John 8:31, 32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The first model of a Local Church was not only an evangelistic or harvesting church but a discipleship church. We often read the first part of Acts chapter 2 about the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and 3000 souls being saved and not relate it to the last part. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in prayers… Acts 2:42 46.” We should also note that God had disciples (or we could say a skeleton of disciples) in Jerusalem before the outpouring on Pentecost. There were already 120 discipled and in place before the 3,000 and 4,000 converts (putting flesh on the skeleton) in Acts 2 and 4. God is interested in disciples, not just converts, those who continue and not just start. We cannot build the church without disciples.
A disciple is one who realizes a quality relationship to Jesus involves a cross of self-denial Luke14:27. A cross means crucifying or putting to death ones self-interest and self ambition for something better. A cross is a place of death, denial, execution but also what one is free to pick up or free to lay down. A cross is a place flesh dies on and Luke 9:23 says it is a daily effort. It is a place of execution for the self life to do what pleases God. A disciple must deny himself, no one can do it for him Matthew 16:24, 25. It is letting go of the lower life to gain the higher life or like letting go of rungs on a ladder so you can climb higher. It is not just to forsake things but to embrace more of God. Letting go of what you like because of what you love more.