We want to be like Jesus, and he is the ultimate disciple maker. Jesus began his ministry by establishing a group of people to invest in. One of his first acts was to form this small group (Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 6:13), and then he trained various-sized groups of people: the seventy-two (Luke 10:1), the Twelve (Matthew 10:2-4), and the inner three (Matthew 17:1). The eternal Son of God didn’t need the companionship or assistance of the apostles. Yet from the beginning, he chose to establish and minister within a framework of relationships.
What is A Christian Disciple?
By definition, a disciple is a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the teachings of another. A Christian disciple is a person who accepts and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ. Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christlike. This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. This requires that we be in the Word daily—studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) and to disciple others to walk in His way.
The disciple of Christ needs to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. We must put off self-centeredness and put on Christ-centeredness. We must be obedient children and doers of the Word. Obedience is the supreme test of faith in God (1 Samuel 28:18), and Jesus is the perfect example of obedience as He lived a life on earth of complete obedience to the Father even to the point of death (Philippians 3:6-8).
What is Christian Fellowship?
In order to understand the importance of Christian fellowship, we must first understand what Christian fellowship is and what it isn’t. The Greek words translated “fellowship” in the New Testament mean essentially a partnership to the mutual benefit of those involved. Christian fellowship, then, is the mutually beneficial relationship between Christians, who can’t have the identical relationship with those outside the faith.
This relationship must be the basis of Christian fellowship. We can have friendships and relationships with unbelievers, but true Christian fellowship can only occur within the body of Christ. We are united to one another by common beliefs, purposes and goals. Our hearts and minds are “other-worldly” because we follow Jesus Christ, who said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We know that we are strangers in this world, and we long for the time when we will be in our true home, heaven.
The importance of true Christian fellowship is that it reinforces these things in our mind and helps us to focus on Christ and His desires and goals for us. As iron sharpens iron, in true Christian fellowship, Christians sharpen one another’s faith and stir one another to exercise that faith in love and good works, all to God’s glory.
Disciple Thru Fellowship
When we fellowship with like believers we disciple at the same time. We build relationships with each other, encourage each other and share our experiences with each other. This in turn builds the relationship to a level that allows us to teach, edify and become united to one another by common beliefs and goals. In Acts 2:42-47 when this environment was created it allowed for the attraction of others outside the fellowship. The last sentence in the verse 47 is, “God added to them daily.”