Comments On Discipleship
As I mentioned yesterday, we have a different view of discipleship here at NewSpring Church. It bothers me that Christians will trust God’s Holy Spirit to draw someone to Him…but once that happens we often feel like we need to take over…and, like it or not, there are some really screwed up Christians because they have been taught to listen to man and not to Jesus.
I have seen the “process” of people becoming more like Christ merely reduced to a “to do list” in churches, and while this has managed to produce some fruit…I have seen it, unfortunately, develop way more legalists and self serving Christians? So…where is the balance? How do we “disciple” people at NewSpring? After all, Jesus did encourage us to “make disciples” in Matthew 28:18-20. Yesterday I listed six, but today I am adding a seventh…
#1 - Encourage baptism after salvation!
The first step, according to Scripture, that a new believer is supposed to take is to be baptized. I know that many of you who have received Christ lately may be thinking, “But I have been baptized before,” or, “I was baptized as a baby.”
However, please understand that every baptism in Scripture took place AFTER someone met Christ! (Please do not try to start an argument on this—we will not “go there.”)
I had been baptized twice before May of 1990…and then I met Christ!!! My pastor told me I needed to get baptized and I told him that I had already done that…twice…and so I thought I was “twice” as spiritual. BUT…he explained to me that when I had been baptized previously that all I did was get wet—that I was a wet sinner. Baptism is symbolic of a change that took place…and until I met Christ a change had not taken place! DANG!
SO…I got baptized…and some of you need to as well. If you have not been baptized since receiving Christ…OR you have questions regarding baptism…shoot us an e-mail. (We have a baptism THIS Saturday!!! There’s no greater time than this weekend!)
#2 - Encourage People To Read The Bibles.
I read something that Mark Batterson wrote not too long ago, “When we close our Bibles, God closes His mouth!” DANG!
Scripture says in Hebrews 4:12 that God’s Word is living and active. The reason I am so serious about this is because God grew me (and still is) through this process. You can’t go wrong when reading the Bible with a hunger to hear what God is wanting to say.
#3 - Prayer
We teach people to pray! (I will actually be doing a couple of messages on this in June.) Prayer is actually a time when we connect with God in worship, confess sin, declare how awesome He is and then pour out our hearts to Him. It is a time to connect…and so it is important that a daily time be set aside for this purpose. And honestly, the morning usually works best because we have clear minds. There isn’t a time limit…those who pray for 15 minutes are not less godly than those who do so for 45 minutes. The purpose is CONNECTION.
#4 - Home Groups
We are NOT called to journey alone. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we are called to “spur” one another on!!!
One of the things I have discovered is that people’s first step away from God is usually stepping away from the people of God. We’ve all seen it!! Think about Peter for a second. When Peter isolated himself from the rest of the disciples and put himself in an environment with non-believers—he DENIED CHRIST…and so will we!
We are called to encourage and challenge one another. When Jesus sent out the disciples—He sent them out in pairs, none of them went alone!!!
#5 - Serving
Contrary to popular belief—a disciple is NOT someone who merely knows a lot about the Bible. Heck, the devil knows a lot about the Bible…but I would not call him a disciple of Christ.
When reading the Gospels I have seen over and over again that Jesus not only taught the disciples, but He also sent them out to do the work of God’s kingdom! AND…when He ascended into heaven, He left them to do the work.
Someone who wants to sit on their rear-end and read the Bible and then DO nothing is NOT becoming more like Christ…they are actually becoming more like satan…who, like I mentioned earlier, KNOWS Scripture but applies none of it.
#6 - Bible studies
NewSpring does offer Bible studies to assist people in getting started in their walk with Christ…and in answering some of the tough questions that people have about a variety of topics…AND we are in the process of discussing some on-line discipleship opportunities that will revolutionize the way people view this area of ministry. However, we do not desire to become the church that has so many Bible studies that Christians can use going to them as an excuse for not doing anything else.
#7 - Church Attendance
Let me be clear…attending a Bible believing church IS a form of discipleship. It is our goal as a church that every week a person attending NewSpring should…
- Be taught at least one new thing about the Bible that they did not know—OR—
- Be reminded of at least one thing that they had forgotten about!
For us, this is what we feel it is to be in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ…to be a disciple. We are NOT perfect in this area…and we are working hard to develop new ways to teach people to get and stay connected with Christ. But…as I have said several times before…we trust the Holy Spirit to draw and continue drawing people to Him!