What is it about experts that make us want to hear what they say? Is it their intelligence? Their experience? Their authority or recognition as an expert?
Many years ago I realized a couple things about experts. They are often self-appointed, and too often their expertise is knowledge-based rather than experiential. And, oh yeah, they can be wrong. Sometimes more wrong than they're right.
For example, take the experts in the (Mosaic) Law when Jesus' came. They were wrong, way wrong, but would never admit it. (Mark 2:16-17 GW) They couldn't see past their self-righteousness to see the real need of people, but Jesus did.
I believe we've been held captive by the opinion of experts far too long. (Click to Tweet) For starters, the earth is not flat. Draining someone's blood doesn't get rid of a disease. Humans can travel faster than the speed of sound and run a mile under four minutes.
Experts and Jesus
The experts of Jesus' time, people who should know better than anyone, missed what they were looking for—the Messiah. Why? For one thing, they didn't like who He had as His followers. They also didn't like much of what He did and said.
My definition of arrogance is the resulting combination of pride and ignorance. (Click to Tweet) Sadly, my experience with (so-called) experts has born this out way too often. BTW, I'm no expert.
I can only guess why you would want an expert opinion. The expectation is that an expert will deliver an authoritative and true opinion. But alas, opinions are opinions, regardless of who gives them.
Jesus had real authority and He spoke truth, not opinion, and His view of discipleship was simple and practical. (Click to Tweet)
Jesus had real authority and He spoke truth, not opinion
An expert example
A considerable amount of books, pamphlets, and messages on discipleship have been generated over the years. All try to capture the essence, purpose, and value of discipleship.
One book I can recommend is The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman. It is a classic and well worth the read.
One of the simplest views of Jesus' model of discipleship can be found in Paul's epistle, 2 Timothy in Chapter 2. Here is where I find the essence of discipleship. Not so much a how-to plan, but a process. Discipleship is an ongoing process. It's a way of life.
Discipleship has a beginning but ends when we see Jesus face to face (1 Cor 13:12).
Where do we start?
The foundation for all true discipleship is God's grace—His kindness poured out for all humanity through Jesus.
My child, find your source of strength in the kindness [grace] of Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 2:1 GW)
The foundation for all true discipleship is God's grace
How does the process of discipleship begin?
First, we need to become a disciple and follower of Jesus.
We need to be faithful and consistent in our personal relationship with Jesus, and our relationships with others.
Then we are to pass onto other followers of Jesus what the Lord has worked into our lives. How has Jesus worked His life and truth into your life? This is what we are to share with others.
You’ve heard my message, and it’s been confirmed by many witnesses. Entrust this message to faithful individuals who will be competent to teach others. (2 Tim 2:2 GW)
We need to be faithful and consistent in our personal relationship with Jesus
What is the primary message?
The essential gospel should always be the basis for sharing our faith with others. The essential gospel, as I wrote about in my book, is simply— He (Jesus) came, He died, He rose. Here' one way Paul expressed it—
Always think about Jesus Christ. He was brought back to life and is a descendant of David. This is the Good News that I tell others. (2 Tim 2:8 GW)
The essential gospel is always the basis for sharing our faith with others
How can we be ready?
How can you and I be ready at all times and anywhere to share the gospel in our own words? And how can we share what the Lord has worked into our own lives?
We need to know the truth of God's Word ourselves. How can we share with others what we don't have a firm grasp of ourselves? (Click to Tweet)
Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker who isn’t ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly. (2 Tim 2:15 GW)
We need to know the truth of God's Word ourselves
Two essential elements
In a previous post, I asked— What are two essential elements of true discipleship? Discipleship the way Jesus did it needs to be both relational and intentional.
It begins with our own personal relationship with Jesus and continues through personal relationships with others.
Discipleship requires commitment on our part. We need to be intentional and faithful in discipling others, even when the results aren't encouraging (see Matt 15:15-16 NIV). (Click to Tweet)
Discipleship the way Jesus did it needs to be both relational and intentional
How? That brings us back to the beginning—being strong in God's grace (2 Tim 2:1).
Discipleship is an ongoing process, not a task to accomplish. It's an intentional, continuing relationship with Jesus and others. (Click to Tweet) Discipleship is a way of life.