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Discipleship Requires Discipline

What Do We Believe  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When living out our call as disciples, we are required to uphold key disciplines to help us being molded into Christ-likeness.

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What Do We Believe - Discipleship Requires Discipline

Last week we talked about correcting our self-image and allowing God to shape and mold us into His masterpiece. This week, we begin that journey by learning that Discipleship requires discipline.
[Prompt - Opening Quote] -
“It is possible to be a follower of Jesus without being a disciple; to be a camp follower without being a soldier of the king; to be a hanger-on in some great work without pulling one’s weight. Once someone was talking to a great scholar about a younger man. He said, ‘So and so tells me that he was one of your students.’ The teacher answered devastatingly, ‘He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students.’ There is a world of difference betwen attending lectures and being a student. It is one of the supreme handicaps of the Church that in the Church there are so many distant followers of Jesus and so few real disciples.” - William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke
How do we make that transition from attending lectures or being a distant follower of Jesus to a disciple?
Daily personal time with God
Daily Prayer
Daily Bible Reading
Church Time - Worship and Service
You might be tempted to say, my plate is full already, my schedule is already too full, how can I squeeze more in?
My challenge to you this day is that you can give every day, every hour, every minute to God.
Jar - This is your day/time given -
[fill with large objects till full] - it is full isn’t it. can’t put any more in. This is probably how life feels a lot of the time
[shake and fill in with smaller objects] - Now the jar is full right? Did you catch that? How did I make room for more? I shook that schedule around and sort it out where more smaller things could fit. This is where I challenge you to make sure you are prioritizing time with God and not simply giving him whatever you have left after everything else is taken care of or only when you really need him to answer a prayer.
[pour water in where it fills every empty space] - Without any doubt, every nook and cranny is full now with water enjoining everything else. This water is like God, it permeates every activity, every part of our life. When we pour God into our whole life, and not just what we can squeeze into church time, then we begin to see God is with us in everything (not just on Sunday morning).
If we are honest with ourselves, we know what we currently are doing is probably not our best and has room for improvement. Let’s focus on these three areas
Daily Prayer
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
The New Revised Standard Version Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Benediction

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The New Revised Standard Version Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Benediction

17 pray without ceasing

Different translations vary slightly on verse 17 - “pray without ceasing” (NRSV, NABRE) and “constantly pray” (NET) and “pray continually” (NIV, CEB) and “never stop praying” (NLT)
All of these together paint the picture that prayer is not an occasional activity, not an often activity. it is a non-stop kind of thing that we do not ever break from, stop doing, or anything else along those lines.
How is your prayer life? Are you able to pray daily? A couple times a day, several times a day? Several times an hour? When we allow God to permeate every part of our lives, prayer because a normal part of every activity we participate or are brought in to. No time of day or activity excludes God from it, therefore prayer, which is the communication channel, stays open all the time.
Daily Bible Reading
How good are we doing at reading our bible? Are we already experts? Have we thrown in the towel and given up our own bible study?
1 Timothy 3:16-17
The New Revised Standard Version Paul’s Charge to Timothy

16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

Why do we need to read and learn scripture? for teaching ourselves and others, for expressing disapproval towards behavior or attitudes that scripture teaches us about, for correction in our behavior, for training us in the right way and seeking to follow after righteousness.
Beyond our own behavior and attitude, what do we gain by bible study? verse 17 says that we do “so so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” Scripture guides us, trains us, prepares us to be proficient in knowledge and wisdom so that we can be equipped for good work (what God wants us to do)
When I say bible study and making it daily, I also want to caution of doing this haphazardly. What I mean is that most times when we say we are going to ready through the bible, we start with and fizzle out before we get through Leviticus (or sooner). It is much easier for me to read the Gospels than it is to understand some of Paul’s writings. It is easier to simply pick up and read our favorite parts and rely on those alone to be good enough. However, Paul said in verse 16 that it is “All scripture” so we should not neglect the harder books and passages and lean only on the ones that are easier to understand. This leaves us incomplete in knowledge and understanding of who God is what we are to do.
Church Time and Worship
Did you know that they have changed the standard for what is considered a regular attender of church? Do you know how many times you need to go to a church a year in order to be considered a regular attender? 12 times or once a month! For some they are relieved with this number because at least they are normal or slightly better by making it a couple of times a month. I am saddened each time I hear this statistic and standard for measuring church attendance.
Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

This is how we come together to worship God. Pretty sure we know this is the right thing to do, regular (more than the average), and is how we encourage each other on in our faith walk together towards perfection. It is both in worship to God and in service towards each other.
The flip side of this is that the idea floats around that you don’t need church for salvation or for spiritual growth. I believe this is an ancient trick of the devil with a new face to it. You see, the devil, not God, would like you to think this way. Why would God create this body called the Church if not to call us into and claim our part within?
In the Wesley Bible Commentary - this note was mentioned by Wesley nearly 300 years ago.
The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, Volume 6: Hebrews–Revelation A. The Exhortation to Freedom and Fellowship (10:19–25)

Someone has wittily said that for many the church has a threefold significance: a place where the infants are hatched (made Christians by baptism), the youth are matched (married), and the dead are dispatched (the funeral). In any event, the faith of some of the readers was so far gone that they had largely, if not entirely, forsaken the worship services. Jesus’ promise is that wherever two or three assemble, the true Church exists, and He will be with them. A sheep may still be a sheep when it is separated from the flock, but it will not be content until it is again with the flock, if it is really a sheep. Nor can Christian life be sustained in voluntary isolation. As the more fuel makes the greater and hotter fire, so the assemblage of Christians will create greater spiritual fervor, devotion, and service.

To be frank, apart from the church, you will be an easy target, never content and constantly searching and seeking to replace what you have lost.
Flip side of this, not every church is for every person (thought it ought to be in some ways). So you will never hear me complain if someone is going to another church and is active, growing, and thriving. My heart’s desire is just for this, for you to known Christ and to live as Christ’s disciple.
One final note, not to confuse my previous statement is that although each church should potentially be a home for anyone, it will not be so. Some people will feel strongly about another church’s ministry or mission and be drawn in. God has placed inside of each one of you gifts. Just as Paul describes the body analogy, not all people fit the same mold or ministry role. Not all are preachers, not all are teachers, not all are encouragers… you get my point.
It appears that churches may received a mission from God where they serve the community in a unique way. I believe God sees the big picture and uses individual churches to fulfill both needs and desires for physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s life. Not every church is every one of these to all people. And it does not have to be, but it is why I seek to fulfill the mission God has laid on my heart last fall to make true disciples who earnestly seek and know God and live for him. To me that is crucial and maybe the first step in show God our sincerity in naming ourselves Christians.
God also did something to prove a love and care towards us. God did the impossible. God cleansed us once and for all for our sins by the work of the cross. By placing our faith in this act and believing it to be true, our lives are now in the Savior’s care for eternity. Also, we believe this to be the ongoing work of Holy Spirit in our lives shaping and molding us into that Christ-like image we seek to become.
As we partake of Communion, remember what Christ as done for you, celebrate who you are now in Christ! Communion is not just a remembrance of the past but also a celebration of the future.
[Pray] - [Enter communion]
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