Last week I presented 3 blog posts that identified 9 problems in contemporary discipleship and offered free solutions for each of them.
Because of the amazing number of pageviews on this series, I’m compiling all 9 problems and their solutions in one place to make them easy to share with others.
The First Set of Problems
Problem 1. The common way to deal with lukewarmness among Christians today is to make God’s people feel guilty and condemned. So guilt is the tool that’s used as the “driver” for spiritual fervor and zeal.
Problem 2. Many Christians start out on the spiritual journey on fire, but the embers gradually grow dim and they are left feeling cold toward the Lord and His Word.
Problem 3. Christians are wanting to discover how they can become more like Jesus. The message they are typically given as the remedy for this is: “Pray, read your Bible, go to church, tithe, witness, and do your best to do what Jesus said to do.”
And then . . . “disciple others by teaching them to do these same things.”
But is that what the New Testament envisions for the life of a disciple? Is that what we see in the apostles and the early Christians?
Discipleship According to the New Testament
Well, let’s take each point one by one:
Pray – yes, the early Christians prayed, but not like we do. They understood the highest form of prayer to be fellowship, a two-way communication.
Read the Bible – the early disciples didn’t have Bibles. The Old Testament was virtually inaccessible and the New Testament hadn’t been written. (When Paul’s letters and the Gospels were written, they were circulated. But there were no printing presses in those days, so they were scarce. And most of the early Christians couldn’t read or write.)
The Jewish Christians certainly heard the Scriptures read in the synagogue from childhood and they had outstanding memories. And when the apostles came around, the Christians heard the preaching of the Word.
But their encounters with the Word of God were much more than learning the written Scriptures, which they learned orally. There was something else involved.
Tithe – the early Christians didn’t tithe until well after the death of the apostles. They gave, but they didn’t follow Israel’s income tax system (which was actually more than 10%).
Go to church – the early Christians didn’t “go to church.” They were the church and they gathered regularly, living as a shared-life community.
Witness – the early Christians witnessed to the life of Christ by their deeds. And the apostles and evangelists proclaimed the gospel in different parts. But there was no evangelistic program that the early believers obsessed over. They certainly shared their faith by the leading of the Spirit, but their lives were epistles written by God’s Spirit.
Do your best to do what Jesus said – the early believers didn’t take the words of Jesus like they took the Old Testament Law, in a legal way, trying to fulfill His words in their own power and strength. There was something else at work. (Another element is to “disciple others” by teaching them to do the above.)
Consequently, there is a MISSING INGREDIENT in discipleship today that answers the question of how to become like Jesus.
Click the button below for the free audio that offers solutions to these 3 problems.
The Second Set of Problems
Problem 4. Christians easily burn out when undergoing discipleship trainings and programs. This is because these trainings and programs are strong on knowledge and will, rather than on how to lay hold of the source of all spiritual power and vitality.
Problem 5. Christians are rarely if ever taught how to live by the life of Christ who indwells them. So they rely on their own will to be a “good Christian.” In other words, they live by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil rather than by the Tree of Life.
Problem 6. Christians are taught to be like Jesus by reading the Gospels and doing their best to apply what they read. When Jesus said “follow me,” He wasn’t just talking about imitating what He did. He was talking about the engine that drove His own life and ministry. “Follow me,” not only means, obey my teachings, but it also means “get a hold of the same source that I relied upon to live my life.”
Click the button below for the free audio that offers solutions to these problems.
The Third Set of Problems
Problem 7. There is massive confusion over spirit, soul, and body and how countless Christians confuse their souls with their spirits and struggle to “find their spirit.”
Problem 8. There is almost no understanding of the consciousness divine life and how to discern the Lord’s leading within and follow one’s spiritual instincts.
Problem 9. There is the problem of the paralysis of self analysis.
Click the button below for the free audio that offers solutions to these problems.
BONUS RESOURCE: My free article Discipleship, Mission, and Church: A Plea to Learn Our History addresses some of the other problems in contemporary discipleship that I’ve outlined.
My new online discipleship course contains all 3 audios (above) as well as 8 more and a practical workbook. The course addresses other problems as well and offers solutions for each of them.
Some of the problems that are identified in the other talks are:
1. Why do so many who teach discipleship fail to love other Christians, treating them the way they want to be treated in all circumstances? And how can this be overcome?
2. What is the best way to grow spiritually?
3. How does one really know the Lord in a deep and vibrant way?
4. What is the proper balance between good works and worship . . . between loving Jesus and serving Him?
5. What are the main community destroyers and how to we prevent them?
And much more . . .
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