How to Live the Bible — Reimagining Discipleship

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This is the one-hundred-forty-third lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.


All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20

Take a moment and think about the many teachers you’ve had over the years. Now think about a teacher who was your favorite. Someone you can easily picture in your mind’s eye, whose voice you can still hear, whose personality made an impression on you.

Photo of the feet of men walking down steps

Our favorite teachers are not people who were merely skilled at communicating their subjects or who were entertaining in the classroom. They’re people who made a difference in our lives—largely because they taught us something about life, and they taught it through the quality of their own lives.

At the very end of Jesus’ time with his disciples, on some mountain in Galilee, he gave them a most serious command: “Make disciples.” The command was focused, powerful, authoritative, unambiguous. In Greek it’s a single word—if we had the word in English it would be disciplize.

Today we need to be crystal clear on this ultimate command. “Disciple” means “learner.” In the ancient world that meant entering into a learning relationship with a master teacher. The kind of teacher who gives knowledge, but so much more. A master teacher who talks about how to live—and who shows how to live. The “disciple” is someone who listens and watches and inquires, listens again, scratches their head, discusses with others, looks at the teacher again, prods and ponders and practices. Along the way, the disciple becomes like the teacher. Amazing.

In the “Great Commission” as it’s called, Jesus is calling us to help other people get into a learning relationship with Jesus. Why? Because this is God’s chosen plan for humanity’s recovery and rescue. It’s how we go from being forgiven by God into a lifelong relationship with God. It’s the way—over a long period of time—the image of God is restored in us.

Discipleship is not a “to do” list. We need to reimagine discipleship as a living, dynamic, daily interaction with Jesus.

PONDER

Think of one person you know who might be open to the idea of becoming a learner of Jesus. How can you help that person with the next step?
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[If you believe this series will be helpful, this is the perfect time to forward this to a friend, a group, or a congregation, and tell them they too may sign up for the weekly emails here]

Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel’s many books include Spiritual Leadership Today: Having Deep Influence in Every Walk of Life (Zondervan, 2016). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

The post How to Live the Bible — Reimagining Discipleship appeared first on Bible Gateway Blog.

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