December 12, 2017

Discipleship

Discipleship

Posted in Theologically Speaking

The inescapable conclusion we draw from the gospels is that Jesus’ call to discipleship is a call to a total rethink. Everything is affected: relationships, values, attitudes, motivations, priorities, goals, activities, decisions –you name it. The disciple’s entire life past, present and future, is to be given over to Jesus Christ!

Following Jesus is not an “add-on”, it is a total remake. It is not only a call to personal change, but a call to be a change-agent, for Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:l9)  Because of this the call to discipleship presents both a wonderful opportunity and a daunting challenge. On the one hand it offers a new life, a new beginning “I have come that (you) might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:l0). On the other it demands death “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone” (John 12:24-25). At one mornent Jesus says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), and at another He says, “If anyone will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me (Luke 9:23). It will be tough. There will be times of real discomfort. We will find some in the world around us reacting strongly to us. Jesus says. “If they persecuted Me they will persecute you also” (John l5:20). To some we will be the smell of death”, to others, “the fragrance of life” (II Corinthians 2: 16).  Being a true disciple of Jesus is to be ready for this.

(Lynton Brocklehurst, exerpts from “True Discipleship”, People to People– the Navigator Vision in Focus, Spring 1996, Vo1 4, No 3. The Navigators, PO Box 1951, Christchurch.)

My wife Barbara & I were discipled in Christchurch by the Navigators just after we became Christians. There were a good number of single people: students, nurses,businessmen. We were, for all intents and purposes, fanatics. We had a good 1/2 hour or more quiet time every morning, constantly memorized new passages of Scripture, attended Christian conferences all the time, spent hours in preparation time for our weekly Bible study meetings, wrote out and practised our conversion testimonies so that we could dump it on some unsuspecting unbeliever in three minutes flat, learned to share the gospel from several angles using several sets of salvation verses (all memorized), spent our spare time in thinking up ways to initiate conversations on spiritual topics or engineer conversations so they would go that way, and regularly patrolled Hagley Park or Cathedral Square or New Brighton beach for lonely looking souls to whom we would “witness”. We flatted together in order to discipline one another more effectively and keep the skills sharp. By the way, I do not mean mixed-flatting. Such a thing was only for sinners in those days. (I’m talking mid-1970s. These days the Navigator reps in university towns get phone calls from mums wanting them to organise mixed flats for their student daughters since that would be a more safe situation than an all-girl flat which would be far too easy a target. Have times changed or what? Maybe only standards have changed.)

Anyway, I digress. Fired with the vision of II Timothy 2:2, we became faithful disciples of Christ and looked for other faithful people into whom we could pour our lives as instructed in Isaiah 58:l0-12 (this passage is well worth a read and some good meditation time). The Navigators told us and we constantly reminded each other that if we trained up faithful disciples of Christ and then all went out, with these new disciples, and did the same next year, and all the same again next year, and so on, the entire population of the world, nearly six billion people, would be Christian disciples in a mere 35 years …. we’d all see the day with our own earthly eyes!!! Now, come on all you raving evangelicals out there, doesn’t that kind of vision just make you drool? Of course it does ….. me too. But the Navigators have been around for well over 35 years already …. more like 50. So how come they haven’t already discipled the whole world yet?

Faithfulness. It is a rare commodity. The II Timothy 2:2 principle requires faithful men and faithful women. Otherwise you cannot make disciples, for disciples have to be disciplined people, and disciplined people have to be faithful in practising the disciplines or else the “disciplines” are simply interesting Christian things they do now and again.

Take Queen Elizabeth II. She is a really good monarch. She personally NEVER puts a foot or a word out of place. She is incredibly faithful to her calling. She was groomed for that calling. No public schooling for her, no sir. She was tutored by the best with the constant objective before her of one day becoming Queen of the entire British Empire. None of her children were so tutored, but were all schooled …. in the best schools around, too. Look what it has done for them.

We Christian home schoolers have an unequalled opportunity to totally groom our children to be Ambassadors for Christ, official representatives on earth of the One and Only Almighty Sovereign of the entire Universe, the Lawmaker and Judge to Whom each and every one shall one day give account. With this objective in mind, I think we can afford to be one-eyed about things: in fact, woe to us if we are not. The vision and the disciplines need first of all to be in US, brothers and sisters. For if not, they will never, apart from God’s intervention, be found in our children.

From Keystone Magazine
March 1997 , Vol. III No.2
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig
@hef.org.nz

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