Before His ascension, Jesus sent forth the apostles into the world with the gospel (Matt. 28.19-20). The call is to “make disciples” and part of the process is to “teach” the principles of Jesus.
Discipleship means to not only learn a teaching, but to transform one’s own thinking and lifestyle to reflect the teaching. Being a disciple is not like a “cram session” in preparation for a test, where the student typically forgets “everything” the moment the test is over. Instead, there is a lifelong devotion to understanding the message of Jesus.
Jesus once said, “a disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6.40). Again, to bring the point sharper Jesus affirmed, “why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not what I tell you?” (Luke 6.46).
The importance of discipleship is that it stands at the very heart of biblical Christianity. If we miss this aspect of the faith, then we have missed the very thing that defines us – we are Christians and we imitate Jesus (1 Pet. 2.21). We cannot imitate Jesus without abiding in his teaching (Tit. 2.11-14).
The New Testament church demonstrated devotion to the apostolic teaching (Acts 2.42), so much so that they were known as disciples of Jesus (Acts 9.1).
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31