Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
– Acts 11:26
Did you know that before Christians were ever called by that name, they were known simply as disciples? And if you did know that, have you ever thought about the significance of those two words, and their chronological order? Why is it that the word, disciple, came first, and the word Christian, somewhat later?
A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice in a trade. A disciple is someone being trained to acquire a special set of skills that do not come naturally, so that one day, he or she will be a master, able to pass on that training to others. This is what the original twelve were to Jesus, this is what their disciples were to them, and this is what their disciples’ disciples were to their disciples.
But then at some point, that word, disciple, was eclipsed by another word, which means “little Christ.” And despite the superb meaning of the new word, Christian, at some point in our history, it became more about what you think and less about what you do, more about agreeing to certain truths and less about following a certain Person.
Which is why it’s helpful to remember the order of these words; because a Christian—a true Christian—is first and foremost a disciple… of Jesus, the Christ. This is why I’m so looking forward to this Sunday at 3pm, as we begin our training together in Disciples Path: an intentional plan for discipleship.
As you may have heard last Sunday, our workbooks had not yet arrived, so the plan was to email everyone a link to chapter one, allowing each of us to complete the first chapter for this Sunday.
You can use that link by clicking here. Now that our physical copies have arrived, we’ll be able to hand them out in our 3pm prayer time this Sunday, which, by the way, will continue to be a time of prayer for the next 13 weeks, but focused on what we’re going through in our training together.
As I worked through that first chapter this morning, I found myself smiling at the opening sentence, “You’re probably reading this because you’ve recently made a decision to take a step of faith.” It’s been 36 years since I first took that step, and yet, if I’m honest, it’s a step I take again each and every day.
Jesus once said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Wherever you’re coming from in your discipleship under Jesus, the curriculum in Disciples Path will help you enter into the posture of a child and have your heart opened to new things in your relationship with God. The teaching is solid, and the questions are piercing.
As I engaged with that material this morning, I found I was discovering things about myself and God that were fresh and new and downright helpful. I think you will find the same. So this Sunday, at 3pm please come ready to talk and pray over our very first chapter of Disciples Path.
With you for Jesus,
Pastor Daren Redekopp
p.s. Get riddled with the shrapnel of hope by Pastor Jake Friesen’s sermon from last Sunday, A Hope Grenade for 2017. Man I love that guy!