BLOG ENTRY #3 DATE JAN 10 2012
From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:
“In Matthew 28: 18-20. the Word of God says this: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We are commissioned by our Lord Jesus to go and make disciples, which is accomplished in three steps. First we go. Where? To all the nations. Second, we baptize them- we cause them to identify with/define themselves as belonging to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- the Triune God. Third, we teach them to observe all that God the Son commanded us. The question arises, “Who are `we’?” Who/what are these disciples and how can we know one when we meet one? If we are charged to make disciples of all the nations, then we must presuppose that we are disciples ourselves, that we know what a disciple is, and how to help a person to transform so that we can be certain that the end result meets the standard and criteria established by our Lord. A definition of “disciple” is in order.
The greek word for “disciple” is mathetes, meaning pupil or learner. “It means an adherer who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct.” Footnote: Spiros Zodhiates HEBREW GREEK KEY STUDY BIBLE Lexical Aids to the NT #3101, 3129. It also means learning by putting into experience that which one has learned. At the heart of the ancients’ understanding of this concept was a desire to learn, an urge to “cause oneself to know with a moral bearing and responsibility”, i. e., to endeavor to learn so that what is learned will become the motivation and means for living one’s life, the standard and manifestation of one’s highest values and thus the foundation of one’s conduct. Thus, the leb– the heart and the will- is integrally involved in any effort and attempt at discipling- as manifested on the part of the disciple in seeking such status and also as evidence thereof sought by the teacher as to the disciple’s sincerity. Moreover, the teacher had to desire also to “replicate him/her self”, having himself been made to conform to the image of Christ. The teacher’s desire is to have the same transformation occur in his/her disciple.
We will begin this study by identifying an example of a disciple in order to examine the attributes and conduct of such an individual. The Holy Spirit has directed that we study Genesis chapter 24. I was curious as to why He chose to use as a paradigm for discipleship someone from the Old Testament. Usually, when we think of disciples, we think almost exclusively in New Testament contexts- the Lord Jesus’ Twelve Disciples, the disciples of John the Baptist, the self-described ‘disciples of Moses’-the Pharisees and Sadducees. However, the Holy Spirit specifically directed me toGenesis 24 as the example of discipleship He wanted to use for purposes of this study. I expected Joseph or one of the other patriarchs. I thought it might be one of the major prophets, or David the King, or at least one of the minor prophets. I also was curious as to why He chose the example we will study. His choice will become clear as we go further into His Word.”