What Is a Kingdom Disciple?

Discipleship begins when someone’s commitment to God begins to spill into all areas of their lives.

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Until we return to lives of discipleship, we’ll continue to fail in our calling to live as heaven’s representatives on earth. This is because the power, authority, abundance, victory, and impact promised in God’s Word to His people is ours only when we align ourselves under Him as His disciples.

Welcome to your journey to becoming a full-fledged disciple of our King. Kingdom disciples are in short supply these days. The result has been a bevy of powerless Christians who attend powerless churches that embody a powerless presence in the world.

Until we return to lives of discipleship, we’ll continue to fail in our calling to live as heaven’s representatives on earth. This is because the power, authority, abundance, victory, and impact promised in God’s Word to His people is ours only when we align ourselves under Him as His disciples. Until then we can anticipate that chaos and crisis will continue to reign supreme in spite of all the Christian activities we engage in, Christian books we read, Christian songs we sing, and small groups we join.

Discipleship is a very personal decision. It starts when a person commits himself or herself to God as His follower and allows the results of that commitment to overflow into everything else in life.

Surrender to Christ’s lordship and obedience to His rule of love unlock God’s power to bring heaven to bear on earth. A kingdom disciple lives out this divine power and influence. I define kingdom disciple this way: A believer in Christ who takes part in the spiritual-developmental process of progressively learning to live all of life under the lordship of Jesus.

The goal of kingdom disciples is to live transformed lives that transfer the values of the kingdom of God to earth so that they replicate themselves in the lives of others. The result of such replication is God’s exercising His rule and His authority from heaven to history through His kingdom disciples.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:18-19.

The word translated as authority in the English version of this verse essentially means “power, right, liberty, jurisdiction, and strength.” Strong’s Concordance reveals that this term denotes “power of choice” or “doing as one pleases,” even “the power of judicial decisions.”1 When Jesus said all authority was His in heaven and on earth, He was saying that He possesses the legal right to use that power.

Power without authority matters little. Take, for example, NFL players. They’re far more powerful than the older referees officiating the game. Yet they exercise that power only under the authority of the referees. If they choose to misuse their power, a referee simply throws out a flag. If the player persists in wrongly using his power, the referee can then eject him from the game altogether.

When Jesus said all authority had been given to Him, that authority encompassed not only power but also the right to use that power as He chose.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord,” Job 1:12.

Power is someone’s ability to influence another person through strength, personality, control, or deception. Authority, on the other hand, is someone’s legitimate, vested, and formal right to wield power. Enormous difference exists between the two realities, but when we fail to discern this difference, we can foolishly choose to fight power with power (rather than authority) or seek to live by our own power (rather than the authority given to us in Christ).

When Jesus was tested in the wilderness (see Matt. 4:1-11), Satan’s power was outmatched by Jesus’ authority. After being offered temptations of power and fulfillment in this world, Jesus appealed to the full, final authority He possessed as the Son of God.

In other words, Satan has been given power only on earth. Unfortunately, far too many believers seek to overcome his tactics or fight his attacks in their own power. But that will never work. That’s why we’ve been instructed never to rebuke Satan on our own and with our own skills (see Eph. 6:12-18) but rather to resist him (see Jas. 4:7) and to rebuke him only in the authority of Jesus’ name (see Zech. 3:2; Jude 9).

When you understand the importance of authority, you’ll grow as a kingdom disciple to the point that you can not only resist the devil but also call on heaven, as Jesus did, to bear in your earthly endeavors.

If you’ve never differentiated between power and authority, let that sink in. Jesus offers you complete authority in Him when you live as His disciple. Many powers are coming against you that are stronger than you could ever be on your own, but He has overcome the world (see John 16:33). Consider the comfort and peace that come from knowing you have access to the authority of the Creator of the universe. Let that reality motivate you to grow as a disciple of the King.

Excerpted from Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth. Published by LifeWay Press®. © 2018 Tony Evans. Used by permission.

1. Strong’s G1849, Blue Letter Bible, accessed December 12, 2017, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1849&t=NASB.


Learn more about Kingdom Disciples: Heaven's Representatives on Earth by Tony Evans

Evans, Tony
Dr. Tony Evans is one of the country's most respected leaders in evangelical circles. As a pastor, teacher, author, and speaker, he serves the body of Christ through his unique ability to communicate complex theological truths through simple yet profound illustrations. Through his local church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, and his national ministry, The Urban Alternative, Dr. Evans promotes a Kingdom-agenda philosophy that teaches God's comprehensive rule over every sphere of life as demonstrated through the individual, family, church, and society.