Initially, new believers are discipled by a more mature believer. However, during Christian life the new believer introduces others to Christ. This makes them a discipler of others while still being discipled themselves. This is excellent!
The wonderful thing about God’s design for discipleship is that at every stage, and at every level of spiritual maturity, all disciples are to be somewhere in the process of being taught the truths of Christ while teaching those truths to others. Jesus gave clear and achievable goals for the mission of discipleship when He said, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… (Matthew 28:20).
Discipleship, which is teaching others to be followers of Christ, requires instruction. People do not put obedient faith in Jesus without being taught the gospel (Rom 10:14-15). New believers do not grow to maturity without being taught the doctrines and disciplines of Christlike living and how to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Matthew 28:16-20 tells of Jesus’ 11 remaining disciples, who had learned much in their 3 years with Him. But, as Jesus returned to glory, they had to become teachers on Jesus’ behalf. They were to be dependent upon the Lord and the soon to arrive Holy Spirit for every resource needed for effective discipleship. Jesus assured them that when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth… he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-14).
- The students of Jesus’ 11 disciples would be the people they taught the gospel to, and they would teach these students everything that Jesus had taught them over the previous 3 years.
- They were to teach Jew, Gentile, and all ethnic groupings equally; saved and unsaved, religious, and irreligious people alike. They were to pass on everything they had received from Jesus, even the things they did not fully understand themselves.
- They were to teach from the Old Testament as Jesus did and explain the parables as Jesus did. There was to be no subject overlooked or ignored.
- They were to be permanent students, always learning how to better teach others on Jesus’ behalf. Always growing in their understanding of the Scriptures and how to explain God’s Word more clearly so others could understand and obey better.
- This would require faith, determination, unity, a willingness to share resources, and a willingness to help each other as they worked together for Jesus.
- They were to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament Scriptures (2Pe 1:22), followers of Jesus had greater access to the mind of God the Holy Spirit through His written Word.
- And finally, they were to teach their students to go and sacrificially do the same, making disciples on Jesus’ behalf many times during their lifetime.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence… (2 Peter 1:3). For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).