Celebrating Our Discipleship
John 15: 9 – 17.
Phil. 4: 4 – 9.
Why are we here? To meet our friends, to hear the Word preached, to have fellowship with like minded people? Yes, all of these things, but more to Celebrate our God and our Lord.
Israel came together at certain times of the year. These great services of worship were called Feasts - and why do we have feasts? To Celebrate! They came together to Celebrate God’s presence, to celebrate what God had done for them.
Do we celebrate joyfully what God has done for us? Scripture tells us to rejoice and be glad. Look at Psalm 68, 97, and Phil. 4:4.
There is a difference between choosing to be grateful and rejoicing, and pretending to be happy when underneath we are actually quite miserable in the depths of our hearts.
What have we got to celebrate in this world of trouble, problems, sickness and sin ? We must celebrate the goodness of God. Think what He has done for us, and be glad He hasn’t left us alone in our sinful state.
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit Gal. 5: 22 Joy is the motor of our lives, that which keeps us going. A beautiful car in a car lot is static, going nowhere, of little use. But the same car on the road with its motor running is useful and a thing to be valued. The motor needs fuel however, and the fuel of our Joy is the Holy Spirit. Eph. 5: 18 – 19.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a command, not an option. When we look at the Greek of the original the tense is not past perfect, in the past and finished, a once only happening. The tense is continuous. To keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. Each day we need to be empowered – we need to be filled anew – the tank need to be constantly topped up, otherwise we cannot live joyfully ever day. A daily filling with the Holy Spirit is necessary for growth, for discipleship, for rejoicing in our Lord.
Without Joy in our lives, without celebration in our Christian discipleship, we become stale and lax and can drop many of the essential disciplines of being a Christian.
How many of us read the Bible every day? Not just haphazardly open it and read a chance verse, but read and study it. Many of us need guidance in what to read and how to interpret. Guides are available – E-Bibles, Bi-monthly or Quarterly guides in booklet form, some even in large print versions. As Paul wrote to Timothy Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Do we pray and meditate every day ? This is the doorway to fellowship with our God. He speaks to us as we quietly meditate on His Word. He listens to us as we cry out our pain and our anguish.
Do we recognize Christ’s Lordship over out lives \each and every day? Christ desires to dwell in us and us in Him. To dwell means to settle down in a home. Has Christ made His home in our hearts? He wants to be my Lord and your Lord. Have we accepted Jesus as Saviour, but still haven’t enthroned Him as our Lord and Master. Many Christians today claim to know Jesus as Saviour, but do not allow Him to be Lord and Master. Jesus may be resident in their lives, but not yet President of their lives.
So, what do we Celebrate?
1. We should celebrate Who God is. The Creator of this world and of us, the sustainer of everything, and the giver of all good things, the Judge of each of us, and of all men, Our Father who loves us and sustains us in all ways.
2. We should celebrate who we are in Christ. We all are sinners – but in Christ – and Christ in us – we are forgiven and redeemed and reconciled to our Father. Our sins forgiven – put as far away from us as the East is from the West. Redeemed – the price was paid by Jesus on the Cross – we are no longer slaves to sin but free to live the life that God meant us to have. Reconciled – we put ourselves far from God, as the Prodigal son put himself far away from his father. We built a wall of sin between us and God. But now He accepts us back as His own beloved children through Jesus sacrifice on our behalf. 2 Cor. 5: 31
3. We celebrate the continuing presence and power of God in our lives – when we are busy, when we are resting, when we are with others, when we are alone, when we are happy, when we are miserable, when we are silent, when we are rejoicing. God knows ever aspect and part of our lives, and His presence can enrich each and every moment if we allow Him.
4. We should celebrate most of all the results – the fruits – of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Growth, maturity, Love, fruitfulness, holiness. All the Christian virtues that the unredeemed human find so hard come to be part of the Spirit filled Christian’s life.
5. We should celebrate the fact that we have free access to God’s own Word in our own language, freely available to each one of us. Psalm 119: 162
6. We should celebrate the power of Intercessory Prayer - look for the results and answers to prayer – sometimes clear, sometimes surprising – but always there – and celebrate in thankfulness to God
7. We should celebrate most of all the assurance that we have that Christ died for us – even us – and that because of that we are accepted as God’s own children. Rom 8: 14 – 17. 35 – 39.
So, live your life to the fullest, for Jesus came to give life in all its fullness. Rejoice in His love and goodness. Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Make this your song for every day.
God is always there for us – recognize Him in your life and rejoice. Don’t keep on digging up the old bones of events long past. Don’t keep picking at the scabs of old wounds making them bleed again. Jesus has redeemed us from the past, and healed all our old wounds, by His free offering of His healing blood on Calvary. So accept His redemption, free yourself from the past and rejoice in what God can do for you in the present and the future. Seek always to serve Him with joy and with gladness, and He will fill your life with all of His riches.