Volume. XVIII, No. 34
Sunday, 22 February 2004

From the pastor's heart: Be a disciple of Jesus (2)

Discipleship with purposes
Out of multitudes of people, Jesus chose certain men to be with Him and to follow Him. Especially, He chose twelve men to be with Him closely according to Mark 3:14, "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." There are three purposes of calling these twelve men: (1) to be with the Lord, (2) to learn from Him, and (3) to be sent out to preach. Matthew 4:19 strengthens the past point. "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." They were apostles. Then, what is the reason that God has called us? 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." The reason we have been called is because God the Father wants us to fellowship with God the Son. It supports the first and the second points. After all we were called for a purpose. God the Father wants us to know His Son Jesus better and to learn from Him, so that we can go out to preach. It was also Paul's desire in Philippians 3:10. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Discipleship with training

Luke 6:40 is an interesting verse about Jesus' discipleship. " The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master." I am interested in the Greek word for "is perfect." What does it mean for a man to be perfect like his teacher? If we look at the NIV, it is translated as "is fully trained." Its Greek words are katarti,zw (katartizo). It is used 13 times in the New Testament and translated in KJV as perfect (2x), make perfect (2x), mend (2x), be perfect (2x), fit (1x), frame (1x), prepare (1x), restore (1x), perfectly joined together (1x). Basically, the idea behind this word is a process of preparation for something. On top of that, the Greek word is in a passive form, which means that if a man wants to be complete prepared like his master, he needs to be prepared by his master. Once again, the primary thought in this verse is discipleship. One more point we ought to know is that this Greek word is in the perfect tense. In other words, before we reach the level of maturity or completion, there must be lots of preparations or various trainings. The Greek word for "master" in the verse refers to a teacher. Thus, this particular verse repeats one important truth-the necessity of discipleship-over and over again. Jesus taught and trained His men to be fit for His missions. John 13:14-17 says, "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Jesus identifies Himself to His disciples as their Lord and Master. Again, the Greek word for master is actually referring to a teacher. Therefore, Jesus is not only our Lord but our teacher. We are to be His disciples. The way that Jesus taught His disciples was to show them examples and to ask them to follow. It is a typical course of discipleship training. If we go to 1 Corinthians 11:1, it becomes clear as to what it means to be a disciple. "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." The Greek word for followers literally means imitators. Paul boldly says that He imitated Jesus; and therefore now the believers in the church of Corinth needed to imitate him. As Paul was a disciple of Jesus, he expected that the Corinthian believers would be his disciples. As a pastor, he exhorted them to learn from him. Without learning from pastors and church leaders, we cannot be properly nurtured and trained to be their disciples. It is sad that some believers refuse to learn and be trained, but want to influence others. Let us learn and be trained in our church.

Discipleship with cost
Being a disciple of Jesus is not an easy course to take. Let me explain it from various angles. First, it is an inevitable fact that disciples of Jesus must be His believers. It is because they are expected to be with Him, to know Him, and to preach about Him. Therefore, rebirth is only a pre-requisite for all disciples of Jesus and a beginning of their discipleship training. If a man is simply boasting of his salvation only, he is still a baby and does not know what he is supposed to do yet. He needs to strive to become a disciple. Second, basically, being a disciple of Jesus means to know Him and learn from Him first. Therefore, he must be willing to put his time and efforts into discipleship training. Third, being His disciple means to follow Him. This following demands absolute surrender and uncompromised obedience to Jesus. Matthew 16:24-25 says, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

The call from Jesus to make us His disciples is an all-or-nothing call. In everything, the preeminence of Jesus Christ must be shown and demonstrated. In fact, in Luke 14:25-35, Jesus said that any willing person wanting to become His disciple needs to sit down and calculate the cost first. There is a hefty cost involved. Even then, if he still wants to follow Him, then follow Him. It shows the intensity involved in the disciples' life. Luke 9:23-24 say, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Though bearing the cross means suffering and self-denial means hardships, the Lord Jesus demands His disciples to do it. Serving the Lord and the world (including ourselves) together at the same time is an impossible mission. When we are determined to follow Jesus, there are costs to pay. Discipleship with the help from above

Being disciples does not mean that we have to make our own ways as His disciples. When the Lord calls us to Himself, He enables us to follow Him. Though Jesus went into His glory, He sent the Holy Spirit to us (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14). There is the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God in believers. There is also a promise from the Lord Himself about his assistance. Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." John 15:6 also says, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." When we are willing to follow Him, He will enable us to do so. Therefore, being a disciple of Jesus means to be close to Him and to be guided by Him.

To be disciple makers, we must be disciples ourselves. Thus, we must know the purposes of becoming His disciples, receive proper trainings which involve our obedience, understand the cost we must pay, and depend on the Holy Spirit. Let us prove ourselves as His disciples as we go out to evangelize the world.

Lovingly, Pastor Ki

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification? The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

Please continue to pray for Sis. Myung Ki, Rev. Peter Clements, Rev. Moses Hahn, Mrs Lydia Choi, Mrs Irene Turner, Sis. Susan Varadi, and Bro. Daniel Ki. "Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah 1:3b).

Thank God for granting journey mercies to Sis. Min Yen Chia (Adelaide). Special Prayer for missionaries in Cambodia Rev. and Mrs. Stephen Choi (Phnom Penh), Rev. and Mrs Moses Hahn, Rev. and Mrs David Koo, and Preacher Chang (Kompong Som) and their ministries, and Khmer Bible Students studying at FEBC (Singapore).

Please pray for the YAF by-elections which will be held in the next coming weeks. Now open for nominations. Nominations close on 7 March 2004.

Membership/Baptism Service will be held on 7 March. Please pray for those who are preparing their testimonies.



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