The Model Disciple

The Pastor’s Desk

reflections from the shepherds heart...

The Model Disciple
In this past week’s sermon introduction I presented the difference between being a student and being a disciple. A student wants to learn what the teacher knows, while a disciple learns what the teacher knows and does so with the intention of becoming like the teacher. In other words, they “follow” the teacher. As Christ followers, our intention should be, or perhaps must be, to become more like Christ as we learn from Him.

Believe it or not, everything we do at Mount Carmel is done to assist in this process, the process of discipleship. There is a vision to create disciples that make disciples here at Mount Carmel that leads to everything we do. Many times, this leads us to do things that may be different from what you’re used to doing at church. For instance, we stopped having Life Groups in what used to be the Sunday School hour to make room for new forms of discipleship like D-Groups and EQUIP classes. We began things like Home Groups to create community amongst the church. This community definitely creates friendships, but the intention is to create unity amongst the body and people who have influence in each others lives as they walk through life together. This creates accountability amongst the body of Christ, which leads us to greater faithfulness and obedience.

These things take effort on your part and require you to be invested in those around you who call themselves followers of Jesus. And you know what, it isn’t always easy, but if easy is the goal in church, are you really a follower of Jesus? What is commonly referred to as the Seeker Movement makes it “easy” to be a part of a church. The idea is to create an environment that never requires anything of you other than attendance and funding the mission. It’s difficult to create an environment where true discipleship is happening. Listen to this quote from author David Wells about the Seeker Movement
I want everyone who calls themselves a covenant member of Mount Carmel to know is exactly what the vision is. The vision for discipleship at Mount Carmel is for each of us to become a disciple as defined by the Bible… but what exactly does the Bible say about being a disciple? Well, we don’t have to go any farther than what is referred to as the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20.

Jesus said to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He went on to say here’s what you do with them… teach them to obey all that He commanded. But what exactly did He command? Making a disciple is teaching a person to:

1.) Believe His Doctrine (Matthew 10:24)
2.) Rest On His Sacrifice (Luke 14:26, 27, 33)
3.) Assimilate to His Spirit (John 6:69)
4.) Imitate His Example (Matthew 20:26–28; 1 Peter 2:21)

Ultimately, the example of Christ stems from Him dying for us. Jesus served others throughout His entire ministry. The thought I want to leave you with is one I recently read in a book about discipleship. The author asked if you’ve ever watched pigs feed. As soon as the farmer shows up with the food, they are pushing each other out of the way to get fed… they’re snorting around and fighting with one another. Their entire focus is on themselves and getting the food the farmer puts in their trough.

Then, he asked the question. When you came to church last Sunday, compare for yourself… were you more like a pig being fed or were you more like Jesus? I’m not calling you a pig, but which one were you like? Where did you park? How early did you get there? Who did you talk to? Where did you sit? What did you do while you were there? Did you complain about anything like the AC, the bulletin, or the music? Every one of those questions presents you with an opportunity to serve others or serve yourself. Which one was it?

Becoming a disciple takes effort on your part. You need to ask two questions. How can you disciple others in the church, and how can you be a disciple? The model disciple is Jesus. How did He disciple others, and how did He serve them?

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