What if the people of God actually believed the central doctrines that bind them together? Continuing from my last post, I want to ask this question, beginning with the core values of the church that I work for, but ultimately dreaming about the church as a whole. I want to see a people, united by God, come to full belief in the things of God, so as a personal exercise of hope and reflection, I want to draw out these lines of thought. The question I will go from today is: what if the church was gospel-saturated in discipleship?
What is discipleship, and why prioritize it?
I love discipleship. I believe that it is extremely Biblical, and honestly, it is my favorite part of doing ministry. To be a disciple in Jesus’ time meant to literally follow Jesus, to learn from him, and to do what he said. The first command that Jesus gives in his Great Commission is to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), meaning to go and make more followers of Jesus, who would then also have the call on their lives to be making followers of Jesus. What I love so much about the way that Jesus did discipleship is that when he said to a person “follow me,” it was not just an invitation to go on a walk and hear some smartly spoken words. Jesus’ discipleship was an intimately invested relationship. Jesus’ disciples were the people who he did life with, who he corrected when they needed correcting, and encouraged when they needed encouraging. His twelve were the core of who he spent his time teaching, and he knew their lives intimately and constantly pointed them toward himself and his father. This is what discipleship means to me: to be intimately invested in a person’s life and be pointing them back to scripture and ultimately the person of Jesus. Not only do I think this is important when considering spiritual growth and loving others, but I believe that it is the duty of the believer to be engaged in christ-centered discipleship.
What does it mean to be gospel-saturated?
Habbakuk 2:6 says that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” The vision of gospel-saturation is to see all of life saturated with, thoroughly filled by, the glory of God as displayed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the idea that we were sinners (Romans 3:23) deserving of death (Romans 6:23), but through faith in the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection we have the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of our salvation through faith, God gives us His Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), and calls us to give our whole self to following him (Romans 12:1-2). To live a gospel-saturated life is to let your whole life be lived in response to the work of Jesus on the cross, which I believe is what scripture calls us to.
Being gospel-saturated in discipleship means that the person who is discipling is consistently reminding the disciple of who Jesus is, what he has done, and helping them to shape their life to the gospel that has saved them.
What impact would this make?
When we are submitting our whole lives to Jesus and pushing those around us to do the same, God moves in us and around us. What if our churches and cities were full of people striving to live their lives saturated with the gospel? What if we weren’t so concerned with morals, but instead were focused on the cross of Jesus as the center of everything we do? What if our accountability groups were not just people sitting around complaining about how bad they are for still being stuck in the same old sins, but instead friends were rehearsing the gospel together and finding freedom in it? What if people lived as if they really had the power of the Holy Spirit in them working to make them new? What if disciples made disciples who made disciples? God brings change through individuals, and I think gospel-saturated discipleship is a way that He shapes people to be better tools in His hands.
If you want to read more about this topic, I can recommend a great book by Jeff Vanderstelt called Saturate which you can find here.
Please join me in praying for the body of Christ to be shaped by His gospel! Pray for the people of God to seek discipleship and to disciple others so that the earth may be filled with the knowledge and glory of the Lord, and that every knee would bow as subject to king Jesus!