The way of a disciple part II
by Isaiah-Phillips Akintola
9 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” NIV
In my first article posted on my face book timeline (iakintola.facebook.com) titled ‘the way of a disciple’, I tried to paint a well graphic picture of what might have sound like an extreme concept of discipleship training.
One thing I will like to bring to focus before we step further into this article is that Christ himself is the one that disciple his followers through the various ministry organs he left with his Church. The component of individual discipleship journey is structure within the frame of vision or assignment giving to its core leadership.
While there are fundamentals we all must have and share as followers of the lamb. However, each of us must precisely discern the unique templates and pathways, designed to bring those we care called to disciple into the reality of development and maturity in Christ. The process of pruning the flesh is a difficult undertaking if you have not seen the importance of surrendering your soul on the altar of sacrifice. Following The Lord is the most beautiful experience any believer will ever have, yet it remains the most challenging call of our spiritual journey.
The scripture said concerning our Lord Jesus Christ that he had to learn obedience through the things he suffered. Meaning, suffering becomes of one of the key components of accelerating the purposes of God in his life in other to bring him to the finish. I hope has you read through this introductive article you will sincerely open your heart to the Lord and allow him to culture and reeducate you.
It is becoming more important as followers of the lamb to constantly revue the fundamentals of our faith and hope in Christ. It is safe, especially in this day of the new age Christianity. A Christianity without the cross to keep us focused and balanced in our doctrinal standard, will not only seduce out of our relationship with Christ but will also shipwreck of our faith. To precisely maintain a high-level prophetic perspective on the reality and advancement of the kingdom within us we need to reconsider the subject of discipleship, lest we find ourselves to have drifted from the ancient path.
In days where churches and its leadership are constantly offering their followers a Christianity without a personal cross, we need to raise the bar of our movement by keeping the (burden) weight of the cross firm on our shoulders so as to maintain the outflow of the spirit of joy amidst the present sorrow eclipsing the nations. Our prophetic perspective only gets calibrated when we constantly revisit those memorial pillars erected on our spiritual journey.
2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test? NIV
I guess in coming days or weeks as the lord will permits we shall be looking into the core fundamentals of our faith and hope in Christ, we shall once again consider the definitions and values of the Church. The culture of heaven emerging within us and how we are expected to interface with Babylon so we don’t get misdirected by compromise. It is crucial we properly consider the purpose and objectives of the existence as members of Christ Body as we thrive toward the finish.
The subject of fulfillment of the great commission is being highlighted in the Spirit. The prophetic purpose of Gods seed and the field must be accurately defined if we are truly going to see the glorious emergence of God kingdom across the nation. a sense of purpose and kingdom objective must dawn on you and me.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. NIV
A variation of faith
There is no doubt that the activity of Gods prophetic move in this season is accelerating with great power. However, there is a variation of this understanding from nation to nation and city to city. while the Spirit of the Lord is blasting a wakeup call across the atmospheric dimensions of human society, the unfortunate truth is that many cities, families, churches and individuals are not only fast asleep to this movement, but are yet to form the basic spiritual template that enrolls them into Gods boot-camp.
Discipleship is boot camp. More than ever before, there an urgency to call believers both old and young back to base. The lord wants to recalibrate our understanding regarding the discipline of discipleship. The quality of Christianity we are practicing and producing as regents of Christ is definitely not making the required impact in the society due to the misunderstanding of the whole concept of apostolic discipling. It is no secret that today’s Christianity is become a trendy terms. People of various beliefs and ideology find are it more comfortable to go to Church on Sunday and still maintain their ungodly character.
There was a time in history where you dear not openly declare allegiance to Christ or be found amongst his follower lest you pay the ultimate price. Those who dear to openly proclaim their union with our Lord Jesus Christ where brutally murdered openly. Well, the reverse is the case in our time.
Are we saying the time of persecution of the church is past? Is the enemy no longer interested in keeping people away from Christ? Alternatively, are we faced with another kind of satanic strategy to weaken and water down the gospel? Right before our very eyes, we are watching how the enemy is taking advantage of the mass media to blur the gospel. Church leaders with mega structures are daily being seduced and deceived into thinking that they do not need to preach Christ and the cross.
The cross, the power of the gospel
It is highly important to state that the message of Christ and his Cross-is the anchor of all other principles and values of the Christian faith. To shun the cross is to shame Christ. A life without the cross is as good as dead. The cross is the place of divine regulation and advancement of your spirituality. The standard and quality of our Christianity is measured at the foot of the cross. In addition, everyone you met today either are a member of a church or affiliated to some Christian organization.
When you ask believers about the foundation of their faith in Christ, you will be surprise of the type of flimsy and shallow answer they are unashamed to give. I feel so a shame of what we have reduced Christianity to, how many people you personally know that are making mockery of the church just because we have refused to be a disciple of who we claim to be following. Majority in the society see most Christians and its leadership as bunch of hypocrites. You may think am being critical. Well you are right. My duty is to constantly blast the prophetic trumpet, warning everyone to adhere to this call. If someone does not get a wakeup call and start heading towards to the foot of the cross where they can be accurately disciple, am afraid things are really going to become disastrous for the body of Christ but for the world in general. This is the day of apostolic discipleship!
History bears witness of the fact that the Church, in each season of their journey clearly understood their enemy and its strategies of operation, thus, they were able to build an impregnable spiritual mentality through the platform of apostolic discipleship. The 21st century church seems not to be aware that she is in the middle of a highly powered strategic battle; battles that can only be fought and wan through the revelational experience of Christ- our wisdom.
The power of the early church
The early church was able to resist the enemy not by share-will power, or some new age information, cover on the guise of ‘ rediscovering your inner power’. They overcame the forces of darkness through a balance and defined doctrinal kingdom authority.
Their love, faith and hope in the authority they have received through impartation in the school of Christ made the difference. In them, is a type of a creative spiritual (organs) structure capable to withstand the gates of hell while they are busy discipling (building) the nations? The testimony of this present day Saints seem far from the creed of Past generation of believers. We have managed to build mega structures across the nations without the capacity to disciple the nation. The reason for this is due to the almost none-existing doctrinal base teaching.
The unfortunate truth is most of what we have built in the name of church are just too weak in dealing with the issues of human and socioeconomic regeneration. These weak church assemblies are no better than professional counseling centers. Centers designed to help people manage their emotional needs, pride, fears, insecurity and rebellion.
We cannot build a strong discipleship base community when spiritual leaders are afraid to confront the arsenals of darkness within the minds of their congregation. no human soul can resist the power of sound biblical discipleship.
As long as messages that flare people’s emotions are encourages false traditional beliefs are accepted, it will remain difficult to completely demolish the ruling principalities over communities. The approve pattern of building a fortress church that advances the kingdom of God admits the systemic darkness of our time is by revisiting the concept of apostolic discipleship.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life of everything you as a member of his church stands for and should represent. This pattern has not change and will never change till the Lords return. The place of disciple is a call to the carry your cross and follows him daily. Sound biblical discipleship teaches us how to live as humans with divine nature. Irrespective of your gender, age or nationality, the platform of discipleship in the church becomes our educational center, a place we issues of our identity and insecurity are completely vanquished. High-powered disciple doctrine deals with the issues of character development and formation of kingdom values within man.
For a while, the church had dwelled on building a community of people that are gift and prosperity driven and there should be anything wrong with that. The fact is, they are our inheritance as we join the family of God we do need people to adequately teach us how to take delivery of them. The cause of disagreement is our misplaced priority regarding the things of the Spirit. We cannot neglect or sideline teaching regarding restoration of the spiritual man and the transformation of the society to seeking how to amass personal wealth. This is not the way of a disciple of Christ. The wrong emphasis in the Church has created a generation of people in the church that only sees themselves as Christ fans and not followers.
A lesson from Simeon
They love the fact that they do not have to be hundred percent committed to Christ. They love the fact that sacrifice can be an optional thing. They can still come to church, even play a role in church activity, and still keep their old ungodly ways without anyone challenging them.
They are free to continue in their ungodly character one another without any form of discipline. The starting point of being a member of the body of Christ is character formation and not talent or gift. They are very aware that they are a plus to the membership of the church, sending away will mean a minus not just to the membership but also the church’s budget.
This was clearly exemplified in the book of act when Simeon claimed to have giving his heart to the Lord but something deep down his heart is yet to shift. we saw how driven and excited he was when he saw that through the laying on of hand of the disciples the power of God can be transmitted in casting out evil spirits.
Anyone of our spiritual leaders today could have just been deceived just like Phillips the evangelist was. For someone of the caliber of Simeon to claim he just gave his heart to the Lord, I know leaders who will immediately give a front role preference without authenticating the condition of his salvation. Simeon had deceived the man of God by thinking that had a genuine desire to buy the gift of God until Apostle Peter with high level discerning capacity and boldness was able to see through his heart and intention.
How could this be since he had just confessed Christ as his lord. Well, he might have acknowledged Christ to be his Savior but Christ is yet to become his Lord. The issue of the Lordship of Christ is where most Christians are still struggling. Why? The Lordship of Christ requires that you die completely to your false formed identity. It demands that nothing or anyone else take preference in your heart. Christ and him alone must be seated and crown king of your life.
This rigorous process of soul transformation is what is yet to begin in the heart of Simeon, thus we find his old selfish ambition showing up. Simply put, Simeon is yet to be disciple. Could this story be a true reflection of what is presently happening today in the Body of Christ? Mind you, we all came to Christ just the way we were in our old pattern of thinking and there nothing wrong with that. But the moment you come to Christ, you are given a new operating system. Your old former ways of thinking and behaving becomes obsolete.
New thought patterns are required to be formed through your daily meditation on the word of God. Prayer, fasting testifying of what the lord is to you now becomes your most priority. You become a disciple of Christ school.
A way of escape
As the Lord highlights once again the issue of core discipleship as a key factor to building a new order of believers whose spiritual capacity brings to bear the operating light of Gods within the nations. It becomes imperative for all Christians living among a highly polluted Babylonian society to raise their spiritual barometer to a new height of competence.
It became highly important more than ever before for you and me able to discern the strategic activity of the unsurrendered soul, as it constantly seek to blur and deaden once passion, faith and hope in the things of God.
The present intention of the ministry of darkness is well defined in the sense that it not only seeks to neutralize your faith advancement but also seek to keep believers in rebellious condition to the order and principles of the Lord. In the last two decades we have seen a drastic drop in the in the character quality of most Christians across the nations. However, huge stride has been achieved in some communities that have allowed the message of the kingdom reformation into their homes and churches.
The church who is the progenitor of the core values and principle that changes society have been in slumber and misguided at the same time due to the acceptance of the utilitarian gospel. As long as members of the body of Christ continues to celebrate a type of Christianity whose culture and philosophy is to merely to maintain the status quo; am afraid, the objective of discipling the nations for the will remain futuristic.
True ministry, which is a call to completely yield to Christ character begins with a well-defined and structured revelation of Christ the Messiah. Until the life and nature of the King himself becomes entrenched within the template of your existence, you cannot carry or represent his life and ministry within the human society.
Please let us note that Christ disciples are called to first be with him before they are sent to represent him. Meaning, the formation of Christ within becomes the portals into the reality of apostolic service. How do we adequately deal with the principle of representation when the issue of loyalty and allegiance to Christ and his body is yet to be resolved? This basic doctrinal issue must be resolved before one can truly say one is a follower of Christ.
The Church in a crossroad
There is no doubt the church of the Lord is in a crossroad. A crossroad that ultimately defines how we are going to reach the nations. The nations are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God and not members of denominations. sons of God clearly are the only approved carriers of the power of global reformation and transformation.
However, these Sons are birth through the gruesome training of discipleship. Without discipleship, there cannot be a manifestation of sons of God. Sons are birth through the womb of respect for Christ and his leadership. Trust, humility, obedience, submission honor and respect for Gods set-men are all core valued of the way of a disciple. A true disciple will not betray his allegiance to those set over him. He or she will respect the protocol of the leadership. Those who are unwilling to submit to the governmental order and structure of Christ through his body have no place in the building process of Christ Body. The church of the lord is not divided!
Christ and his body cannot be divided through isolated revelation. The administrative structure of Christ is his Church. While there are those, who have raped and are still raping the bride of Christ does not mean that the leadership system of Christ is obsolete or none effect. The lord is still building his Church within the hearts that has allowed his pruning hook to operate in their lives.
In my seven years of interaction and relationship with Christians in the South African context, I noticed that many find it highly difficult to recognize, submit and accept leadership authority. Initially I thought it an individual problem until the lord opened my spiritual eyes to see that it is a national problem.
One of the ways we are nationally transformed is through the operating pattern of discipleship. When church leaders do not see the reason why they should inculcate kingdom values into the message they preach, society will remain misguided and rebellious. The various national problems we are faced with today are issues that can easily be dealt with if churches are truly making disciples of all nations according to the scripture. The one and single commission we are assigned is to make disciples of all nation, irrespective of their historic or cultural orientation.
One of the reasons why the lord permit proliferation of Churches is not for money venture but rather to easily gain access into communities so they can be changed for the Lord. The ungodly cultural and traditional badges we carry to house of God should not be allowed to stay.
The church, a nation within a nation
The church of Christ is nation operating with human society. Meaning, The church has its own culture and traditions that must be adhere to the moment you accept the Lord. In the Church we are not only interested in your confession of Christ as your savior, there has to be an outward manifestation of a refined attitude and character, your perspective to life and the people around you changes for the better.
Now, you belong to Christ and you will have to learn to submit to the various organs he put in place to develop you until you come of age. I have had many today who say they are not obligated to submit to any human author except Christ. This is completely out of order. Jesus rule and reign in our lives through the structural order of his Church. When I mean his Church, am not talking about some building someone erected because someone feels he or she is call into the ministry.
I am not talking about some church some groups of church leaders sent you to start for them because they need to increase their monetary investment in other part of the cities or nations. The authority of Christ church, which you are ordered to submit to, comes through the evidence of the life and government of Christ in the life of his representative. Not only we will you see the fruit of Christ Spirit in operation but your life will constantly be demanded to change. The power of the word coming from such house will prick your heart and sometimes cause you to be offended.
The gospel of Christ is a rock of offense and a rock of stumbling to those who are perishing. The gospel of Christ is certainly not about making you feel good but about changing you inside out. it is time to submit yourself to the leadership of Christ in those he has sent to you. Stop claiming rights and equality with your spiritual leaders.
You will never be able to receive blessing and impartation of truth from those you do not respect. This is kingdom principle. If indeed you are Isaac-the promised child of God, you will allow yourself to be laid on the altar as sacrifice without questioning the authority of your father. It is to you stop manipulating authority. Submit and are transformed.
The only way you and me will remain vibrant and relevant in this epic season is to ask ourselves this important question, am I still a disciple of Christ? If the answer is yes, whom am I following in Christ? Paul said to the brethren; follow me as I follow Christ. If you find it extremely difficult to follow those who know better than you do, there is every possibility that you either insecure or full of pride.
a nation like South Africa has one of the highest levels of crime and divorced rate in the world that immediately tells you the kind of discipleship ideology is required to to correct the abnormality. When a nation’s moral values are almost destroyed both from the Church and from its legal institution, we certainly do not expect such society to express sound moral value. If in the name of freedom and democracy someone can paint the picture of his president with his exposed genital, something is definitely wrong. You may be wondering, what does this have to do with discipleship? Well, if the mission of the Church is to infiltrate the nations with gospel of Christ through the platform of discipleship is not it obvious that someone somewhere is not doing is work?
The mission of the body of Christ starts by reaching one person to transforming the whole landscape of a nation. The various platforms that have been provided for us to quickly do the work of global discipleship are been used for selfish interest and this has contributed to the decimal performance of the Church.
The channel of approval
The way of discipleship, without doubt is the approve channel designed to bring us into the glorious dimensions of the mysteries of the kingdom of God in this prophetic day. We notice in the gospel that our master spoke to two types of audience. The first are those himself call ‘those outsiders; this are the multitudes, they followed for what to gain for themselves rather than becoming a disciple of him. Their allegiance is somewhere else even though you will always find them within the circle of Christ followers.
These are disciples of other cultures, traditions and faith like the Pharisees. Their intention is not submit to the process of transformation. Irrespective of their religious intellectual wealth, the teachings and principles regarding the kingdom of heaven is alien to them; they may be beneficiaries of the goodness of Christ but the way of spiritual insight is completely far from them.
The Lord said concerning them, eyes have they but cannot see, ears have they but cannot hear lest they should understand and turn and repent. This category of followers of Christ are not seeking to change, rather, they seek to circumvent the truth and principles of the kingdom of God. No matter how they try to comprehend what the lord is saying, the just cannot. The latter are those he called his disciple. The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to them. Why? They do only have access to Christ personally; they have completely broken their allegiance to their old ways of existing. The nature and life of the first Adam is shattered from their soul totally.
Amongst these followers, you’ll find the company known as the Peter, James and John company. These men were not only invited to behold the glory of Christ on the mount of transfiguration but were also given the privilege to join force with Him in interceding before his crucifixion. With this level of closeness comes a huge sense of responsibility and accountability
Furthermore, there are those who set themselves apart through the type of relationships they had with the Lord and the various organs of his Body. Then you have the 70 and the 120 who were sent to represent Christ in various cities.
The impact of a disciple
These disciples carry within their spiritual structure, the life and power of influencing and transforming their family and society. When we consider the quality of life lived by these ordinary men called Christ disciple, one cannot but wonder if we are reading the same bible today. You will notice that the statement of the great commission sets the precedence of the type of Christianity needed in the society. One cannot but wonder if indeed the church clearly understood the requirements and demand of fulfilling this mandate.
The lord is counting on you and me to fix the problem of misplaced priority in his body. When we take a general survey of quality of Christianity being practice across the globe today one cannot but ask ‘what went wrong with the message of doctrinal foundation?
I am fully aware that Christianity and its way of practice differed from nation to nation. Society feeds on the ideology promoted by the mass media even if it really does not represent the whole truth. Many have become victim of media propaganda due to lack of prophetic understanding and awareness from spiritual leaders. Shipping the soul of our society require more than what we do in Church.
There is no way we can effectively fulfill the demand of the great commandment or the great commission, without first settling the issue of disciple in our hearts. A follower of the Way of the truth understands the implication of becoming a disciple. They understand this in the context of not just going to Church but denying themselves. The know that becoming the Church that represent the image and glory of Christ amongst the nation is not an option but a mandate. The intensity of darkness to keep people, especially Christians from entering the fullness of God plan must be stop through rebuilding of the ministry of discipleship.