Birth, crying, rolling over, scooting, crawling, standing, wobbling, walking and ascending stairs. Life is typically a progression of developmental steps and so is life in a church. God created us to eschew the status quo by continually following the voice of Christ personally and collectively. Today we discover what this looks like for a group of 1st century disciples in Thessalonica and for us today.
Jesus invites each of His followers to join Him in his mission of love to help those who are far from God find a restored relationship with their Maker. Yet, most of us disciples struggle to know how to best serve those who don’t believe or behave like us. Fortunately, Jesus models an intentional approach for loving those outside His church. In this Sunday’s message and service we discover His way and receive His help to love our neighbors well.
When we have an opportunity to walk along someone else in their journey with God (i.e. mentor them / disciple them / guide them) what should we do? Rather than quickly grabbing a book to read together or making a list of topics to address, what if we followed the way of Jesus? After His resurrection, Jesus walked alongside two followers and modeled a beautiful, loving, freeing and life transforming approach for discipleship. In this passage we discover that loving listening precedes helping others grow in their relationship with God.
When we are discipled by listening directly to Jesus’ voice in Scripture, we can trust His wisdom as being inerrant because He perfectly embodied all the spiritual disciplines we aspire to have. In contrast, when we are discipled by listening to others, we should discern which particular spiritual disciplines God has empowered each one of them to have. Because, as fallen people, even as devout followers of Jesus, none of us embody them all.
Why does Jesus call us to follow Him and abide in Him? Some people assume we should follow Jesus so we can be with God when we die. While this is a significant part of a disciple’s hope, Jesus has a vision for our days between when we become His disciples and when we breath our last breath. He summons us to follow Him in order to give us a purpose. The reason He calls us to follow and abide is so He can work in and through us as we join Him on His mission to love and serve our hurting world (i.e. become “fishers of men”). He empowers all of His disciples to pray, to serve and to testify wherever we go so that His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Now that’s discipleship. That’s living!
“Disciple” is the word Jesus used to describe His followers. “Disciple” is used over 270 times in the Bible to describe those who live a Christ-centered life. So, what is a disciple? In this 3-week series we are reviewing Jesus’ 3-fold description of a disciple according to Matthew 4:19. Last week we learned that a disciple “follow Jesus.” In this message we discover that a disciple also “abides in Jesus.” If you want to honor God, experience His presence in your daily life and join Him in His mission to heaven-ize the world, this message will encourage you whether or not you would presently describe yourself as a disciple of Jesus.
Throughout history the word used to describe those who worship and center their lives on Jesus is disciple. The New Testament describes Christ followers as disciples over 270 times. The mission Jesus left to His church is to, “make disciples of all nations.” So, what is a disciple? In this 3-week series you will discover Jesus’ 3-fold description of a disciple according to Matthew 4:19. If you long to honor Jesus, live with Jesus and ultimately join Jesus in His mission on earth, this messages will guide you whether you or not you would presently describe yourself as a disciple of Jesus.
Jesus calls us to be more than just His students. He calls us to live out all that He teaches in our daily lives. People who do make the world better and are the real disciples of Jesus. To live this way, Disciples must prioritize Jesus before EVERYTHING else.
As Jesus called His followers to do tangible things during His time on earth, He continues to summons His disciples to action now. Sometimes Jesus’ plans for us are so difficult that others may urge us to head in a different direction. Do you ever second guess your direction? Do you ever stay awake at night worrying what others will think about your plans? In Acts 21:1-16 we see the courage of Paul who received his marching orders from one Source and remained faithful to his orders in spite of opposing forces. We also discover the high motivation that can make this loyalty possible for all disciples – for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Just as a wildlife biologist exercises appropriate authority in the wilderness for the flourishing of an ecosystem and the enjoyment of it by people, the Apostle Paul exercises spirit-led authority in the epicenter of the “gentile wilderness” for people to flourish with the living water of Christ Jesus like never before. Paul exhibits clear vision, persistence, and responsiveness in developing a team that’s focused, firmly grounded, equipped, and ready to begin a dramatic movement. It’s empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself. When servants of King Jesus capture the opportunities presented to them by the Spirit of the Living God, they exercise authority for a flourishing movement, even (especially!) in the midst of the wilderness. What wilderness are you called into, today?