The worth of our influence on others will be measured by the extent of Christ’s influence on us.
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Thomas Marjoribanks, The Sevenfold I Am (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1913), 117.
We shall never really know Christ as He is to be known until we begin to tell what we already know. In the realm of religion we never really know until we testify. Until the disciple becomes an apostle he is never an advanced disciple. Every teacher knows this; his knowledge grows while he imparts it. I heard a friend of Watts say in the Tate Gallery some time ago, when he was taking a little party through the famous chamber: “Every time I try to explain these pictures I see more to explain!” In the act of stating a principle the light brightens for ourselves. . . . While we declare the grace of redemption, grace more abounds toward us. While we testify as to the way of peace we are led into the more secret place. If we would be fine learners we must be ready teachers. Are you saying you cannot be? Is there anything you know about the Lord? Tell the little you know, and the little will grow. Have you no sick neighbor, no care-worn friend, no depressed fellow-pilgrim who is fainting on life’s way? Teach him the little you know. You will be perfectly amazed at the effect upon your friend, but still more wonderful will be the effect upon yourself. As you go home from that house, the truth which hitherto shone like a candle, will burn like a star. “He that doeth the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, the same shall be called great.” These are some of the secrets of successful discipleship in the school of Christ.
original emphasis, J. H. Jowett, from sermon titled “The School of Christ” in “The Silver Lining”
Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
The true efficacy of spiritual disciplines is not their power to bribe God but their usefulness in opening hearts to the perception and exercise of His power. Spiritual disciplines enable those made righteous by Christ’s work to breathe more deeply the resources that God freely and lovingly provides for the wisdom, joy, and strength of Christian living. Through disciplines, we inhale more deeply the air God provides for the Christian race, but such disciplines do not produce or maintain the oxygen of God’s love…. Disciplines become regular refreshment for those who hunger and thirst for ever deeper fellowship with the God they love (Ps. 19:10). The same disciplines, however, will become distasteful duty or bitter pride for those who think that their devotion keeps them on the good side of a God whose measure of love is determined by the grade of their performance.
Brian Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 2005), 293.
While all true disciples are theologians, not all theologians are true disciples. If knowing the Bible and understanding theology were reliable measures of discipleship, Satan would be the greatest disciple ever. After all, his knowledge of Scripture is exceptional and he’s been observing the spiritual realm for quite a long time.
Greg Dutcher, Killing Calvinism
The word ‘disciple’ occurs 269 times in the New Testament. ‘Christian’ is found only three times and was first introduced to refer precisely to the disciples…. The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ.
Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship