Being a Disciple is Not Enough
Jan 7, 2019 3275
It’s interesting that there are some churches who appoint apostles. In Africa I’ve also met many self-appointed apostles. In the New Testament, being an apostle was a big deal. In the Bible it is a title that only those who had been with Jesus in the flesh were allowed to use. The fact that Paul called himself an apostle because he had met Jesus on the road to Damascus, was a sore point with the other twelve apostles in Jerusalem.
But there is a sense in which Jesus wants every single believer to be an apostle. You see, in the kingdom of God, being a disciple is not enough. Discipleship is just entry level. Jesus wants his disciples to all become apostles. He said,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18, NIV).
In obedience to this commandment, the disciples became apostles. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent.”
The word “disciple” means a learner: specifically, one who leans by following the master. In a real sense, we are all learners, and we will always be learners. However, our learning has a purpose: it is so that we will reach the point where we will be able to be useful to God. While we are to continue learning, we must all graduate to from being just a “disciple,” to being an “apostle”: someone whom God can sent to bless others.
The only one of the twelve who didn’t graduate from being a disciple to an apostle was Judas.
In a sense, it’s easy to be a disciple. You just turn up with other disciples and sit in the meetings and listen, and sing along. Then you go home, happy with what you’ve heard, and then go on with your life.
But an apostle can’t do that. An apostle is someone who “gets it.” An apostle is someone who realises that God only ever calls people in order to send them. An apostle is someone who accepts that they have been sent into the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
There’s another difference between disciples and apostles is found in the words of Jesus. When he sends out his apostles to make disciples of all nations, he sends them out in all the authority that he has been given in heaven and on earth. You see, learners can’t be trusted with all the power yet, but apostles can.
Do you need more power in your life? Are you experiencing spiritual weakness in your life? Perhaps you’ve been just a disciple for far too long. Perhaps it’s time to graduate to becoming an apostle for Jesus.
The only one of the twelve who didn’t graduate from being a disciple to an apostle was Judas, and look how he ended up!
Being a disciple is not enough. Jesus wants to send you. Will you go?
– Eliezer Gonzalez