The Way it Was (Discipleship, Part II)

In the last blog, I wrote that a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be a copycat who makes more copycats and offered three essential tips for effective discipleship:

Tip #1: Be a Sold-out Copycat (of good stuff)!

Tip #2: Follow Jesus’ Model to Make More Copycats!

Tip #3: GO!

Now, let’s explore how the earliest Church discipled using Jesus’ approach.

Early Christians didn’t have programs, bills, a different language (Christianese), or an expectation that people should come to them or their church. Instead, they lived life well in the community with everyone else, according to the words of God and ways of Christ. The yet-to-be-churched saw the gospel at work and observed consistent good works and Godly behaviors. What they saw built trust and made them curious. So, the earliest Church grew because God-fearing Christ-followers met people where there were. Here’s part of a letter written to the tutor of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century, which reflects this approach, especially the modeling aspect of discipleship:

Christians are not different from the rest of men in nationality, speech, or customs; they do not live in states of their own, nor do they use a special language, nor adopt a peculiar way of life. … they follow local custom in the matter of dress, food, and way of life; yet the character of the culture they reveal is marvellous … They share in all duties like citizens and suffer all hardships like strangers. … They marry like the rest of men and beget children, but they do not abandon the babies that are born. They share a common board, but not a common bed. In the flesh as they are, they do not live according to the flesh. They dwell on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the laws that men make, but their lives are better than the laws. … They are maligned, and yet are vindicated. They are reviled, and yet they bless. They suffer insult, yet they pay respect. They do good, yet are punished with the wicked.

In the third of three discipleship blogs, I’ll offer a few tips for being light and the Kingdom of God by meeting people where they are today and ministering in ways they understand. As you can imagine, we must get out from behind church walls, or the building becomes the most expensive ‘lampshade’ on the planet! And there’s no point in bringing others the gospel of God’s Kingdom if they don’t trust or understand us! Don’t worry, though – I’m here to help!

Don’t forget to join me on October 3rd for Disciple-Con 20/20 Vision! For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.findingdiscipleship.org/disciplecon2020

Questions or comments? Email publisher@taylorpress.net.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley

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