I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
Disciples Not Converts is What Christ Commanded.
Convert or a Disciple - A World of Difference
- Convert - they become slaves to the doctrines of the assembly. Works are paramount including the correct form of water baptism, tithing, attendance, dress, language, obedience to the leadership and abject fear of falling from grace; not God’s but the dictates of the assembly. Fear of their old sin nature coming back to haunt them and that they will fall short of heaven.
- Disciple - the peace that comes with knowing the burden of sins that has kept one captive has been perfectly forgiven. The peace that grows as they witness life’s trials and God’s hand that has guided them thus far, as they begin to understand the peace of Philippians 4 that surpasses all comprehension. It is a peace that is alive within itself and grows as the disciple grows in grace.
Hunger for the Word
- Convert - the Word is hard for them to understand but rely upon the professionals or leadership to define what the scriptures say and teach. They have no desire for personal study as their thinking and doctrines for life are being done for them by others.
- Disciple - the Word is alive and the more they search the scriptures, the more they want to know. There is fulfillment in coming to know more and more of the Word and its impact upon their lives. As they grow they will become able to discern between the Truth and man’s traditions. They love their bibles and are constantly amazed at the depths the Word will take them. They will learn to understand the phrase - Sola Scriptura.
Hatred of Personal Sin
- Convert - it is a two-sided coin. The legalistic side of the coin, the convert is more worried about offending the dictates of the doctrines of the assembly and will attempt to walk a very narrow path in their relationship to the world. The God loves everybody side of the coin, the convert has no regard for the dictates of the assembly for they are minimal but most often find themselves with a more worldly attitude towards sin.
- Disciple - as they grow they will take their sins as a personal affront to God and will begin to understand what Paul meant when he said … ‘oh wretched man that I am! [Romans 7:24]
Love of the Brethren
- Convert - as long as everyone else seeks to get along, they will continue to try to get along with the others; it is by mutual agreement. The convert will seek other assemblies or none at all should they become offended by another. Converts have a tendency to set standards for another’s walk which will determine their personal relationships, if any.
- Disciple - it takes work but they will learn that the world will know our Lord by our love for one another. A kindred heart overlooks the foibles of others, as others learn to overlook their, should I say, uniqueness. Disciples are a strange lot, for as 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 teaches us; we are the weak, the foolish and the nothings of this world.
- Convert - they are either joyless because they are working too hard just to get along with the program, or they equate being happy as joy. They are not the same as Christ who went to the cross for the joy set before Him.
- Disciple - found joy the day they knew their sins had been removed as far as the east is from the west. As Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress; the burden of sin that so weighed him down fell from his shoulders and joy flooded his soul. That moment is permanently ingrained in the soul of the disciple; the convert still carries their burden of sin.
Converts Know One Another, But Does Jesus Know You?
Words of Terror Are the Lot of Converts
Disciples know that judgment begins with the house of God. [1 Peter 4:17] Converts do not understand that they will not stand with the house of God for this judgment. It is not for the disciples' sins [1 Corinthians 3:11-15] but for what we have done with the ‘talents’ or gifts given to each and every disciple as the Holy Spirit's will determines. [1 Corinthians 12:11]
Converts shall stand before the Great White Throne where their pleadings will fall upon Christ's deaf ears. His statement to the converts in Matthew 7:23 where the Word for knew - ginosko - could be translated into today's lingo as - Who are you?
The only hope for a convert today is found in Ecclesiastes 9:4. There is hope for their tomorrow as hope is joined to all the living. It could be that their time is not yet come for there will be an uncountable number of martyrs come out of the great tribulation. [Revelation 7:9-17]
Alan on February 17, 2021:
You hit the nail right with your head on the Convert & Disciple posts, the more I read them, the more they seem to be saying.