What Is A Disciple-Making Disciple Like?

A disciple-making disciple is a person who: (1) has believed and called upon the name of the Lord to be saved; (2) is growing in their faith—meaning they are living for Jesus and have defining “disciple-required” characteristics that distinguish them from others who are followers of Jesus in name only; (3) and are actively striving to reproduce themselves by making disciples throughout their lifetime.

Disciple-Making Disciples Have A Firm, Active And Sanctifying Faith

  • A firm faith: Jesus asked His disciples, “But whom say ye that I am?” Every disciple needs to know that they personally have found the Messiah—the Christ, the Son of the living God. We need to know that Jesus is the one of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write. Thus, a personal relationship with Jesus is first and foremost.
    Matthew 16:13-16; John 1:41-51
  • An active faith: Jesus told His disciples, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” Every disciple should be engaging the world around them through speaking God’s word and ministering in God’s strength—that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus.
    Acts 1:8; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11
  • A sanctifying faith: Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth.” Every disciple is being sanctified as they press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus—to obtain the glory of their Lord—to be conformed to His image.
    John 17:17; Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:14

Disciple-Making Disciples Have Distinguishing Characteristics

  • A persistent commitment to the Bible: Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed”. Thus, true disciples are those who continue believing in Jesus and obeying all that Jesus has taught and said—as revealed to us in the Bible.
    John 8:31-32
  • A sacrificial love for one another: Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus’ new commandment for His disciples was to love to the same degree that He had loved them. Being with Jesus they had experienced the very love of God in a new way and would eventually understand Jesus showed God’s love to the world when He sacrificially died on the cross for sinful mankind.
    Matthew 5:43-48; John 13:1, 34-35; 15:9-13; Romans 5:8
  • A healthy bearer of much fruit: Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” We cannot do anything on our own, but we are to abide in Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches. This abiding allows us to glorify God by producing “much fruit” and showing ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples.
    John 15:1-8
  • An unrivaled devotion to Jesus: Jesus said, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” The relationships with our family members are often the dearest relationships we have, but Jesus says that we need to “hate” those relationships—meaning to “love less” those relationships in comparison to Him. Another way to say it: we are to “love Jesus supremely.” He is even more important than our own lives. (Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a command to “hate” people but it is a command to choose Jesus above all else, which can seem like “hate” in comparison.)
    Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26
  • An utmost determination to follow Jesus: Jesus said, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Jesus expects His disciples to be determined to daily denying their own wills (living for self), removing hurdles to following Him and bearing any ramifications for doing so and firmly embracing His will (living for God) even if it means paying a great price to do so. The cross represents an instrument of death—it means that we die to ourselves but we live unto God. It represents the extent that Jesus is calling us to deny ourselves so that we are free and able to follow and serve Him. We reject the life of “self-determination” and accept the life of “Jesus-determination”.
    Matthew 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27; Galatians 2:20
  • A complete forsaking of everything: Jesus said, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus is talking about absolute surrender. His disciples are to be completely surrendered to His will without reservation, thus renouncing all rights, privileges, demands, possessions, appeasements or indulgences in the process. Everything in the life of a believer comes under the Lordship of Jesus—there are no negotiations just unconditional surrender. (Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean that you have to sell all your possession immediately and aren’t allow to own anything, but this is putting every aspect of your life under the Lordship of Jesus to do as He pleases and the willingness to follow Him at any cost and in every respect.)
    Luke 5:11, 28; 12:33; 14:33; 18:22
  • A courageous desire to imitate Jesus: Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” The objective of discipleship is for the disciple or student to become like his teacher. Each disciple that is fully trained (perfect) will be just like his teacher. So there should be a desire in every disciple to be like Jesus in every way—even if that means the way the world treated Him they will treat us. Thus, this is a courageous desire because it promises varying degrees of persecution for everyone who lives like Jesus.
    Matthew 10:24-25; Luke 6:40; John 15:20
  • A willingness to obey orders from Jesus: The Bible says, “The disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them.” Jesus effectively becomes the boss of our lives and we should be willing to be obedient and submissive to all His commands.
    Matthew 11:1; 21:1-2, 6; John 21:15-17

Disciple-Making Disciples Have Disciples Who Reproduce Disciples

  • A passion to make disciples of all nations: Jesus told His disciples to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” During their training, the disciples were bringing others to Jesus and even sent out to preach. At the end of their training, Jesus told them to go out and “teach”—make disciples—of all nations. They were to reproduce themselves—to train disciples who will train disciples. Thus, a disciple-making disciple must have disciples who train disciples.
    Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 5:27-32; 10:1; John 1:40-45; (2 Timothy 2:2)

Review Questions

  • Disciple-making disciples have what kind of faith?
  • What are the eight distinguishing characteristics of disciple-making disciples?
  • Disciple-making disciples must reproduce what?
  • Are you a disciple-making disciple? Why? 
  • Where are your disciples? Are they making disciples?

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