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ABCD: A Basic Course in Discipleship

By G.E. Mullings

 Edited by Stephen Russell

This edition: December 1, 1998a.

  Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations taken from the

Holy Bible, New International Version.

Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

Used by permission.

 This material is not to be duplicated without the permission of the SCFSU, 1 Gordon Town Road, Kingston 6, Jamaica.

 

 


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Introduction

"Follow-up", a word borrowed from the world of commerce, is an unfortunate term. The very sound of the word suggests: "afterthought". Nothing could be further from the true value of taking time to consolidate one's Christian commitment and to build up the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills which are vital for successful Christian living.

 

It is in this context that ABCD has been developed, primarily for use in small groups. We suggest that you do the first session together, then agree on a schedule for working through the rest of the course. There are nine scheduled sessions in this course which have been selected to give a solid overview of Christian Discipleship. Don't be afraid to go slower than suggested if you need the time.

 

May our Lord and Saviour bless and prosper you as you seek to serve him.

 

Gordon Mullings

January 1990.


 Suggested Schedule

For each of the following meetings we suggest that you open with prayer and sharing. This should take about fifteen minutes. Then spend the next half an hour on the topic for the meeting. Finally take a few minutes to reflect, share, and pray. (The first meeting will be somewhat exceptional to this pattern.)S

 

 

Week

Topic

1

Consolidating Commitment

2

Quiet Times

3

Sharing the Gospel

4

Body Life

5

Spiritual Power, Spiritual Struggle

6

Family, Relationships and Sex

7

Handling Questions

8

Serving God in Church and Society

9

Where do we go from here?

 


A letter to the group leader

 

Dear Fellow-worker,

 

Jesus has given us a clear, powerful mandate: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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 28:18-20)

 

Clearly no higher authority exists. Equally clearly, we are to work so that men will commit themselves to Christ, be nurtured in obedience to him, and will in turn go out as fellow workers with him in the world.

 

In this course, our focus is on the process of consolidating commitment, and upon nurture. But we must keep in mind the objective: the world. Equally, we must bear in our hearts Jesus' reminder that discipleship largely works by example: the blind can lead the blind - about as far as the nearest ditch (see Luke 6:39, 40).

 

As we go, therefore, let us all work together so that we can grow together as disciples of Christ.

 

God bless and keep you,

Gordon.

January 1990


A letter to the new disciple

 

Dear fellow disciple,

 

Perhaps this greeting catches you by surprise. If so, it is to emphasize a point: we are all disciples - followers, apprentices, students - of one Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ. Even Paul of Tarsus could only say to those who looked to him for spiritual leadership, "follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1)

 

The example is Jesus. Your group leader or any other spiritual leader, at best, is simply a more advanced student. As such we urge you to learn from our mistakes as much as from our successes. Above all, look to Christ, the perfect example.

 

In this course, our aim is mutual nurture, or building up. "Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus ... and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience ... let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching..." (Hebrews 10:19-25)

 

Amen,

Gordon.

January 1990


Consolidating Commitment

Today, we will...

As we begin...

Focus...

Issue...

How was Jesus "lifted up"? Why?

How are we to "look up" to him? (v 15-16)

What does it mean to "believe in" Jesus? (See Romans 4:4-8; 5:1-2. Focus on "trusts God")

What does God promise to "whoever believes in" Jesus? What does "eternal life" mean? (See John 17:3. Note the difference between "knowing about" and "knowing" a person - relationship.)

Have you believed in Jesus? What do you have, then? Why can you be sure?

 

During this week...

 


Quiet Times

 

 

Today, we will...

 

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus...

Note the promises God makes. Why is it vital for God to be "with you wherever you go"?

What did God expect Joshua to do every day? Why?

If Joshua did as God instructed what would happen?

How can we apply this to our lives today? (Examine 2 Timothy 3:14-17)

How does prayer (talking with God) fit in? (Skim Psalm 63)

 

Having a quiet time...

 

The Scripture Union has rather neatly summed this up:

Ask God to help you understand the main point of what you read.

What is the main point of the passage?

What does it teach you about God?

Is there a promise, example, warning or command you should note?

What insights into yourself, your situation and your relationships do you receive?

With your discoveries in mind, praise God for who he is and what he has done, confess your shortcomings and receive his forgiveness, ask him to act in your life and in our world.

Decide and work on practical steps for living what you have learned.

 

 

During the week...

 


Sharing the Gospel

 

 

Today, we will...

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus...

Jesus asked her for a drink. She didn't expect that. Why? How did it get a conversation going?

Soon Jesus was talking about two kinds of water. When the woman asked for his magic water he said, "Go, call your husband ..." Why did this trigger a confrontation?

How did Jesus handle the confrontation?

What was the result?

Summing up, what was his strategy?

Imagine that you are talking with a friend. How could you bring the gospel into the conversation?

When the Gospel bites home many people lash out or try to avoid its teeth. How could you respond?

What key steps are needed to inform about the Gospel and lead one who responds to Christ?

 

Activity...

During the week...

Possible extra reading...

 


Body Life

 

 

Today, we will...

 

 

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus...

What did Peter tell the people to do? Why?

What did "those who accepted his message" go on to do? (Note v 42, 44-47)

In the light of Hebrews 10:23-25 how should we follow their example?

Why has God given leaders to the Church?

Who are to do the works of Christian service so that the body may be built up?

How does this relate to us today?

During the week...

 


Spiritual Power, Spiritual Struggle

Today, we will...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus...

What was our past condition?

What three enemies had us in their power? In what ways were we enslaved?

How did God rescue us? To what end?

Have our enemies given up? If not, how can we defeat them? (Examine Ephesians 6:10-18 and reflect on the value of our "weapons" - prayer (especially for one another), truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation and the Word of God.)

What are some ways we can focus our minds on the things of God? (Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and recall Joshua 1:1-9.)

How can we be empowered and controlled by the Holy Spirit? (Note Romans 8:9-14 and Luke 11:9-13. Also note the individual and corporate stresses in Ephesians 5:18-21 - "Speak to one another".)

 

Some important points ...

During this week...

 


Family, Relationships and Sex

 

 

Today, we will...

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus on the family...

Dealing with issues...

What are the duties of husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves?

How do they cut across our natural tendencies?

How can we fulfill them?

What attitudes should we cultivate?

What action steps should we take to resolve conflicts?

Does the Bible's view (the act of union being restricted to the context of union) make sense?

Is it true that attitudes and thoughts can be as sinful as physical acts?

How can we cultivate pure, healthy sexuality?

Are there any relationships in your life, romantic or otherwise, which are forcing you to compromise standards of truth and right?

What should you do? How? When?

 

During this week...

 


Handling Questions

Today, we will...

As we begin...

Focus...

Discuss the following points:

What can we do...

Useful books...

During this week...


Serving God in Church and Society

 

Today, we will...

 

 

 

 

 

As we begin...

Focus...

Why did Christ descend then ascend?

What "gifts" has he given to us? Why?

Why are God's people to be prepared "for works of service"?

What will happen as we serve Christ?

What are some ways that we can serve God in the Church? In the world?

How can we view our family life, studies, career and community involvement from this perspective?

During this week...

 


Where do we go from here?

 

Today, we will...

As we begin...

Focus...

As you go...