Christ the Beginning and End of Discipleship

Christ the Beginning and End of Discipleship

Guest post by Brooks Ward and Kalai Leong

Discipleship can be defined in two ways. The first explains Discipleship as a literal walking with Christ in a relationship with Him as Lord. In the second, Discipleship is an intentional relationship where knowing and investing in another person or persons is the ultimate goal and purpose. Often, we discuss Discipleship as an action based on a responsibility given by Christ to His Church. This is one of the most imperative commandments Christ gave His Church. Discipleship is the key to fulfilling the Great Commission faithfully and thoroughly.

There are three comforting truths that help alleviate the believer from the pressures related to starting and maintaining discipling relationships. Those truths include:

  1. Christ initiates salvation within the believer.
  2. Christ creates the desire for ministry within the believer.
  3. Christ produces fruit in and through the believer.

God commands we engage others in discipling relationships, but He doesn’t leave us to produce disciples by our own merit or effort. When believers live in faith and obedience to His Word, as a result, He is able to work through them to accomplish the Great Commission. We have been instructed to make disciples, and teach them everything that Christ commanded, but it is not us who fulfills this mandate. It is God. Jesus is the Beginning and End of the Discipleship process.

Paul speaks about this in Philippians 2:12-13:  

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” 

Paul shows it is God giving the desire to believers, and Him working through them to accomplish His ministry. We are called to make disciples who make disciples. It is God who calls you to the work, and it is God who completes that work. Our faith and obedience allow us to be used by God to do His ministry, but even greater it glorifies Him.

Remember, without Jesus, no one innately has the desire or power to share the Gospel, nor to make disciples. Our King has given us a mission, but He has not left it on our hands to complete it. Instead, Jesus has called us to follow Him, and He works through us to complete His mission. We are the tool He uses to share the Gospel and make disciples in this World. As we act in faith and obedience, God is able to work through us to fulfill His will. Ultimately, success in Discipleship is not contingent upon our ability to save or teach others; rather, it rest in the hands of Jesus who is the basis and foundation for Discipleship.

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

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Robby Gallaty is the Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN. He was radically saved out of a life of drug addiction on November 12, 2002. In 2008, he began Replicate Ministries to equip and train men and women to be disciples who make disciples.

He is also the author of Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples (2013), Firmly Planted: How to Cultivate a Faith Rooted in Christ (2015), Rediscovering Discipleship: Making Jesus’ Final Words Our First Work (2015), Foundations: A 260-Day Bible Reading Plan for Busy Believers (2015), and The Forgotten Jesus: How Western Christians Should Follow an Eastern Rabbi (2017).