Following the second session of Fear God, is the first session “Follow Jesus”. Appropriately placed, knowing who God is, aides in the following of Jesus, blending the reverence, fear, love amidst other characteristics, help us understand Jesus and and the importance of our modeling the righteousness demonstrated by Him.
The video lead to a great discussion, which released us to Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will complete his work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus returns. Paul gives a word of instruction and encouragement; informing the church that God had begun, and was at work in the life of the believer, changing them from the inside bit by bit.
Following Jesus is a journey that involves the process of change. This process is a combination of study, discipline, and application. As we study the teachings and learn ,more about the character of Christ, we gain the tools necessary to become more like Him. As Chan pointed out, it’s not enough to memorize and quote, we must add to it action. This action, requires us to apply what we have learned, and this application happens through discipline. Yes, discipleship requires discipline! This discipline is mad possible by the power of the Holy Spirit and the love that we have for our Lord.
As we discussed Discipleship, we highlighted the witness of the disciple that occurs through discipline. It was pointed out that our lack of discipline is a bad witness for the faith. Furthermore, our presentation could uses some tweets. The question was asked, “What would happen to your witness if you presented yourself as a work in progress and not a finished product?” Paul reminds us that we are a work in progress, yet many of us present ourselves as finished works. This presentation has earned the church a reputation of being filled with hypocrites.
Luke writes, in the 14th chapter “and if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you can not be my disciple” (verse 27). He then continues, “But don’t begin until you count the cost.” Chan suggest that the problem with out faith is that it is filled with believers and not followers. He suggested that we would have more followers if we would stress the cost first.
Discussion insued from what it meant to carry ones cross, and the depth of what it meant to consider the cost. In carrying ones cross, it’s was stated that the cross represented sacrifice, lifestyle, denial and purpose.
As believers, God has a design and propose for us all. He calls us to a life of following Him, with the great commission as our mandate. We are to follow and carry the Gospel to a lost and dying world, denying self, matching our lifestyle to His, sacrificing any things that stands between Him and us, and carrying out our individual purpose on this earth. Our cross, is our responsibility. What is your cross? What have you been called to bare? Why have you been sent? Who have you been sent too?
Jesus considered the cost in the garden, and emerged saying, not my will, but the will be done. We too must do the same. We must have the “not my will attitude” to follow Jesus! To complete the Lords task, we must, as Jesus stated be willing to hate even our own lives, not considering it more valuable than obedience to God’s plan for us and for the world.
All this to Follow Jesus! We must be diligent in our efforts to bring God glory! And it’s is done through our lives. We must live lives of submission, keeping the will of God in front of our eyes and etched into our hearts. We are not made for pleasure, we are made for service. And though there are gains, focusing on the loses will help us keep a balanced perspective that will lead to meeting God’s approval.
Tuesday; we had a great study. We worked on our perspective towards ourselves and others, reminding ourselves of who we are, and where we come from. I am really enjoying our group!
Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
Tuesdays study set the backdrop for a night of compassionate discussion. As we began, our heart were seasoned with the power of Paul’s Words to Ephesus. It was as though he were writing to us. How soon we forget! Old things have past, and behold all things have become new, and we erase our past, ignore our present, and substitute our future finished self for our present incomplete self…
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After spending time in discussion with a friend, I was inspired to write the following quote, “As Disciples we are called to be Discipline”. One of the issues with the spread of the Gospel is the lack of discipline. Those we witness too , have to consider the Gospel powerful after not seeing change or progress in the one claiming to be a possessor. For us to have obtained truth , and to have not demonstrated any proof of the life changing power we confess , is like putting a match to a water logged log. People are looking for the change! Change that will assure them that their time and sacrifice will be profitable , and not wasted moments reading and speaking to a God that is not real.
Honestly, life change is not happening in many of our churches because we are making believers; salvation, and then labeling the convert a disciple as a default. A disciple is more than one who believes; they are people who not only accept and confess, but put into practice the teachings and techniques of the Jesus. Jesus said, if you love me, you will keep my commands, thus informing us that our obedience is a direct reflection of our love for Him. And this just in, obedience requires discipline.
Our discipline to the disciplines of the faith, as mentioned above, testify as to our true belief and conviction of what we have heard and believe. Our lack of discipline makes a statement far larger than any words we quote. The words without change show a lack of conviction and thus are rendered powerless. Our change validates our testimony and our testimony validates the power of Christ!
What would church be like, if discipleship was the focus of every member? How much many people would be convinced and convicted by its life changing power? How many people would find peace and tramquility in their own lives and would be able to take that same peace and transfer it to others? Could it be that our discipline would fill seats with people who ask to come before they are invited?
Great discussion and unique perspective. I have enjoyed the book from David Platt and look forward to the further lessons and discussions.
Immediately after creating Adam, God gives Adam a job. He places him to work in the garden that was created for him and gave him an assignment. This assignment kept him from existing without responsibility, and helped teach and develop his skills, taught him discipline and helped him learn about God and his relationship with God. For these reasons, we determined that “work” plays a very important role in the life of people, especially the believer. “Work” is not just a just to pay bills, acquire possessions or create wealth. It aides God in teaching and developing us into the person He has for us to be.
Initially, is was…
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The Francis Chan Basic series lead to great dialogue about God’s Word. In the study of fear, we looked into the topic as in parallel to that of a parent and a child. We come to the Lord as one who is wise, and then must subject ourselves to the one who is wisdom. He is Wisdom, and the knowledge of Him, and seeking to be as He is, makes us wiser, but doesn’t make us wisdom.
His wisdom is superior to Man’s Wisdom. The Fear of the Lord begins when we acknowledge that He is far superior in all things, not just some things. Our wisdom pre-God has no restraints, few rules, and no boundaries, pleases the flesh, and changes from moment to moment. Our wisdom exists in the moment, and in hindsight, is often relabeled foolishness.
We encounter His power, taking in that he is filled with grace and mercy, while making a mental note that his is jealous and the owner of vengeance. We must celebrate His blessings and rewards, but account for the chastisement and correction that accompanies being son and daughter. He chastises the one He loves. We must welcome the discipline as key in that the under-gird the teachings, and reaffirm the boundaries of His instructions. They keep us within the freedoms given in Christ, and guide us in our journey to achieve the image set before us.
We have to accept God as whole not as part. Most of our earthly relationships suffer for this same issue. We love pieces of the person, and want to grab a hold to one characteristic and ignore the other existing traits until they rear their heads. God is multifaceted! He is complete! He is balanced. He is not ruled by any force, or dominated by any trait! He is whole, able to be just while carrying out justice, distributing mercy as he rewards foolishness with chastisement, and administering grace while we reap the fruits of our deeds.
Fearing God is the beginning! Acknowledging Him as whole is Key. We must spend time in the Word and in prayer, seeking to know God more intimately. And in doing so, we see the delicate balance, and the administration of His character through the Love that He has for each of us. His plans are to prosper us, not to harm us. He is seeking to help us not to destroy us.
Tonight in Bible Study, we looked into the Series “Basic” by Francis Chan, and looked at Who is God? Fear God Session 1. The study, a return to the foundational pieces that make up the strength of our relationship with Christ, leading to participants becoming stronger disciples.
Though fear was defined in many ways, the synopsis of the definition is the full awareness of who God is, what He is capable of. Fear is awareness. And one can have a healthy fear of someone or something. Furthermore the sting caused by fear can be overcome by awareness. Fearing God means one is well aware that He is as much Love as He is Wrath; as full of Grace as He is with Vengeance, and as much Just as He is Jealous. There is a danger in not knowing the full balance of who God is. Many of our faiths are pitted on one aspect of who God is, and our lack of obedience and consistent disobedience reveals our trust perspective and awareness of who God is. Many of us live and address God as though He is more Friend that He is God. He is full of authority, filled with power, restrained by His love for us, by directed by His character.
It was said that of God’s forgiveness “He knows our heart!” This presents a problem in that many of us are truly unaware of our own hearts. This thought process can prove to be dangerous in the walk of a believer, in that it tends to excuse and also diminish the power of the sin act committed. The reality is, God knows our heart! He knows when we are truly repentant, and when we are speaking words out of fear of His punishment. God is fully aware when we ask, what our true intentions are for tomorrow! He will forgive, but He will not be fooled. God is omniscient and omnipresent! He is everywhere! He knows all things! He is not unaware, He never sleeps,nor does He slumber. He created creation, knows its ins and outs, scripted the beginning, lived through to the end, and understands every move to be made at every moment of the day. He is the creator of multitasking, not the King of it, and He hasn’t mastered it, He is the master of it.
Chan points out the foolishness of man, in believing that we will one day ask God questions and get insight on why certain things occurred. Imagine our arrogance. From a time when we were unable to speak in the presence of our grandfathers and grandmothers, once uneducated, and unable to articulate, now degreed, empowered, knowledgeable and most of all, redeemed, our eyes now open to Truth, through the Study of His Word and the mouth of his preacher, now have self-labeled ourselves “Good.” It is as though we believe that we are deserving; and that on judgement day, we will walk in head held high looking God in the face, eye to eye as though we are equals. The truth is that we are still unworthy and undeserving, but we have the covenant of Word and His promise that will account for the fact that we are a work in progress, unfinished, and not perfect, just perfect in Him because of our covering. Our Good has now become the standard for righteousness, and now we act as though we are God, rejecting sinners from our presence as though our righteousness is so different from theirs. We must be careful not to equate or being “better” for being “good.”
John gives us in Revelations 1:9-18 a description of what he saw. His description along brings about fear. And his response, the truth of what that day will hold from us. We all will fall down in fear from His presence. Praise God, He touches John and says, do not be afraid! God purpose is not to impose fear on those that stand before Him, but the awareness of who He is will cause us to have the same response.