“Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:4-6 AMPC)
A true “disciple” knows the Masters’ voice, abides in Him and bears much fruit in the name of LOVE
Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God. (1 John 4:15 AMPC)
This, in turn, is what makes them “disciples”. Because their Lord dwells within them they are able to see the Lord wants the best for and that He LOVES everyone equally
“And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete]. And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way]. [So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents]” (1 John 1:4-6 AMPC)
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near. (Revelation 1:3 AMPC)