MIF 2019: Discussion Notes

Discussion Session 1

Questions for Keynote Address:  What Is a Disciple?

1) Two individuals in Acts 9 are called disciples (v. 10 and v. 36). What characteristics about them would help
illustrate the definition of a disciple?

  • Ananias – ready vessel; open access between himself and the Lord; no hindrance in relationship to the Lord
  • Saul joined himself to the disciples
  • Dorcas, Gazelle – focused on the task, understood her surroundings
  • Ananias (the Lord is gracious) – obscure, but willing to be used and obedient
    • Lord has graciously given
  • Dorcas – full of good works; lifestyle, characterized her life
  • Acts 22: Ananias called a devout man and man of good report
  • Acts 9:10 – response to the Lord; humble, ready, awaiting instruction
  • Like the Lord, who said “Here am I, send me”, so Ananias is like his master. His response is obedience, no
  • The Lord rewards a faithful disciple; the work of the disciple is not in vain
  • Dorcas was available and was used with what she had
  • She knew her place to help as a sister in her realm of ministry

2) The Lord Jesus is the perfect example in Philippians 2, and there are other individuals in that chapter who might
also illustrate the principle of self-denial. Identify some of the points found there.

  • Paul speaks in vs 17 as a drink offering poured out; hardly noticed, but seen by God to accompany every burnt
    offering. Did not esteem his own work highly
  • Timothy characterized as not after his own, but after the interests of Christ
  • Genuine care in contrast to man’s nature; Timothy is like minded with Paul. Heart’s affections had everything to
    do with who one served; reality of a renewed mind; motivation from the work of Christ
  • Vs 22: Both in work with saints and care of the work of the Gospel with Paul, both aspects are in keeping
  • Vs 21: Practical help for the needs of the saints also in view
  • Epaphroditus serving Philippians in practical matters and ministering to Paul’s needs; discipleship’s effect on

    • Not occupied with his own needs (himself being sick), but with the concerns of the saints

3) Is discipleship something for believers individually or collectively?  Or is it both?  Provide scriptures to
illustrate these thoughts.

  • The Lord called disciples individually, however, we are to walk with other, like-minded believers (2 Tim 2:22)
  • Luke 9:23 – Applies to all believers, however, individual responsibility to follow the Lord
  • Matt 10, Mark 6, Luke 9 – The Lord called the disciples, then sent, having them work together
  • John 21 – Peter’s concern with John’s following; later in Acts they are working together
  • Abide in His word to be disciples indeed
    • John 6:60 – Many turned away, having followed out of convenience; disciples indeed show sincerity to continue
      by distinction, without selfish motive
  • Paul refers to his fellow workers
  • Discipleship can take on personal and collective aspects

4) Read 2 Corinthians 4:6-12. How would this passage relate to “taking up” and “carrying” our cross (Luke 9:23;

  • If we really follow the Lord Jesus, we have to learn that suffering is associated. We can trust the Lord in every
    situation; not to remain in distressing situation, but trust the Lord
  • Reference to earthen vessels connects with Gideon; broken so that the light will shine out
  • Disciple is in God’s school; He will use these circumstances to be encouragement to others
  • Christ’s strength is shown through these weaknesses
  • Not to break us, but for the power of God to shine through
  • More value we place on vessel, less likely to break it; 2 Cor 3:18-occupied with the Lord, the value of what the
    vessel contains is known
  • Taking up, carrying, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus – present tense, ongoing, daily
  • Distinguish between suffering (required) and carrying the cross (voluntary)
  • Identified with the Lord’s dying – continuous reminder of the sense of the dying of the Lord Jesus

Discussion Session 2

Questions for Keynote Address:  Features of a True Disciple of Christ

Based on Acts 9:11-22, what were some of Paul’s characteristics when he first became a disciple?

  • Paul had to start from nothing
  • Paul obeyed what he was instructed to do
  • He was praying; we don’t read about that in Paul’s former life, but as he was blind, he was praying
  • Prayer – the expression of new life; we need this connection to our master
  • Everything we do must be prepared in prayer. As important to spend as much time in prayer as in reading of God’s
  • Apostles in the early days gave themselves to prayer and the word of God. Paul was controlled by the Holy Spirit.
    He wanted to present the Lord to others
  • Vs 20 – Paul preached Christ in the synagogue immediately*. Paul was called, he prayed, received sight and energy
    resulting in immediate response to preach Christ – the very one he persecuted he now represented
  • He was fasting along with prayer– they go together
  • Interaction between what Paul was doing and what God was doing – previously denied and now preached the one he
    persecuted; close communion with God
  • *Paul waited for the order from the Lord before going
  • Suffering characterized Paul’s life after conversion. He gave everything he had regarding his life to ministry in
    the Lord’s hands
  • Time in the desert alone learning from the Lord
  • Vs 18 – Paul was baptized – identified with death, burial, resurrection of the Lord Jesus; willing to identify
    with the Lord Jesus in readiness of what was prepared for him in the future

A. Based on 2 Timothy 4, what were some of Paul’s characteristics as a disciple at the end of his life?

  • Paul opens the 2nd epistle mentioning a pure conscience – this enables him to prove what he has done; allowed him
    to do what he was told
  • Chapter 4 begins with charge in the presence of God – he lived in the reality of the presence of God – realized
    that He is judge and His appearing is imminent
  • Interesting to see how Paul used the experience he had to exhort Timothy. These are his last words, and he is
    preparing him for the future. It is an older disciple giving advice to a younger one, teaching him what is necessary
    to follow the Lord.
  • Paul never forgot what he wrote in 1 Tim 1:13 – previous condition was before him which pushed him to serve Christ
    all the more
  • 2 Tim 4 :17 – Paul could encourage Timothy to serve the Lord in reliance on the Lord Himself – the key to go on
  •  Paul was suffering in this chapter, but he’s not thinking only of himself, he has his mind on others; Demas loved
    the present world, etc. He worked with a team, and he prayed for them surely.
  • Vs 6-7 – no regrets; Paulis ready to be offered; fought the good fight, finished the race, satisfied that he met
    the calling
  • Paul never gave up; carried on all the way. Paul remembered those who helped him
  • Paul was an encouragement to others, not giving up
  • All have deserted me; may it not be imputed to them; he shows grace, no malice in him. He doesn’t discourage
    Timothy from working with them!
  • Vs 11 – We see a clear work of restoration for John Mark- Paul can say by the Spirit of God that he is profitable
    for ministry

What can be added about others in that chapter who were (or were not) true disciples?

  • Demas became distracted by the present world
  • We see the difference in the conditions surrounding the apostle Paul – previously in 1 Timothy some, now departure
    is noted as universal in 2 Timothy
  • Dimas is mentioned in Col, Phil.; he was a fellow worker of Paul’s. It doesn’t say he left the Lord, but that he
    left Paul. It’s not that he lost his salvation, but Dimas loved the world, rather than being identified with a
    prisoner. Being in prison is hard! He was, in other words, just human.
  • Vs 10 Demas (last we hear of him – poor finish), Vs 11 Luke and Mark – Luke had a good start and finish, faithful,
    and Mark with a poor start, but a good finish as evidenced by the Lord using him to write the gospel of Mark
  • Tychicus: Paul sent him to Ephesus. When we look in Col 4, he is faithful and a fellow servant. He could use him
    to give him the task of going to Ephesus. We can apply this to us: if we are faithful, the Lord can use us.
  • Is the Lord sending or the apostle? Both, but from Tychicus’ perspective he had to be available for the Lord;
    responsibility to take the request as from the Lord to perform a service to the Lord, resulting in fellow-laboring
  • As disciples we may listen to one another’s proposals, but need to discern the Lord’s will ultimately
  • Tychicus was sent to Ephesus so that Timothy could come to Paul
  • There are some who were encouraging, others who were discouraging, but he never lost sight of the faithfulness of
    God. His trust was in the Lord, not in those who encouraged him or discouraged him
  • Paul told Timothy to be watchful in all things, endure affliction, and do the work of an evangelist to fulfill his
    ministry – do what was necessary even to “fill in the gaps”
  • Practically speaking, it could be helping set up a tent, rather than speaking. But that availability the Lord
    could take and give me more to do than the initial “sign up”
  • Paul salutes some in vs 19 – he has a greeting for a couple (Priscilla and Aquila). Everywhere they appear as a
    couple, together as a testimony – vital in our day
  • There are many small mentions: Carpus had his cloak. Is that a ministry? Absolutely! Just like Mary, the disciples
    despised her because of what she did, but it was so precious to the Lord

Compare and contrast Peter’s words in Luke 18:28 and John 6:68. What is the relationship between doing and
being when it comes to discipleship?

  • Regarding John 6:68 – after, the Lord as the holy one of God is mentioned – His disciples realized the greatness
    of His majesty which motivated them to leave all and follow
  • There is often a real danger in thinking that we have to do something. It is important to realize that it is about
    being, not just doing. It’s about spending time with Christ. Peter expresses, “We got to know that you are enough,
    the heart and mind to fill.” As Moses was with the Lord on the mountain, they could tell that he was with the Lord
    when he came down. The early disciples were marked by the fact that they had been with Jesus by others.
  • 2 Tim 4:1-3 – In the first few verses Paul instructs and encourages Timothy regarding what he should be doing and
    watching for, discipling Timothy; then, in vs 13, we see that he is still a disciple as much as he discipled others,
    never having ceased being a disciple himself
  • These two expressions: “you have” and “you are” As soon as we realize who the Lord is and what were have, it makes
    it possible for us to leave everything. They gave up everything but gave up the feeling that they lacked anything –
    enables them to forget anything they had – challenges us to see how much we’re willing to give up for the Lord
  • Jn. 6:68 Jesus addressed the 12, will ye also go away – Peter’s response includes everyone, “we”. The Lord
    mentions Judas, teaching us that we can make clear decisions before the Lord individually but can’t speak for others
    in our following

Discussion Session 3

Questions for Keynote Address:  Daily Discipline in a Disciple’s Life

Scan Mark 1 to identify some of the disciplines we can see in the Lord’s life as the perfect example of a disciple.

  • Gospel of the servant, we get into the gospel immediately; here the Lord’s driven; when tempted, immediately
    followed by activity, having bound the strong man, he can plunder his house. Devoted as a man so that Satan could
    not stop His activity
  • Gospel of Mark contains straightway and immediately, activity-to-activity, as the gospel of the servant. Jesus
    moved with compassion regarding those around Him. When we see those around us, especially in the world, are we moved
    with compassion regarding the souls
  • 12-15 times the word immediately is used
  • The importance of prayer, which we find in this chapter too. In spite of so much work, people came and He healed
    them even late at night. The more work you have, the more you have to pray.
  • Accessibility of the Lord; He made Himself available; vs 29-on, accessible to the sick, and at sun-down those were
    brought to the Lord. Accessible to individuals. The Lord had time apart with the Father, but He did not take “me
    time” selfishly. Key to discipleship; the Lord was always people oriented
  • Vs 35 – Solitary place for prayer; challenged to have lives of continuous prayer in dependence through the day.
    Here an emphasis on solitary place away from distractions, in dependence and communion
  • Vs 17 – We can hear the voice of the Lord Jesus saying “come ye after me”. Have we heard the voice of the Lord and
    responded appropriately? Have we reached out to a brother or sister in Christ to come along in the work? Isaiah –
    created, formed, called by name, owned by the Lord. If we find ourselves in challenging circumstances and find
    ourselves to be self-centered, we can come to the place where we can say “make me” (instead of “give me” like the
    Prodigal son), to be molded after God’s will
  • Another thought on prayer: Because of night of prayer, the Lord was informed that everyone was looking for Him;
    however, the Lord was not looking for acclaim

Titus 2:11-12 speaks about denying ungodliness and living righteously. What are some examples of biblical people who
illustrate these actions?

  • Enoch – in his time the world was ungodly. Noah walked with God in an ungodly world
  • Communion with God would produce godliness, living righteously
  • Moses: Heb. 11, refusing the pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproaches of God to be better. A challenging matter:
    what does the world mean for us, and who are we for the world? If we cannot esteem the reproach of Christ better
    riches than the riches of the world, we cannot be a disciple
  • 1 Chron 4 – Jabez prayed to the Lord to be kept from evil continuously
  • Context of Titus speaks of those who have lived in ungodliness before; from now on, they should deny ungodliness
    and lust
  • If we’re in the Lord’s service, 3 problems often faced; love of fame, money, worldly lust. Whatever is in my age I
    need to be cautious and aware
  • Malachi 3:16 – They that feared the Lord spoke often one with another. Emphasis is on the positive; they that
    feared the Lord. If we fear Him, denying ungodliness will be present reality
  • Obadiah in the days of Jezebel and Ahab, lived in very difficult circumstances, but he did not participate in
    their wickedness, but rather hid the Lord’s faithful ones
  • Titus 2:12 – teaching; form of the same word in Hebrews 12:6. Chastening and teaching is the same word that means
    discipline. If we don’t allow the grace of God to teach us and chasten us, then the Father will discipline us. We
    can allow the grace of God to teach us, or the loving but firm hand of the Father will come in
  • Scripture gives us instruction on how to discipline ourselves. 1 Cor. 12: examine then eat. Also in the model
    prayer: forgive us as we forgive. A daily discipline.
  • 3 explicit daily disciplines of the Lord (“accustomed to”):
    • go to the mountain (Lk. 22:39); intake from the Father
    • go to the synagogue (Lk. 4:16); intake from the Scriptures
    • teach the multitudes (Mk. 10:1); as a servant He went out and shared with man, serving them


Read John 13:34-35. Is love a discipline that we must put into practice, or is it something that a disciple is
already empowered to do?

  • Both aspects; empowered, but we need to practice the discipline. I need to give opportunity for the root to appear
    in my life
  • It’s clear that we cannot produce that love from ourselves, but God has shed abroad in our hearts his love. The
    problem is that the channel of our lives is sometimes blocked.
  • We should love our fellow brethren, but sometimes have difficulty. We cannot do so by ourselves and need help, but
    we should do so. The Lord was moved with compassion; if we look at the Lord and reflect Him, then we will experience
  • The Apostle John gives us not just a few verses, but his whole first epistle is about love. “lay down our lives”
    “in deed and truth” There is definitely doing, but it’s from that which has been imparted to us.
  • Willing to give; important principle. If we look at the Lord Jesus, we see that He expressed His love in different
    ways (consider towards obedience vs disobedience)
  • In Galatians, we see crucify self; in ch. 5:24 those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions
    and desires. To demonstrate that love I have to reckon myself dead
  • The encouragement to us from the Lord Jesus himself: as I have loved you. “I love you but I don’t like you:” a
    pervading statement that is an oxymoron.
  • 1 John: Christ set before us as the example. Chp 4:7-11 – Beloved let us love one another; resource from Him.
    Manifested through the Lord’s coming. We ought also to love one another (the source and the response)
  • If I am not before the Lord Jesus on a daily basis to dwell upon His love for me in real experience, I will not be
    enabled to love the brethren
  • 1 Cor 13 speaks about love in practice. Phil 2 – we need to recall the verses to think of others before ourselves

Acts 21:16 is the last time the word “disciple” is used in the New Testament (it is not used in the epistles).  What
is the significance of this? (Also, are the commands in Ephesians 4:25-32 related to discipleship, though the word is
not mentioned?)

  • Word disciple found for the last time in this portion, and as an old disciple. Normally starts with young
    discipleship, but this carries on throughout our lives. He was a “long time” disciple.
  • Disciple is the one being taught; one-on-one, in conversation, in the home… Holding fast faithful words as taught.
    Function is still there
  • Acts 21 shows that there is no departure from being a disciple
  • Epistles speak of saints, but we are to apply sanctification

Discussion Session 4

Questions for Keynote Address:  Disciples Making Disciples

What does it mean to make disciples (Mt. 28:19)? How would passages like Acts 11:21-26 and others illustrate that

  • Mark 10:1 – the Lord was accustomed to reaching the multitudes and teaching; not only with believers but also to
    teach unbelievers the way of salvation
  • We cannot make anyone a Christian, and we cannot make anyone a disciple. We are simply being used by the Master to
    make others disciples.
  • Does not require special school or education for discipleship; more a relationship with the person and bringing
    the Lord to the needs of the heart
  • Those who preached the gospel in Antioch were the persecuted disciples of the Lord. Preached the person of the
    Lord Jesus; emphasizing the Lordship of Jesus resulting in a great number believing in the Lord and encouraged to
  • The hand of the Lord was with them – the work of the Lord being done, by His hand. The grace of God; activity of
    God at work. The Spirit of God is doing this work, but does not make us passive; we need to be active because the
    Lord is at work and we’re following up being led of the Spirit
  • John 1: the Baptist brings out as an example all of this discussion. He presented the Lord Jesus, “Behold the Lamb
    of God.” Two disciples heard him which resulted in them following Jesus, abiding with Him, and Andrew bringing Peter
    to Jesus, continuing in the same vein.
  • The first disciple that will disciple others has themselves been discipled by the master; precedent that they
    spend time with each other. Most important thing is to be with the Lord Jesus so that His image in on us
  • Discipling is instilling the word of God in others: Paul writing to Timothy about his grandmother and mother
    instilling the word of God in him. Solomon also instructs his son not to forget his word
  • Consider the miracles of the Lord, however, none of these substituted the time spent with His own disciples

If discipling is active, then we must devote ourselves to it. If it is passive, then a Christ-like example will
inherently make disciples of others if they see Christ in us. Are both true? Provide Scriptures to explain your

  • Matt 28:19  – “Go”; action taken from our side, but we need to study Christ to be like Him, to be attentive to
    His person. Our example is also active
  • 1 Tim 4:12-13: Be an example to believers; vs 12 may be more passive, but vs 13, the active towards others for
    the Lord
  • Spurgeon: “What’s more important: breathing in or breathing out”? Both are pretty important! We need to be
    both active and passive. In Acts 11, the hand of the Lord was working, and the grace of God was continuing with
    them, there was rejoicing, and it was there in Antioch where the disciples were first called “little Christs.”
  • The words “passive” and “Christ like” don’t particularly belong together. This mindset is likely an indication
    that there is a need for growth (the question as stated is not a statement of truth, rather a point for
  • Clarification: Living out Christ without verbalizing is perhaps intended to introduce Christ to others who may
    be opposed to the gospel
  • 1 John 1 makes it clear that they were imitating Christ in what they saw and heard him do and say.
  • Perhaps instead of passive we can say “reflective” – when men saw the boldness of the apostles, it was
    recognized that they were with the Lord
  • Those who were scattered went around not just “being good examples” but “preaching” the word. It’s not just
    that the strangers came to the Christians to say “there’s something different about you.” We ought to “go”
  • It’s easy to sit back and assume that people will come and ask what’s different about us; we need to Go! “Go
  • 1 Thess 1:8 – Sometimes those who get saved don’t hear the preaching, but rather see peace in the life of a
  • God is not limited and can use a godly example
  • “You know, your walk talks, and your talk talks
    But your walk talks louder than your talk talks”

    • What we live must be in harmony with what we say; must compliment
  •  One is not more important than the other, but they ought to be in harmony.

What can we learn from Paul’s words in Romans 1:9-13 about his desire to make disciples? How can we avoid the
Pharisees’ approach in Matthew 23:15?

  • “For me to live is Christ”
  • Vs 10 – by the will of God to come to you- God-centered; I’m not looking for others to follow me, but God
  • Vs 9 – Making mention of saints in prayers – makes a big difference in addition to serving
  • Paul desired to share with believers in Rome what he had been given; we cannot share more than what we have
    been given
  • We see in this passage that what really motivated the Apostle was his love in Christ for the brethren in Roma,
    which translated into prayers for them
  • When in local assembly and we see needs, do we assume that needs observed will be covered by another, or do we
    get the sense that perhaps the Lord wants us to be used
  • Not an attitude that Paul had something to teach, but that he also had something to learn
  • The disciples lived through the Lord Jesus; he gave a gentle reminder about love. We are to be a shining light
    in a dark world; are we displaying the light and love of God?
  • The assembly didn’t receive this letter and think, “How cocky is this brother!” but rather were thinking what
    is he trying to express is, “What is Paul trying to teach us?”
  • Is it wrong to desire/pray to see fruit from my labor?
    • No
    • The apostle Paul often prays for fruit; not fruit for himself, but for God
    • Matt 23 – all about the Pharisee wanting the prominent place, connected with hypocrisy; all about self.
      Difference between self and Paul’s motivation is that he wanted Christ to be everything
    • When one sows or plants, it’s with the object of having fruit: not just to do the work. The Lord speaks of
      this in Jn. 4: lift up your eyes and see that the fields are overripe. The one who is reaping is ready! We
      can certainly pray for fruit.

In 2 Timothy 2:2 we are told to pass things on to faithful believers. How can we identify such people?

  • Acts 11 – Barnabas sent to Antioch; Vs 24 – full of the Holy Spirit, and the characteristics is to have
    enlarged heart and eyes opened. Appears that he had the gift of exhortation, but he saw in Paul the gift of
    teaching, and brought him in to be a coworker in the mission field.
  • Paul said previously that Demas forsook him, though he applied the same teaching to him among many. The point
    is that we continue to instruct and guide in love and grace. We leave it with the Lord to guide those who
    receive the instruction, continuing with joy that the work of the Lord is going forward; our motivation
  • The Lord Himself said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” This is how we can identify faithful believers
    (by their fruits).
  • In Ch. 1 – Timothy had unfeigned faith. He had taken him on a trip which meant that they spent time and
    fellowship together. This is where we can discover what is in the heart in addition to observing the fruits
  • Acts 8: Philip the evangelist preached the Gospel to the eunuch, but he was also discipling him. v. 26. The
    angel of the Lord directed Philip, but for us it is the Spirit of God who will impress on our hearts the
    person(s) that needs help or discipling.
  • We have emphasized a personal appeal speaking to Timothy as an individual; this is not a collective
    realization, but personal. 2 Timothy 1:13 – ”Hold fast the pattern of sound words…”, “Commit these to faithful
    men” has the sense of being individual

Concluding Thoughts:

  • The majority of discipling is done in small groups or one on one. It’s not broadcast, but generally behind the
    scene. There’s no glamour or glory in it, at least not at this time. Sometimes we see the fruit, sometimes we
  • We have been discipled, given much, so we’re only giving back by discipling, to the Lord.
  • There’s not much that we should and could not be doing when we’re discipling. There has to be dependence on
    the Spirit of God.
  • Let’s not put pressure on ourselves, I should be doing this or that, but rely on the direction of the Spirit.