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What is discipleship?

A disciple is the biblical word for a Christian. The people who believe in and follow Jesus were called disciples in the New Testament. The word Christian actually appears only 3 times throughout the Bible, while the word disciple appears over 270 times. In the Bible, in other words, a Christian is the same as a disciple.


It was most likely not until several decades after Jesus' death that the disciples were first called Christians. More precisely, it happens in Antioch, as described in Acts 11:26

"it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians".

Discipleship is thus about how to live life as a disciple of Jesus. Another word for disciple is one who follows Jesus or one who is taught by him. That is, people who are on a journey in life which is about understanding God through Jesus and living his life as an apprentice and follower of him.

Discipleship was - and is - controversial

Jesus said many things in the Bible about what he expects from people who want to follow him and be his disciples. Many of these things were very controversial in his day - and they still are today. Here are a few excerpts:

" And if any man would follow after me, he said, If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and daily take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life, life because of me will save it ” (Luke 9: 23-24).

"He who does not bear his cross and walk in my footsteps cannot be my disciple" Luke 14:23

Jesus is very clear in his saliva when he says that his disciples should not only believe in him, but also remain in / hold on to and obey his words:


" Jesus now said to the Jews who had come to believe on him, 'If you abide in my word, you are indeed my disciples, and you will learn the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8: 8). 31-32).


The disciple John says the same thing with these words:

" He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him: but he that abideth in his word, in him is the love of God perfected." "that we are in him. He who says he remains in him also owes himself to live as he lived." (1 John 2: 4-6)

Not in our own power, but only in his spirit

It is therefore clear from the Bible that Christians are the people who follow Jesus, obey him and build their lives on his life and teachings. But fortunately, Jesus also talks a lot about grace and forgiveness, about direction, guidance, strength and power from him. So we can understand that even though the bar is set high for discipleship, the patience and grace is just as great, for us who do our best to follow him. Moreover, we are not alone, and Jesus has promised us a lot of help, support, power, guidance and strength - to those who follow him. " For men it is impossible but not for God, for all things are possible with God" (Mark 10:27).

"Not by power, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts!" (Zechariah 4: 6).





The discipleship process

In the house church project, we teach what we call the discipleship process, which is an attempt to help people around us to live as Jesus' disciples. Based on the Gospels, we learn some principles of how Jesus took a bunch of ordinary men, and made them his disciples. After being with these first 12 disciples for 3 years, he commanded them to go out and make disciples of all the people, and teach them to obey everything they themselves had learned from Jesus. This commandment, also known as the mission commandment, also applies today to anyone who wants to follow Jesus. He said to them:

" All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world .

Read more about the discipleship process here

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