Growing the New life – Discipleship – the Nourishment for New life
(Much credit to be given to Dallas Willard in his fine book, "The Great Omission")
Intro – "Flip that House"
Our lives can seem an awful lot like a flipped house:
Remodeled house – same old guts, painted over, pretty
The New life doesn’t seem like its taken effect
House is remodeled, but has the same insides
Innards are corrupt and dying
We want the new life, feel like we have the new life, but the old life dwells, lingers, ruins, sends us astray, causes pain, frustration, anguish, hurt, sin, hatred, lust, worry, unholy fear, and most of all discouragement.
We feel like a young child given a spectacular and elaborate toy, and no one has assembled it for us.
We want to use it, but it is worthless and unusable.
We are left wondering when we get to enjoy the gift, and how to put it together.
The Cost of Discipleship – Cheap Grace and easy Christianity – failure to count the cost
Christianity that fails to bear a cross and give its life to God hardly follows the model of Christ.
1937 Cost of Discipleship – easy Christianity has resurfaced
The Cost of NonDiscipleship – Failure to adhere to, follow, obey, and understand Jesus as a Teacher of life, ignoring the Yoke of Christ
Bumper sticker said “Don’t follow me, I’m lost”
We all can relate to the bumper sticker – get lost all the time
When it comes to following Christ, we often sense “that we could never stand in our world as a salty, light-giving example, showing people the Way of Life Jesus revealed to us.
NonDiscipleship caused by incomplete gospel message – more to believing Jesus is forgiver of sins and you get to go to heaven
“The(re is a) widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need him as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to him as Lord as long as we want to (is heresy)…salvation apart from obedience is unknown in sacred scripture!
Basically, getting married and never being faithful to your spouse is hardly being married.
Tozer is saying a Christian who doesn’t follow Christ and isn’t faithful to him is hardly what Christ and God intended.
Willard believes: “This heresy has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a vampire Christian.
Vampire Christians say to Jesus - “I’d like a little of your blood please.
But I don’t care to be your student or have your character.
In fact, won’t you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.”…
“If you preach a gospel that has only to do with the forgiveness of sins, you will be as we are today: stuck in a position where you have faith over here and obedience and abundance over there, and no way to get from here to there because the necessary bridge is discipleship.”
You will have the gift of new life, with no way to assemble it.
People who just hear about the forgiveness and are never taught about the way of life Jesus teaches, miss out on the abundant life of Christ.
Discipleship is a life of learning from Jesus Christ how to live in the Kingdom of God now, as he himself did” Willard – The Great Omission
There is more to the message of Jesus and the gospel than just the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus taught us to live the kingdom life today, and he modeled it in his life, how he interacted with sinners and what he taught.
Many of his parables begin…”The kingdom of God is like…”
There are many who are content with being Vampire Christians, satisfied with just the blood of Christ.
But I want more of Christ, and I pray that you do as well.
I want to learn the ways of Christ, and I pray you do as well.
So we are going to spend the next few minutes looking at some scriptures and thinking about some important things on how we can grow in Christ, grow this new life and become better followers of Christ, and enjoy life in Him.
How can we grow in the New Life?
1) Accepting the role of discipleship in our life:
a. Believing Jesus has something to offer as for wisdom in living this life, and living for the kingdom in this day and age – Jesus as Lord of our life
Willing to learn from Jesus
2) Wanting more than just Jesus’ blood – no longer being a vampire Christian, but a disciple of Christ – one who follows him in every way, every day
What does discipleship look like?
1) More then Sunday
We can’t expect to live the new life, if we only encourage it and nourish it for an hour on Sunday.
Bringing someone along with you in the journey, sharing more than Sunday – wouldn’t be here today if an Elder at my home church didn’t take me along his side and get serious about my growth in the Lord, taught me about sharing my faith, growing in faith
Hebrews 5-6 – stresses growth and maturing in Christ, As does Ephesians
2) Luke 6:43-49 – Adhering to Jesus and his ways: Change our life:
a. Good Tree/Bad Tree
i. Striving to be the good tree
Knows that the only one who can change the tree is Christ
c. Willard: “If we tend to the tree, the fruit will take care of itself:”
i. Learning Jesus
Wise and foolish builder
i. Listen to what Jesus said and follow his teaching
Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say
WE call upon him for forgiveness but fail to follow his teaching
3) Practicing biblical disciplines – renewing the heart and mind
a. – Luke 6:45 – Having a hymn on our heart, scripture…
If God’s love is always on our heart and minds, its what we will speak
Fasting – learning to rest upon the strength of the Lord
Meditation, Prayer, focus on Christ
4) Practicing Colossians 3 – be aware of the verbs and what its telling us to do
Set hearts and minds on Christ
Realize life is Christ
c. Puts to Death old ways
Put on New self
i. Being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator
5) A Practicing disciple Understands Romans 6
a. It’s not so much about our justification, it’s the life we now live in Christ Jesus, just as he was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Considering and counting yourself alive to God in Jesus
Not letting sin reign in your life – not obeying sinful desires
Not offering any part of yourself to sin
e. Offering yourself to God as instrument of righteousness
i. Being used by God
Who wants to be instrument of evil?
Vs 17 is powerful, allegiance – “but thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.