In my message, I mentioned that the best context for growing in your identity in Christ and learning how to be obedient and to practically live out head, heart, and hands is in a disciple-making small group.
There are four key components of a disciple-making small group that we will explore over the next few weeks.
A disciple making small group has an intentional strategy in place to:
- Effectively teach the Word
- Foster Gospel Community
- Engage in Mission
- Reproduce Leaders
This again may sound very different from what you may be familiar with in a traditional Sunday School class or Growth Group ministry. We have done a fairly good job of teaching the Word and I think most people understand the basics of gospel community. But how often do we engage in mission and how effective are we at reproducing leaders?
If we as a church are going to move forward and embrace this vision of every single person growing in Christ through a disciple-making small group, we need to start at the individual level and incorporate these four values in our lives as believers as well as into a strategic disciple-making process.
So, let’s review: What is our identity?
We are chosen, loved, accepted, purchased, forgiven, righteous, indwelt, empowered, and sanctified by the Tri-Une God. In turn, we love, glorify, treasure, submit, and rely upon this great God as we live out our identity through obedience as a disciple.
We want to have a healthy balance of head, heart, and hands as we think about being sent on mission into the world, being baptized as a family of God, and being a learner of the Word.
Yet, specifically what does a disciple-making process look like in our individual lives? Where does the rubber meet the road practically in our obedience to Christ.
A gospel-centered disciple:
- Knows and Obeys the Word of God
- Shares life together in gospel community by practicing the “one another’s”
- Declares the gospel and lives as a missionary
- Seeks to reproduce other disciples
Now it’s getting intense!! We’ve move into an area of radical obedience! We’ve moved out of just being a spectator into jumping onto the field and getting mixed in the rough and tumble of the game.
Again, over the next few weeks, we will specifically address these four aspects of a gospel-centered disciple and how we grow through a disciple-making small group.
But for now, let’s consider the radical words of Jesus:
Read Luke 14:25-33
Jesus gives THREE conditions for anyone who would come to faith in Him:
- We must HATE what we value most (our closest relationships and our very own life) (verse 26)
Does Jesus really mean we must hate our family? No He is using this in an exaggerated way to make the point that no other earthly relationship should have priority over Him.
2. We must CARRY OUR CROSS DAILY (verse 27)
Why would Jesus use an instrument of death (the cross) to illustrate how we must come to Him? What does it mean to carry our cross? It means that we must be willing to die to self and be willing to count the cost to follow Jesus on a daily basis.
3. We must GIVE UP or RENOUNCE all that we have (verse 33)
Is Jesus truly telling us to sell our cars, our houses, and live like a homeless person? What does He really mean? We must be willing to lose all to gain Him.
Almost every verb in this passage is in what we call the Present Active Indicative, which means that the actions are continuous, ongoing actions.
The bottom line is this: Are we prepared to count the cost for what it means to truly follow Jesus? Are we ready to move beyond a casual, comfortable form of Christianity that has basically copied the American Dream of materialism, ease, and selfishness?
Or are we ready to dive into the deep end of the pool and enter this journey into growing more and more like Jesus? Are you ready? Are you willing to count the cost? Are you okay with business as usual or do you want to experience a deeper journey of spiritual growth with Jesus?
You say very radical things that shock me! Above all I want to lose everything so that I can gain YOU because YOU are worth it all! Help me to seriously count the cost of following you. I repent of embracing whole-heartedly the American Dream of selfishness, materialism, and consumerism that is focused on my own glory instead of the glory of YOU! I know I may not be ready and I’m fearful and I’m excited at the same time for what lies ahead, but I hope in you. All my hope is in You! You are my Rock!
Thank you Jesus,