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Looking Forward

This is a blog written by the pastors and ministry staff of Forward Baptist Church.  It's purpose is to equip, encourage, teach, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, and above all, point its readers to Christ.  

"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this [the return of Christ, when all things will be made new], make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."  
- 2 Peter 3:14
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  • Jan31Wed

    Are you a Disciple?

    January 31, 2018 Pastor Steve Lambert

    Are you a Disciple?

    If you’re a Christian, you can answer that question in a couple of different ways.  First of all, you can answer with a “Yes!”  A Christian is someone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ.  You have put your faith in Him as your Lord and Saviour and so you have been forgiven for your sins, made new, and you make it your goal to follow Him.  

    On another level though, the answer for many Christians is, “Not really.”  Many of us aren’t really disciples.  Why not?  Because disciples of Christ don’t just follow Him on their own, they follow Him in close relationship with other disciples of Christ.  Another way of saying this is that disciples of Christ are the church.  

    Now, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I go to church!”  Yes, of course you do.  But go back and read that last sentence of the previous paragraph again.  It doesn’t say “disciples of Christ go to church.”  It says “disciples of Christ are the church.”  What’s the difference?  Going to church is sort of like going to get an oil change.  You know you need it, so you go to receive the service, and you even offer something in return for the service you receive (offering, serving).  But largely, you come to receive your tuneup for the week.  

    Being the church isn’t like that.  It’s less transactional and more relational.  The Bible describes it as being a member of a family (1 Timothy 3:15, Galatians 6:10) or a part of a body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).  In other words, you don’t come to receive a tuneup, you come because you belong.  You come because a finger by itself isn’t much use, and a body missing a finger is in pain and not able to do all it should be able to.  

    What’s all this got to do with being a disciple?  Being a disciple of Christ means understanding how much you not only need other Christians speaking into your life, but how much they need you doing the same for them.  It changes your relationships with the people you see at church.  They are your brothers and sisters.  They are the ligaments and tendons that you are connected to so you can function and grow as a body.  Without each other, you can’t follow Christ properly (Ephesians 4:11-16).

    So what should we do to become better disciples of Christ?  Hebrews 10:23-25 gives us the answer: 

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    I’d like to suggest three practical ways we can spur one another on in this way:

    1. Stick around after church for a while and make a point to talk to someone about how the sermon, or some other element of the church service encouraged or challenged you.
    2. Pick someone who is further along in their faith than you and take them out for coffee or have them over for lunch.  Get to know them and learn from them.  Let them challenge you and speak into your life.  Let them point you to Christ.
    3. This is the hard one.  Pick someone who is younger in their faith than you and take them out for coffee or have them over for lunch.  Get to know them and build into them, encouraging them and challenging them to grow in their faith.  

    These suggestions may seem completely outside of your comfort zone, especially the third one.  But This is how Christ has designed His church.  The church is a family, a body made up of disciples who need each other to grow in Christ.  You aren’t here by accident.  You’re here by God’s sovereign design and if you aren’t doing your part, the body is missing an essential piece and walks with a limp.  So in 2018, make it your goal to consider how to spur your brothers and sisters in Christ on to love and good deeds as we walk together as disciples of Christ.

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