The Importance of Discipleship

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The Importance of Discipleship

 

Whether we are a teacher or a parent, when it comes to teaching the children, we are more interested that they learn good values in life and grow to become valuable adults contributing to society.

And so it is with our relationship with God. God is more interested that we become more and more like Him through a life of faith and obedience than in living a life of sin and evil. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” – John 8:31.

What does it mean to be a disciple? and how does one become a Christian disciple who will make Jesus known everywhere and influence the lives of many?

Rev. Lim Kim Hock tells us the key points on discipleship here. 

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Since it is written into the Church’s Vision for LCOR to be a disciple-making, praying and family church, shouldn’t we consider why or how we can give priority to discipleship/ disciple-making in LCOR? Can we afford to be ignorant, or worse, indifferent to discipleship?
 

How important is Discipleship?

Let us first consider how Jesus regarded discipleship. In Luke 6:12-16, Jesus spent the whole night praying to God before he chose twelve of them, whom he also designated as apostles. To these twelve, he invested more than three years teaching and guiding them, spending his precious hours eating, chatting and even sleeping with them. Why would Jesus spend all that time with them if discipleship was not important?

Why would Jesus spend all that time with them if discipleship was not important?

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to them and discussed many things with them for forty days before he gave them the Great Commission, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” In the Great Commission, Jesus promised his authority/ power and presence. This became evident when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost. 

Furthermore, we are aware of how stringent it is to be a disciple. In Matt. 16:24, he said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” From this, we learn that discipleship is not for the faint-hearted, slip-shod or care-less kind. Discipleship is for those who are committed to following Christ wholeheartedly.
 

Since creation …

From the very beginning, we were made in the image of God, in the likeness of the triune God, to rule over all that is in the sea, in the sky and on the land (Gen. 1:26). However, we lost the image of God when Adam sinned. It is through the Son, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being (Heb. 1:3), that we can regain the image and likeness that was lost. As disciples, we seek to be like our Teacher in every way (Luke 6:40)
 

Discipling our next generation

One thing I learned from the Old Testament was how the Israelites were commanded to disciple or teach their children. In Ps. 78:5-8, it was decreed to teach their children and succeeding generations so that the next generation would put their trust in God and not forget his deeds. We see this also in Deut. 6:1-9 “so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord…

In this regard, I am especially thankful for the Lutheran heritage, which Martin Luther started:

  1. starting schools for all boys and girls so that they could read the Bible;
  2. writing the Small Catechism so that fathers can teach them to their children in the homes. 
     

Disciple-making in the context of LCOR

The first thing about disciple-making is attending the Divine Service/ Worship and bringing our families along. It is in the constant hearing of the Word (Scripture reading and sermon) and the partaking of the Holy Communion, that we grow in our love for the Lord. Coming to church was my first taste of growing as a follower of Jesus Christ, especially the constant nurture through the worship service and Sunday School.

The second thing about disciple-making is making our faith evident throughout the week, in our schools, neighbourhood and working place. It is how we honour Christ in the day-to-day living that counts, especially in our cheerful service and kindness to all, irrespective of whether they are known to us, strangers or occasional acquaintances.

Lastly, I think of the development or training aspect of disciple-making. We recognize that disciple-making is a process. It takes time and patience. We do the same thing over and over again until it becomes part of us or second nature to us. That’s why we come for worship and prayer. That’s why we continue with the Children‘s and Youth Ministry. And that’s the reason why we see the importance of conducting marriage courses, parenting courses, confirmation classes, Kairos course, and presently the Internship programme. 

Finally, let us not lose heart as we are reminded – “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” 
 
~ Rev. Lim Kim Hock
 

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