Many claim to be Christians, but true disciples are more challenging to find. Yet this is the title most used for believers in the New Testament. Also, Jesus did not say, "Go and make believers of all nations." He said, "Make disciples." There is a big difference. Prepare to be challenged!
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20a, NKJV, author's emphasis).
The title "disciples" is the most used name for God's people during the New Covenant era.
It is found 255 times in the New Testament.
The word "disciple" has three primary meanings:
- One who is trained or taught.
- A student who aspires to be like his teacher
- One who accepts and assists in spreading the teachings of another
True disciples are trained and taught by God Himself, through His Word and by His Spirit.
Jesus did not simply say, "Make believers of all nations," He said, "Make disciples"—for true disciples become world changers.
Old Testament Truths
The word "disciple" appears only once in the Old Testament:
"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples" (Isa. 8:16).
In other words, "seal" or close out the season of "the law"—bring it to completion—and preserve and protect the testimony of the Messiah, what He did and what He taught in this world.
The Hebrew word translated "disciples" in Isaiah 8:16 is limmud. It comes from a root word lawmad that means "to stick with a goad" (a sharp stick that prods domestic animals to guide them the right direction").
Limmud is also translated "the learned" in Isaiah 50:4—and it refers to those who have an awakened ear to hear from God and an awakened tongue to speak powerfully as His representatives in this world.
Isaiah also prophesied that they are for "signs and wonders"—fulfilled in the New Testament (Heb. 2:13).
For more teaching on the difference between Christians and true disciples, listen to the entire podcast here.
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