Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is the Church for Discipleship or Disinfecting?

I listen to Radical on Moody Radio, and today I heard a message that totally set my thoughts on fire. I began to ponder, listen, tear up and ponder some more.  I just put on a pot of coffee and decided it was time to return to my keyboard for an update on where I have been.
I've been:
Reflecting!
Seeking!
Pondering!
Simplifying!

The devotion I ended 2014 with was all about entering into 2015 with a focus.  The devotion suggested that I seek to determine one word that God would lead me in for the year.  As I read, searched and pondered; the word "Simplify" came to my mind, my thoughts and even in everything I read.  So I posted the word around on sticky notes as a reminder. I even put it in my phone.  I also accepted the challenge to memorize a scripture every two weeks through a blog by Living Proof Ministries. Something that I have never, never, never been able to do, but so far I am two for two.  I have been simplifying my life, which includes saying NO alot more and not filling up my schedule as much.

However, today, I was walking my dog and listening to radio program mentioned above. The message grabbed me and the thoughts just started to run through my mind.

The message was in the Follow Me series, Serve the World, Part 2.  David Platt asked, "Is church a place for discipleship or disinfecting?" I started thinking on that question.  If we are setting ourselves apart to be disinfected from the world, to be disinfected is to KILL living organisms without discriminating good from bad. If we set ourselves apart to avoid looking like the world, we will become sterile. A sterile environment will not allow life of any kind. That just doesn't sound like what God sent His Son to earth to accomplish.

So the question remains: Is the church for discipleship or disinfecting?

God desires us to be set apart to do His work in the world, not to do His work in a sterile church building. I believe we come together as a body of believers to encourage and build up one another, and to spur one another on to works and good deeds. We come together to teach each other, and disciple one another within the walls of the church; but also to disciple as we go about our routine and daily lives, and as we serve the world.

Jesus died to rescue us from sin and death. If you have been saved from eternal death through accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you now need to grow in the knowledge of who He is, learn about His character, His love and then learn His commands. Seek to learn to hear His voice and gentle leading.  Once you have done this, simply OBEY. In doing this, He can then send you out into the world as His witness.

(If you were on trial for your life, would you want your attorney to use credible witnesses for your defense? Would you want them to be reliable and be of good reputation? Or would you be ok with someone who was a known liar, never reliable, and disrespected in the community?) So as Christ sends us out in the world to be His witnesses, we need to be credible witnesses. So that by our lives, others will know and believe He exists based on our testimonies. Based on their observation of our lives, they would desire what we have, become believers (rescued from Hell), and become disciples and credible witnesses for Christ to begin the cycle again.

What if we lived our lives in such a way that we wouldn't have to segregate ourselves from the world. We wouldn't live separately from the world, but we would instead be set apart (sanctified-consecrated) for God's use in the world for the sake of the world. We need to know when the world's corruption is infecting us and when we are affecting the world. As we see the decaying effects the world is having on our lives, we need to turn to the Father, in the name of Jesus and ask Him to fill us, equip us and minister to us. We are able to do all things through Christ. He will give us renewal and strength. He raises us back up and we can soar!

Jesus retreated from the world to have time alone with the Father. So we should do so as well.

He calls us to love Him and love others. Out of the love for Him, we will be prompted to obey Him. Out of that love, we will love others and by our love for the body of Christ, the world will know we belong to Him. Out of our love for the world, we will desire to live our lives in such a way that we are credible witnesses of Christ. As we live our lives NOT discrediting the good news of Jesus by living unholy lives, but instead living reliably, filled with the Holy Spirit; the world may become hungry for the good news, and turn to God for salvation. An entire generation may be saved from Hell just because the universal church decides to no longer live sterile lives (cleaned up like white washed tombs) where no real life exists; but instead lives authentic, biblical, reliable, credible lives where we make disciples who then make disciples.

We are called to make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey all Jesus' commands.  --  to clarify: Each one of us in the body of Christ is called to make disciples. We are to teach them who God the Father is, who the Son is and who the Holy Spirit is. As we are immersed in the character of the trinity, we grow in our love for Him. As we grow in our love, we desire to obey Him. Part of that obedience is to love God and love others, obey Him and make disciples.

How simple is that.  It is simple, it is just not easy!




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