What is a Christian? A disciple of Jesus Christ.
What is a disciple of Jesus Christ? A Christian.
“A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice a practitioner, even if only a beginner” according to Dallas Willard. If you Google the word or look it up in the dictionary you will find similar definitions.
What does God’s word call us to be?
Yes a disciple. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” said the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 11:1.
More importantly what did Christ command us to do? He told us …”go and make disciples of all nations” Mathew 28:19.
With the above words in mind I was contemplating a quote today that has made me really wonder where I am and where we are as a church big C church in our world today. The quote that has me thinking is “the governing assumption today among professing Christians is that we can be “Christians” forever and never become disciples…That is the accepted teaching now...” Dallas Willard.
It is similar to a saying I have heard for years that we “accept” Christ’s teaching as an insurance policy out of hell and then just live like the rest of the world.” Where did we ever get that concept of being a Christian from? Have we made the scriptures say what we want them to say to be comfortable in our own laziness and selfishness? Is there any truth in our belief that all we have to do is say a prayer or walk an aisle, put a date in our bible, be baptized and then live our lives the way we want to until the day we die or Jesus comes for us and we will be just fine…safe in His arms?
The rest of Willard’s quote that has me seriously thinking states “Jesus told us explicitly what to do… he told us, as disciples, to make disciples. Not converts to Christianity nor to some particular “faith and practice.” He did not tell us to arrange people to “get in” or “make the cut” after they die, nor to eliminate the various brutal forms of injustice, not to produce and maintain “successful” churches. These are all good things, and he had something to say about all of them. They will certainly happen if-but only if- we are (his constant apprentices) and do (make constant apprentices) what He told us to be and do. If we do this, it will little matter what else we do or do not do.”
I love the use of the word apprentice. I think in our culture we may be able to understand this word better. Many of us have been apprentices in our jobs or during our schooling. We understand that apprentice means action, deliberate action. An apprentice is not a passive position. What does that mean then? If we are called to be an apprentice of Christ (and we are) does it just mean we study Him and fill ourselves with head knowledge? No, as an apprentice we must carry out the knowledge that is bestowed on us. We must be looking more like Christ, the one we are apprenticing under.
I want to be a Christian in the full truth of what the Lord teaches a Christian to be….His disciple!