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Marks of a Disciple

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

Galatians 6:17 HCSB From now on, let no one cause me trouble, because I carry the marks of Jesus on my body.

1. A Spirit of Meekness Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to full into the same temptation yourself. (Galatians 6:1)

Note: a. Overcome by sin. This means that a person has been surprised by a temptation and suddenly fallen. It is another matter entirely to enter into sin deliberately through rebellion. b. Gently. Gentleness does not mean that we don’t try to correct or rebuke. It means we do not approach the issue with wrath and passion as though we will somehow conquer over our brother. It means we temper our approach with love and do no more than is absolutely necessary.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.

c. Humbly. Humility is indicated when we realize that we are just as likely to fall into the same temptation.

 Titus 3:3-7 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us. (4) But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. (5) He save us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. (6) He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. (7) He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.


d. Restore. In Greek, this word was used to mean to put a dislocated bone back in place. This can often be a painful process. However, it is necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

e. Careful. We must remember that the next time we may be the ones who need the correction. Correct the person in the same manner you would like someone to treat you in the future.

2. A Bearing of Burdens

Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) Note:

a. Share. We are to exercise empathy, trying to understand what led the person to fall.

b. Troubles. This can also be taken to mean that we are to help through general life issues, offering what support and aid we can.

c. Problems. When a person is struggling with sin, we are to give them what help we can to get out of it.

d. Obey. It is not a matter of waiting until you feel like it. It is a matter of duty – of obedience. e. Law of Christ. Though we are no longer under the old Mosaic Law, we are under a law – Christ’s. And that law is characterized by seeking the good of our neighbor. It is marked by sacrificial love.

Romans 13:8-10 Pay all you debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. (9) For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting – and any other commandment – are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (10) Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements.

3. A Proving of Work

If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. (Galatians 6:3-4)

a. Too important to help. We must not allow the vanity or self-seeking spirit of life to overcome us. We are never so busy, nor so important that we cannot take the time out to do what is right. 1 Corinthians 9:19 This means I am not bound to obey people just because they pay me, yet I have become a servant of everyone so that I can bring them to Christ.

b. Fooling yourself. Self-conceit is self-deceit.

c. Do what you should. Again, we are reminded to do our duty. We are to do what is right regardless of the personal cost. In doing this, we will truly be disciples of the Master.

d. Personal satisfaction. This disregard for personal cost, this willingness to do what is right, this seeking out the good of others even over our own, will inevitably lead to true satisfaction.

e. Done your work well. Thus, our work will be proved. Thus, we will know that we have pleased the Master and will hear His commendation at the Bema Seat.

f. Compare…to anyone else.

2 Corinthians 10:12 Oh, don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, and measuring themselves by themselves. What foolishness! This process will help us to not compare ourselves among ourselves. We will not elevate ourselves over our brothers and sisters. We will not be jealous of their gifts or positions. We will not be seeking out power, authority, control, respect, or the vanity of adulation. We will know true peace.

4. A Sowing to the Spirit

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

a. Live to. There are two kinds of seeds and two kinds of harvests. There is sowing to the flesh, living to satisfy our own desires, which leads to decay and death. Then, there is sowing to the Spirit, living according to the revealed Word of God in order to better please God, which leads to a harvest of everlasting life.

b. From the Spirit. We must keep in mind that if any growth, any change, any strength is possible, it is only because of the Spirit’s ministry in our lives.

5. A Continuance in Well-Doing

So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. (Galatians 6:9)

a. Don’t get tired. We like to say that we are a family. But a family does not merely comfort. It nurtures. Nurturing, “raising up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”, sometimes entails correction. This can be hard. It can be exhausting. Show my parents who aren’t sometimes exhausted and exasperated and I’ll show you parents who aren’t doing their jobs. However, we must hold on. Why? Because we hold the hope of a future harvest.

b. Discouraged. Sometimes you will encourage others to grow and change and you will be rejected. Sometimes you will try to spur growth in your own life and you will fail. You must not be discouraged. You must continue. For it is in the faithful continuance of effort that success lies.

c. Harvest of blessing. Notice that he didn’t say that you would gain your brother. Notice that he didn’t promise a specific answer to your specific requests. He promised an appropriate blessing at the appropriate time. God knows what we need better than we do. We must trust Him. God will not impose Himself upon someone who steadfastly refuses Him. We cannot overcome a person’s will if God Himself cannot.

6. Doing Good to Others

Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. (Galatians 6:10) a. Whenever we have the opportunity. We must be alert for those opportunities. We must be looking for them. Many times we use self-doubt as an excuse for procrastination. b. Do good. Determining what the “good” is is very difficult indeed. It may, at times, be comforting and confirming a person in their path. It may, at other times, man that we must oppose and rebuke in order to bring them back to the path. Either way, we must do good. c. Especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. This pattern of behavior is a mark of a true family. Do I discipline another family’s children? Of course not. Do I care as much about other families’ business as my own? Of course not. It is precisely because of our love for our family that we should be quicker to involve ourselves and try to do what is right by them.

7. Glorying in the Cross

As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.

a. God forbid that I should boast. We must never elevate ourselves in pride at our wisdom. We should never be satisfied with our present state. We must maintain a hunger for growth, for change, because we are seeking to emulate Christ. b. Except the cross. We must keep in mind what our present freedom and hope cost the Master.

c. My interest in this world died. A mark of a growing disciple is a gradual loss of interest in the vanities or the world: the desire for position; the taste for power; the greed for things; the self-worship of wanting other’s attention and praise; the self-indulgence of wanting comfort and confirmation. All these things gradually lose their appeal, their sparkle, their allure. All we seek is the Lord and the advancement of His kingdom. All else becomes just so much manure.

Conclusion: As we consider each of these traits, we quickly realize that they describe the Lord Jesus the Messiah. He exemplified them all. That is why I titled this discussion “Marks of a Disciple”. If we see these traits growing in our lives then we can be confident that we are truly His disciples. If we do not, then we must examine ourselves a see if we have fallen short of the mark of true, living, saving faith.

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