As believers we are called to follow Jesus as his disciples. The word ‘disciple’ means ‘learner’ or ‘student’. But it does not mean we become classroom students or intellectual followers. Rather, we follow Christ’s example in everything. You learn how to follow Jesus in company with others, not in isolation. This is why you need to be part of a cell group, where you can see the life of Christ modelled in your cell leader and fellow disciples. They are committed to help you grow as a Christian and will also look to you to encourage them in their discipleship.
Discipleship means living the ‘life that springs from grace’. It is about learning who you are in Christ and all the rich blessings he has freely given you. You respond to his amazing love and undeserved favour with joy and feed on his goodness every day. As you keep your eyes on Jesus, he will direct you by his Holy Spirit and speak to you about the things he wants you to change so that you can enjoy his blessings more and more. Discipleship also means you represent Jesus in the world. You are called to witness to him and to lead others to come to believe in him.
Baptism in water
Water baptism is really the first step of obedience in your life of discipleship. Water baptism is your formal pledge or commitment to Christ. Jesus didn’t need to be baptised as a mark of his own repentance because he never sinned. Nevertheless, he was baptised by John the Baptist because, as he said, “It is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).
This is emphasised by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 when he commands us to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Then, he tells us how a disciple is made – by “baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then he adds, “teaching them everything that I have commanded you.”
First we believe in Jesus, and then we are baptised into his ‘school of discipleship’. In the New Testament, you became a disciple by being baptised. Truly speaking, there no such thing as an unbaptised disciple of Jesus. Baptism is a necessary step of obedience. It is not an optional extra. If you have not been baptised as a believer in Jesus, make plans to be baptised right away.