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Equipping Your Reimagine Journey

I recently taught a Bible study on the Great Commission. I wonder how many times I've read or studied or taught or heard someone else teach on or preach on those verses. Obviously, this was not unchartered territory for me. But God used that opportunity to help me think through this passage in a new way.

First, if we study Matthew 28:19-20 without digging into verse 18, we've skipped the most important part. The power of the passage is found in verse 18––"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," Jesus said. Think about it––all authority for all things in all places belongs to Jesus. Outside of His authority, we are nothing.

Second, verse 19 begins with the word "therefore." We do what we do––make disciples––because of the authority that is His. Think cause and effect. Because He has the authority, He has therefore given us an assignment to do.

Third, Jesus commanded up to make disciples (Mt. 28:19). But, do we have a clear understanding of what He has commanded us to do? When Jesus used the word, it included some uniquely first-century components. In the first century, disciples were always involved in an educational process that involved both a teacher and a student. The disciple lived with or near his teacher and spent all his time with the teacher, even when the teacher traveled. As a part of his learning, the disciple even adopted his teacher's way of life and his philosophy about life. It wasn't a short-lived experience!

For us today, we could use the synonym of apprentice to help us get the idea of discipleship. What would that mean today if believers became apprentices to Christ? How would that impact not only their personal growth in becoming like Jesus, but the way the church reflects Christ to the world? When we think about discipleship, how can we begin to thinking about the process of growing, rather than a goal to be obtained?

Margie Williamson

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Comment by Gary E. Blackwell on February 5, 2020 at 4:21pm

Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. The point of rabbinical teaching was the adoption of a worldview and a lifestyle, which is was Paul tells the Corinthians that we are to become the image of Christ. The goal of a disciple is not knowledge or salvation, but it is to look like Jesus. The recreation of a disciple into the image of Christ is a work of the Spirit. Jesus clearly states this when He calls the first disciples:"Follow Me and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men."

Comment by Deborah A Thompson on November 17, 2010 at 11:46am
i agree , but why is church having such a problem doing that ? When ive been doing a Bible study with someone; it seems like they meet road block and start making excuses why they cant study. how do i motivate them, besides praying for them??
Comment by Margie Williamson on November 9, 2010 at 9:56am
Jerry, would you consider doing a book review on Packer's book on our resource page? Good stuff!

Valerie, love what you're doing as you experience new ways to connect to other women. I'll be interested in hearing your evaluation down the road.

Y'all can tell my heart is in opening up God's word so we can learn what He meant for us instead of what we've made it!
Comment by Jerry Linnins on November 9, 2010 at 12:17am
Margie...great thoughts. I just finished J.I. Packer's GROUNDED IN THE GOSPEL: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way. He touts the same idea using the historical Christian practice of catechesis as a guide. Imagine, to stick with your metaphor of apprentice, if we had apprentice, journeyman, "master" tracks for Christians. Wonder what would be the "graduation" requirements to pass from each stage to the next? Packer's book outlines some compelling basics and suggested curricula. He also distinguishes between Christian consensus topics, Denominational distinctives, Evangelical essentials, and Congregational commitments.
Comment by Valerie Buss on November 9, 2010 at 12:16am
For me, I think a lot of discipling is pursuing and inviting. This year I've begun to invite women to do things that I love to do or I have to do already. For example, if I have to go shopping tomorrow I'll text a couple women to see if they are free at that time to go with me. If I'm in the mood to watch a movie, I'll invite women over to watch it with me. If I know girls are studying for a test, I'll go to the coffee shop and study with them or read a book. I feel like I'm still in the experiment phase but I fully agree that in order for us to see discipleship as a process rather then a goal we need to experiment with different ways for us live life on life. 1 Thess 2:8 "...we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
Comment by Reed Hermstad on November 4, 2010 at 7:40pm
Well said Margie. It makes me think of the responsibility associated with discipling. I can't help but remember 1 Cor. 3:10... "For by the grace given me I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds".
Comment by Margie Williamson on October 30, 2010 at 4:35pm
Angie, you are so right. We are all so busy that it's a challenge to really BE WITH people--to share hearts and journeys, struggles and pains.
Comment by Angie Pollard on October 29, 2010 at 9:18am
“The disciple lived with or near his teacher and spent all his time with the teacher, even when the teacher traveled”

My husband and I have recently joined a small church withthe aim of supporting the pastor. We soon realised that we needed to spend as much time as we could with the folk who go there – in home groups as well as after the services. The challenge of discipleship in our modern, individualistic society is being able to find – and fit in – enough opportunities to be with the ‘disciples’ in a Jesus context: not just socializing, but intentionally turning hearts and minds towards God.
Comment by Margie Williamson on October 27, 2010 at 11:51am
Matt, to quote my 1970s peers: "Right on!"
Comment by Matt Anderson on October 27, 2010 at 10:42am
Thank you for the blessings and encouragement, Margie, Ann & Jenni. My wife and I decided when we got married that we were not going to let the culture 'disciple' our kids so TV has never been a part of our family life. I believe removing the negative example was a key decision because it eliminated conflicting messages with the positive example we attempted to model and 'coach.' The Old and New Testaments are full of exhortations to be 'set apart' and 'purified.' Some of the examples are pretty extreme and would definitely not be PC today. I believe one reason the discipleship process is currently so hit and miss is that we have ignored the admonitions to 'put away the things that hinder you' and instead believe that we can 'handle' it. I think God's Word and the examples we see lived out constantly demonstrate that our souls can't handle a steady diet of impurity and compromise. We need to either live in the light or expect to stumble in the darkness.


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