Bible Verse of the Day

Jeremiah 23:24
“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?? declares the LORD. ?Do not I fill heaven and earth?? declares the LORD.”

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AYP September 2017

The time for my newsletter is here again, and with so much starting up in the Fall I wanted to talk about something that I think we need to get involved in, and take more seriously.

Discipleship

I think that there are a great many things that would happen around here if we started to be honest and true about our own discipleship. So starting in the Fall I plan on doing a sermon series around Discipleship, as well as doing some adult studies on the same.

But let me give you a primer…. This comes from Wikipedia… and hopefully will get you thinking about what this is… and why it is important that we take a hard look at our own discipleship….

"Love one another"

A definition of disciple is suggested by Jesus' self-referential example from the Gospel of John 13:34-35: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (NRSV) Further definition by Jesus can be found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14. Beginning with a testing trap laid out by his adversaries regarding observance of the Jewish Sabbath, Jesus uses the opportunity to lay out the problems with the religiosity of his adversaries against his own teaching by giving a litany of shocking comparisons between various, apparent socio-political and socio-economic realities versus the meaning of being his disciple.

"Be transformed"

"Discipleship" and "following Christ" are used synonymously. The canonical Gospels, Acts, and Epistles urge disciples to be imitators of Jesus Christ or of God himself. Being imitators requires obedience exemplified by moral behavior. With this biblical basis, Christian theology teaches that discipleship entails transformation from some other World view and practice of life into that of Jesus Christ, and so, by way of Trinitarian theology, of God himself.

The Apostle Paul stressed transformation as a prerequisite for discipleship when he wrote that disciples must "not be conformed to this world" but must "be transformed by the renewing of [their] minds" so that they "may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NRSV) Therefore, a disciple is not simply an accumulator of information or one who merely changes moral behavior in conformity with the teachings of Jesus Christ, but seeks a fundamental shift toward the ethics of Jesus Christ in every way, including complete devotion to God.

In several Christian traditions, the process of becoming a disciple is called the Imitation of Christ. This concept goes back to the Pauline Epistles: "be imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1) and "be imitators of me, as I am of Christ"(1 Corinthians 11:1). The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis promoted this concept in the 14th century.

The Great Commission

Ubiquitous throughout Christianity is the practice of proselytization, making new disciples. In Matthew, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, when calling his earliest disciples Simon Peter and Andrew, he says to them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Then, at the very end of his ministry Jesus institutes the Great Commission, commanding all present to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20a). Jesus has incorporated this practice into the very definition of being a disciple and experiencing discipleship.

Family and wealth

Jesus called on disciples to give up their wealth and their familial ties. In his society, family was the individual's source of identity, so renouncing it would mean becoming virtually nobody. In Luke 9:58-62, Jesus used a hyperbolic metaphor to stress the importance of this, and another in Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." There are different interpretations of this text on counting the cost of discipleship.

Discipleship Movement

The "Discipleship Movement" (also known as the "Shepherding Movement") was an influential and controversial movement within some British and American churches, emerging in the 1970s and early 1980s. The doctrine of the movement emphasized the "one another" passages of the New Testament, and the mentoring relationship prescribed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:2 of the Holy Bible. It was controversial in that it gained a reputation for controlling and abusive behavior, with a great deal of emphasis placed upon the importance of obedience to one's own shepherd. The movement was later denounced by several of its founders, although some form of the movement continues today.

The other part of what we will be talking about with all of this will be the Holy Spirit… but that will be another article for another time…so for now… lets get ready to become better disciples one step at a time….

Amen.

Peace, Pastor Paul

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 02:18