How Are Disciples Trained In The Lord?

How Are Disciples Trained In The Lord?

Disciples are trained in the Lord when we encourage them to imitate our example so that we can lead them to follow Jesus. We can only do that if we first become the disciple that we want them to become and be devoted to them until Jesus is formed in them.
Philippians 4:9

We Train Disciples By Encouraging Them To Imitate Our Example

  • Disciples are trained by imitating the life of another disciple. This means that we invite them to imitate our lives because, Lord willingly, we are imitating Jesus’ life. So the goal isn’t for our disciples to become just like us, but they are to become like us in so much that we are like Jesus. We encourage them to imitate our way of life in Christ Jesus. People need a model to follow. Teaching isn’t enough. They need to see someone living out the victorious Christian life so they know how to do it too. Disciples receive instruction through various means but they can only truly be trained “in person” because they need to imitate a face-to-face example. Is your life imitate-able?
    1 Corinthians 4:14-17; 11:1; Galatians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9; 2 Timothy 3:10-14; 1 John 1:1
  • Disciples are trained by placing themselves in positions of submission to be trained. Life-on-life mentorship requires a commitment of submission. All believers are equal in value and none are superior, but we do have different roles and positions of authority and influence. In the discipleship relationship, the mentor (the leading believer) has the primary position of responsibility to faithfully lead. The mentees (the following believers) have the secondary position to accept the leadership of, yield to and learn from their mentor. All of this is done with the goal of maturing and sanctifying disciples of Jesus.
    Luke 6:40; Ephesians 5:21; (Submission to Leadership: 1 Corinthians 16:15-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17)
  • Disciples are trained by following disciples who train them to be disciples of Jesus not themselves. We are not to train up disciples for ourselves. This discipleship relationship does not void the mutual “submission, service and humility” that should be characteristic of all believers. We are to put on the mind which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only Master. We are all to be serving with humble attitudes, striving to live godly in Christ Jesus for God’s glory.
    Matthew 23:7-12; Philippians 2:3-11; 3:17-18
  • Things to remember when establishing this type of training:
    • Relationship: Spiritual growth takes places when we are willing to submit to one another to benefit from a discipleship relationship. It is humbling to know we can’t grow on our own, but God uses relationships and community to grow one another. We can’t be self-dependent. We should be investing our lives into others and others should be investing their lives into us. We need other disciples and other disciples need us. (Note: Obedience to many commands requires interaction with others.)
    • Following: A disciple chooses who to follow—someone who can show them how to follow Jesus. Any believer who desires to train other believers can invite others into a discipleship relationship, but the decision to follow can’t be forced only offered. 
    • Engagement: A discipleship relationship is a two-way relationship. Both sides are engaging the other side. The mentor leads but is also challenged to grow from the questions asked and the accountability to properly lead his mentees. The mentees are growing from the mentor’s leadership, life, character, attitudes, words, ministry and teachings. There is mutual influence. Both should benefit greatly from this relationship.

We Train Disciples By Becoming What We Want Them to Become

  • Before we can invite others to follow us, we need to know where we are going. We need to already be following Jesus and growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    2 Peter 3:18
  • A changed and changing life: Has your life radically changed since believing in Jesus? We are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. We are to be actively putting off the “old man”—our old sinful way of living, and putting on the “new man”—our new righteous way of living. Before salvation, we sacrificed others to bless ourselves but now that we are saved we sacrifice ourselves to bless others. Our actions, attitudes, character, morals, are all being molded into Christ-likeness. If our lives aren’t changing and growing then we can’t train disciples.
    A Changed Life: Psalm 15:1-5; Ephesians 4:17-28; Colossians 3:1-8; James 1:21-26
  • The Basics: Are you doing the following basics: reading the bible; praying; faithfully attending church; memorizing bible verses; giving generously; actively witnessing to others; using your spiritual gifts in the local church? How is your family life? Are you striving to obey the Bible in all areas? We can only teach others to do what we are doing.
    (1) Joshua 1:8; (2) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; (3) Hebrews 10:25-27; (4) Psalm 119:11; (5) 2 Corinthians 9:7; (6) Matthew 5:13-16; (7) 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; (8) 1 Timothy 3:5; (9) Luke 11:28; (11) Matthew 5:19; 23:3; Romans 2:21-23
  • Become Imitate-able: If we train disciples in the Lord by inviting them into our lives to imitate it, then we need to evaluate if our lives are worth imitating. We can only reproduce what we are. The desire to train disciples should cause us to seriously evaluate ourselves and our spiritual walk. A negative outcome of that evaluation shouldn’t keep us from training disciples, but it should: (1) encourage us to strengthen those areas where we are weak; (2) seek those more mature than ourselves to train us; (3) be committed to doing the best that we can so that we can train others for the glory of God.

We Train Disciples By Being Devoted Until Jesus Is Formed In Them

  • A devotion to train. Paul not only calls Timothy to become a disciple-making disciple but he explains the cost to do so. We need to be devoted: (1) to “endure hardness”—the world opposes us training disciples and like Paul we need to be willing to share in suffering to do so; (2) to be “a good soldier of Jesus Christ”—to live a wartime life with our allegiance to Jesus (and not this world) and His mission; (3) to not “entangleth” ourselves with the affairs of this life—to not get intertwined and distracted with this world so that we don’t train disciples; (4) to “please him” who hath chosen you to be a soldier—God chose us and we live to please Him, not others, this is our single and utmost purpose and focus; (5) to “strive lawfully”—like an athlete, we put forth great effort to train disciples but we must do so in accordance to God’s Word and like Jesus did, no shortcuts; (6) to “laboureth”—like a farmer, take the initiate and through tough, thorough and time-consuming work wait for God to give the increase as we make disciples.
    2 Timothy 2:1-7; (Reject Worldliness: James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Hard Work: 1 Corinthians 3:5-8; Colossians 1:28-29)
  • A devotion to finish. Paul was committed to the Galatian believers when they had many problems. He didn’t forsake them but was willing to go through much heartache to help them understand the gospel, its implications and how to be conformed to the image of Jesus—until Christ be formed in them. Paul truly cared for them, he calls them his little children and he desired to be with them. He was committed to finish what he started.
    Galatians 4:19-20

Review Questions

  • We train disciples by encouraging them to do what?
  • What are three things to remember when establishing this type of training?
  • We train disciples by becoming what?
  • We train disciples by being devoted until when?
  • What are the six areas we need to be devoted in to train disciples?

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