Daily Devotion, July 7.2020 - Disciples, Apostles, Both or Neither?

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Devotion: July 7, 2020
Reading: Matthew 10:1-10
Disciple, Apostle, Both or Neither?

I have been a disciple most of my life. Having been raised in the church and entering a relationship with Jesus at an early age, I have always been, for the most part, under the teaching of God’s Word. Yes, there were seasons in my life when my only teaching was in Sunday morning worship through the preaching of God’s Word by the minister, but I was exposed to Scripture every week. I went through a season of only listening and learning about God’s Word for one hour per week and not really living out what I was learning. It was not until I was in my mid-30s, that I began to really learn, grow and engage in serving and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

In today’s passage from Matthew 10:1-10, we can see how Jesus leads his disciples through the progression of the Christian life. In the previous chapter he has just finished telling them that the harvest of potential believers is plentiful and the number of those who are able to carry out the task of going out and harvesting are few. As Chapter 10 opens he is passing on authority to them to have power over unclean spirits and to heal sickness and disease. You may have noticed that in verse 1, the 12 followers of Jesus are referred to as disciples but in verse 2, after he has given them power and authority, they are referred to as apostles. You may have also noticed that they are named in pairs (v. 2-3) and sent out in pairs (Mark 6:7). He sends them out in twos and instructs them where to go and to whom they need to minister to first… the lost sheep of Israel. As they minister to the needs of the people they are also to preach. The role of the apostle includes both ministering to the needs of the people they “go to” and proclaiming (preaching) the gospel under and from the authority of God. In this passage, we see them transition from being taught to be disciples and then gradually being empowered to become an apostle who ministers to and proclaims the gospel to those who are lost.

As you read this passage, how do you identify yourself? Are you a disciple only, still learning and growing, attending church and maybe participating in a Bible study by yourself or with others? Are you transitioning to an apostle or moving towards being both an apostle and disciple as you continue to learn as you go out and minister and preach to others? Are you strictly focusing on being an apostle now but have really stopped growing and learning through discipleship opportunities? Or are you neither disciple or apostle but still claim to be a follower of Christ? I am not sure where you are on your journey but it is always important for us to realize that in order to grow in our relationship with Christ, we need to be moving towards being both a disciple and an apostle. My prayer for you and I is that we all are moving towards being Christians who continuously grow to embrace our mission of going into the world, ministering to the needs of others and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that your answer is not "neither". In order to truly experience the fullness of God, we need to be constantly embracing a lifestyle that leads us to being "both".

Dear God, thank you so much for all that you are doing in our lives to move us forward as disciples and form us as apostles. Help us to realize where we are as disciples and apostles and to continuously allow your sanctifying grace to form us as disciples and apostles. Help us to realize to be neither means that we are content being Christians in name only. Convict us to desire to be both disciples and apostles who go forth and minister while proclaiming the good news of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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