If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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At its simplest a disciple is a follower of Jesus. Jesus spoke about what He understood His disciples to be.
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Jesus distinguished between believing Him and following His teaching, and hence to some extent between being a Christian and being a disciple.
John 8: 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus summarised his teaching in the word love. He did not merely give us a word, He gave us the example of His life.
John 13: 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
Jesus’ disciples bear fruit. This fruit is the outworking of God being at work in us.
John 15: 1 "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father
As we follow Jesus there will come a time when He will go somewhere we don’t want to go. As we go with Him at a cost we join Him in carrying a cross.
Luke 14: 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 "But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.30 They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!'
31 "Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?32 And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
Followers become like their leaders. Though Jesus taught this as a general principle of life, it is true of His followers.
Luke 6: 40 Students* are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
Jesus ended His ministry by sending of His disciples to make disciples of Jesus.
Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,* baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
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