Becoming a Disciple

The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus

The Way” (Acts 9:2) was made up of those two were followers of Jesus – the one who is identified as “the way” (John 14:6). This is the essence of discipleship – being a follower of Jesus. The Greek word for disciple means “a learner, pupil” (Thayer). The apostles were commissioned by the Lord to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

How does one become a disciple? To answer this question, we can look at the instructions the Lord and His apostles gave to those who would be His followers. Looking to the New Testament, we can see that in order to become a disciple, an individual must:

  • Hear the gospel – “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’” (Mark 16:15). The gospel must be preached because people must hear it in order to respond to it. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:8).
  • Believe that Jesus is the Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Not only is belief necessary for salvation, but Jesus specifically said that those who do not believe will be lost. He said elsewhere, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Interestingly, the word “He” is not in the original Greek text but was added by the translators. Jesus’ statement meant that we must believe that He is the “I AM” – the name that God called Himself when speaking to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). In other words, it is not enough simply to believe in the existence of Jesus; we must believe that He is Deity (cf. Colossians 2:9).
  • Repent of sins – “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). The belief that we are to have (previous point) must lead us to action. Repentance means to put away sin and begin serving the Lord. Jesus said elsewhere, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). When we make the decision to follow the Lord, we are making a commitment to serve Him daily.
  • Confess faith in Christ – “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). This is the verbal affirmation of our faith. We must do more than mentally acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. In addition to repentance, we must also be willing to make “the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
  • Be baptized into Christ – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Many people will push back on this point and try to argue that baptism is not necessary in order to be saved or to become a disciple of Jesus. Yet Jesus said that baptism is just as necessary for salvation as belief (Mark 16:16) and is an essential step in the discipleship process (Matthew 28:19). Those who reject this and have “disbelieved” Jesus “shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Paul described baptism as the act in which we put on Christ: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

When we become a disciple, we then belong to Christ. Peter explained this in his first epistle: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). As “a people for His own possession,” we must be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). In other words, we must continue to serve Him and do what is right throughout our lives.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Way: What it Means to Be a Disciple of Jesus by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

For the Remission of Sins

The Plan of Salvation (John H. Hundley)

Again, on the day of Pentecost, when the three thousand believed, and requested what they should do to be saved, Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.

Now, if a man can repent because his sins have been forgiven, then our Baptist brothers are right in their interpretation of this passage, viz: that a man should be baptized because his sins have been remitted. No man in his senses, however, is willing to believe that a remission of sins ever causes sorrow. It is too absurd a proposition to be entertained for a moment. Of course, then, repentance and baptism are for one and the same thing—to-wit, remission or pardon of past sins. Paul’s conversion proves this. For three days he was a firm believer in Jesus Christ, and most bitterly all that time did he repent him of his iniquities. If faith brings salvation, Paul surely ought to have been pardoned long before Ananias visited him. Or, if repentance alone secured remission of sins, Paul ought to have been pardoned before Ananias visited him. But what did Ananias say to him so soon as he came into his presence? Did he ask after his experience? Did he say, “Brother Paul, you have been most signally visited by our gracious Lord, for I understand you have seen a great light and heard a mighty voice, by which means God has informed you that you are an accepted son and child of glory?” Oh, no. But Ananias said to him on this wise: “Why tarriest thou, brother Paul? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Can any man doubt now that baptism is for the remission of sins? If he can, he doubts God’s Word, and is at heart a scoffer and an infidel. Here we have a man who has believed and repented, and who is yet told to arise and wash away his sins by immersion. If he had been saved by faith, as I remarked a while ago, there would have been no sins to wash away. So neither would there have been had he been saved by repentance. But God’s plan is the more perfect one, and here we see it exemplified. Paul is told to wash away his sins by baptism—not that the virtue is in the water, but simply because God has chosen to make that His ordinance. Under the Mosaic Law it was customary for the priest to take a goat, and laying hands on him to send him forth into the wilderness, and God promised that thus the sins of Israel should be carried away, and hence this was called the scape-goat. Does any man think the virtue to bear off sins was in a goat? Of course not. It was God’s command, and there lay all the merit. So in the case of water baptism. God has commanded us to perform the ordinance in order to remission, and it is obedience to God’s Word that ensures salvation and cleanses us from all sin, and not the mere washing of water. Or, as Peter has expressed it, for doubtless the same objections were urged against this institution then as now, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

This much will suffice on the subject of immersion, for if a man will not believe the Apostle Peter, he will not even listen to anything which I might feel inclined to write.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Plan of Salvation: Made Plain to the Sinner by John H. Hundley. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Take Courage: Lessons from the Example of Josiah (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the book, Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith.

Take Courage (cover)As we seek to restore (or maintain) faithful service to God, we should learn from Josiah’s example.

First, we must be willing to change when necessary. No one is perfect. Paul reminded us of this when he said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even Christians can be wrong, as Peter (Cephas) “stood condemned” for his sin (Galatians 2:11). When we are wrong, we need to repent – whether that means repudiating sin in our individual lives (Acts 8:20-22) or correcting errors in the congregation with which we worship (Revelation 2:4-5).

Second, we must not allow ourselves to be enslaved to tradition. Though the word tradition in regard to religious matters carries an immediate negative connotation with some, not all traditions are wrong. Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). But we must abandon the traditions of men that are contrary to the law of God (Matthew 15:6-9) – no matter how long we or those before us held the tradition.

Third, we must not place family above our service to God. The Lord must come first in all things. Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37). Following Christ will sometimes put us at odds with those who are closest to us in this life. It is difficult to see these ties threatened. But it is far worse to be “severed from Christ,” as this means we have “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Fourth, we must be willing to oppose error. This means we must oppose those who promote error: “Keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). It also means we must oppose those who practice error: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Many prefer the path of compromise in their attempt to be more tolerant than God. Because of this, we will often face opposition, not just from the errorists, but from weak-kneed brethren who sympathize with them.

Fifth, we must submit to a higher law. King Josiah was certainly not exempt from God’s law. We are not either. Jesus has “all authority” (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, we must “do all in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17). He will save “all those who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). So we must be sure we measure up to His standard of judgment (John 12:48).

You can read more about the courage of Josiah and others in Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Root of the Problem: Chapter 17 – Lack of Urgency (Excerpt)

The Root of the Problem (cover)Sadly, this is the attitude many people take toward sin. They know they need to correct sin. They know they need to repent. They know that they must strive for perfection (Matthew 5:48). But they hold on to sin anyway. After all, there is plenty of time for correction later, right? Can we not enjoy sin for a little while now, and give it up at some point in the future?

While many people have a casual attitude toward repentance and obedience, the Bible presents these as urgent matters. When there are things in our lives that need to be corrected, we must do so without delay.

Notice the following passages: “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain – for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

The acceptable time to take advantage of God’s salvation is not some day in the future. It is now. Today is the day of salvation, as Paul says. If we need to give up sin, today is the day to do it, not some time later in our future.

You can read more about the urgent need to repudiate sin and prepare for judgment in The Root of the Problem: Why We Sin & How We Can Overcome. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!