Roger Boone and Raymond Fox
Learning About Jesus
Because of the variety of religions wearing the name "Christian," the meaning of the name "Christian" has become vague and sometimes empty. The Testament, however, is very precise in its use of this name when the Scripture says, "The disciples were called Christians." Acts 11:26 Christians are disciples of Christ. The word "disciple" primarily means "learner." Jesus, as the Son of God and the Savior of man, is the greatest teacher who ever walked the earth. His disciples are those who devote their lives to learning from Him. A Christian then is a learner who, with the open New Testament, listens in rapt attention to the powerful, incomparable teachings of Christ and considers with loving reverence the holy, spiritual life that He led. But being a disciple is something for more than just learning: it is following Jesus is everyday living.
When Jesus invited people to be His disciples, He summoned them to action. His invitation was, "Follow me!" Jesus set the example in His life for His disciples to follow. Not only did He teach them, "Love your neighbor as yourself," He also showed them by His life the practical meaning of love. Peter wrote that Jesus left, "an example, that you should follow His steps." 1 Peter 2:21 In every situation in life, disciples can ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" Having learned of Jesus, they know the answer. Then, because they follow Jesus, they do without reservation what He would do.
Sometimes doing what Jesus would do is not easy. Loving those who may not love you, for instance, can mean sacrifice, yet it is one of the most fundamental teachings of Jesus. So there must be a third aspect to the New Testament concept of discipleship, besides learning and following, and that is dedication to the example of Christ. Christians sometimes ask themselves, "How far must I go in following Jesus?" Jesus anticipated this question when He said, "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:27 Jesus challenged His disciples to follow Him no matter what the cost. For Christians, discipleship must not be just a part of their lives, it must be their life.
Returning to New Testament Discipleship
Today, Christians need to return to the original meaning of discipleship. They need to dedicate themselves to learning and following Jesus. The members of the church of Christ are committed to the New Testament ideal of discipleship and invite you to join them in striving to follow the example of Jesus.