at Mountain View Bible Camp
Mt. View Bible Camp, Snydertown, PA
August 10 - 16, 2019
THEME: The Mandate of Discipleship
Going from being a disciple to making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)
Our theme verses for MIF: 2019 are from Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came 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 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.”
While every disciple is a believer, not every believer is necessarily living like a disciple. The question that needs to be answered is, “What is a disciple of Jesus Christ and what does one look like?” Many may think that the term disciple refers only to the early followers of Christ or to an extra-spiritual Christian, a next-step-up Christian! But God still desires and expects every Christian to be a disciple today.
The word “disciple” is used at least 261 times in the Greek New Testament, appearing only in the gospels and Acts. The Christian experience of the first-century church may seem radical to many in the church today, but to those early believers, being a disciple was normal Christianity. They were empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit, and they turned their world upside down for the sake of Christ. They were true disciples of Jesus Christ.
The questions we want to delve into this week are these:
- “What are the requirements of being a disciple?”
- “What are the features and the daily disciplines of a true disciple?”
- “How does a disciple become a disciple-maker?”
Keynote 1: A Disciple of Christ and the Requirements to Be One
What is a disciple and what are the requirements of being one?
Points to Consider
A disciple is defined as a learner, a pupil, one who comes to be taught. So where do we start? First, we must determine who the Lord Jesus truly is (Mark 8:27-30). Next, we must make the decision to take the road less traveled, which means that following Christ is about denying ourselves. The word “deny” means “to resist, reject, or to refuse; to say no to oneself.” It is used this way in Mark 14:72. Third, we are to take up our cross, which speaks of death. Lastly, we are told to lose our lives for Christ’s sake. Luke 14:25-35 lays out the requirements of discipleship.
Suggested focus: How do the following passages impact us?
- Outline Luke 14:25-35, looking at each requirement.
- How do Luke 9:23-26 and Luke 9:57-62 go along with the prerequisites to discipleship?
Keynote 2: Features of a Disciple of Christ
Features of a True Disciple of Christ
Points to Consider
As a verb, the word disciple occurs four times in the New Testament. One of those uses is an imperative command, found in Matthew 28:19-20, the verses we normally refer to as “The Great Commission.” The disciples of Jesus were told before his ascension that they were “to make disciples of all nations.” This command is only found in Matthew’s gospel.
But as mentioned in the Introduction, the word disciple occurs about 260 other times in the Greek New Testament. As a noun, a disciple is a learner, one who follows his teacher and learns from him. Often a disciple would live with the teacher; following his every move and serving him however he could. The Lord Jesus had many disciples. Yet some were just there as “hangers on,” leaving when things got tough, while others were true converts, as seen in John 6:60-69.
In Matthew 10 the Lord Jesus calls His twelve apostles. In this chapter we see instruction for those specific apostles (10:1-15); then He gives instructions for future disciples (10:16-23); and in 10:24-42 He gives instruction for what we would call present-day disciples. These are specific instructions for all who desire to follow Christ today. In this section the Lord sets forth the essence of Christian dedication, the features and cost of being a real disciple of Christ. The passage in Matthew 10:24-42 presents several features of true discipleship.
- A disciple of Christ emulates his/her Master (Matthew 10:24-25)
- A disciple of Christ need not fear men (Mathew 10:26-31)
- A disciple has assurance to rest upon (Matthew 10:29- 31)
- A disciple confesses the Lord (Matthew 10:32-33)
- A disciple gives Christ the preeminent place (Matthew10:34-37)
- A disciple offers his own life (Matthew 10:32-36)
- A disciple is a blessing to others (Matthew 10:40-42)
Keynote 3: Daily Discipline in a Disciple’s Life
Daily Discipline in a Disciple’s Life
Points to Consider
Discipline is a word most of us don’t like! We automatically think negatively about it; but discipline in our lives is not negative, it’s necessary. Those that have done well in their education know the discipline it takes to succeed in school, whether high school, college, or graduate school. Think of the hours of dedication and discipline it takes for men and women to become doctors, lawyers, or successful business people. Likewise, in sports one of the main ingredients of a successful athlete is discipline.
Proverbs 23:12 tells us, “Apply your heart to discipline (instruction), and your ears to words of knowledge” (NAS). Paul instructed Timothy to “exercise (train) yourself toward godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). This word exercise or train is the source of our English words gymnastics and gymnasium. The word drips with sweat and feels like burning muscles! Spiritual discipline leads to a godly life and helps develop a Christ-like life. Some have defined spiritual discipline as cultivating godliness in our lives.
Scripture constantly refers indirectly to this spiritual exercise or discipline through instructions like these: “the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2), “being transformed” (2 Cor. 3:18), “Christ being formed in you” (Gal. 4:19), and “being conformed into the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Then in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 we read this: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
What are some essential disciplines in the lives of Christians if they are to be true disciples of Christ? Some points include:
- Service and sacrifice
Handout Provided at Conference
DAILY DISCIPLINE IN A DISCIPLE’S LIFE
As seen in the life and service of Paul
We usually speak of Paul as an apostle, but in this keynote address I want to emphasize that he was a disciple in the first place. We remember that he escaped death in Damascus, went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple (Acts 9:23-26). So let's find out together in Scripture some essential disciplines in his life and service that show that Paul was a true disciple of the Lord.
Both brothers and sisters (Acts 9:2,36), both young (Timothy: Acts 16:1) and old (Mnason: Acts 21:16) are disciples of the Lord and should wonder if they are characterized by these disciplines.
PrayerIn his personal encounter with the Lord, Paul had already recognized the Lordship of Jesus (“Lord, who are you?” and “Lord, what do you want me to do”? Now the Lord Jesus himself mentions Paul's first activity as a disciple, telling Ananias: “Behold, he is praying. Paul was a man of prayer!
“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, ………… and saw Him saying to me …” (Acts 22:17). In his prayers, Paul was communicating with the Lord. One day Paul pleaded with the Lord three times that the thorn in the flesh might depart from him. But the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8,9).
“… night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). He prayed for those who had also become followers of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:6). “Therefore, we also pray always for you ….” (2 Thess. 1:11)
“Now I pray to God that you do no evil .... and this also we pray, that you may be made complete” (2 Corinthians 13:7,9). Paul prayed for those who had been restored from association with evil, praying for them to Him that he knew as the God of restoration.
Keyword: spiritual growth.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you ….” (Philippians 1:9)
“…. praying always for you” (Colossians 1,3), so for those he had never met. He asked them to pray for him and his fellow-workers as well, that God would open to them a door for the word.
- Keyword: interaction.
In Damascus and Jerusalem
- “Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:19b,20; also v. 25).
- “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22)
- “So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus” (9:28)
In Antioch where persecuted disciples had “preached the Lord Jesus” (Acts 11:19-24).
- Note the expressions in this portion: “The hand of the Lord was with them”, “.. believed and turned to the Lord”, “… with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord”, “ ..a great many people were added to the Lord”. In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. It was with these disciples that for a whole year Paul (Saul) and Barnabas were gathered together in the assembly and taught a large crowd.
- In Damascus and Jerusalem
a) In his personal life:
“… who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus ....” (Philippians 3:3).
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14)
Collectively in local assemblies:
Whenever he had the opportunity, Paul stayed in local assemblies for the breaking of bread:
“And they stayed no little time with the disciples” (Acts 9:28; see also Acts 21,4)
“And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread …” (Acts 20:4-7)
Paul and seven travel companions (Acts 19:29) stayed seven days in Troas in order to proclaim the death of the lord in the breaking of bread there.
- In Antioch:
- a) In his personal life:
- Spiritual aspect of the service:
“…according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you ..” (Colossians 1:25): both gospel outreach and teaching (including the truth of the Assembly)
“assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you” (Ephesians 3:2)
“how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house ....” (Acts 20:20-27)
- repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ / to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
- among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God
- for I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
- Material aspect of the service:
“For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, … not greedy for money …”
“Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:29)
- 2 Corinthians 8: “… avoiding this, that any one should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us; for we provide for things honest, not only before the Lord, but also before men” (v. 20-21; please read the whole chapter).
- Spiritual aspect of the service:
Service and sacrifice/sufferings
Paul had witnessed the stoning of Stephen, consented to this murder (Acts 7:58; 8:1) and was in charge of murdering the disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1).
His encounter with the Lord on the road of Damascus changed his life ànd service forever: the persecutor of Jesus / the saints (Acts 9:5,13), of the Assembly (Galatians 1:13), became a disciple of the Lord.
After Paul’s repentance, the Lord spoke to Ananias and Paul (in Damascus) and Paul himself (in Jerusalem) about:
- the future service of Paul:
- “.. to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15)
- “I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)
- b) The future sufferings that would be part of this service:
- “… how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts (9:16)
- “Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me” (Acts 22:18)
Did Paul accept this service and these sufferings?
Yes ! He gladly accepted the statement from the Lord that a true disciple of the Lord cannot service HIM without enduring suffering.
The book of Acts shows us time and again that Paul suffered while serving the Lord, giving testimony of his Lord, wherever he could:
- teaching the disciples in Antioch in Syria (see: 2. Witnessing/evangelism)
- making many other disciples in Derbe (Acts 14:21)
- strengthening the souls of the disciples in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 14,22; see also Acts 18,23).
- the future service of Paul:
Perseverance in service in spite of (or I would rather state: as a result of) sufferings
In Acts 16, Paul and his fellow-disciples concluded that the Lord had called them to preach the gospel to Macedonia. They were immediately confronted with opposition from the power of darkness. The liberation of the demon-possessed girl, Satan had the mob reacted violently, the magistrates tore off the clothes of Paul and Silas and commanded them to be beaten. After a thorough beating, they were sent to jail, with special instructions to the jailer to keep them securely. He responded by putting them into the inner prison and fastening their feet in the stocks.
BUT: The midnight hour found Paul and Silas praying and singing. Their joy was completely independent of earthly circumstances.
(In the letter to the Philippians, Paul shared how his sufferings resulted in the advance of the gospel. Maybe no letter of Paul's is as joyful as this one. And yet it is also full of so much pain, sorrow, suffering and trouble. The two themes of "joy" and "sorrow" be woven together so much. Paul was so joyful in the midst of all of the sorrow and trouble)
What did Paul and Silas do after they left Philippi?
Even after they had suffered before and were spitefully treated, they were bold in their God to speak to the Thessalonians the gospel of God in much conflict. Paul reminds them in his first letter to them, that even when he was in Thessalonica, he used to tell them that Christians were appointed to afflictions. This prediction was part of the gospel of God, preached to them!
As a result of this message, an assembly came into being in Thessalonica. Because of persecution, the brethren in Thessalonica decided it would be well for the preachers to leave their town.
I would like you to turn to 1 Thessalonians 1:1 (and 2 Thessalonians 1:2):“To the assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. The Lordship of Jesus is emphasized time and again in these two letters.
Paul and Silas stated that the newly converted in Thessalonica were:
- followers of us and of the Lord: (“us”, because the Thessalonians noticed that those who preached the gospel of God to them, did it in spite of all the beatings they had suffered in Philippi; therefore they too, they were ready to receive the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit)
- examples to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia
Today the Lord says to every disciple: “Take your share in suffering …”
[“You therefore must endure hardship …” (2 Timothy 2 :3)]
Keynote 4: Disciples Making Disciples
Disciples Making Disciples
Br. Steve Campbell
Points to Consider
Discipleship without reproduction isn’t really discipleship. Disciple-makers put their efforts into someone else so the faith can spread further and faster. If we are to be like Jesus, we must invest our lives in faithful men and women who will likewise reproduce themselves in others.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and told them that universal authority had been conferred on Him. Therefore, He commissioned them to a worldwide mission: “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” (Matt. 28:18–20).
It was, and still is, Jesus’ plan to spread God’s kingdom throughout the world. Simply put, they were to reproduce themselves by taking their disciples through the same basic teaching and training that Jesus had given them in their apprenticeship with Him. Today, you and I have a part to play! Let’s look at Jesus’ call to make disciples and how we are to do it.
- Looking at the mandate of discipleship found in our theme verse, what motives and methods of discipleship are given here?
- Other Scriptures to consider include: Luke 6:13, Mark 3:14, Acts 11:26, 14:21, Colossians 1:28-29, 2 Timothy 2:2
Handout Provided at Conference
- How does spiritual growth even happen?
- Mark 4:26-27
It is a definite process, but in some ways it simply cannot be described.
It’s a spiritual program of growth. God, ourselves, and others all have a part.
- Mark 4:26-27
- The verb for “making disciples”
- Matthew 27:57—Joseph of Arimathaea had made himself a disciple
- Matthew 28:18-20—the Lord Jesus told His followers to make disciples
- Acts 14:21-22—Paul and Barnabas made many disciples in Derbe
- Two steps in the Lord’s commission for making disciples: baptizing and teaching.
- Baptism should be encouraged!
- Baptism is in the name of the triune God—all that He is and all that He does in His various activities are necessary for the new disciple.
- We don’t make disciples in our own names or our own likenesses.
- The Pharisees did, Matthew 23:15
- Galatians 4:19, Christ formed in you
- Colossians 1:28, Him we preach… everyone perfected in Christ
- We recognize that God makes every person and every culture into His own image.
- Acts 15:10-11, 19-20, 28-30, the Gentiles and faith
- Historical examples exist with colonial or imperial tones in evangelism
- It’s true that the relationship between faith and culture can be complex
- But this shows the power of Christianity! It’s not uniformity
- The desire is that others will increase in spiritual character and devotedness.
- It might be a formal relationship suggested by disciple-maker or disciple.
- But it is happening informally all the time, and it should be intentional.
- Tone is essential; the servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle when teaching, 2 Timothy 2:24
- There are various areas of spiritual growth as we help other disciples.
- Faith, love, strength, knowledge, endurance, wisdom, giving, fruitfulness
- Collective growth in local congregations and new assemblies (Acts 16:5)
- Important verbs for disciple-making: edify, admonish, love, encourage; and others…
- Disciple-makers must be persistent. The results are not about us!
- The Lord’s own results might have been discouraging (Jn. 6:66; Mt.16:11; Jn. 14:9)
- Apostles’ results might have been discouraging (Acts 8:13,20; 2 Th. 2:5; Heb. 5:11)
- Accept that others will be useful too, not just us; sometimes we are “others” (Jn 4:38)
- The Lord used power for signs to unbelievers but used relationship to make disciples
- The crown of rejoicing
- Seeing others in the Lord’s presence whom we have helped spiritually, 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- The earnest desire for others to grow, 1 Thessalonians 3:7-10
Br. Hilvert Wijnholds
Download the slides.