Whats it all about? Its all about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In
the New Testament all the true followers of Jesus, not just the twelve apostles, are
called disciples. A disciple studies under the Master, lives daily with Him, serves Him
and helps Him, and thats what being a Christian is all aboutbeing a disciple
Chances are, youve just decided to give your life to
Christ, and thats why youre reading this. You should know right at the offset
that being a disciple of Jesus isnt difficult, but it does take a firm commitment to
hang in there and stay by the Lord. You dont have to have an incredible amount of
will-power. He will give you the power to obey Him and to do His will. You dont need
to be a very good personits assumed that youre not, for all of us have
failed Him time and time again. Its not what you used to be that matters, its
what Hes going to make of you from now on. Youll never be the same, and
youll never regret a sincere decision to follow Jesus. Its the best life there
is; its entering into your destiny, being what you were meant to be. Enjoy!
Who Is Jesus?
Whats it all about? Maybe a better question would be,
"Whos it all about?" Being a Christian is not a matter of following
certain rules and conforming to a certain "acceptable" lifestyle. Its a
relationship with a person, Jesus Christ. Thats an important distinction to
remember, because your lifestyle will change a lot in the next few months. But
youll change because you want to please Jesus, not because its the tradition
of certain old-fashioned Christians to act in a certain way. Entering any new relationship
changes you, and a relationship as deep as the one Jesus desires will change you for
Who then is Jesus? Modern Americans differ in opinion.
Some think He was a well-meaning, but sometimes confused, prophet and teacher. A few
"New Age" people think of Him as a guru who reached a place of enlightenment
through meditation and personal discipline. Many others still take the traditional
Christian stance: Jesus was the Son of God and the founder of Christianity, the largest of
the worlds religions.
Who did Jesus Himself say He was? What does the Bible,
the record of His teachings, really say about Him?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was (and is) the "Word" of God in fleshly
form. He is, in fact, God the ultimate expression of who and what the Creator of
the Universe really is in human form. He existed forever with God the Father, but
in a little town in Palestine some 2000 years ago, He was born in human flesh, reducing
Himself to our level so He could really communicate the truth to us in a way we could
Every other religion is the story of man and his search for
God. Christianity is unique in that God is searching for man. God, in the form of His Son,
Jesus Christ, actually came to earth to declare Himself to humankind. He lived among us
for about thirty-three years, teaching about God and life, healing the sick and helping
people. For His efforts, certain jealous religious leaders had Him executed by
crucifixion, but He actually rose from the dead (which is confirmed by secular history
books of the time, as well as by the Bible), and then lifted off into heaven in front of
The essence of what He taught is known as the Gospel,
or the "good news." The bad news is that life is pretty miserable for a lot of
people on this planet. Pick up the newspaper any day and read about war, murder, rape,
sickness, death, drugs and crime of all sorts. None of us is immune. Because were
basically selfish, we manage to inflict a lot of pain on others in the course of a
lifetime, as well as catch a lot ourselves. The Bible calls it sin. Just because sin is in
the world, some things happen whether were trying to be good or not, like sickness.
And death ultimately happens to us all. (see Romans 3:12,23)
The good news is that Jesus can give us a new start. He offers
forgiveness of sins to everyone who decides to believe in Him and become His disciple. He
came to give us life, real and abundant, not just a day-to-day existence, (John 10:10).
And, after giving us a wonderful life down here on earth, He wants to take us into heaven
with Him for eternity. We can find God, understand the meaning of the universe, and
receive everlasting life all at once. Its almost too good to be true. Thats
why its called the "good news."
Becoming a disciple of Jesus is very simple, but it must be
done from the heart. Just admit your need for a Savior: that youre a sinner, and
that you havent found real satisfaction in life outside of Christ. Determine to be
changed, from the inside out, into who Jesus wants you to be. Then ask Him into your heart
and life to be your Lord and Savior. Youll notice the difference right away.
The Holy Spirit
The purpose of the disciple is to become like the Master (see
Matt 10:25). In Bible times Jesus disciples walked and talked with Him and ate at
the same table every day. He knew that couldnt be the case for all the disciples
that came afterwards, so He sent the Holy Spirit to help us (see John 14:16-17, 26). The
Holy Spirit lives within us, helps us to understand the ways of God, gives us power over
sin, and even the ability to do miracles in Jesus name.
"...You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not
many days from now... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and
you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of
Jesus told His disciples to wait for the Baptism in the
Holy Spirit before going out to spread the Good News. They were already His disciples,
they already had their sins forgiven and the assurance of eternal life, but He told them
they still needed one more thingthey needed the Holy Spirit. Many Christians today
are ignorant of the power of the Spirit, but the early church always emphasized this
important aspect of discipleship. Peter told the people gathered at the temple in
Jerusalem, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, (Acts
2:38). Paul, when meeting some Ephesian believers for the first time, asked them if
theyd received the Holy Spirit yet (Acts 19:2). They considered this very important.
The Christian disciple needs to be empowered by the same Spirit who filled Jesus Himself.
Read Acts 2:4, 10:44-46, and 19:6. These portions of the Bible
talk about what happened when people received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. They
received power to live in victory over sin and temptation, and power to tell people about
Jesus. They also received the ability to do miraculous things, things outside the normal
ability of other humans, like speak in languages theyd never learned, heal the sick,
and cast out demons. The supernatural world is very realthe Bible teaches that the
invisible world is more substantial than the visible world (2 Cor 4:18). Being a disciple
of Jesus is not just embracing another philosophy, its coming to grips with the
reality of the spiritual realm.
Talk to your pastor about getting baptized in the Holy Spirit
and adding this new dimension to your life as soon as you can. Hell also be able to
answer any questions you may have.
Three Essential Disciplines
The root word of disciple is discipline, and
youll need to practice the basic disciplines of Jesus in order to be a successful
follower. Just as your body needs the disciplines of eating and drinking in order to be
nourished, so your spiritual life needs to be nourished by what we sometimes call the
Three Essentials: Prayer, Bible Reading, and the Church.
Prayer, Talking to God
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you
have shut your door, pray to your Father....
Matthew 6:6 (see also Matt 6:5-13, 7:7-11, and 1 Tim 2:1-5)
The more you know Jesus, the better disciple youll be,
and you cant get to know Him or your Heavenly Father without sitting down and
talking to them, spending time in prayer. Thats right, prayer is talking to God, no
more and no less. Dont get confused by lifeless chants and memorized creeds, and
dont worry about learning the proper King James English to use when you talk with
God. He understands you just as you are, and He wants to talk to the real you, not a phony
with a religious mask on.
Tell Him how much you appreciate all Hes done for you,
and how much you love Him. Let Him in on your innermost thoughts, desires, and needs. He
really understands and cares about the details of your life, and He has the ability to
work things out as you present them to Him. Hes never too busy to hear the prayers
of someone who comes in Jesus name.
Successful disciples like to set aside an hour or so every day
(preferably in the morning) for prayer and Bible-reading. Its a great way to start
off the day, and it's certainly more effective than a little quickie prayer before you go
The Bible, God's Word
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
There are good books and bad books, but the Bible is
definitely in a class by itself. Over thirty authors, claiming to be inspired by God,
wrote it over a period of some 1600 years. Divine authorship is a big claim, but the Bible
has lived up to it. The wisdom in its pages has guided the lives of hundreds of millions
of people from every conceivable background for thousands of years. Though most of the
characters were rooted in ancient civilizations long since vanished, the words they lived
by are remarkably pertinent in every day and age. Year after year it tops the charts as
the best-selling book. Its been translated into over 2000 languages; its message is
The Bible describes the unfolding of Gods message to
mankind: beginning at the founding of the earth; progressing through the history of the
chosen people, Israel; climaxing in the ministry of Jesus Christ and the founding of the
church; and culminating in the apocalyptic end of the universe as we now know it. In
between all the great events are teachings that are meant to guide you through all the ups
and downs of life. Youll read the Bible over and over again in your lifetime, but
youll never exhaust its riches.
We recommend the new disciple stay in the New Testament for
awhile. Whats important for you at this time is to find out what Jesus said and did,
and how the early apostles carried on from there. Try starting at the Gospel of John, then
reading through the Book of Acts, and some of the letters to the early churches (Romans, 1
& 2 Corinthians, etc.). Dont worry, you wont get boredyoull be
anxious to read more and more of Gods life-giving Word!
The Church, the Family of God
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and
good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The disciple of Jesus Christ is not meant to be a loner. Jesus
said "I will build my church," (Matt 16:18) and though the church is made up of
individuals, were all put together in Christ to be one organism. The Christian must
learn to be a team-player. The Lord has designed us to be dependent on one
anothernone of us have all we need to be successful all by ourselves. (see 1 Cor
Your brothers and sisters in Christ can be a real asset to
you, especially in the first few years of your new life in the Lord. Theyll be able
to help you over the rough spots, sharing some of the insights theyve gained in
their own walk with Christ. (Youd be surprised at where some of them come
fromthey may look squeaky clean right now, but thats because Jesus has been
working on them for a few years already). In the future you may be needed to help disciple
a younger person than you, so listen close, and learn all you can.
Come together with other Christians as often as you can,
whether its for regularly scheduled services, prayer meetings, Bible classes, or
just a little relaxation and fellowship. Establish some real friendships among the
brethren and you wont tempted to go back into your old pre-Jesus lifestyle.
Sin & Righteousness
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are
His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works...
The Good News is that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and
that by simply receiving Him as your Lord and Savior and becoming His disciple you can be
completely forgiven. You did nothing to earn it. There was nothing you could do. Jesus did
it all for you. Thats what grace means. Thats why our salvation is
called "the gift of God." All you had to do was believe in Jesus and start
But that doesnt mean you can just go out and live in
sin, counting on His forgiveness to absolve you of all guilt. Jesus is righteous (without
sin) and He expects His disciples to be righteous, too. He has a plan for your life, a
plan for you to walk in His will, and help others experience life in Him. Sin can get in
the way of you fulfilling your destinytaken far enough it can sidetrack you
completely. So never take it lightly.
Nevertheless, you probably wont be perfect overnight, so
the Lord has made provision for you if you fail. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess
our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unright-eousness." So dont walk around with a heavy load of guilt and
frustration. Confess your sin, determine not to do it again, and trust the Lord for
strength as well as forgiveness.
God & Your Money
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed
down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same
measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
Some people consider money a "dirty" subject,
especially when it comes to religion, but God cares about everything, including our
finances. Money plays a big part in all of our lives, and is a major player in causing
people to sin, too (see 1 Tim 6:9-10). In addition, the work of God on this earth needs
money, just like anybody else and it doesnt just fall from heaven!
God has devised a way that not only meets the needs of the
church and keeps the bills paid, but also prospers His people in the process. It operates
on the same principle as planting a crop or garden. You put some seed money in the ground,
and God brings a harvest back to you in due season. That is, you give money to the church,
to missions, or to some needy brother or sister, and God promises to pay you back with
interest and more! Some people never prosper because they hold on so tight to what they
have. In order to get ahead you have to stick your neck out a little and investand
theres no better place to invest than the kingdom of heaven. (See 2 Cor 9:6-15, Gal
Specifically that means tithes and offerings. The tithe
is one tenth of your earnings. If that sounds like a lot, remember that the government
gets almost 50% of your paycheck one way or anotherGod asks a lot less for a larger
return. The offering is anything above and beyond ten percent that you wish to
give. The tithe usually goes to your home church, the place where you get spiritually fed.
The offering can go towards supporting any needy project or person. Happy sowing and
Your Enemy The Devil
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks
about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Well as you might expect, being a Christian isnt all
fun and games and happy times with the brethren. We have an enemy, and hes the most
formidable one thats ever walked across the pages of history. The Bible calls him
the devil, or Satan. Jesus said he only comes for one thing: to steal and kill and destroy
(Jn 10:10). And thats what he wants to do in your new life as a disciple of the
Before you decided to follow Jesus, you were a citizen of
Satans realm, and you may have opened many doors in your life to him through various
sins. Occult and false religions, drug addiction, and sexual promiscuity are some of his
specialties. He gains a foothold in peoples lives through these and tries to destroy
The good news is that you now have the power to resist him and
his waysso do it! If you find that some of the old bonds are hard to break, talk to
your pastor about some special prayer for deliveranceit really worksbut
whatever you do, dont let the enemy lure you into your old lifestyle.
The devil may also try to confuse you by bringing people from
various cults to your door. Check them out with your pastor before you let them inside.
Stick with the Bible, the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. A lot of people have ideas
about God and the meaning of life and some of them sound pretty reasonable, but men can be
wrong. Stick with the Word of God.
Fellow disciple, youve got a great life ahead of you and
eternity after that, so dont get discouraged. Get into Jesus, and start telling
others about Him too. The world is desperately in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
Hes chosen you to help spread the word.
Copyright © 1998 Kim
Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.