True biblical repentance really has to do with a deep heartfelt sorrow towards our old lives of breaking God’s moral laws – sin – and a desire to turn away from those, and follow the new way – Christ. Following Christ – becoming a “Christian” has for many become more of a membership into a particular church, financially supporting it, attending regularly or at least attempting to, perhaps being baptized into that church, attending social functions and usually agreeing to particular doctrines. Do those things and feel good about ourselves.
The word Christian is used only 3 times in the New Testament whereas the term disciple is used 269 times. If we examine what the disciples did throughout the New Testament we witness that they walked with Jesus, learned from Jesus, obeyed Jesus, and imitated Jesus. Lean, obey, imitate, in that order. They gave up everything to follow him.
Though we can’t literally walk with Jesus in physical form today, the same desire, commitment, and attitude that was in the early disciples should be in us. We walk with Christ in spiritual form. Learn. We should be completely sold out to Christ, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in death till we unite. Obey. Our lives should be established daily with Kingdom ideals. Imitate. Whether we work in the Sacred or the Secular, we should attempt to live each day with the attitude of what can I do for Kingdom growth today, beginning first within ourselves in our attempts to mimic Christ, and extending to what we can we do for others – being and doing.
Christian refers to a Christ follower – Discipleship refers to a pupil, someone who is closely following a teacher. In ancient times, usually a religious leader of philosopher.
If we encourage true discipleship through an authentic commitment to what Jesus modeled in His life, the natural effects will be healthy individuals, healthy churches, and hopefully and extension of the Kingdom of God. Sadly, Jesus only had a handful of disciples and even they ran when times got tough. How much more so we need the sincerity of mutual relationships now that we are not walking in a physical reality with Jesus. We must exemplify the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit and unity, to keep each other steadfast in the faith.
God will build His church. Jesus stated plainly that the rocks will praise him if we are not willing to. It is our responsibility to be true disciples and to disciple others. Church is not a club, a membership, a doctrine, creed or dogma – it is a living organism designed to represent Christ on earth, because we have turned from the old to follow The Way.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2Cor. 5:17-21