Recap on salvation and assurance and the concept of two kingdoms in tension, from Unit(1). Encourage the use of the personal study section to optimise the course.


Going on with Christ

Believing in Christ is a new beginning. A whole new spiritual world impacts on our daily lives. We are exhorted to go on towards Christian maturity, not just remaining baby Christians (1_Corinthians_3:2-4, Hebrews_5:12). If we started a tertiary course such as medicine, we wouldn't expect to be Doctors on the first day we went to University! It would also be pointless to never progress past the first semester. Similarly with our new faith, we must make continuous progress towards the deeper things of God.

What is a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Discipleship is an adventure. It's the start of a life long journey of friendship with God. It is being a follower - someone who is motivated to be whole-hearted in their relationship with Jesus, wanting to become like Him (1_John_4:17). Someone who sets out to learn from Jesus about his ideas on living, and how to put them into practice.

Read Ephesians_4:11-16 - what does this passage teach
you about going forward as a disciple of Christ?

Discipleship for the Christian is not an option. It is the express purpose and command of Christ (Matthew_28:18). He wants us to go on in this life, to grow and be stretched - not to fall away. This kind of growth is based on obedience. An obedience which is inwardly motivated by a new love of God and his ways. Not submission to a tyrant, or a system of religious rules. Rather, this is a new walk in a love relationship with our creator. A walk where we respond to his reaching out to us, by our reverent submission to his majesty and grace as He touches our lives. It is our calling in life to "respond to God with a whole heart."

As disciples we are students, learning from Jesus. In this we are to focus on growth in Spirit and in attitude. It is not a matter of performance, but growing in relationship! Change comes out of relationship with Jesus, not the other way around (discuss).

As a Christian we are now captivated by an awesome God - beyond anything we ever expected. Here we find a totally new orientation to life, a new way of looking at things. In Isaiah_55:8 we read:

    "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

This is why it is always essential to approach the Lord with humility and reverence - which is a loving respect and admiration for who God is. Let us remember that we are coming from behind, launching out into a new vista of God's kingdom where things are radically different to anything we have previously known.

So let's put our spiritual "L" plates on,
and keep growing -
we've a lot of learning ahead.


Before Columbus discovered America the Spanish coins were engraved with the words "Never more". They thought they knew all of the world! After Columbus discovered the New World, they had to take the "N" off their coins, leaving "Ever more". So it is with the Christian - ever more in our discovering about God and his kingdom.

That is why Jesus instructed his Church to:

    "Make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." (Matthew_28:18)

Discussion point -

From observation of Christians mentioned in the New Testament, what are some of the `marks of a disciple'? The discussion should include both their strengths and weaknesses - and especially how God worked through their weaknesses.
[Think of a disciple from the New Testament, noting some of the marks of his/her discipleship.]

We are not focusing on how far `along the road' we are, but on experiencing the Holy Spirit working in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit are the main evidence of this.

Is a disciple different from a believer?

Blondin was a well known tight rope walker who pushed a wheel barrow across the Niagara Falls. After his first crossing He used to say to a person in the crowd:

"Do you believe I could push you across the falls in this wheel barrow?"
"Sure," they would reply.
"Then hop in," Blondin would reply.

There can be a misconception that a `believer' can be one of the crowd, a passenger in a church - a pew sitter. However as a disciple, our beliefs cause us to actively follow Christ in our daily life. We find that God brings new experiences and tests into our lives, to help us transition to a place where we trust Him in important practical decisions.

However God seeks our permission before He leads us in this way. When we pray a prayer expressing our desire to become a disciple, we should expect faith expanding experiences in our daily lives to follow. This is part of God's blessing for us, part of his answering our prayers.

Finding new priorities

Discipleship is a continuous learning experience - moving from our old ways of doing and thinking - to assimilating God's ways into our experience. So we need to allocate time and space for our new growth. We need long term expectancy, not just overnight miracles and quick changes. Therefore what is important to the natural (unspiritual) person is quite different to what is important to the disciple of Christ.


  • What kind of priorities are changed in the life of a disciple?
  • Give some practical examples.
  • We are on a journey to becoming mature in Christ. List below some of the qualities which should be progressively more evident in the lives of disciples.
    Galatians_5:22-23 and Hebrews_5:11-14 may be helpful in this regard.
  • Ephesians_4:13-16 is also a good reference point to help us make the connection between individual growth, and growth in the body of Christ.


When Jesus was on earth He never wrote anything and his public ministry only lasted for about three and a half years. Nevertheless, He has influenced the world more than anyone else in history.

Yet during his human pilgrimage, He was only one person and could only be in one place at a time. He formed the Church - to be his extended presence on this earth. His death and resurrection meant He could now spiritually invest Himself in his followers all over the world. That is why we call the church the 'Body of Christ', or the 'Body of Believers'. So, as we read in the book of Acts, the Church was birthed through Jesus' disciples.

Today Jesus' disciples centre their calling, their nurture, their support and their service from within the body of Christ. The way the body is intended to fit together and operate is described in 1_Corinthians_12:12-31. Here all parts of the body serve a purpose, none are useless or meant to be dormant.

The final destiny of the Church is described in Revelation_21:1-7.

Discuss :

  • How does Jesus want his body to function today?
  • What is the difference between unity and conformity?
  • What is the highest priority in relationships in the Body? (1_Corinthians_12:25-26)

The importance of fellowship

Being part of a body means growing in fellowship. Caring and sharing together, being inspired by each other, learning how to be open with one another. Discipleship is not a solo journey.

If a red hot coal is taken out of a fire, it soon goes cold and black. Similarly we need proximity to keep each other "on fire" in the Lord. Isolation and independence will put the fire out pretty quickly (Hebrews_10:24-25).

Discuss points:

  • Can you be a Christian without functioning as a part of the body? (1_Corinthians_12:12-19)
  • Can the body do without you? (1_Corinthians_12:21-27)
  • Do we need fellowship beyond the Church service?
  • What are the purposes of Christian fellowship?
  • What's important, Organisation or Organism?
  • Unity in the Body involves diversity of experience in a common purpose, with joy.


Finding your way in your local Church

Read 1_Corinthians_12:12-25. In this scripture -

  • Who are the members of the body with special
    honour? (v.23).
  • Who orders the roles in the Church? (v.18).

    Fitting into the local church is not a matter of rushing into new responsibilities before one is ready. It's a matter of fitting into God's "learning curve" and enjoying the blessings He has for us, finding a place of growth and allowing God to use us as He wants.


    • How can you get to know about your Church?
    • What is more important in the Church - activity or relationship?
    • What roles are especially suited to the new Christian?
    • Discuss the illustration above (in the context of Ephesians_4:15-16).
  • Unit 2: Learning About The Bible [Next Section]
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    Created on: 28 August 1997 Last updated: 28 August 1997