The Importance of Discipleship and Growth P3

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

How To Grow in Faith

We are to call upon Him! Second Chronicles tells us, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…

Do you see the condition? The “if” needs to become a “do;” we are to carry out what He has accepted in us, so the rest of the passage becomes fulfilled in us. …then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

To grow means we are to turn from sin, seek Him, be praying, act with humility, seek His righteousness, and practice maturity. We are not to wander from Him or allow our desires to be selfish and sinful. We are to focus on His precepts and allow ourselves to be filled up with Christ. When we call upon our Lord, that call will echo over all those around us.

We grow as we look to and trust in Him, and as we pursue our lives in Christ.

That means careful pursuit and continual growth, not a simple look-over, but an in-depth and committed life. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Growing is surrendering our will to His. Surrender is the process through which we grow toward Him and His will, and away from our will. Surrender is making Christ the Lord of all of our lives so that worship, discipleship, and growth can happen.

For this to truly happen, we must rid ourselves of false presumptions, perceptions, reckless ideas, faulty thinking, and other such things that are barriers to our growth, so we can make room for Him.

This can start by our realizing that Jesus “authors” our faith and teaches us how to run the race according to God’s will for His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King, as the provider of Grace, as our Love, and as our reason for being.

In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment. 

This can be summed up in the adage, “we cannot be doing the work of God unless we are the people of God.” We have to be growing before we can be effective.

 What have you done about pursuing your life in Christ?

Growing in Christ is the key, so is Christ LORD over you and your church, if not why not?

Some passages to consider: Psalm 119:89-90; John 3:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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Do you read from the Bible or read into the Bible? Do you know the difference?

Do you read from the Bible or read into the Bible? Do you know the difference?

The Importance of Discipleship and Growth P2

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

 

Why does growing in your faith encompass more than just asking Christ into your life and heart?

Yes, there will be times we do not feel like it. Life is tough; it is full of setbacks and hurts that seem to cripple us. So, we go on permanent disability, unable to hurdle barriers that are really simple to climb, simple, when we are carried by Christ Himself. Did you know all it takes to tie down a horse is a simple leather strap? Did you know a horse could easily break it, like we could break a kite string? A horse does not try to do that because he does not think he is able to do so. You are able to cross any barrier to grow in deeper worship and faith in Christ, because He is there with His healing power.

When we ignore Christ as Lord over our lives and church, we just end up stagnate in life, continuing to hurt. Yes, we will struggle and hurt and we will need times to recover. However, we must make the determination to recover, not to remain disabled, preventing our abiding in Him.

Did you know that God does not ask us to seek converts. He simply asks us to disciple. 

Why? Discipleship is modeling and teaching Christians the precepts of the Bible, mainly prayer, doctrine, and Christian living, which means having an attitude and heart that worships Christ.

Yes, we are still to evangelize, but that is not our main mission and call. When we evangelize, we must realize that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring people into an intimate relationship with God.

This is an act of divine intervention and grace. He uses us as the tools, but He is the means. We are the display case of His life and work! We are to care, and share with others His love and character. We are to obey and reach out, but we cannot lead people anywhere.

Christ is the One who leads! 

Our goal is to worship and model our worship to others-not just our service in the church, but the lifestyle of a heart surrendered and poured out to His.

However, with that said, when we are real and authentic in our Christian living, then we are actually doing effective evangelizing and bringing others to Christ even more powerfully and frequently.

How does our focus on Him and not evangelism help us be evangelistic? Because, when the focus is on evangelism, it tends to be about gathering the numbers for numbers sake, and this mindset is pretentious and ineffective. Out of a real, worship-centered heart will come a church that is also poured out in the community, a lighthouse of God’s love and care to the world. It will model Christ-like character to the community, encouraging others to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ. However, this is only the beginning. When we are worshiping Christ with our hearts and minds, we are focused on Him and motivated to be His witnesses. Christ’s work in us is what is contagious to others who are seeking Him.

 

Some passages to consider: Psalm 119:89-90; John 3:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

 

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The Importance of Discipleship and Growth P1

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Growing in Christ is the key to growing a church!

Why? Because the whole point of the Church is to learn, grow, fellowship, share and worship Christ as Lord! If we are not doing that; then, we are doing church wrong!

This is also all about being a good and effective witness of who Christ is and what He has called your church to be and do. Following up, teaching, and mentoring new as well as seasoned Christians are the keys to spiritual growth and the replication of the witness.

When a church forsakes discipleship, its people will not grow and thus will not reach out. Many will give up on Christianity while others become confused, calloused, or complacent.

Alternatively, they will be swept away by false doctrines and cults because they do not know the difference. When we forsake discipleship, we end up just living for and unto ourselves. We miss out on opportunities, learning experiences, growth, and will exchange an eternity of rewards for a limited time of fun. This will turn into anger and bitterness later on in our lives.

Why should we grow in Christ? 

Because, He lived and died on our behalf, willingly giving up His life by paying the penalty for our sin. He allows us not only to escape the fires of hell, but also gives us eternal life. Growth will be our response to who Christ is and what He did for us. This is what will either be repulsive or attractive to others as we “fish” for Him.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24

Being a true disciple means having a willingness to trust Him completely in all aspects of life, from the highest highs to the lowest lows. It means we are not only willing to trust Him to provide for our salvation, but we trust Him for the future. We are to trust Him even when we do not know, like, or understand when or where He is leading, or when it is unpopular.

As we grow in Christ, we have to keep our eyes on Him. In doing so, we will be of better use to Him and become increasingly unsatisfied with anything less than His call and character.

 

Some passages to consider: Psalm 119:89-90; John 3:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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Truth is Divinely Commanded PII

Read Matthew 5: 33-37

Truth is divinely commanded! 

We have no excuse to skirt around truth, play games, or manipulate justice with creative legal games in our judicial courts or in His Church! Nor, can we manipulate our agenda over and against God’s Truth and Word (Ex. 20:16; Lev. 19:11; Psalm 5:9; 12:1-4; 15:1-3; 52:2-5; Jer. 9:3-6; Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9; Rev. 22:15)!

 When we do engage in deceit and lies, we are following in the footsteps of Satan, not Christ. This includes political mongering in the church, like power plays, strife, fighting against godly leadership and the glory of God (Psalm 15; John 8:44)!

Character in leadership must be taken seriously. As God requires us to take our word and deeds seriously, as this is a reflection of our relationship to Him. Like in a ‘vow,’ we must never claim to do anything that is contrary to what is in Scripture, in Christ’s character, or cause someone else to violate God’s Word (Duet. 21:23; Ecc. 5:4-6)!

May these words of our Lord remind us that our speech reflects upon the God we serve! Because, everything we do as a child of God must be in integrity, truthfulness, and honesty, as we are not only representing Him, He is living in us!

Consider this for motivation: As a Christian, you have the Spirit of God living in you. Thus, when you make a statement, either false, or true, gossip, spread rumors, play games with peoples call and God’s plan, Christ is implicitly represented in it. So, you are using His name, as you are His representative. Thus, it is imperative that we behave with consistent truthfulness (1 Cor. 5:20)!

What can your church leadership do to make sure that their words and deeds are a reflection of their relationship to Christ? If they did this, how would it change your church? Why is it sad that we have to even ask such a question?