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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thurlow Switzer: Pathway of Discipleship

By Thurlow Switzer

What is a pathway of Discipleship? A disciple is a clearly committed follower of Jesus. Jesus left some very clear directions to his apostles in Matthew 28:18-20.

“Jesus said: ‘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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

The pathway of discipleship is a personal pursuit of growing in Christ to Christlike maturity. The pathway of discipleship might include classes of instruction, interactive fellowship in small groups, gathering in prayer, corporate worship, and learning to testify about our experience with Christ Jesus as our Lord to others.

I identify with the apostle Paul when he declared his passion: “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul said: Him we preach ...that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Col 1:24-29).

Discipleship has to do with the disciplines of the heart, become like Christ. Paul said: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col 1:6,7).

Across the board, across the church at large, too many people are mere church attendees. However, it is my testimony that most church members are sincerely desiring a more advanced and a deeper relationship with Christ Jesus. Undoubtedly, you are in this category—you want to grow on and deepen your life spiritually. One does not grow up overnight, it takes persistence and a continued exposure to more and more biblical truth, along with a commitment to embrace God’s word and truth experientially.

The apostle Peter stated that “grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:2-3). He urged the followers of Christ: “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, ...knowledge, ...self-control, ...perseverance, ...godliness, ...brotherly kindness, and ... agape love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:5-8). “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1:120-11).

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