Appendix A: The School of God in Discipleship

The true disciple realizes that life for him or her on earth goes beyond conversion.   It is a developing teaching period in God’s School of Life.   The Lord Jesus is the Master Teacher and was an example on earth of all He taught.   We are called to be diligent students, practitioners and persuaders of others to also become His disciples.   That’s what a true disciple does in any usage of the Word, then or now.   The Lord is an infinitely wise parent Who desires godly children.


God was the Teacher of Israel under Moses, His instrument, and Aaron, as mouthpiece (Deut. 4:5).   He communicated with them, before Scripture was formulated, by special revelation, dreams, visions, and providential miracles.   The Psalmist called out for God’s instructions (Ps. 25:4,8-9, 12, 27:11).   Life is a classroom.   God is the teacher (I Thess. 4:9).   Teacher was a common form of address to the Lord Jesus.   He was accorded the respectful title of rabbi, meaning “my master,” before it became a formal religious title among the Jews.   Jesus invited all to be His devout students.   “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Matt. 11:29).


What should we be learning?   Information only?   No.   We should be learning:


            1.    About the Lord Himself (character, ways, actions).   We always need to know Him in a deeper way, beyond that of being our Savior (Phil. 3:10).   We can have no greater privilege than to truly know God (Jer 9:24).   He will teach us to fear Him (Psa. 34:4), the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).   He will teach us His ways (Ps. 119:12, 26, 64, 68), which otherwise we could not discover.   He will teach us to do His will (Ps. 145:10) for our benefit and to His glory.   He will teach us His attributes (Ps. 103, 139).


            2.    About the centrality of the Son of God in our lives.   It is important to see that God has sworn that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11).   He has given all judgment into His hands (John 5:22).   He must have preeminence (Col. 1:18).   In God’s sight, all believers are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).   He is not just a benefit.   He is our life (Col. 3:4).


            3.    About the value God places upon us.   We are made in the image of God, morally and spiritually (Gen. 1:27; 5:1, 9).   We are destined for conformity to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29).   This means Christlikeness.   We are called to be imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1).   He wants us to know that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), so much that He gave His beloved Son to die in our place John 3:16).


            4.    About the importance of fruit in our ministry (John 15:1-5).   This is an outgrowth of our labors for Christ.   All believers are called to do this.   It particularly includes souls that are won to the Lord.   It also involves believers who are growing and becoming “true disciples of mine” (John 8:31).   Add also ministries that are blessed by God, whether with children or adults.   Conversion of prison inmates, drug or alcohol addiction problems, homeless people (missions), radio and television outreach, medical, humanitarian, educational, and handicapped persons (i.e., the deaf).   Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit” (Matt. 7:20).   He desires for those deeds to steadily multiply up to a hundredfold (Matt. 13:8).  


The eternal purpose of God must ever be in view as we study in God’s School.   We have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).   We were predestined to adoption as His children (Eph. 1, 5; Rom 8:17).   We are to be object lessons before the hosts of heaven of His grace (Eph. 3:10).   Our stewardship will be evaluated and rewarded accordingly (Luke 19:17-19).   We are being prepared to “judge angels” (I Cor. 6:3).   This is the way, “walk you in it” (Isa. 30:21).   Our steps will then be guided by the Lord (Ps. 37:23).


God disciplines (trains) His children.   He does this by learning through experience, the best teacher, but “the tuition is high.”   This is more than subjective feelings.   Strict discipline produces the best results, as with elite military groups.   It may mean physical discipline, as a “rod” with a rebellious child (Prov. 22:15, 23, 13-14).   The Word chastises, as in Heb. 12:5-11.   God disciplines by correction (Titus 2:12-13; I Tim. 1:20; II Tim. 2:25, 3:16).   This is evidence of God’s love and concern for our growth, not just an outburst of anger (Heb. 12:6-7).   We must have a good attitude towards discipline since it is all for our good.   We need to see it as helpful and not be stubborn (Ps. 32:9).   The Lord is very patient with His children as any wise parent (Jer. 32:33, 35:13).   However, we should take heed not to be “dull of hearing” (John 16:12; Heb. 5:11).   The problem of absorbing, applying, and living according to Godly principles is complicated because we do not recognize these things:  


            1.    Said is not always heard.


            2.    Heard is not always understood.


            3.    Understood is not always agreed.


            4.    Agreed is not always done.


            5.    Done is not always continued.


We will not be fully matured until we continue doing what God wills for our lives.   We must learn to listen carefully, observe from the Word the Lord’s ways, which he says are not our ways.   We need to meditate daily on matters while “the fire burns” within (Ps. 39:3).   We need to pray   that every thing we learn will be incorporated into the way we live.   Finally, we must resolve to go beyond thinking, meditating, and praying.   We must be “doers of God’s Word, not hearers only, deceiving ourselves” (James 1:22).


The question is:   “Are you doing these things” while in the School of God?


[This material is based upon a book by the author, Living Discipleship Principles (Walterick Publishers).]