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28 April 2013

What is a disciple? (2)

Paul Webber (LT pics 2016) Paul Webber Minister
What is a disciple 2

A disciple is someone who experiences God’s blessing through reading the Bible and through prayer. 

What a privilege it is to be able to be able to communicate with God. In John 15:7 Jesus says his words need to remain us and that we need to obey his commands. The Bible enables us to read the words of Jesus and his commands. John Piper talks about how reading our Bibles doesn’t have to be a dull, monotonous exercise and if it is we should repent and have a Jacobesque desire of “I will not let you go until you bless me” attitude to Bible reading. We want to delight, rejoice, consider, meditate, recount and hide God’s word in our hearts.
As people who become increasingly God dependent we need to gaze on the magnificence of God and after that to bring our requests to him through prayer.

A disciple is someone who is a member of God’s authentic community.

As an authentic community we are commanded to go and make disciples. We have provocatively asked ‘who am I responsible for?’ as this seems slightly uncomfortable in our culture, but the Christian community is radical. Listen to Paul’s exhortation in Phil 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” I am to look after John, John is to look after Bill, Bill is to look at me. That is authentic community!

How am I using my gifts? One of the images of the church family is that of the body, when every person is a different, yet important part of it. Do you know what your gifts are? There is a Network course starting on Sunday 12th May 2013 during the evening service which will help you discover what your gifts are and how you can best use them. It is so fulfilling to play your part in the church family in a place which fits your skills and passions.

A disciple is someone who is generous with money, as well as with the gospel of Jesus.

We have been blessed in order to be a blessing to others. Do you know what the most repeated command in the new testament is? To be thankful? Do you know Jesus talks more about money than he does about sex? In the States, waiters and waitresses in restaurants refer to the Sunday lunch shift as the graveyard shift because that is when they receive the least amount of tips because that’s when the restaurants are filled with a high proportion of Christians! Now we should be good stewards of our money, and the American tipping culture is different to ours, but are we more generous than non-Christians with our time, forgiveness, homes and resources?

Finally, we have the privilege of being witnesses of Jesus. We can be his hands and feet to a world that does not know him. It is difficult to be a witness to Christ in a busy, materialistic world. Having said that, I have found that people are often open to the gospel when there is a major change in their life: a birth, an illness, a redundancy, moving house, a broken relationship, a death of a loved one. It is important that we are faithful in praying for people who have been dear to us for decades as well as being ready to respond to the needs and opportunities around us.

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