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By Derek Gentle
"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is
perfectly trained will be like his teacher." - Luke 6:40
1. Discipleship Has a Specific Goal; Not a Subjective Definition
"like his teacher"
It is God's objective to make His disciples like Jesus. This is all over the New Testament.
"For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son..." Romans 8:29
"Till we all come... to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" Ephesians 4:13
God will not fail to achieve his purpose in us; when the last trumpet sounds, God will complete his work and we will, indeed, find ourselves to have been made like Jesus.
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2
1.1. You Have to Have the Right Leader
"And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?" Vs. 39
We were going to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas from Birmingham once. We were going to watch Alabama play Texas. On the way, we were behind some Georgia fans on their way to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Georgia has similar colors to Alabama's and the place where I-20 and I-59 break apart is fairly subtle. I had taken a nap and awoke to find strange scenery outside my window. I said, "Sheila, where are we?" "Laurell, Mississippi" "Sheila, we don't go through Laurell" We had followed the wrong leader. (Sheila said it would OK to tell you about this)
1.2 It Requires an Inner Transformation
"For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush." Vs. 43-44
When we are told that we need to be like Jesus, we come across a problem. We aren't like Jesus. And we do what we do because we are what we are. Something will have to happen to change us and what we are.
1.3 What You Are Will Inevitably Express Itself
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Vs. 45
What comes out when the tube is squeezed is what is in the tube. When panic or anger or something else squeezes our tube we will show ourselves to be what we are.
2. Discipleship is a Process, Not an Event
"But we all...beholding...the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory..." - 2 Corinthians 3:18
It would be nice if we could have instant maturity. But it doesn't work that way in Christian growth. Jesus told us that a disciple becomes like his master after a process and becoming "perfectly trained". On the way to becoming perfectly trained, there are stages of maturation. As Paul put it, we are moving "from glory to glory".
2.1. The Process Requires That You Concentrate on Your Own Training
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?" Vs. 41
It is a whole lot easier to go around fine-tuning others instead of overhauling our own lives. Yet, the only person's growth for which I can be responsible is my own.
2.2 The Process Requires Honest Self-Appraisal
"Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye." Vs. 42
I don't like this part, personally. I prefer to see myself in positive ways. But to move forward I have to be able to see where I am. I have to see the plank in my own eye.
2.3 The Process Requires Obedience to the Master
"But why do you call Me `Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" Vs. 46
We pass through a series of crises of obedience when it comes to our discipleship process. God puts His finger on an area of our lives and says obey. This is how He moves us forward.
"By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature..." 2 Peter 1:4
As we come to each crisis of obedience, we come to face our own insufficiency. Now God's Word comes alive to us as He shows us His promises and through the power of His living Word, He transforms us.
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