Discipleship is Your Second Assignment
By Joseph C. Ibekwe
Our first assignment as believers on earth is to get as many people as possible to become born again, or accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour. After the person receives Christ, our second assignment begins- discipleship. Then our third assignment is to salt our society and environment through our good works. Once we understand the simplicity of our assignment on earth, the easier it becomes for us to carry them out. This tripartite assignment is the reason we are here, is it called Ministry or Business.
What this means is that whatever you are engaged in is a ministry and it is a business. As far as the kingdom is concerned, we are on earth as business people, expanding the business that Jesus Christ started and left for us. For too long their has been a misunderstanding in this area. Every christian is in business to do three things – win people to the Lord, disciple them and salt your earth. The platform each of us stands to carry out this assignment differs. None is superior to each other, provided you deliberately integrate these three aspects of your assignment into what you do on a daily basis.
As a christian, you do business to support ministry. In Hebrew, the word Business and Ministry mean the same thing that is why Jesus emphasized prior to launching out into public ministry that he was ‘about his Father’s business’.
Once you become a believer, you enroll as a disciple and a disciple-maker.
It is important to understand what discipleship is about. It is about two things.
1. Learning about, and learning of, Jesus Christ – our saviour and Master
2. Doing the things that Jesus did – working the works he did
Essentially, discipleship is about learning and doing. We learn of the lord, we learn how he thinks, what he does and how he does things; then we do as he did. One scripture that comes to my mind here is Eccl. 7:11 (TLB). It says “See how God does things and fall in line. Don’t fight the facts of nature”. So we are to observe how our Master lived and fall in line. This is discipleship in a nutshell.
Discipleship training is not about preparing us to meet the Lord or preparing us to make heaven. The day you got born again, you become qualified for heaven; in fact, you were immediately translated into the kingdom and seated at the right hand of Majesty in heaven, in Christ. As a believer, you are not preparing or preparing born-again members of my congregation, to make heaven. No! You are preparing them to make the earth – what does that mean? Jesus said, “Occupy till I come”. What does it mean to occupy? – It means to take charge, to organize things, to influence things, to put things in order, to do business, to be productive, to do ministry.
We are in this world, but not of this world. We are in this world for an assignment: to demonstrate to the world the glory, the power, the essence, and goodness of God so that they can be attracted to our Father through Jesus Christ. We are not in the world to prepare us to become citizens of heaven; instead, we are on earth to show the world how heavenly citizens think, talk and live. We are ambassadors for Christ, we not are preparing ourselves for ambassadorial assignment or posting.
For example, an American Ambassador in Nigeria or Kenya is not in Nigeria or Kenya to prepare himself to become an American citizen, no! Instead, he in Nigeria or Kenya to maintain a cordial relationship between his home country and his country of diplomatic posting, and to show them what his home country believes about different matters of mutual concern.
As long as the Ambassador does not renounce citizenship of his home country, he remains a citizen. If however, his begins to live below diplomatic rules, he could be recalled home; but not stripped off his citizenship. That is the way it is with us, believers.
I know someone is already raising a red flag of “heresy”, and want to ask, are you now saying “once saved, forever saved”? I didn’t say that neither did I imply. The fact is that someone can deliberately renounce his salvation, and therefore lose his citizenship, but it has its own process, but not out of flimsy mis-conduct. The process is stated in the book of Hebrews 6: 4-6. I shall not dwell on it for now.
We are not here on earth or in this world to prepare us to make heaven. Our citizenship is already in heaven! Our responsibility is to learn how to live a quality life here in this world that reflects the life of our home country – heaven. This requires two things.
The truth is that no believer can actually prepare himself for heaven, because if I should be the one to prepare myself for heaven what was the essence of grace that can to save me? What was the essence of the blood that washed away my sins, even when I didn’t deserve it? If to prepare myself to make heavens means to work hard and live a holy life in order to make heaven, what is then the difference between me and the others who live ‘do good works, live righteous lives’, but have rejected the finished work of the cross? And there are many of them, like that.
Does it therefore mean I should live any how because I am not to prepare myself for heaven, or because I claim to already be in heaven? Of course not!
“God’s divine power has given to me, he is not going to give to me, all that pertains to life and godliness, and this through the knowledge of him that hath called me to glory and virtue” (2Pt.1:3). The day I got born again, I received God’s power to live Jesus’s kind of life on earth. But I needed to know about it and receive wisdom on how to live out this life, here on earth, not in heaven. This knowledge is what I should have gotten through teaching – discipleship training. By the discipleship training is not a one-off programme; it is the entirety what the Church exists to do carry on. We often confuse Believers Foundation Class with Discipleship Development. The first is one-off; the second is life-time.
As a disciple, you need two important things to live out divine life in this world.
The scripture affirms to this when it says, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and the strength of salvation…” Isaiah 33:6
Many sincere believers are living below their divine potential in this world due to lack of lack knowledge of who they are in Christ, and what their role in this world should be. And the reason is because wrong discipleship teaching slants.
This world has dimensions: spiritual, economic, political, and social dimensions. Each of these dimensions affects me, and my ignorance about the operations of these dimensions will limit my capacity fulfill my ambassadorial assignment in this world. As a disciple, you are commanded to ‘occupy in all these dimensions’ until Jesus comes. How are you going to do that when you are not taught how to do that, even though you have received of His divine power? You have to be taught it, precepts upon precepts, line upon line, here a little, there a little.
Discipleship training therefore must be deliberate to ensure it teaches us, disciples, how to live out the divine life in the world as an ambassadors, not necessarily to prepare us for heaven. We have to review our current discipleship training program which is empty of how a disciple should occupy in the different dimensions in world for his master.
Discipleship should not be consigned to a programme, but it our second life-time engagement – learning and doing.
At Graced Family Chapel we believe that Every Day Christian – EDC – is in business. Our primary role is to establish how Every Day Christian should be doing to this business to fulfill the why they are here.
I hope this makes some sense to you.
Thank you and stay blessed
Pst. Joseph Ibekwe
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