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Discipleship mandate

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Introduction

a scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist (Matt. 9:14), and of the Pharisees (22:16), but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69).

I. Old testament Scripture

A.Family discipleship

(NASB95)
6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

on your heart Israelites must take them to heart—commit them to memory and make them an integral part of their life.

6:8–9 Not only must the people of Israel memorize and rehearse Yahweh’s commands in order to internalize them, they must also wear them on the body (compare Exod 13:9, 16) and attach the words to their homes. The Israelites practiced these commands by placing written commandments in leather pouches (tefillin or “phylacteries”; compare Matt 23:5) and then literally binding them on their arms and forehead with leather straps. The command to put the laws of Yahweh on doorposts (mezuzoth in Hebrew; Deut 6:9) likewise resulted in the Jewish practice of writing passages of Scripture on a small piece of parchment that was rolled and inserted in a case affixed to the doors, lintels, and doorposts of private houses. The verses written on those small parchments typically included this passage (vv. 4–9) and 11:13–21.

6:7 teach them diligently to your sons. The commandments were to be the subject of conversation, both inside and outside the home, from the beginning of the day to its end.

As Christians, therefore, we want to take advantage of every opportunity to shape our cultural activities toward Christ. If the Christian community neglects the cultural aspect of its mission, in effect it is saying, “To hell with culture!” But we cannot do this. Every cultural activity is an opportunity to practice discipleship, to employ words and deeds in Christ’s service, to orient our lives toward Christ.

1 Now the LORD said to Abram,

“Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father’s house,

To the land which I will show you;

2 And I will make you a great nation,

And I will bless you,

And make your name great;

And so cyou shall be a blessing;

3 And I will bless those who bless you,

And the one who curses you I will curse.

And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed

Go out from your land Abram is living in Haran in northwestern Mesopotamia. Yahweh’s command that Abram go is followed by three details: Abram is to leave his country or land, his birthplace or homeland, and his father’s household. The list increases in intimacy and importance.

Disciple ship requires something
While the word, “discipleship,” is not found in the Old Testament, the concept is embedded from the very beginning. God’s people were to pass on a legacy of faith to the following generations.

B. One on one Discipleship

11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

15 Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying,

16 “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,

17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;

19 and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight.

20 “You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him.

21 “Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

22 Moses did just as the LORD commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation.

23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

1. Moses and Joshua – ; ; ;

15 Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying,

16 “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,

17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;

19 and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight.

20 “You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him.

21 “Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”

22 Moses did just as the LORD commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation.

23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.

10 Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

11 for all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land,

12 and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

The Bo

Marriner, Following the Lamb, 28–29.
Take the time to recognize people of character who are ready to take more responsibility. Moses was selective about who he would groom to share the responsibility as judge over the people with him. He didn’t necessarily choose the most charismatic or most educated, but looked for men who had a relationship with the Lord and were trustworthy and honorable. It was this group that Moses poured himself and the Lord’s Word into.
Take the time to equip people before you give them responsibility. Moses made sure he taught those who were going to serve with him. This would have included the general instruction they received with the rest of the Israelites , as well as how to perform their duties as judges over the people, knowing what cases they could handle and which would need to be brought to Moses . The men selected would be responsible for administering God’s Word in the cases brought before them. In order for them to do this they would both have to know God’s Word and be able to apply it to any given situation.
Let those you have equipped serve. Some leaders and disciple makers make the mistake of equipping others, but never given them an opportunity to serve or disciple others. Certainly, if someone is not ready, they should not be given greater responsibility. However, if they are ready, if they have been fully trained for a role and have shown the competence to fulfill that role, then they should be released to function in that role. Remember, those who are trained are to “share” the load with you, not to observe from the sidelines

2. Elijah and Elisha – ; ; :

The Lexham Bible Dictionary Comparison to Old Testament Call Stories

Comparison to Old Testament Call Stories

Bultmann suggests that the Gospels’ call stories are “biographical apophthegms”—stories or anecdotes about certain figures (Bultmann, Synoptic Tradition, 28–29). He compares them to the call of Elisha in 1 Kgs 19:19–21 (see Robbins, “Mark 1:14–20,” 222–30). In 1 Kings, Elijah casts his cloak upon Elisha, inviting Elisha to follow him. In the Gospels, Jesus calls the disciples to follow Him and obey. However, the stories differ in significant ways. For example, while Elijah permits Elisha to bid his parents farewell, Jesus does not (compare Luke 9:59–62). And though Elijah appoints Elisha as his successor based on God’s instruction (compare 1 Kgs 19:16), Jesus appoints as His disciples those “whom He desired” (compare Mark 3:13; Robbins, “Mark 1:14–20,” 230).

16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

17 “It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death.

18 “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.

20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”

21 So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and ministered to him

Elijah … cast his mantle upon him—This was an investiture with the prophetic office. It is in this way that the Brahmins, the Persian Sufis, and other priestly or sacred characters in the East are appointed—a mantle being, by some eminent priest, thrown across their shoulders. Elisha had probably been educated in the schools of the prophets.

Elijah anoints Elisha symbolically by casting his cloak upon him (1 Kings 19:19).

twelve pairs of oxen A large team that symbolizes wealth, representing what Elisha would have to give up to follow Elijah.

19:20 Go back again. Elijah instructed Elisha to go, but to keep in mind the solemn call of God and not to allow any earthly affection to detain his obedience.

19:21 sacrificed. The slaughter of the oxen was a farewell feast for family and friends, indicating that Elisha was making a decisive break. He followed Elijah and became his servant (lit. “aide,” the same term used for Joshua’s relationship with Moses in Ex 24:13; 33:11). Just as Elijah resembled Moses, so Elisha resembled Joshua

2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”

4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.

5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.”

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.

7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.

8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”

11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

16 They said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.”

Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee—trusting either that it would be in his power to bequeath it, or that God, at his entreaty, would grant it.

let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me—This request was not, as is commonly supposed, for the power of working miracles exceeding the magnitude and number of his master’s, nor does it mean a higher endowment of the prophetic spirit; for Elisha was neither superior to, nor perhaps equally great with, his predecessor. But the phrase, “a double portion,” was applied to the first-born [De 21:17], and therefore Elisha’s request was, simply, to be heir to the prophetic office and gifts of his master.

The Hebrew phrase used here, pi shenayim (literally rendered “according to two shares”), echoes the legal terminology of Deut 21:17, according to which the firstborn was to receive a double share (pi shenayim) of the inheritance. Elisha desires for his spiritual inheritance to be like that of a firstborn son—double in share in comparison to Elijah’s other spiritual children, such as other prophets (compare John 14:12–14).

of your spirit As with Moses, the spirit of Elijah is transferrable to others (Num 11:16–17, 24–26). The office of head prophet is transferred from Elijah to Elisha—just as the office of commander of Israel is transferred from Moses to Joshua. This includes the transferring of the Spirit of Yahweh, which was at work in Elijah, to Elisha. Yahweh was the one who originally made this decision (1 Kgs 19:16).

II.New Testament Scripture

A. The call

19 “aGo therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The MISSIONARY department (Mt 28:18): “Go, make disciples of all nations.” In the corresponding passage of Mark (Mk 16:15) it is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The only difference is, that in this passage the sphere, in its world-wide compass and its universality of objects, is more fully and definitely expressed; while in the former the great aim and certain result is delightfully expressed in the command to “make disciples of all nations.” “Go, conquer the world for Me; carry the glad tidings into all lands and to every ear, and deem not this work at an end till all nations shall have embraced the Gospel and enrolled themselves My disciples.” Now, Was all this meant to be done by the Eleven men nearest to Him of the multitude then crowding around the risen Redeemer? Impossible. Was it to be done even in their lifetime? Surely not. In that little band Jesus virtually addressed Himself to all who, in every age, should take up from them the same work. Before the eyes of the Church’s risen Head were spread out, in those Eleven men, all His servants of every age; and one and all of them received His commission at that moment. Well, what next? Set the seal of visible discipleship upon the converts, by “baptizing them into the name,” that is, into the whole fulness of the grace “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” as belonging to them who believe. (See on 2 Co 13:14). This done, the Missionary department of your work, which in its own nature is temporary, must merge in another, which is permanent.

The disciples’ task was to reproduce themselves by going, baptizing, and teaching.

Faithlife Study Bible Mission in the Biblical Narrative

God’s mission, of course, begins with God, who creates (Gen 1). It then moves toward the formation of Yahweh’s chosen people, Israel. As recipients of God’s covenant and commandments (Deut 5:1–6:9; Mark 12:28–34), Israel is charged by Yahweh with the mission to live as a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:1–3; Acts 1:7–8). The definitive event in God’s missional activity is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ whose life, teachings, and deeds proclaim the reign of God. Jesus’ death and resurrection atone for all that separates people from God (Gal 3:15–4:7). Following Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ followers to live their calling as missional participants with God (Acts 1:1–11). As such, the Church comes into being (Acts 15)—serving a reconciling role (2 Cor 5:11–21). Christians are charged with the task of seeking God’s will on earth (Matt 6:9–15). As the narrative of God’s redemption through Christ, the Bible ends with God’s restoration of all creation (Rev 21–22).

28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. The kind of evangelism called for in this commission does not end with the conversion of the unbeliever. I am with you. There’s a touching echo of the beginning of Matthew’s gospel here. Immanuel, which is translated, “GOD WITH US” (1:23), remains “with” us “even to the end of the age”—i.e., until He returns bodily to judge the world and establish His earthly kingdom

The Lexham Bible Dictionary Disciple in the New Testament

In the New Testament, disciples do not seek out Jesus; rather, they answer when He calls them. Twelve disciples with different backgrounds are called into a special relationship with Jesus. According to Matthew and Mark, these twelve are the only disciples of Jesus.

The Gospels describe how Jesus called disciples to follow Him. Many of them came from villages in Galilee, especially Capernaum and Bethsaida. They had diverse backgrounds, including fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, and John), a tax collector (Matthew), and a revolutionary (Simon the Zealot). Their role is especially clear in Matthew’s Gospel, where the expression “the twelve disciples” is used more often than “the Twelve” (e.g., Matt 11:1). Jesus’ disciples were not to choose another master, or become masters themselves. Instead, Jesus’ disciples were told to go and make disciples of the nations—to teach them what Jesus had taught them.

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”

58 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”

60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”

61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

B.The Cost

The second disciple had a “but” too—a difficulty in the way just then. Yet the different treatment of the two cases shows how different was the spirit of the two, and to that our Lord addressed Himself. The case of Elisha (1 Ki 19:19–21), though apparently similar to this, will be found quite different from the “looking back” of this case, the best illustration of which is that of those Hindu converts of our day who, when once persuaded to leave their spiritual fathers in order to “bid them farewell which are at home at their house,” very rarely return to them. (Also see on Mt 8:21.)

No man, &c.—As ploughing requires an eye intent on the furrow to be made, and is marred the instant one turns about, so will they come short of salvation who prosecute the work of God with a distracted attention, a divided heart. Though the reference seems chiefly to ministers, the application is general. The expression “looking back” has a manifest reference to “Lot’s wife” (Ge 19:26; and see on Lu 17:32). It is not actual return to the world, but a reluctance to break with it. (Also see on Mt 8:21.)

18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea.

19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

20 Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

21 Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”

23 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.

Faithlife Study Bible True Discipleship

A Christ follower’s life is summed up in the phrase, “Complete obedience.” In fact, Jesus defined true Christians as those who prove their love for Him by obeying His teaching (John 14:23). When it comes to obeying God, our only response is I will or I won’t. It’s tempting to say, “I will, but …” as some of Jesus’ would-be disciples did, but that’s a roundabout way of saying no (Luke 9:57–62). Followers remain faithful to the Lord’s plan whether doing so is easy or hard. Not only that, but they proclaim Him in both blessing and calamity, and they follow Him even when they are uncertain where He is leading.

Jesus did not have the time nor the desire to scatter himself on those who wanted to make their own terms of discipleship.

66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

The Master Plan of Evangelism Few Would Pay the Price

Actually, when the opportunists left him at Capernaum because he would not satisfy their popular expectations, Jesus had only a handful of followers left. Turning to the Twelve, he said, “Would ye also go away?” (John 6:67). This was a crucial question. If these few men quit following him, what would remain of his ministry? But Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69). Indeed these words of the apostle must have been reassuring to the Master, for thereafter Jesus began to talk with his disciples more about his suffering and death, and with greater frankness

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

24 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

25 “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

24 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

25 “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Faithlife Study Bible True Discipleship

Jesus made it clear that being called as one of His disciples has a price. He said, “If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To the original disciples, crosses represented torture, physical abuse, and death. Jesus’ reference to “take up the cross” must have sent waves of fear through the ordinary people whom Jesus had called into extraordinary lives.

The Master Plan of Evangelism To Obey Is to Learn

Obedience to Christ thus was the very means by which those in his company learned more truth. He did not ask the disciples to follow what they did not know to be true, but no one could follow him without learning what was true (John 7:17). Hence, Jesus did not urge his disciples to commit their lives to a doctrine, but to a person who was the doctrine, and only as they continued in his Word could they know the truth (John 8:31–32).

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Faithlife Study Bible True Discipleship

CHARLES STANLEY

The Master Plan of Evangelism Closer as Training Ends

In view of this, it is not surprising that during passion week Jesus scarcely ever let his disciples out of his sight. Even when he prayed alone in Gethsemane, his disciples were only a stone’s throw away (Luke 22:41). Is not this the way it is with every family as the hour of departing draws near? Every minute is cherished because of the growing realization that such close association in the flesh soon will be no more

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