Thoughts on discipleship

I think the church has gotten off track in some ways when it comes to discipleship. I want to be an instrument of change if God wants to use me in some way for a discipleship revolution if you will.

Loving people and remembering that they are fallen has really challenged me and made me step back a little bit to remember that what we are dealing with. Sinful people that need delivered, then developed, then deployed…and at each step there will be rejection. there will be hardships. There will need to be caution and extra care taken at each step of the way. So this principle helped bring me down to reality and challenged me. How can we make these changes that I think we so need but also in light of the fact that men are men. Sometimes I have not been a delicate discipler, but I need to be more so.

I desire to build in men at my secular world as well as my sacred world (church.) My strategy might be different but my goal is the same for both: deliver, develop, deploy and see reproduction!

This course influences me to pray for my lost friends at work that I want to build into. It influences me to pray for men to build into wherever I am. This course influences and challenges me to lead the way. I cannot just preach discipleship, I have got to be doing it. Not just on the receiving end but also on the building into new guys end of it.

The nature of mankind greatly should affect the method and approach to ministry.

All of us, men, come from a fallen background. We are all hurting, no one has it all together. Also man has to chose, we cannot force anything on anyone, nor should we try.

The concept that I personally need help with is love. I pray almost everyday that the Lord will give me love for the people I need to serve today. I need love to be patient with the lost. I need love to reach out to the lost. I need love when I am teaching my classes at church, yes I need to love even the saints, not just the sinners. I am not asking for “love” in general, that I can muster, but the love of Christ to work through me. Because I am from a fallen background too. I make mistakes a lot and my love is useless. I need Christ to fill me with his compassion and love for my flock and for my lost friends.

Also I need patience. Similarly, not my own patience but Christ’s. I need to realize that man will make his own decisions. I am here to help, but ultimately I have already made the decision to follow Christ completely. I cannot expect others to have the same attitudes, response, commitment that I may or may not have. Everyone has their own experiences and thoughts about God. I should not try to force them to follow in my footsteps, although sometimes I really agonize for them – that they (the lost and my disciples) will follow me (in discipleship or in salvation respectively.)

I am not this “great” Christian. I do not want to come across as an arrogant, I do everything right Christian, cause I do not! Forgive me if I have sounded this way.

“Disciples are created in the image of God, yet fallen and choosing to learn.”

As much as I want to dive into my theological position pertaining to this question, I will restrain and focus on answering this question in relation to what we have been learning in this class about discipleship.

Well, first breaking this down theologically will help get to how it relates to discipleship…

“Disciples are created in the image of God” – correct. Gen. 1:26-27. And yes, God created man “Above” animals to rule over them.

“yet fallen…” – also true…Rom. 3:10, Ecc 7:20

“and choosing to learn…” – here is the tricky part….

Here is where one (me) is included to delve into some deep theology regarding “Free Will vs God’s Sovereignty” and Man’s ability and God’s power….All of these are related.

For the point of discussion and summing things up (instead of dealing with ALL of the theology) I will say yes with certain qualifications and explain why I think that we “choose to learn.”

God created us like Him, in His image but are fallen because of our sin nature. On our own power we cannot find God. We cannot come back to righteousness without God first coming to us. God is Holy, Righteous, Good and full of Grace – and we are not. We cannot chose to learn and be righteous on our own. God is standing at the door of our hearts and knocking, if we answer and let God in then we can have the relationship with God and then we can begin to learn and grow.

God is the one who takes the initiative though –this is the “God’s Sovereignty” part. Each man can respond differently, this is the “free will part.”

Some will choose God and choose to have a relationship, which includes learning and growing. Others will not.

In response to some of the other ideas floating in the other posts I have read so far. I agree that sanctification is the process after salvation. It is the process of learning and becoming more like Christ.

While the salvation experience is a one- time event, but there can be a process that leads to that event. Salvation is not a process but in some instances a series of other events might lead to one’s salvation experience – this sort of process is not sanctification though. I also agree that one is either saved or not, but there are relative degrees of holiness.

In context of discipleship, this statement has a few implications:

1. If a person is not saved, then sanctification and discipleship will not be very meaningful. An atheist can learn a lot about what a Christian believes and what the worldview is but they will not get much out of discipleship if they are not in a relationship with the Lord.

2. This statement is a good starting point for someone who is recently saved or wants to start a relationship with God. A. Realizing we are fallen. B. Where do we go from there? The relationship. C. The relationship with Christ and the learning to be more like him…this is a broad way of defining “discipleship.

3. Finally this statement helps us distinguish the difference between evangelism and discipleship. First, we see that man is fallen and if man is not in a relationship with Christ they need to be introduced to Him first which then should lead to discipleship and sanctification. Secondly, it provides an honest outline for us…we should not simply “save” people and leave them…we are called to tell people about Christ and MAKE DISCIPLES. So this should change our approach to both evangelism and discipleship…by this I mean yes we need to introduce them to Christ but also lead them in the knowledge/learning/growth of discipleship. The two are to go hand in hand.

the confession

the confession:
1. admit your sin/action was wrong
2. believe that God’s grace is enough to cover your sin
3. confess: say you are sorry specifically of your actions to God
4. If it involves other people ask forgiveness from the people/person you offended
5. Forgive yourself, God has forgiven you
6. Remember that God has “forgotten” the sin, separated it as far as east is from west
7. acknowledge that on your own power sin will overtake you again
8. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit when temptations come again

True confession involves several elements. The first is the act of confession itself, which recognizes the act as a sin with the acknowledgment of guilt. The second step is the feeling of regret and Repentance on the part of the sinner for having been guilty of the offense. The final element in true confession is the resolve not to repeat the sin. Without the third steps the confession is of no value from a religious viewpoint.

The 6 steps of confession to God.

  1. Examine your conscience by inviting God to identify any specific sin(s).

    Periodically use some private worship time to invite God to convict you of anything that needs confession, then spend a few minutes in meditation so he can direct your mind. Don’t settle for generalized guilt, expect God to identify very specific sins. Refuse to get sidetracked into subdividing the blame to other people, keep the focus on your own areas of responsibility.

  2. Look through the eyes of God at the sin long enough to feel sorrow.

    Sorrow is abhorrence at committing sin–a deep regret for offending the heart of the holy Father. Think of how you feel when you realize that you have betrayed or embarrassed a spouse or close friend. Since God loves us even more than they do, I’m convinced he feels even more sorrow when we betray or embarass him. Look until you can label the specific sin: “intolerable.”

  3. Determine to avoid that sin in the future.

    Sure, we need God’s help to resist temptation. We also need our own resolve. The mindset of being conquered and ruled by God is essential to confession.

  4. Determine what you can do to help restore the relationship.

    Talk to your pastor about how you can build a healthy relationship with God, or read Celebration of Disciplines by Richard Foster. If your sin caused damage to another person you will also want to think about how you can restore some of their brokenness.

  5. Articulate or write down your confession, including each of the steps 1-4.

    Suppose you are at a local store and hit a parked car, denting their fender. Nobody saw you, so you just drove off. You have sinned against the other car owner and against God. Your confession might sound like this: “Holy Father, I realize that I sinned by ducking responsibility when I damaged the car. I claim to follow you but I failed to take responsibility for bending a bit of metal, while you took responsibility for all my sins even to the point of death. I see how my intolerable behavior embarrasses you. Please forgive me. I promise to take responsibility for such behavior in the future. I will talk with the store owner to see if he can help me find the owner of the car I damaged so that I can take responsibility.”

  6. Let go of the guilt, it’s over, live in the freedom of God’s forgiveness.

    Confession includes sorrow, but ends in joy. Scripture teaches “redemptive remembering.” This means we do not sit around remembering our sin, but we remember how God redeemed us from our sin.

Remission of sin and falling of grace

How can man truly have remission of sin if they are continually falling from grace?
Men do not fall from grace like that, not with EVERY SIN.
They are either saved or not.

Yes a saint could sin and still be a saint.
But a saint does not lose salvation every time they sin.

The doctrine on remission of sin makes it clear that we are forgiven of all of our sins when we confess Christ Jesus as Lord. We are made right by Christ’s blood for ALL of our sin. It is separated as far as east is from west. We are forgiven. We are NEW.

A saint chooses to disobey and is still saved or was never really saved at all.

What do Arminius really think about remission of sin?

Grace, Love, Justice of God!

“God heals the wounds of the inflected by his blow. ” Is. 30:25

People must be humbled. God must be lifted up. God must punish but even more so God wants to bless. He patiently waits until he can bless even though he is bound to punish sin first. God is amazing.

Trying to contemplate this type of love – this type of patience….is impossible, it is beyond comprehension.

By human standards, it is not even possible to muster up enough both love and justice to punish those we love and then come in with grace and mercy, the way that God does.

idolatry consumerism link

Gordon McConville in Exploring the Old Testament V0l. 4: The Prophets in chapter 6 (Hosea)
makes a connection between Idolatry and consumerism.
This is a connection I had not heard before.

In fact McConville even relates consumerism to Baa-worship: “trying to secure the goods of life without receiving them as God’s gift.”

McConville, say: “idolatry is the most serious evil, becuase it makes ‘god’ what is not God. Martin Luther sad: ‘The confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol.’ “

Here is another interesting angle to the argument from The Simple Pastor and The Gospel Coalition:

“The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service, and comes to wealth through giving all away…Indifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.”