WHY IS DISCIPLESHIP SO IMPORTANT?
The first reason that discipleship is so important is that it proves salvation to be true. Simply having accurate and cognitive knowledge is no sure sign of spiritual life. We can never forget that the demons believe and tremble.Satan has knowledge of God. Take some time and look at James 2: 14, 19-20, 26: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe––and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Moving emotional and “spiritual” experiences are no sure sign of spiritual life. It is possible for an individual to have some spiritual light without ever coming all the way out of darkness (Luke 13:25-26 Heb 6:4-8). The parable of the Sower and the Seeds makes it quite clear that not every decision is from the Lord. A convert who refuses to submit to biblical teaching and training may not be a convert of the Lord. A second reason that discipleship is so important is that it prevents false conversions. No genuine Christian is absolutely perfect. Sin is still present within our lives and we are not free from the presence of sin. Even in imperfect and sinning believers the most reliable indicator of true conversion that is distinguishable from false conversion is the production of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There is an ever increasing conformity to the person of Jesus Christ. If we can not detect and increasing conformity to the character of Christ, then we have reason to examine whether or not God has even begun a work in the live of an individual. I fear we have far more conversions than the Lord does. The third reason discipleship is so important is that it previews spiritual problems. When there is an intense relationship with a disciple, spiritual problems are more readily seen and then more easily handled. In a discipleship relationship, problems, challenges, and even sinful behavior can be identified and then eradicated by direct confrontation, scriptural principles, and fervent prayer. There is so much for a new convert to learn! There is so much that must be unlearned also.
In a discipleship relationship there is support, prayer, and accountability. You may never get those things from just attending a Lord’s Day Service or even a mid-week bible service.
We can not simply be content to see someone come to the Lord and then leave them to fend for themselves. There is no substitute for a one on one relationship with a new convert than taking them under your wing and training them as Christ trained the Twelve disciples.
The Gospel Driven Discipleship Face Book Group, the Gospel Driven Blog, and the Adult Bible Class at my local church were born from the fact that we have so many fads "driving" evangelism and discipleship that I was compelled to jump in the "swirling waters" and offer biblical wisdom that is driven by a commitment to the gospel and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.