Precept Ministries International just posted an article titled "Marks of a Disciple" based on a sermon by David Platt. You can get the full article here. Here's an excerpt that includes 5 questions to act on as you think about how to grow as a disciple of Christ:
From the very beginning, Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Every follower should be a fisher . . . not fishing for men all over the lake, but spreading the gospel all over the world. At the end of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples” (Matt 28:19). Then in Acts 1:8 he tells them that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit, not just so that they can go to Bible studies and worship and be a kind person, but so that they would be witnesses—to testify about him “to the end of the earth.”
God has not saved you to dwell in a Christian bubble; God has saved you to spread the Christian gospel, both in the city where you live and to the ends of the earth. This is what we were created for, what we’ve been commissioned to do as a church. This is what we’re compelled to do as Christians, to be disciples who make disciples so that the grace and love of God are spread all over the world through us!
Some Questions to Act On
Let me ask you a question: How are you making disciples? You may be tempted to think, “I don’t know if I can really make disciples.” If that’s you, then I want to let you in on a secret: you can’t. But that’s the whole point. God has put His Holy Spirit in you, and He has equipped you and empowered you to do that which you could never do on your own. That’s the whole point of Christianity. God has not saved you to sit on the sidelines and to do what you’re capable of doing. He has saved you to live on the front lines and experience what He alone is capable of doing.
One of the ways we can grow as disciple-makers is by being intentional and consistent in how we pursue God and walk in obedience to his mission. The five questions below are designed to help you in that process. I want to challenge you to think about the following questions and spend some time answering them. Be specific in your answers.
To grow as a disciple maker in the coming days . . .
1. How will I fill my mind with truth?
How can you be intentional to read God’s Word? The life of the disciple is the life of a learner; we want to learn from Christ and we want His Word to fill our minds. This includes memorizing God’s Word and learning from others. And remember, the goal in filling our mind with truth is not just to gain information, but to experience transformation. We want to hear the truth of God’s Word, and at the same time we want to apply and experience the truth of God’s Word.
2. How will I fuel my affections for God?
Even as I’m encouraging you to ask these questions, I realize that if we’re not careful, even Bible reading (or other spiritual disciplines) can become mechanical and monotonous, which is not the point. Our goal is not just to know God; our goal is to love God. So what can you do to fuel affection, to stoke the fires of passion for God?
Worship is one of the avenues for fueling our affections for God. As a follower of Christ, I hope that you are a member of a local church body and that you are committed to prioritize weekly worship with your church—more than weekend sports or other weekend activities that would keep you from worship.
Prayer is monumental in fueling our affections for God. Designate a time and a place when you go into your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. This one practice alone will utterly revolutionize your life.
Fasting is another way to fuel our affection for God. Commit to setting aside a meal once a week or once every few weeks, or maybe more as time progresses. When you fast, pray something like this: “More than I want food, I just want to feast on God in prayer and in His Word. More than food to satisfy my hunger, I want to be satisfied with Christ.”
Our giving can also fuel our affections for God. You might think, “What does giving have to do with affection for God?” According to Jesus, giving has everything to do with affection for God. Matthew 6:21 tells us that, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Instead of tithing being the ceiling of your giving, why not make tithing the floor of your giving, and give generously and sacrificially to His glory?
3. How will I share God’s love as a witness in the world?
Who has God put in your life (in your sphere of influence) who does not know Christ? Write down the names of three, five, or maybe even ten people you know who don’t know Christ. Pray for them this year, and work by God’s grace to see them come to Christ. What is going to be your plan for sharing Christ with them? Think of ways you can specifically and deliberately create opportunities to share the gospel with those people. It could be through an invitation to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee. Is there some other activity or avenue you could explore, whether that’s something as involved as spending a day or weekend with them, or something as simple as writing a letter to them?
4. How will I spread God’s glory among all peoples?
We have been commanded to make disciples of all nations, and that is not just a command for extraordinary missionaries; that is a command for ordinary disciples. So how is your life going to play a part in the spread of God’s glory to the ends of the earth? Consider these three ways:
Pray: One of the ways we can spread God’s glory among all peoples is to pray. You and I have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing around the world from our knees. You might use a resource like Operation World (OperationWorld.org) to pray for the nations of the world.
Give: We can also be a part of what God is doing through our giving. Though we may not always feel like it, we are the richest people to ever walk planet earth. How can we sacrifice to give to the needs of the world?
Go: In order to spread God’s glory among all peoples we need to go to the nations. Think through any and every way you might spend your life, lead your family, or leverage your work to go to the people groups of the world with the gospel. Our lives should be a blank check on the table . . . no strings attached.
5. One final question: How will I make disciple makers among a few people?
Jesus, more than anyone else who has ever lived, was most passionate about the Father’s glory among all nations, yet He poured His life into a few people. So how can you do the same thing?
As a disciple-maker, you want to spend your life multiplying the gospel in such a way that you help equip, empower, and embolden the people around you to start making disciples as well.