Over the past two weeks, you have immersed yourself in trying to understand our identity in Christ. We are chosen, loved, and accepted by the Father, purchased, forgiven, and righteous in the Son, and indwelt, empowered, and sanctified by the Spirit.
In our identity, we in turn love and seek the glory of the Father, treasure and submit to the Son, and wholly depend on the power of the Spirit.
And I pray that as you have been studying the Scriptures and praying daily, God is doing a work of grace in your heart.
But you may be asking a question: How do I consistently do this? How can I continue to grow in my identity as a Christian and in my love and obedience to God?
There are two answers. One is that you and I must individually make the choice each day to spend time abiding in Christ through pray and Bible study and to make the time to devote to Him.
But in addition, we are also called to encourage and help one another in this process so that we do not go it alone. We as a church are called to be in the process of making disciples and that includes all of us.
Everyone who has been saved by grace is a disciple of Jesus. Some of us are further along the path than others but we all share the same identity in Christ and we are called to passionately pursue Him as our all in all.
So as you are connected to the life of Emmanuel, we all need to clearly understand what it means to be making disciples.
Read Matthew 28:18-20
This is famously called the Great Commission because in it Jesus as the Sovereign with all authority commands us to make disciples of all the nations. The primary verb in this command is to “make disciples”.
And yet Jesus doesn’t leave us in the dark. He gives us three foundational ways that we are to go about making disciples—going, baptizing, and teaching for obedience.
The process of disciple-making never ends. It begins when a sinner trusts Christ for salvation and goes from death to life. Yet, all believers are life-long disciples who are constantly repenting, believing the gospel, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Much of disciple-making in the church culture has been focused solely on the acquisition of knowledge. We measure success in how much information has been transferred from teacher to student. In other words, the focus has almost been squarely on the HEAD. Yet as we saw a few days ago, we are to love God with all of who we are: our head, our heart, our hands, and our mouth!
A follower of Jesus doesn’t just acquire knowledge for knowledge sake, but studies the Word of God so that it can transform our entire lives into passionate lovers of Christ who obey Him on a daily basis.
Yet, if we read the Great Commission closely, we find that Jesus’ command is not just to teach for information, but also to teach for obedience. He told us to make disciples by teaching all to “OBEY” or “OBSERVE” his commands.
Read James 1:22-25
A disciple is not only defined on who we are (IDENITY) but also on what we do (OBEDIENCE). We are to clearly understand who we are in Christ, but we are also to follow Him in acts of obedience.
Over the next few weeks, we will explore what it means to make disciples, be a a disciple, and how this process works in the life of our church.
But we needed to lay the foundation of our identity in Christ before we start thinking about what we are called to do for Christ.
Are you ready to embark on this journey of discipleship? Are you still praising God for who you are in Him and all of the powerful ways He has shown you His grace? Are you ready to not just be a hearer of the Word, but also a doer?
Spend some time in prayer today asking God to get you ready for obedience. Spend some time asking Him to soften your heart to not just be content with acquiring knowledge but to be transformed by the Word into a consistently obedient follower of Him.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You sent Jesus into the world to save us and I am so thankful for my salvation. You have given me this wonderful new identity in You. I want to love you and glorify you and treasure and submit to you and rely upon your power. I also want to be obedient. I want to be faithful to your Great Commission in making disciples and I want to grow in my journey as a disciple as well. Soften my heart for what you plan on doing next in my life. Grant me the grace to follow you in this journey of obedience.
In Christ’s name,