By Benjamin H. Liles
Dana Allin's look at what discipleship is and how we do it through the Church that Christ put into place is made thoroughly clear in his book Simple Discipleship. While he takes us down a walk of what it means to be discipled to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37, Berean Study), he makes the point this is at the core of being discipled. Allin breaks it down for ministers of the faith, of which I am not, to rightly and effectively make disciples of Christ Jesus.
The reason I often say I don't minister is that I don't teach in an official capacity for any kind or type of Church. I mainly teach on here to you all to show you how we ought to have faith in the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, who died on our behalf so that God's wrath not remain on you. Greg X Volz, former lead singer for the band Petra, sang in the band's early years, "Lift Him up higher and higher. Lift Him up set the world on fire. It doesn't take much theology. Just lift Him up so the world can see. Lift Him up tell the gospel story. Lift Him up left them see His glory. It doesn't take any Bible degree. Just lift Him up so the world can see."
It's very much true that as a member of His Church I don't effectively need a Bible degree to share my faith, which I have seen and tasted His glory of, ought to be put out there. What did Jesus say about being a light, a lamp? "No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light" (Luke 8:16, Holman Christian Standard). I feel that I am honored by Christ, as I'm but a foolish man talking about the inexplicable joy Jesus Christ brings to me. After all He set me free from sin and death. I still sin, but I don't enjoy it in the least bit.
Considering Allin's book deals with the making of disciples then, and in teaching right about learning more of Him so we can become like Him more and more, it does make me wonder: is Christ Jesus using me to minister to you? If so, then in that case I would believe and think that does--in some way--mean I am a minister, just not in the sense of being a minister of an actual Church.
That brings me to what Allin's book is fully about: it is a tool to help those who desire to handle God's word rightly, not just in ministering to others, but to make disciples of all men, which Christ said: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Mark 16:15). Allin shows us in Simple Discipleship about these things--
- The Essence of a Disciple - Loving God with all our mind, heart and soul
- Jesus--the Great Disciple Maker - we ought to be made in His likeness over the course of our life
- Gospel Identity: The Center of a Disciple
- and many others
I ask this honest question of you all who read this: I wonder if I minister to your hearts. Does the love God gave me through my faith that Jesus Christ is His Son, have I ministered well to you? Do I encourage you to continue on in the faith, contending Jesus is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6)? I think that if I do then that does mean and make me a minister of God's grace to a world that desperately needs to see their need for a Savior that offers us freedom from sin and death.God knows I have done this for quite some time; partly because I felt hugely called by Him, and then even more so after my conversion when my gall bladder was removed (even more so after that).
That's the biggest thing there, too. I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Teaching and preaching Him in order that you might be saved through His atoning work on the cross. It's my heart's desire to "stand in the gap" as it were to pray for you all, to love you as Jesus loves you enough to died in your place. It means that I have picked up my own cross and am following Him as He calls each of us to do in being like Him in our lives. I want to be found pleasing in His sight upon His return. So, who's with me? I pray and hope this encourages, that this blesses and builds you up.
I received a complimentary copy of this book to give it an honest and fair review. After all, I truly believe this is one resource every man and woman after God's heart should have to understand how we go around doing the will of God who works within us.