Thursday, January 5, 2017

4L Discipleship – Matthew 4.19

Many models exist related to discipleship. Many books have been written on the subject, some of which are very good. So why do I add another model? Well, some are easier to remember than others. And the model presented here, I believe, is built to be able to remember the terms, which is a first (though largely unimportant) step. Yet, by remembering a set of terms, it may prompt us to remember to apply these principles (a very important step) to our lives.

If you have followed this blog for awhile, you may recognize these terms from the past. (If you follow the church’s blog – Bread Crumbs” at, then you have seen these for the last couple of years with relation to each message.) I conceived this idea a few years ago, but have not really developed them further. And I realize that others have very similar concepts, but those that I have seen take a slightly different focus and/or use a different understanding for certain terms.

Why do I share this now? Well, this coming Sunday, our church will begin a new focus on discipleship and the four items presented here will all be in focus. Thus, they weigh heavy on my mind as the culture of the church needs to better reflect a disciple-making culture. I believe these steps can help keep our focus because it is easy to see these aspects (at least one of them) in any area of the Christian life. The church has certainly been exposed to them over the past few years, but now the focus, and hopefully fulfillment of each step will be better realized. And the timing of the sermon series certainly helps (currently, I am preaching through Mark 12) as we study Jesus challenging the religious leaders to learn anew, to live by God’s standards (not their own), to love God and others, and to lead others under the direction of God (not selfish ambitions). Ultimately, our following Jesus is about submitting to His authority – the very thing the religious leaders challenged regarding Jesus.

So, without further delay, the four L’s of discipleship, as I define them, are Learn, Live, Love, Lead. These four L’s are applicable to every Christian who desires to follow Christ. Next week, I will introduce a fifth “L” that applies to various Christians in differing ways.

As a Christian Educator, I have learned the value of teaching for cognitive (head), affective (heart), and psychomotor (hands) learning. Thus, let me begin with the first of two verses that encapsulate Jesus’ plan, and model, for discipleship, and show the head, heart, and hands aspect to each. This week’s verse is Matthew 4.19. Next week, I will share how these ideas fit with Matthew 28.19 (and include the 5th “L”), and then, in two weeks, I will share how this model fits into our church’s new focus and overall objectives. Today is just a brief introduction. Over time, I will further unpack these ideas from the perspective of Scripture, and from the experiences of life.

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4.19

From the outset of Jesus’ public ministry He preaches the need to repent and of the coming kingdom of God (Mark 1.15). And from the very beginning, a part of His calling is for people to follow. Again, the following is short (and hopefully sweet), but more will be detailed in the coming weeks and months.

Follow Me – The decision to follow is made by the head. In following, we Learn how we are to arrange our lives...what is important to God and therefore should be important to us. It is also at this point that we begin to practice what we have learned/are learning. In following Jesus, we not only learn how to live, but we learn to actually live – by faith. As we are further transformed, we become better prepared to received Jesus promise to make us (continually).

And I Will Make You – Jesus is the do-er here. He is changing us. He will “make us.” He will transform us. Ultimately, that kind of change is made at the heart level. While discipleship always requires an element of learning, that learning will cause us to live differently because of the change that has occurred within us. As we realize the change is for the better, we not only Live differently, but we learn to Love this difference. Ultimately, we cannot move to the next step without loving, because without loving the difference within ourselves, and without loving others, we will never be determined to make other disciples. Thus, to Live and to Love must both affect the heart to the point of being willing to be 

Fishers of Men – We are the do-ers again. Having been shown what to do, and been “made” to do it, we are the ones now called to “fish.” We are now the ones that will Lead others. Others will now Learn from us as what we have Learned from those who are leading us. Of course, to follow our Lead, and to make disciples of Christ, is to continue to follow Christ ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 11.1, Paul says, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” This is what it means to be a disciple-making disciple. One that is Leading others even as they continue to Learn themselves.

Again, this is a preliminary look at how the 4L Model of discipleship is understood as compared to Matthew 4.19. It was actually first conceived with reference to this verse a few years ago. Next week, I will compare the model against Matthew 28.18-20 and then begin to show its application over time. As I do, may we follow Jesus so that He will make us the fishers we are called to be.

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