Francis Chan

Teaching disciples the obedience of faith

Francis Chan on the lighter side of an unnecessary debate.

You cannot not drive a wedge between repentance and faith, obedience and love.

Paul taught new disciples to follow and obey the Lord Jesus. This is what it looked like:

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, written soon after the church was started, Paul reminded them of the truth of the gospel and urged them to respond to God’s grace with obedience. Paul likened his ministry among the Thessalonians to that of both a father and a nursing mother. Paul and his companions lived blamelessly among these new believers and challenged them to follow their example. After Paul was “torn away” from them, he sent Timothy back from Athens to strengthen and encourage them as they faced persecution.

Paul could challenged the Thessalonians to imitate Christ because they were learning and passing on the stories of Jesus’ life and the content of his teaching. Paul also reminded them that the God who called them to imitate Christ had also given them the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 4:8). He commended their progress and challenged them to live holy lives by avoiding the sexual immorality typical of pagan society. Paul encouraged them to grow in love for one another, work hard with their hands so that they would not be dependent on anyone, and live a life that would win the respect of unbelievers.

For Paul, discipleship was about grasping the full implications of what God has done in Christ and then living them out in every aspect of life. It was the obedience that springs from faith in Christ and is made possible by the Holy Spirit. Paul was confident that even though he had left these new disciples prematurely, the Holy Spirit was present and would enable them to come through their suffering with joy.

What Jesus Started

This is why movements teach new disciples how to obey everything Jesus  commanded (Matt 28).