When Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the Good News, He did not did not tell them to make people into Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics or Assemblies of God. He did not tell them to make church members. They were, instead, to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20).
It is easy to become a church member. It is not so easy to become a disciple. A disciple is a committed learner and follower. Absolute commitment is required of a disciple. In Luke 14:33 Jesus said, “So likewise, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
No Disciples of Peter, Paul, Joseph or Benny
In first century Judaism, each rabbi had his own disciples who were committed to sit at their feet and learn. There were disciples of Hillel and disciples of Shammai. Paul had been a disciple of the famous rabbi, Gamaliel. Even John the Baptist had his own disciples.
In the New Testament church, however, we do not find disciples of Peter, John or Paul. We only find disciples of the Lord. The apostles all understood that their commission was not to call people to themselves. They were to call people to Jesus and help them become His disciples.
In Acts 20:29-30, Paul warned the elders of the church of Ephesus how after his departure false teachers would arise in their midst. A characteristic of these false teachers would be their attempts to draw away the disciples after themselves. We are not to draw disciples after ourselves; we are to draw them to Jesus.
Interestingly, neither Jesus or Paul ever used the word “Christian.” In fact, it is found only twice in the entire New Testament. Acts 11:26b reveals that “Christian” was a word first used by outsiders in referring to the disciples of the Lord because their lives were so centered on Christ. It reads, “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
Accepting the Christian Religion Is Not Enough