Foundations for Discipleship

A 10.04.2022 self-study about 'Foundations for Discipleship'

Foundations for Discipleship


Joshua 24:15 - But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

John 3:1-17 - Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Hebrews 11:1-13 - Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

There is a God, and He is good. There is a devil, and he is bad. God is the Creator: Satan is the destroyer. The forces of evil, under Satan, are at war with God. Then there is humanity. Men and women are in the middle, caught in the struggle between good and evil. This tension is a reality of life!

In each of us the forces of good and evil are in conflict. Sometimes good seems to be winning, sometimes evil gets the upper hand. Humanity is neither inherently good nor unredeemably evil; rather, humans are caught up in a warfare between good and evil. The way of least resistance is broad and leads to evil, while the road to good is straight, narrow and easy to miss.


To be human is to have the power of choice. Sometimes we make the right choices; at other times we make wrong ones. No one has been able to avoid making a wrong choice. When we do wrong we can try to cover it up to save face, or acknowledge we are human, confess our error, and ask God to forgive us for our sins.

Many have no problem harming others or lying when it is to their advantage. They reject the good, allowing evil to dominate as they follow the path of least resistance. In fact, some seem to enjoy evil. They prefer movies filled with violence and hate: they never watch family movies where good guys win.

Choosing to do good and to serve God is not the easiest or the most popular way. Our culture glorifies self: If it feels good, do it. Many believe that man, by nature, is good: he just needs to get in touch with that basic goodness through self-actualization.

But unrealistic optimism concerning man's innate ability to realize the desired good is a mistake. Cosmic forces of evil, which cannot be conquered by one's own strength, exist in the universe. We like to think we can, in ourselves, achieve the goals we set: but it is far wiser to accept reality, acknowledge our limitations and confess our failures.

Humans cannot be God. You and I are not perfect or sinless beings. God asks us to come to Him without any attempt to justify our failures and imperfections. God wants to know that we desire and are willing to be a part or the force for betterment.

Man cannot overcome the powerful forces of evil in his own strength. Victory over evil comes only to those who admit their inadequacies and are willing to accept help. Who hasn't faced failure? Who can claim to have never told a lie, cheated on an exam, broken a rule or in a wide variety of ways failed to overcome the evil that is a part of life's struggles? As Paul expressed it, "[We all have] sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).


Confessing sin is an essential part of repenting and turning from evil. God's forgiveness not only opens up a new relationship with Him, but it also allows a new relationship with ourselves and with others. God's forgiveness opens the door for us to forgive ourselves and make a fresh start.

We can put the past behind us. God is the God of new beginnings. Just as physical life begins with birth, so does spiritual life. This beginning of life in the Spirit is called regeneration. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3:7).

When we are born again, a spiritual lite force comes into us and initiates a spiritual growth process leading to a new lifestyle. We no longer have to face constant failure in trying to overcome evil. The Holy Spirit provides the power for us to succeed.


Jesus forgives and gives us a new beginning through the new birth. He is God in human flesh: He was sent by the Father to reveal the righteousness and love of God. He came to earth as the promised Messiah, but the people of God rejected Him. He was crucified by the Romans.

Instead of the defeat evil forces planned, His death on a cross was a victory over death. That event became the foundation for our atonement. We must have faith in His victory over the forces of evil. The plan of God is for reconciliation between alienated humanity and the Creator. This plan is provided through redemption and atonement and by Jesus' death.

Faith in Jesus includes faith in His messianic authority because of His resurrection and ascension to the Father. There He exercises lordship in the kingdom of God. Faith in Jesus is also faith in the future manifestation of the kingdom of God, which will come when Jesus returns to earth in glory. At that time, He will accomplish the final defeat of death, destruction and evil. The kingdom of God will be established in all its fullness as promised by God through His prophets.

Faith in Jesus Christ is faith in God. It is faith in the promises He has made throughout history. The earliest promise was made to Adam when God promised that the offspring of the woman would strike the offspring of the serpent. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus, Adam and Eve s descendant, struck back at Calvary. Jesus defeated Satan by breaking his hold on mankind through the power of death. The final realization of Satan' s defeat will occur when Jesus returns to establish the kingdom of God in its complete form.

We must recognize the spiritual warfare that exists between the divine forces of good and the cosmic forces of evil. Satan opposes the kingdom of God

and everything good. This same struggle rages in the hearts of those who desire to do good. Redemption moves us from alienation against God to a position of alignment with God and His purposes.

The Spirit comes into our lives to make our success in service to God possible. He dwells in those who allow God to cleanse them of evil and free them from sin s control. The Holy Spirit can liberate us from self-centered existence through the discipleship process.

We cannot emphasize faith in the finished work of Christ and neglect to note that it is the substance of things hoped for Hebrews 11:1). It is not limited to belief in what has already been accomplished; the Kingdom of God is a future reality.


God wants us to be a part of His work in establishing a better world. We become a part of His team: therefore we cannot afford to be trapped into becoming a consumer-only society, using up all resources indiscriminately and destroying the creative work God is doing. We must make the decision to respond to His invitation to live transformed lives as His disciples.


1. Describe the goal of Satan and the forces at work with him (see 1 Corinthians 10:10).

2. Where is man in this war between the Creator, God, and the destroyer, Satan?

3. Can we live as spectators in the conflict between good and evil in the world?

4. Why do many prefer the path of evil?

5. Is it possible to avoid making wrong choices in life?

6. In addition to faith in Christ's finished work, in what sense must faith be in His future work?

7. Why does the church place so much emphasis on spiritual warfare?

8.What happens when Christians fail to grow in Christ?