Season: 4 Episode: 053
Everyone is a product of someone’s teaching. We often associate discipleship with Christianity, but the reality is that everyone is someone’s disciple. What we give our time to shows who we’ve given the power to mold our minds and influence our beliefs. Whose disciple are you?
“The soul needs something to follow”
“Who we follow affects what we learn. What we learn affects what we believe. What we believe affects how we behave. How we behave proves whose disciple we are.”
“You’ll know if you’re God’s disciple when you nurture disciplines that draw you closer to the Lord.”
“If you send your kids to Caesar, don’t be surprised when they come back Romans.” Voddie Baucham
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Fatih Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and align them to biblical truth. I have some exciting news to share with you about 2021! Her Faith Inspires ministries is going to offer more online classes and we are opening up with another “How to study the Bible like a scholar” class in January.
There will also be classes on how to defend the faith … otherwise known as apologetics … so if you want to be informed as to when these classes are taking place, go to shandafulbright.com/2021-online-courses-landing-page.
Of course the link will be in the show notes and in my bio on Instagram. I am also on Parler now, so you can follow me there @shandafulbright.
Now to today’s episode ..
At the beginning of this year, God really laid mentorship on my heart. And at the time I was teaching a class at my church on Wed nights, doing the podcast, teaching in my FB group once a week and I honestly didn’t know what else I was supposed to do in regards to mentorship.
However, I also felt like I was falling short in this area. I see and hear Christians post about revival often, but what happens after revival? Is anyone mentoring or discipling those people? What happens after women’s conferences? Is anyone discipling women after the big conference ends?
We talk about small groups in churches, but is mentoring and discipleship happening? The truth is, our churches are falling short at discipleship. And that’s what the Lord was leading me to.
I am a teacher by nature. God has put it in my heart and called me to it. It is in my blood. But I love to learn and I love to teach what I learn. I’ve taught in public schools and God has called me to teach in His church, so I understand the importance of mentorship, discipleship and adequate education.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
Who is mentoring you? Who is discipling you? What are the names of your mentors? Why is that important?
So today, we are talking about discipleship. Discipleship is what keeps the church thriving. It’s what keeps the church going and it determines the strength of the church and each individual within the church.
Why is discipleship important? A lot of people assume being a disciple only has to do with the Great Commission. And while that is what Jesus commanded of His disciples in Matthew 28:19, we must understand that we are being discipled by somebody …whether or not it’s Jesus.
In fact, you aren’t the only one being discipled. Your kids are being discipled. Your family is being discipled. Even your friends are being discipled. Every. Single. Day. And I hope to show you how today and I hope to persuade you to understand the seriousness of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ in the day and age we are living in.
In order to understand what we’re going to talk about today, I need to set up a few things.
What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader or philosopher. It’s a person who learns from another, especially one who can then turn around and teach others.
Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words, He said to make followers and students of the Lord.
What I really want to make clear is that Jesus never said to go and make Christians of all nations. He said to go and make disciples of all nations. In the NT, the word Christian is only mentioned 3 times. The word disciple is mentioned more than 3,000 times. Jesus never used the word Christian. In fact, Christians were not called Christians until the book of Acts when the people in Antioch started to call Christ’s followers Christians.
Why is this important?
Because today we have many people who call themselves Christians. We have people who believe in things contrary to the word of God. One of my boys is a Chris Pratt fan. Chris Pratt got up and gave a speech about following God. It was great. But Chris Pratt also makes movies where he cusses and sleeps with women. Chris Pratt lived with his girlfriend after he and his wife divorced.
My point? Anyone can call themselves a Christian. This is America. Christianity has become cultural. We accept what we want, and throw away the rest. We are the most bible illiterate Christians on earth, yet more copies of the Bible are sold in this country than anywhere in the world.
The church is in dire straights and I want to make you aware of your teachers, mentors and those who are discipling you and those discipling your children, family and friends.
And then I hope to persuade you to seek out a more mature, wiser Christian who is sound in theology and learn from them. We’ll talk more about how to do that later.
So today, we are going to talk about:
- Who is discipling you and how do you know who your biggest influencers are?
2) What are the attributes of a disciple of the Lord?
3) Why is it important to get a knowledgeable and sound teacher?
Who is discipling you and how do you know?
You may think this is a weird question. Like, how would I not know if someone is discipling me? That sounds odd, right? Not really. Because what you may not realize is that you are being discipled by whatever and whomever you give your attention to.
According to statistics, 65% of Americans claim to be Christians. That is a drastic decline over the last ten years. When I was teaching youth 2 years ago, I shared the stat that we were at 75%.
Among the American population, 35% are considered “nones”. They claim no religion at all. That is a drastic increase over the years. So, what’s the problem? Among the nones that are 45 and under, the percentage of increases to 45%. I’m in that age group.
Why is this happening?
Much of this has to do with a few things:
- Church doctrine. Pastors are preaching CRT from the pulpit. They are preaching the prosperity gospel from the pulpit. They are preaching progressive Christianity. Paul said in Romans 1:18, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” If any church preaches anything other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is no power to change the heart of anyone. Meaning … you are not making disciples.
The American churches tickle ears. Many of them have no substance. They’re fine with pew fillers and members, but they don’t invest in discipleship. The landscape of the American church has been impacted by culture and we’ve stopped impacting culture.
- Families are not catechizing their kids (teaching them Biblical truth, but leaving it up to the churches). Have you ever sat in on a class at your church? Some churches will put any willing and able bodied person in the position of a teacher. That’s dangerous! We once had someone who was a Jehovas Witness teaching Sunday school to our kids at church and no one knew it until he was in the position for quite some time. We are trusting people we know nothing about to influence and disciple our children. This is not OK.
- Church attendance is declining. Religion in America has become celebritized. Religion is a business in America and if there is no money to make, preachers will give the people what they want to hear so that they’re followed. The word “influencer” became a thing because of social media and do you know how many people want to be religious influencers? The next Lisa Tyrkheurst or Priscilla Shirer? It’s ridiculous! Those people do not replace your pastor. And is what they’re producing enough for discipleship?
Plain and simple:
The church isn’t making disciples of the Lord. We are failing. And I’m going to be straight up .. it’s not the churches job to make sure they disciple your kids. They should disciple your kids, but ultimately, that’s your responsibility. As the generations continue to go by, we are moving away from Christianity because we are not preaching the gospel. The statistics show this.
I just read them to you. Our “nones” category is at 35% …. 35%!!! That should scare us.
The reality is, we all are somebody’s disciple.
We are being taught by somebody. Is it the Lord? Is it the media? Hollywood? The university? Is it public education?
David French said, “It was foolish for anyone to believe that a less Christian America would be a less religious America. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, ‘God put eternity in man’s heart.’ Traditional Christianity and Judaism aren’t just being removed from American life; they’re being replaced.”
We aren’t removing discipleship from our lives because we don’t go to church or because we don’t have spiritual mentors … we’ve just replaced discipleship with things like “influencers”, technology, TV, Media, and whatever we expose ourselves to on a daily basis.
Why? Because the soul needs something to follow.
You are somebody’s disciple. Whose disciple are you?
HR Daily Advisor said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Some will say that you can begin to master a skill in less time, but you won’t be as skilled in it until some time. But let’s take the 10,000 hour time frame and break that down. It would translate into about 9 years. If you gave 5 days a week at four hours each day to dedicate to this new skill, you would be a master.
What do we spend our time on each day? One of the apologetic professors at Biola University said there is no way we can become thought leaders, critical thinkers, and knowledgable people in the word of God if we spend four hours each day scrolling through our phones, watching TV, or allowing our minds to be filled with things that do not draw us back to the Lord.
Now am I telling you to give 4 hours each day to reading the Bible? No. I can’t even do that. But the amount of people who message me saying they do not understand their bible, or that they cannot develop the discipline to read their bibles, is insurmountable. And the discipline to do it will not ever take place unless we put time into it.
Who we follow affects what we learn. What we learn affects what we believe. What we believe affects our behavior.
John Mark Reynolds said that changes in behavior are no longer effected by rational argument. Previous generations relied on the linear literate mind before TV came along. For this reason people no longer possess the ability to follow an argument from A – Z.
Because of this, we create a culture that is incapable of hearing and following an apologetic argument. The problem with Christians, and listen, I was here … I was raised in church and until a few years ago, I did not know how to defend my faith against atheists, agnostics, or people who were smarter than me. I only knew the biblical answers, not the convincing argument for the existence of God.
But that’s not the only problem. The other problem is that we literally don’t know what we believe. We do not know how to defend the faith. Because people no longer make decisions and take action based on rational discourse, and a religion that depends on a marked decision that is at least partly intellectual is in trouble in the 21st century.
And we must remember that christianity requires intellect. We are a people of a book.
We get the word discipline from disciple.
A disciple of the Lord works on spiritual disciplines like prayer, studying the word, fasting, tithing, warring against the spirit and the flesh because we battle daily. Let’s get real … no one has it all together.
But this is in direct correlation with physical disciplines. I’ve talked about this before … In order to be physically fit, I have to be disciplined in physical training each day. I have to be disciplined in choosing healthy foods most of the time. Those disciplines take time to develop, but with daily practice they become easier and after 5 1/2 years of crossfit and more than 3 years of nutrition practice, it’s gotten easier and has become a lifestyle.
I was talking to my husband the other day about how much work it is to learn how to reason, to learn logic, and to stretch the mind so that I can give an articulate defense for the faith in the culture that is so hostile to the word of God. It’s work to read and to study. It takes focus to make sure I search out the word of God for sound teaching.
And I’ll be honest with you … I rarely watch TV at all. Saturdays are my days to watch some things, but at the same time, I limit my entertainment because I can only strengthen and renew my mind with the word of God.
I have to assess what I give my time to each day.
But it’s not easy. When I sit down to study the word, there are plenty of distractions. But I also know that I long to allow the word of God to transform my mind. I desire to be able to learn from others who know more than me so that I can become a disciplined follower of the Lord, able to think, reason and use logic against the tactics of this fallen world.
So again, why is discipleship a problem in the church? Because it’s not a problem in the world?
One of the reasons the church isn’t making disciples is because we don’t have people who are equipped to teach. Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.”
Why are the workers few? Hebrews 5:12 says, “By this time you ought to be teachers, but you need someone to teach you the basic truths of God’s word.” People are not growing in their knowledge of the word of God. We are not equipping others through discipleship.
What are the attributes of a disciple of the Lord?
According to got questions.com (which is a great resource), there are 5 main attributes of a disciple of the Lord:
- A disciple of the Lord is set apart from the world. We must learn how to be in the world but not of it. The Bible says we are a new creation, the old has passed away. That doesn’t mean we become perfect. Not one bit. But we are different. The Holy Spirit of God begins the work of sanctification in our hearts and we are different. That means we have different beliefs, different speech, different actions.
Do you know how you know if you are becoming a disciple? When you lose friends. That may scare you, but it’s true. When people stop inviting you to things, when they stop following you on social media, when they stop talking to you … you are living a different lifestyle and some don’t want that.
Now again, that doesn’t mean you won’t have friends. It just means that being a disciple is evident and some won’t feel comfortable around you for it.
You’ll know you’re a disciple when you nurture disciplines that draw you closer to God.
A disciple lives for the Lord regardless of what’s going on in the world.
2) A disciple of the Lord is committed to the word of God which stems from obedience to the Lord. John 8:31-32, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’”
Disciples are committed to reading and studying the word of God. They do not compromise the word to appease culture. And in our day and age, culture defies the word of God. Culture condones abortion, homosexuality, fornication, disrespect of leaders and each other, and many things that are contrary to the word of God. When a disciple stands up for truth about these culturally accepted issues, he/she will be ostracized. Instead of going with the flow, you’ll go against it.
3) A disciple bears fruit. We don’t produce fruit in our own lives. Our job is to abide in Christ. The Lord said to abide in Him because He is the vine and we are the branches. Christ produces the fruit in us and we find that fruit in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
4) A disciple loves fellow believers in christ. This is important because Jesus said this, of all things, let’s the world know that we are His disciples. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples.”
Notice that Jesus didn’t say people would know us by our talents, our gifts, or anything else. He said they would know us by our love.
5) Evangelism. This is where we fulfill the great commission in Matthew 28:19. We go and make disciples of others. It’s important that we are able to teach those younger than us in the Lord. That also means it’s important for us to have mentors/teachers who know more than us as we are discipled.
Here’s the reality of discipleship. Go back to Daniel chapter 1, and read the first 4 verses. We’re talking about Babylon, a pagan nation taking captive Judah … God’s people. He wasn’t just looking for anyone. He was looking for intellect, wisdom, understanding, discernment, appearance, notoriety. The king of Babylon was looking for those he could disciple. Those he could teach the ways of the Babylonians.
The enemy wants God’s best.
He wants our talents, our gifts, our callings, our minds, and our bodies so that he can whore us out to culture. Why? Because he is the god of the age and he steals God’s best.
I think of this all the time when I teach my children, and when I say I teach my children, I have curriculum in apologetics that I sit down and teach my boys so they can think and articulate a proper defense for their faith.
When you continue to read the book of Daniel, you will see that once Nebuchadnezzer took Daniel and his friends, he began to disciple them in the literature and language of the Chaldeans. They were offered food offered to idols and they were educated in the ways of the Babylonians for three years.
But Daniel was already somebody’s disciple. He was already committed to the knowledge and learning he got while in Judah. He would not reprogram his thinking to succumb to the ways of Babylon. And he was able to reason, and keep in mind he was about 17 years old, he was able to reason with the those in charge so that he continued in his commitment to the God of heaven even in pagan Babylon.
It is essential to our survival in a world where the enemies tactics are the same as they were in the garden. They are the same as they were in the days of Daniel. Can we say that we show intelligence in every branch of wisdom, are endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge? I know that sounds like a lot of pressure because we are busy people, but are we stretching our we fulfilling the first commandment that says to love God with all our minds? Because this is how we do it. By becoming a disciple.
Why is it important to get a knowledgable and sound teacher?
I shared a podcast episode about wolves in sheeps clothing a few months ago. You can listen to that on episode 39: “Fakes, phonies, and false teachers” if you want to go back to find out why I think it’s important to know your bible for yourself. And why the Bible tells us to expose false teachers. But we have to understand that they’re out there.
One of the verses I think of often is in Matt 10:24 where Jesus said a student is not greater than his teacher. Your teacher can only take you to the depths of knowledge they’ve been to. If you have a shallow teacher, you will never grow beyond their ability. Never.
There have been times I’ve outgrown a teacher or a mentor, but that’s only because I continued to learn. Just like in grade school when you teach someone all they need to now in 5th grade, that teacher won’t take you beyond because her only job is to teach you 5th grade material. You have to go to the next teacher at the next grade level in order to go to new depths of knowledge.
It is no different with a bible teacher or a pastor.
The only way you are going to grow is by reading and studying. You need a teacher or mentor to push you to depths you’ve never explored. Will it be hard at times? Yes, but it will be worth it.
Here’s the scary part: we are consumers. We are good at consuming information and we are not sufficient at discerning whether or not that information is conforming our minds to the world.
Our schools are institutions. Our children are becoming indoctrinated by critical race theory, feminism, political views. My senior is getting lessons in self-care from his English teacher. He is being told to take yoga and give himself mental breaks. Just teach my kid how to write, how to read, how to formulate cohesive sentences and outline essays in preparation for college.
My sophomore is getting lectured on male domination in our current culture and why he should be concentered about gender equality. He’s being told to look around at his high school friends to make sure the boys aren’t mistreating the girls. Just teach my kid history! But no, our kids have become disciples of the school system and if you’re not paying attention and intercepting the ideologies being thrown their way, their minds will be molded and influenced by the world.
Voddie Bachaum said, “If you send your kids to Caesar, don’t be surprised when they come back Romans.”
But we must understand that we are being discipled too. How many hours a day are you exposing yourself to TV, movies, social media, mainstream media, books? In the early days of TV, people consumed an average of one hour and 23 minutes of TV per day. By 2009-2010, the average person consumed 8 hours and 55 minutes of TV per day.
The 21st century has given birth to disciples of media. Cecily Dickey talk about cell phone addiction on my podcast in episode 48. But the average person checked their cell phone 63 times a day. Americans are on their phones on average for 5.4 hours each day. 13% of millennials spend over 12 hours on their phones each day. We are creating disciples of the digital age.
Christians are people of a book. We must be literate, thought leaders, producers of content and separate from culture but influencers of culture. However, I fear that most of us are incapable of doing that because our time is spent under someone else’s discipleship. There is no way we can realistically become a disciple of the Lord if we spend more than 4 hours per day consuming worldly content.
Knowledgable and sound teachers are necessary for growth.
In Ephesians 4, Paul talks about maturing. And in verse 14, he talks about the evidence of maturity. It reads, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”
We must mature in Christ and recognize sound doctrine by sound teachers. If not, we will be carried away because we have no choice. When a boat is in the middle of the ocean and has no rudder, no anchor, no sails, it is at the mercy of the sea. It has no choice but to be tossed by the waves. When the wind blows, things that aren’t anchored to something stable will be blown away. There is no choice. It will happen.
So it is with us in spiritual matters. If we do not have the truth to anchor us, we will be tossed and carried by false doctrine because we have not matured in Christ and His word. We are not disciples.
I want to wrap this up today by stressing the need to become a disciple of the Lord. That is the great commission given to every follower of Jesus. It is not an ask … it is a command. And regardless of whether or not you are a preacher, teacher, evangelist, or you just have a regular job … if you follow Christ, you are to become a disciple and make disciples.
If you are looking for someone to mentor you, keep listening to this podcast. Do you want to go deeper in knowledge and depth? Sign up for the online classes coming up in 2021. They will be on Zoom, you will get to ask me questions and Albert, my own mentor, may be teaching some classes in 2021, so get connected, get equipped, and confidently defend the faith.
Don’t be fooled … you are somebody’s disciple.
What is your doctrine? What have you learned? And is that person teaching from the only source of truth that will keep you from being tossed by every wind of doctrine, philosophy and worldly ideologies? That’s a question only you can ask yourself.
We are living in times where you need to be watchful and aware. If you feel God calling you to deeper waters, now’s the time to answer the call. If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to answer them.
Until then, I’ll catch you on the next one!