DISCIPLESHIP IN CHRIST TODAY (1)
We have seen that the Gospel message proclaimed by the apostles consisted of two themes or parts (Acts 8:12). We have considered “the things concerning the kingdom of God” in the last lesson and now we will concentrate upon those things associated with “the name of Jesus Christ” and their bearing upon our life in Christ.
The expression, “the name of Jesus Christ”, incorporates God’s work through His Son in providing forgiveness of sin for mortal man, and the reward of immortality at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. God, through the prophet Isaiah, said He is “a just God and a Saviour”. He continues: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:21-22). Jesus himself said: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life... that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). Peter told the rulers of Israel: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved ” (Acts 4:12). It is only through be
lief and then baptism into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be saved.
When Peter was asked at the Feast of Pentecost by those who had listened carefully to his address, “What shall we do?” (for they were struck with the horror of what they had done in crucifying the Son of God), he answered, “Repent, and be baptised every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37-38). Peter later, preaching the message of salvation to the Roman centurion Cornelius, pointed out that all the prophets of Israel had witnessed “that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins”. Cornelius responded in faith and therefore was “baptised in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:43,48).
Baptism into Christ
When a person is baptised he is identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3–5). We have noted that there must be a confession of past sins and repentance shown by a commitment to forsake one’s former way of life, before a person is ready to be baptised. In Romans 6 Paul explains in simple and clear terms the significance of baptism and the effect that it should have upon the life of the disciple of Christ.
Jesus was at all times completely obedient to his Father’s will. This obedience finally took him to the cross where he was cruelly crucified by wicked men. Though he was “in all points tempted like as we are”, yet he never succumbed to sin (Hebrews 4:15-16). In his death he gained his final victory over those sinful tendencies that are inherited by all Adam’s descendants and which have caused all, except him, to sin. We are emphatically told that he shared the identical “flesh and blood” nature that we have—“he also himself likewise took part of the same”. This was essential, that “through death he might destroy him that [Gr ton, that which] had the power of death, that is, the devil” (the diabolos, a synonymous term for the capacity to sin that we all possess—see Lesson 24) (Hebrews 2:14; cp Romans 7:15-21).
Because of his sinless life of perfect obedience, even to death on the cross, it was not right that the grave could hold him (Acts 2:23–24; Romans 6:9). God, in His justice, raised him to life again and granted him immortality in His presence (Acts 2:32–36; Philippians 2:8–10). He now sits at the right hand of God in heaven, there to mediate as High Priest for those who approach God through him (Hebrews 7:25; 2:17-18).
We have seen in Romans 6 that in baptism we identify with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. First let us consider how we identify with his death.
Paul says: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7). Therefore in baptism we demonstrate our desire to identify with our Lord’s death, a death in which he destroyed, once and for all for himself, the diabolos, that sin prone nature that he bore in common with us all. Paul calls it the “old man”. In baptism “our old man is crucified with him” as it were, and we repudiate the ways of sin that have governed our life, confessing that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. We acknowledge that we are worthy of death because of our sins, for we have learned that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
As we rise from the waters of baptism, Paul identifies another parallel—with Jesus’ resurrection. We come forth to a new way of life, serving God
as our new Master. Paul describes it this way:
“We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
It is in this “newness of life” that the disciple now strives to follow Christ. It is a way of life in which Christ is seen living in us as we strive to follow his example (1 Peter 2:21–25). With considerable feeling Paul describes the change that took place in his own life:
“I am crucified with Christ: [that is, the ‘old Paul’ was dead now]: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
It was the love of Christ, revealed in his willingness to lay down his life for the sins of the world, that constrained Paul to respond by committing hi
s own life in service to his Lord (2 Corinthians 5:14,15; cp 1 John 3:16). Jesus had said: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:13-14). Those who, like Paul, have a true understanding of how Christ has redeemed them from sin and death, will desire to crucify “the old man” and rise to a “newness of life” in Christ by following his commandments. It is by walking according to these commandments that Christ is seen “in us”. It is through his teaching that our new character is developed (Colossians 3:1–14; Galatians 5:19–26; Ephesians 4:17–32; 5:1–21).
(Note—a brief summary of the Commandments of Christ is set out at the conclusion of these lessons)
Walking in “Newness of Life”
Paul says that in our new state we have a change of master and of service. Whereas previously the believer had served “sin” and satisfied his own desires, now, through baptism, he has been freed from slavery to sin and serves “righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Paul describes this new service as producing “fruit unto holiness” and in the end, eternal life:
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).
Again, this dramatic change is spoken of as “putting off... the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” and “putting on...the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24). The “new man” is seen in our new way of thinking and acting, which reflects the excellent virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The disciple’s life will focus on loving service to God out of gratitude for His grace in providing Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Titus 2: 11–14). He will aspire to manifest in his life the glorious character of God as revealed in the Bible (Exodus 34:6,7). He will find, too, that he now has an abhorrence of the perverse and wicked ways of the world. Like Jesus Christ, he will love righteousness and hate wickedness (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). So Paul concludes:
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The “New Man” Begotten by the Word of God
This “new man”, Paul says, “is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10). The new man has come into existence because of a new-found knowledge of the truth of the Gospel. The change that has taken place has come about through careful study and meditation upon the word of God. James says that God has begotten His children through “the word of truth” (James 1:18). Peter says that those who respond in faith and obedience to the Gospel are
“born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is pr eached unto you” (1 Peter 1:23-25; cp Isaiah 40:6-8 from which Peter is quoting).
Man’s nature is such that he will inevitably perish. If, however, a man (or, woman) allows the living word of God to grow in his heart and transform his life, God will give him eternal life. Jesus also had pointed out the contrast between the two ways, one leading to life and the other to death, when he said: “It is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
Daily Reading of the Bible
The Lord Jesus Christ draws our attention to this very important lesson when he quotes Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live”. Daily reading of the Bible is as essential for the disciple of Christ as his daily bread. Because the disciple has been “begotten” by the word of God, then it is his wisdom to draw spiritual nourishment from it every day to ensure steady and healthy growth. This is how Christ is to be seen living in him. David describes the blessedness of the man who, turning from the company of the ungodly, delights himself “in the law of the LORD, and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1). Again we read: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
It is through personal reading and study of the Bible that the disciple will be strengthened in that “inward man” (Romans 7:22). He will feel the need, too, to gather with others who also believe the same true Gospel and be encouraged by the mutual joy that comes from sharing the same hope in Christ. God is pleased to see His children delighting to talk one to the other about His word and His ways, as the prophet Malachi tells us:
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:16-17).
Continuing in Prayer
One of the great privileges that the newly baptised disciple now has is access to God in prayer through the Lord Jesus Christ who, at the right hand of God, mediates as High Priest on his behalf to forgive his sins. (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
However, although without baptism into Christ there is no forgiveness of sins, it is important to remember that God does hear the prayers of those who are seeking to know and understand His ways and serve Him. We have the example of Cornelius who regularly prayed to God and so Peter
was sent to show him the way of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 10:1-6). We also read of Lydia and her household who were people of prayer and God brought Paul to Philippi that they might hear the truth of the Gospel (Acts 16:13). Both Cornelius and Lydia and their households were baptised after hearing the Gospel (Acts 10:48; 16:14-15).
The disciple can learn to develop in prayer by meditating upon some of the prayers that are recorded in the Bible. The prayers of faithful men and women are instructive and we can quite often see our own needs mirrored in their prayers. Many have received strength and comfort from prayers like Psalm 23. The apostle Paul continually prayed for the groups of believers that he knew. An example of this is recorded in Colossians 1:9-14, which is worthy of consideration for it helps us see how to pray for others.
Jesus’ disciples asked him on one occasion to teach them how to pray. The result was the wonderful prayer that has been commonly called “the Lord’s Prayer” that sets a pattern for us to follow in our own prayers (Luke 11:1-4; cp the fuller detail in Matthew 6:7-15). However Jesus warned against repetition through reciting of prayers that do not have the mind and heart involved. He said:
“When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7).
Not only will the disciple of Christ approach God to praise Him and seek for daily guidance and care, but he will also express thanks to Him for the many blessings he receives. Jesus gives us an example of giving thanks for food before eating when he fed the multitude:
“He took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude” (Matthew 15:36; see also John 6:11; Acts 27:35; 1 Timothy 4:3-4). There are also times when the disciple will offer specific requests for help for himself or others in difficult circumstances, but he must recognise that he can only pray according to God’s will. God knows what is best for us more than we do ourselves and may not always grant our requests. It is in this confidence that he will follow Paul’s instruction—
“in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Seeing both the need and the privilege of prayer he will “continue in prayer” (Colossians 4:2).
Seeking Forgiveness of Sins
The disciple, having been baptised and manifesting a zeal to serve God and forsake his former way of thinking and behaviour, soon realises that his desire to serve God is again marred by sin. The sad reality is forced upon him that he still bears that same flesh and blood nature with all its weakness and sinful promptings. His past sins were forgiven at baptism, but alas, he has again sinned. The apostle Paul, like all disciples of the Lord, was frustrated by this reality. He found that, although his desire was to serve his Lord in fullness, sin deceived him and he fell (Romans 7:18-24). Yet Paul knew that all was not therefore lost and rejoiced in God’s wonderful provision of a Saviour and Mediator: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v.25). What comfort there is in knowing that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1-2) and “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). So the disciple will be very aware of his continuing need for forgiveness that he might find favour with God. This was part of that model prayer which the Lord taught his disciples: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Like King David, he will pray that God will lead him “in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3; Matthew 6:13).
Gathering Together to Remember Christ
The custom of the early disciples was to gather on the first day of the week to remember the Lord Jesus Christ as he had appointed (Acts 20:7). While the first day of the week remains a convenient time for many to meet today, the precise day, time or place is not important. Jesus had commanded his disciples to remember him regularly in a simple ceremony that he had instituted—in eating bread and drinking wine. The bread was to represent his body and the wine was to remind them of his shed blood (Matthew 26: 26-29; Luke 22:19-20). The apostle Paul discussed this remembrance of the Lord in his letter to the disciples in Corinth, emphasising the need to place the highest importance upon what they were doing (1 Corinthians 11:23-29; cp 10:16-17). He also reminded them that when they gathered the women must have their heads covered (1 Corinthians 11:4-5,13) and that the role of speaking and teaching in the meetings was the responsibility of the men (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12). Disciples today follow this commandment of their Lord and meet together each week to worship God and remember His Son in this appointed way.
However if a believer is in an isolated area, separated from others who hold the same faith and hope, then he/she must still remember the Lord regularly as he has appointed. There is a need to set aside a quiet time to pray, read the word of God and partake of bread and wine, recalling the wonder of the Lord’s sacrifice whereby his sins have been forgiven. Though alone, he is part of the worldwide family of God, and can take comfort in the fact that many throughout the world will be doing likewise as they worship God and remember His Son.
It is important to realise that those who break bread in this way, do so on the basis of a common understanding of Bible Truth. After they were baptised, the disciples “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Fellowship, in the sense of being united together with God in Christ, is only possible for those who believe those things revealed in God’s word. The apostles instructed that those whose life-style was not in accord with the gospel, or who taught things that were not true doctrine, should not be accepted in fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:4,5; 1 Timothy 1:16-19; Titus 3:10; 2 John v.10,11). We are not therefore, as believers baptised into “the truth as it is in Jesus”, free to break bread with those who belong to other churches or who hold wrong doctrines.
The disciples in the first century also met together for prayer and discussion on the word of God, first of all the Old Testament and later the epistles sent by the apostles, as we see from reading through the Acts of the Apostles and the various epistles (Colossians 4:16). There was a keenness to study and think upon the word of God that they might gain greater understanding of His ways and draw nearer to Him. Those who did not continue to develop in the understanding of the word of God were reproved (Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:1-2).
The apostles realised that faith could only be strengthened by continually reading the word of God (Romans 10:17). Godliness, too, could only grow out of considering God’s character as He is revealed in His dealings with men and women in the past, and by seeing that character revealed perfectly in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The disciples of the Lord today still delight in gathering together to discuss the Bible and to encourage one another to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21–24; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Hebrews 10:24–25).
Christ—the Head of the Body
The pattern for both the individual life in Christ and communal life among the disciples is set out for us in the apostolic guidance found in the New Testament. As communities of believers were established throughout the Roman world the apostles continually reminded them that they were all part of the “one body” of which Jesus Christ was “the Head” (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19). The different communities were called “ecclesias”, meaning “called out ones”, and we have explained the meaning of this word in Lesson 23. Members of ecclesias must never lose sight of the fact that they are a separate people “called out” to glorify God in their lives. Although all communities of believers were united in “one faith” and “one hope” in Christ, yet each administered its own internal affairs. The qualifications of those who were to be selected for the care and guidance of these ecclesias are given in detail in 1 Timothy 3:1–7, Titus 1:5-9.
Since Jesus Christ was the acknowledged “head” of the “one body” of believers (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15-16), it was understood that each individual community was answerable to him. There was no tiered hierarchy established by the apostles answering to a central body, pope, patriarch, archbishop or prophet. Those who deviated from the true doctrines of the apostles were those who through greed exploited their followers, as the apostle Peter forewarned the early ecclesias to whom he wrote (2 Peter 2:1-3). It has been noticeable over many hundreds of years that the “covetousness” or greed of church leaders has turned religion into a money-making system. Those who know the prophecy of Peter understand how accurately the apostate church systems fulfil his prediction of this. He warned that false teachers would arise and
“make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2:3).
Unity of Faith and Love
Although each ecclesia, or group of believers, administered its own affairs, there was a bond of unity that pervaded the whole community throughout the world. They were united because they shared the one faith, the same hope and a mutual love of God, of Jesus Christ His Son, and of one another. Paul encouraged all individual members to be worthy of the One who had called them, “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”, for he reminded them that there was “one body...one hope...one faith” (Ephesians 4:1-7).
This bond that united the brethren of the Lord is wonderful to read of in the epistles in the New Testament. There was a care that existed between ecclesias, even towards those whom they may never have met face to face, and a warmth of hospitality extended to those who travelled. Each member was accepted and cared for with a loving concern for his wellbeing (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 3:12-17). They were very aware that they were all the children of one Heavenly Father, begotten by His grace, and it was this that constrained them to extend that brotherly love that should exist in the family of God. In fact they called each other “brother” and “sister” as a reminder of the status that they each enjoyed in Christ (2 Peter 3:15; Romans 16:1; Colossians 1:2).
This love that pervaded the ecclesias then, and is seen today amongst disciples, is well described by the apostle John: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [means of forgiveness] for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).
The Disciple’s Position in Society
One of the notable features of the disciples of the Lord in the first century was their complete separation from the political and social structure of the society in which they lived. Although Paul is described as having turned the pagan Roman world “upside down” (Acts 17:6), he did this through the preaching of the Gospel. The disciples considered themselves, like Abraham, “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13) and kept themselves separate from political activity. The power of their work lay in the message they proclaimed and the life that they lived.
That message revealed the divine plan for the earth. It showed the utter futility of human endeavour to solve the world’s problems, and exposed the wickedness of the perverse and permissive society in which they lived. They to ok no part in politics or military activity,
conscientiously believing that it was wrong for the servants of God to do so.
The commandments of Christ are very clear. Those who follow Christ are not to commit violence or harm others. Jesus taught: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”; and again: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:38-44). Further, when the mob came to capture Jesus and Peter used his sword to protect his Lord, Jesus said, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
The disciples realised that the only hope for the world was the return of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God which he would establish (Matthew 5:39-44; 26:52; Daniel 4:17). Therefore they followed Paul’s instructions and did not become involved in the ways of the world. They heeded Paul’s instruction, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate”, that they might keep themselves from the defilements of an immoral world, so “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1).
Although Paul and the other apostles instructed the disciples to take no part in the political structure of society, they were to willingly submit to rulers and obey the laws of the land as far as they did not conflict with their conscience before God. They encouraged them to pray for God’s overshadowing guidance upon those in authority that they might make laws that would allow them freedom of worship (1 Timothy 2:1-6; Romans 13:1-10, 1 Peter 2:11-25).
The disciple today will follow their example of separation from involvement in this world’s political activities, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s Kingdom. He, like Paul, will see that his citizenship belongs to the coming Kingdom: “For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus” (Philippians 3:20 ASV).
Preaching the “Good News”
You will recall that the word “Gospel” actually means “good news” or “to proclaim good news”. The message of salvation from sin and death and the coming Kingdom to be set up on earth is indeed “good news”. Jesus told the disciples: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel [or good news] to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-16). Once a person heard and understood this “good news” and believed and obeyed it by being baptised, he rejoiced in the new relationship he now had with God and Christ. There was then a strong desire to share this “good news” with others so that they too might share the hope of the Gospel also with them.
This is how Christianity spread so swiftly throughout the Roman Empire—as believers multiplied they told the “good news” or gospel to others. Paul, for example, tells how the believers in Thessalonica broadcast the word of God in the areas about them: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad (1 Thessalonians 1:8). This same spirit will be seen in those disciples today who have come to believe and obey the gospel. They will tell others of the wonderful hope that God has offered through Jesus Christ, and assist them to understand the message of the Bible.
Being a Faithful Disciple Today
Discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ today is based upon the same principles as it was in the days of Jesus. The word “disciple” primarily means one who is a learner and carries the idea of following the one who teaches. It incorporates not just the idea of receiving instruction, but of learning to perform for one’s self what the teacher has taught. It necessitates following the example set by the teacher, and the Lord was the greatest teacher the world has ever seen. He expected nothing less than total commitment from those who wanted to be his disciples (Luke 14:25–33), for discipleship requires transformation in our lives. We see in the lives of men like Peter and Paul that they followed him joyfully and in this they are great examples to us.
Discipleship today requires a daily dedication to follow the teaching and example of our Lord in all our ways. Disciples have the consolation of sharing their walk with others of the same faith by meeting with them to worship God and discuss the Bible together. By this means they can help one another to prepare for that glorious day when the Lord shall return from heaven to reward his faithful servants. To those who have patiently and faithfully served him in his absence he will say: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
1. The two fundamental themes of the Gospel message are
a. The things concerning the Kingdom of God, and
b. The things concerning the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).
2. To believe and obey the Gospel one must have an understanding of these Bible truths (Mark 16:15-16).
3. The apostles only accepted into the community of believers those who believed and obeyed the Gospel by being baptised into the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-38; 8:12; 10:43-48).
4. Baptism is a public identification with Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and of what God accomplished in him (Romans 6:1-7).
5. In requesting baptism a believer confesses that he is a sinner and acknowledges that he is worthy of death. As he comes out of the waters of baptism he commences a new way of life in Christ (Romans 6:4-6; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:22-24).
6. The new life that the disciple now endeavours to live is described by Paul in Colossians 3:1-17.
7. Daily reading and meditation on the word of God is an essential discipline in the life of the disciple of Christ (John 6:63; Psalm 1; Psalm 119:97,105; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
8. The disciple delights to talk with others about the wonders of God as revealed in the Bible (Malachi 3:16-17).
9. Prayer and thanksgiving become part of the daily life of the disciple (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2). He appreciates that Christ is at the right hand of God, there to make intercession for him (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2; 1:9).
10. The disciple is a “brother” or “sister” of the Lord Jesus Christ and part of the family of the living God, and acknowledges God as his “Father" (Matthew 6:9).
11. All true disciples are members of the worldwide “body of Christ” and acknowledge him as their “head” (Ephesians 1:22-23). This body is bound together in love (Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 3:12-17). There is a deep bond of fellowship and care one for the other that exists worldwide in the body of Christ, which is the ecclesia (John 13:34-35).
12. The disciple of Christ is committed to keephis commandments and follow his example in all things (John 14:21).
13. The disciple of Christ will keep himself separate from the ungodly ways of this world, not seeking its pleasures but rather striving to be holy in thought and action (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 1:15,16).
14. The disciple of Christ will take no part in the political and military activities of this world (Matthew 5:39-44; 26:52; Daniel 4:17).
15. Believing the Gospel of the coming kingdom of God and the way of salvation from sin, the disciple of Christ will gladly tell others
of this great hope revealed in the Bible (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
16. Following the commandment of his Lord, the disciple will meet each week to remember him by partaking of bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
Lesson 26 - Questions
1. What are the two fundamental themes of the Gospel?
2. When a person believes the Gospel what must he do next?
3. In Romans 6:2-7 Paul says that through baptism our “old man” is crucified and we “should walk in newness of life”. What does this mean?
4. Why is it vital for a disciple to read the Bible every day?
5. Why should prayer be an essential part of our life in Christ?
6. If Christ is the “Head”, what is the community of believers throughout the world likened to?
7. Why do disciples keep separate from the world and its ways?
8. Because disciples are now members of the family of God through Christ, how do they address each other?
9. Why do disciples of Christ take no part in the political and military activities of this world?
10. What did Jesus ask his disciples to do regularly to remember him?