INTRODUCTION. This document is an attempt to describe the disciple of Jesus Christ in terms of the tasks and activities that the New Testament gives the disciple to perform. My upcoming book on Discipleship (targeted for completion some time in 2023) will include the finished version of this job description.
NOTE: Of necessity, this will be a working document.
THE DUTY OF THE BONDSERVANT
In the New Testament, the disciple of Jesus Christ is most commonly called a “bondservant” of Christ. A bondservant is another word for slave. The follower of Jesus has been purchased by the blood of Jesus and has been redeemed from his slavery to sin, so that now Jesus is the Master and the disciple is the slave. As such, the disciple is no longer his own, but his life is now at the Master’s disposal to do with as the Master wills. As the slave’s duty is to discover and perform his master’s will, so the disciple of Jesus Christ has the duty to discover and obey his Master’s commands. This process of discovering the Lord’s commands and becoming progressively more obedient to those commands is what we call “Discipleship.”
Since all born-again followers of Jesus are His disciples, and since it is our duty as disciples of the Master, King Jesus, to know His commands and to follow them fully, it would be helpful to have a comprehensive list of what makes up our job description. What activities and attitudes constitute this Discipleship that the disciple is to follow? The list below is my preliminary attempt to provide such a list.
CATEGORY ONE: DISCIPLINE AND OBEDIENCE
There are three categories of activities in this list, based on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. One category involves developing disciplines in your life to increase your obedience to Christ’s commands on an ongoing basis. The practice of these disciplines builds a lifestyle of consistent outward obedience and a mindset that keeps the disciple aware of the Master’s commands. These disciplines will be designated “DISC” in the list.
CATEGORY TWO: HOLINESS
Another category is similar to the first in that it is also related to obedience, but this category is focused more on inward holiness. Holiness is the process of fighting sin and nurturing righteousness in the life of the disciple. This battle for holiness flows from the inside out, so this category of actions aims at the thought-life and the desires of the disciple, purifying the mind and putting to death the deeds of the flesh by intentional repentance. These are designated “SANC” (for sanctification) in the list.
CATEGORY THREE: EVANGELISM AND WITNESS
The third category relates to the disciple’s duty to be a witness for the Lord Jesus in evangelism. In the context of Matthew 28:19, Jesus is commanding His disciples to “make disciples” by proclaiming the gospel to all the nations so that those who have been chosen will believe. In this specific context, then, “make disciples” means “make converts.” And the proclamation of the gospel is the appointed means for seeing unbelievers come to faith in the Lord Jesus and thus becoming disciples. Therefore, the disciple is commanded by Jesus to be intentional about evangelism in all its forms. These actions are designated “EV” in the list.
|DISCIPLINE AND OBEDIENCE|
|DISC||have been baptized (This is FIRST.) **|
|DISC||regular Bible reading|
|DISC||love one another|
|DISC||encourage one another|
|DISC||weekly corporate worship at your church|
|DISC||generous giving to the church|
|DISC||“buffet the body” to subdue the flesh|
|DISC||use spiritual gifts to edify others|
|**||believer’s baptism begins Discipleship|
|(these are my personal sins) *|
|SANC||man of peace / death of anger *|
|SANC||death of pride *|
|SANC||death of greed *|
|SANC||death of lust *|
|SANC||death of selfishness *|
|SANC||do not judge others *|
|SANC||do not worry, but trust the Lord *|
|*||Col. 3:5 – each puts to death their own sin|
|EVANGELISM AND WITNESS|
|EV||witness for Jesus Acts 1:8|
|EV||light of Christ shines in you Mt. 5:16|
|EV||ambassador for Christ 2 Cor. 5:20|
|EV||sower of the gospel seed Mt. 13:3|
|EV||fisher of men Mt. 4:19|
|EV||compel them to come to the feast Lk. 14|
|EV||call them to the wedding feast Mt. 22|
|EV||give a reason for your hope 1 Pet. 3:15|
|EV||give testimony to resurrection Acts 4:33|
|EV||speak the word with boldness Acts 4:31|
|EV||reasoning with unbelievers|
The goal is that this would become a comprehensive list of activities and responsibilities comprising the disciple’s job description. At this date (June 8, 2022), I would classify this as a good preliminary list. These individual tasks should be defined to confirm agreement on their meanings and more tasks will be added as they occur to me. As I said at the outset, this is a working document, so additions and editing will be done until we reach the final product. RMB