Believer or Disciple?   2 comments

Disciple or Believer?

Disciple or Believer?

Therefore, go and make DISCIPLES of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the COMMANDS I have given you.” Mat. 28:19

While discussing with a friend of Catholic faith, I asked him several questions and his replies left me perplex for several days.

I asked him the following questions and these were his answers:

  1. Who is Jesus for you?

He answered with conviction: “Jesus is my God. He died for my sins. He is a mediator between God and me“.

I had the preconceived idea that he did not know these things about Jesus and his answers left me benumb.

2. Do you believe you’re a sinner?

He said he was a sinner and that he prayed every day to ask Jesus for forgiveness.

3. What is repentance?

So I ask him if he knew the difference between repentance and asking for forgiveness. He answered that repentance is changing completely from a precedent bad habit but asking for forgiveness is something continuous.

4. What is the meaning of Christmas?

As we were in the Christmas’ period, I asked him what it meant for him. He replied that Christmas made him remember that one day Jesus came to die for his sins and that it was important to celebrate it.

This friend of mine had all the knowledge necessary to be saved as per Romans 10:9. He confessed and believed in his heart that Jesus was his Savior. He knew the core message of the Gospel and I wondered why I should evangelize this guy.

One day, while going for a long walk, I decided to make a shortcut by passing through a Catholic church yard. When I passed by the church’s entrance, I heard the priest say clearly that it was necessary to have saving faith in Jesus. This again left me perplex. The Catholics are taught about the saving faith and they believe it. Why then do the Christian claim they are still unsaved?

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he wrote to people who knew nothing about the gospel. The confession of Jesus being their Lord was sufficient evidence of them being saved .

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved“Romans 10:9

It was also crucial for Paul to teach to the Jews and those of non-Jewish that faith in Jesus was sufficient to save one soul apart from good work and following the law(Romans 3:23-26).

My friend also told me that he was a believer but did not really practice the requirements of his religion.

I shared my perplexity with my wife and we went through his answers again.

I reached the conclusion that the Catholic church succeeded in deceiving people by making them believers but not disciples. A disciple is a believer but a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

Jesus’s command in Mat. 28 was clear: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

Jesus did not say ‘Go and make believers‘.

During Christmas week, I always stand in amazement at seeing all my colleagues of muslim, hindu and catholic faith excited to make Christmas preparations. They all know the meaning of Christmas but this belief or knowledge did not save them.

What then differentiates a believer and a disciple?

My friend demonstrated much allegiance to Jesus but he violated the first commandment for he was an idolater through his prayers to Mary. I saw people of hindu faith worship Jesus, among other gods. One who confesses Jesus is God and worship him is not necessarily a disciple. We therefore need to be careful that in our church we have disciples and not just believers.

 

It was quite easy to discern that my friend was an idolater. However, we can easily ignore that an idolater is someone who worships the things of this world.

Paul says: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” Eph. 5:5

John also warned against idols: “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” 1 John 5:21

A disciple is therefore one who does not worship the things of this world. He does not cling to anything or anyone, except Christ. His joy, peace, assurance and hope is Christ.

Another genuine mark of a disciple is Love.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34

One who does not love, does not know God and is not a disciple.

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love…But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” 1 John 4:7-21

Christ’s command was this: “Teach them to obey all my commands”. All these commands can be summed up in 2 commands: Love God with all your heart and Love people.

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Mat. 22:37-40

If one loves God with all his heart, he will not worship idols or the things of this world. If one loves people he will do no harm. He will not lie to his neighbor, gossip, slander, steal, murder or have evil thoughts. The law is therefore fulfilled in these 2 commandments.

One clear evidence of an evil believer of the living God is Satan. He believes everything written in the bible, that Jesus is God and that He died for the sins of man. However, this belief did not have impact on him.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” James 2:19

A disciple is therefore someone who loves God and loves people. Do our churches have more believers than disciples?

There has been many crusades and massive amount of money invested in evangelism program. Sadly, many of these programs were fruitless for there has been no follow up after proclaiming the gospel. The biggest work starts at discipleship and this is where many church leaders failed. Discispleship is the greatest omission of the Great Commission.We are therefore left with people who left their religion and became believers and think they are saved. This is a tragedy  and a deception for as we have seen, a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

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Posted December 18, 2015 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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2 responses to “Believer or Disciple?

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  1. I really enjoyed this post. Many out there still believe disciple and believer are interchangeable words and they’re not. All disciples are believers but not all believers are disciples. When I learned this fact it gave me a whole set of new eyes on how you read the scriptures.

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