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A disciple III

Slowly but surely we are crafting a definition of a disciple here at the Small Groups Guy blog. I am hoping this is a helpful exercise for you even if it is simply helping you work through the scriptures on your own. in Part I we laid out the definition and went through what it means to be gospel-compelled. In part II we looked at a disciple as one who Worships God. Today, we dive into the community aspect of a disciple’s life. quick look at our definition first: A disciple of Jesus is compelled by the gospel to live a life of worship to God, in community with others, on mission to the world.

IN COMMUNITY WITH OTHERS // John 15:12-17, 17:20-26; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; Hebrews 10:19-25; 1 Peter 4

A disciple is called to a life lived in community with other believers. Jesus prays for a unity among believers so intense that it resembles the unity of the Godhead. Paul goes so far as to call the group of people who call themselves followers of Christ to be members of the very same body! Jesus goes on to command believers to love one another in a way that the watching world will know who he is. What he is getting at is the way you love other Christians will reflect what you believe about Jesus. Now, I could write forever about what the community of saints should look like when operating in a healthy manner. Thankfully, great thinkers have contributed to this already. I will offer a handful that I see primarily coming out of Acts 2:42-47, the scene that tells what the first church did in everyday life. This beautiful scene is not prescriptive for us, but it is descriptive of what happened in the mundane everyday life of a bunch of sinful yet redeemed Christians who believed the gospel. So the community of disciples devoted themselves to:

  1. The Apostles Teaching: the preaching of, study in, meditating on, and challenging with, the word of God was a central activity of the early church. It was their foundation and their guide for following Christ. They didn’t casually interact with it, they devoted themselves to it. threw themselves into it. I think the scriptures support this approach to bible study and want you to look at how your community acts out its stated belief of the importance of scripture in everyday life.
  2. Fellowship: Shared life. Verses 43-47 flesh out this what this shared life looked like. It was intense unity that included meeting needs as people had them, serving one another, spurring one another on towards holiness & encouraging one another in their gospel identity (Hebrews 10:24-25). You gotta know people and interact with them regularly to do this. litmus test for you: Who in your life knows your sin patterns and is fighting them with you? thats who you have fellowship with.
  3. Breaking of Bread: Simply, they ate together. Meals are such a natural place to break down barriers and get to know people. They also took communion together. This was their way of symbolically and verbally professing their identity as christians to one another and reminding one another of what that meant. They didnt shy away from the deep, intimate fellowship that comes from being one family, one body in christ.
  4. Prayers: easy enough, they prayed together. Probably started praying the way Jesus taught them to pray (Matt 6) and went from there. The old cheesy but true saying I’ve heard is that “prayer builds care” for someone. Praying is also a way of believing God on behalf of the person you are praying for. It is a way to corporately confess a dependence on God for your very life as a community. So do you pray together?

These are just a few observations. Thanks for the feedback so far. One more to knock out and then a recap with any adjustments that need to be made to the definition we are working out.

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