The 5 Marks of a Disciple
Marks of a disciple help us to determine whether disciples are growing in Christ. These marks are considered in planning new ministries and evaluating existing ones. The question is, “Are we making disciples?” “Are people growing in these areas?” These are not independent of our mission but an application of it.
God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is one of God’s infinite and eternal attributes. Love will endure when the world as we know it passes away. By our love people will know that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:35). Yet the word “love” in English has lost its vitality. In the American culture, love is often thought of as an emotion or even mere physical attraction. This anemic sort of love will not hold relationships together; neither relationships between us and God nor us and other people. No wonder we have so many troubles in our families, friendships, marriages and yes – even in our churches. As Christians we need to learn to love well.
Our third mark is truth. There is truth because God is true. In him there is no error or deception. Since we’re created in his image and redeemed by Jesus we can know truth. Truth is made available to us as we seek to know God through His Word and respond to Him in our hearts. Jesus promised that his disciples would know the truth and the truth would set them free from slavery to sin. (John 8:32) Because God is true, we ought to live lives of integrity – speaking, acting and loving in truth. Love and truth are contingent upon one another: love is rooted in the truth and truth is spoken in love.
Faith and hope are two sides of one coin. Trusting God, having faith in Him, we have hope for what lies ahead. We are a hopeful people. Ours is a living hope that trusts in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and an inheritance that will never spoil (1 Peter 1:3). Paul tells us that the last enemy to be conquered is death (1 Corinthians 15:26). Jesus conquered death in his death and resurrection and has promised us eternal life (John 3:15-16, 6:27; Matt. 19:29). Christians trust God and set their hope on Him in this world, even through intense difficulty, because we know our hope will not disappoint us. It is set on the secure foundation of God.
Christ came on a mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). How are people lost? We have forgotten how to trust God, how to worship Him and how to delight ourselves in Him. Christians have been given a mission to seek God and to make Him known. “Therefore,” Jesus tells us, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). At LifeSpring, we want our family, community and friend to love God and worship Him through Jesus Christ.