Those that followed Jesus are called by a number of names or terms. They are called Christians (Acts 11:26), Saints (Colossians 1:2), Sons of God (Philippians 2:15), Children of God (1 John 5:2) Brethren (Colossians 4:15), and Believers. (Acts 5:14) One of the most potent terms identifying God's children is the word "disciple" or "follower."


            When viewed from the standpoint of surrender to Christ the saved ones are called Christians. If you look at the fact that they are set apart for a holy and godly life they are Saints. Viewed from the position of their relationship with God the Father they are Children or Sons of God. Observing their relationship with one another were see that they are Brethren. Based upon their faith in the risen Christ they are Believers. A Disciple is a follower or learner. Let us observe:


            A disciple is obedient in faith. "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20 -- ASV) To be a disciple or follower of Christ were must accept what He teaches and be obedient from our heart to His will. 


            A disciple loves the Lord. May "the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ." (2 Thessalonians 3:5) Paul wrote, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen." (Ephesians 6:24) Paul desired that "grace" might be with those that sincerely love God. Love for God is the sum and substance of the first and great commandment in the Law. (Matthew 22:37-38)


            A disciple loves the brethren. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) As it was said of Christians in years past it should be said of us today, "see how they love one another." Brotherly love was a distinguishing characteristic of the first Christians. The motivation for this love is that those people are my spiritual family.


            A disciple renounces the world for Jesus. Jesus said, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33) He explained more about what he meant by saying, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26) We must renounce anything that stands in the way of the honor that we should give to Jesus or the interest that we should have in the cause of Christ.


            A disciple continues in Jesus' word. In John 8:31 we read, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." It is easy to begin in the work of the Lord but we must also continue in it. The reward is not for those that begin but for those that endure to the end. (Matthew 10:22) Everyone begins the Christian life alike, but not all finish alike. Some stay faithful, some are lukewarm, and others drop out. Heaven is for those that continue in God's word.


            A disciple bears much fruit. Jesus said, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." (John 15:8) Those that do not bear fruit will be cut off. Christians must bear in their life the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Christians must also bear the fruit of producing other Christians. (2 Timothy 2:2) Let us resolve to truly be Jesus' disciples. Allow the love of Christ to constrain you to be His disciple. (2 Corinthians 5:14)


            Obey Jesus' word and continue in it that you may be His disciple. Many have rejected God's plan of salvation. Responsible persons "that know not God and that OBEY not the gospel of Jesus Christ" will be lost. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) To become a Christian you must hear God's word (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus, (Hebrews 11:6), Repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), Confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) Those lost reject Christ and receive not receive not His sayings will be lost. (John 12:48)


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA