Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:14-21
How Discipleship Works
- What is discipleship?
- How can we help each other to grow in Christ?
- Is this an important aspect of church life?
- Should we experience discipleship outside of church?
I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. For you can have 10,000 instructors in Christ, but you can’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some are inflated with pride, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will know not the talk but the power of those who are inflated with pride. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you want? Should I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
Discipleship begins with care, which comes from genuine love.
- Paul cared for the Corinthians’ spiritual wellness.
- Do we genuinely care for the spiritual wellness of each other?
- Should we push each other to become closer in our relationship with God?
- What are some ways we can encourage each other to pursue God more faithfully?
Why does Paul encourage, or “urge” these believers to imitate him?
- If Paul loved Christ, and he did, then he was striving to live a life that reflected Christ. He strove to be Christ-like.
- He urged people to imitate him because he cared about their spiritual wellbeing and desired that they experience Christ as he did.
- When we become disciples, we actually seek to imitate the life of someone who is more mature in the faith than we are.
- Sometimes that is a parent, a teacher, a preacher, a grandparent, a friend or an older member of the church.
- When we disciple, we actually encourage others to imitate the way that we live and pursue God in our daily lives.
- Do you live a life that is worthy of imitation?
Some acted as though Paul would not return to them.
- Successful discipleship requires relationship.
- We cannot disciple others without investing in our relationship with them. People do not care what we have to say unless they know that we care.
- Successful discipleship requires presence.
- Can we disciple anyone if we are not around?
- If we are not part of the church community, how can we possibly be a part of discipleship within the church?
- Paul was not present in this church, and that hurt his ability to disciple its members. He urged them to follow Timothy.
- Successful discipleship requires both example and instruction.
- Paul not only encouraged the church to imitate him, but he gave them instruction. He taught them how to live in Christ.
- When we disciple, we teach. First in action, then in word.
Paul states that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What might he mean?
- If we only teach the Word and do not practice it, we have failed as disciples.
- What is the point of all that we do if we don’t let it change us for the better?
Questions for class discussion
- What are some ways discipleship takes place in this church?
- Should discipleship happen outside of church?
- Why or why not?
- What about in the home? (Consider Deut. 6:4-7)
- What about in school or at work?
- What is different about our relationships with believers from the other relationships that we have?
- The presence of discipleship?
- How might others see Christ in your life this week?