March 3, 2018
This week is the third in our series based on church@paravista’s mission statement:
“To help people become active, committed followers of Jesus Christ”
A. The first study was titled; ‘Being a Follower of Jesus Christ’
We become a follower of Jesus Christ when we come to know Him personally as we respond to the Gospel message and put our faith in Him as our Saviour.
Danny’s acronym for the meaning of the Gospel is:
“God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life”
Luke’s explanation is….
“It is the message that tells us that we are out of step with our creator, and deserving of his wrath, which will come at us on the day we die, as we justly pay for our rebellion and sin with our blood, or, we can hear the Gospel, and accept that Jesus has already paid for our salvation, from God’s wrath, Satan, sin and hell, with His own blood. And we can become forgiven, free and followers of God as His children.”
The Chair illustration.
When we put our faith in Christ as our Savoiur it is like moving from one chair we have been relying on to relying on another one. The first chair represents trusting our own efforts to be good enough for God which we leave behind and move to the second chair where we transfer our trust to, representing our faith now in what Jesus did for us when He suffered and died on the cross paying the penalty for our sins. Our faith now is in the finished work of Christ on the cross rather than ourselves, our own efforts.
B. The second study was titled “Committed Followers of Jesus Christ”
Mark spoke about God’s wonderful gracious gift of forgiveness and eternal life available through Christ (John 3:16, Titus 3:4-7) even though we were His enemies (Romans 5:8) and deserving of His punishment now and eternally. (John 3:36)
Consider and discuss in your group Luke’s deep thoughts on commitment based on a correct understanding of God’s Grace and what that means:
A committed follower understands that because Jesus gave himself wholly for you, you give yourself self wholly to Him.
See, Religion says that we have to do this or do that to be moral and good and for God to come into our life. Religion teaches that if you obey, God will love and accept you. But, because Jesus has already taken our place on the cross and accomplished salvation for us, which is a free gift, we are free (from what religion teaches*) to obey God. If you know deep in your heart that you are already loved and accepted, all by the grace of God, you can obey, love, follow and work, not for acceptance, not for a full heart, but from a full heart and from your acceptance and position in Christ.
Jonathan Edwards says it this way, “Only if our highest love is God himself can we love and serve all people, families, classes, races; and only God’s saving grace can bring us to the place where we are loving and serving God for himself alone and not for what he can give us. Unless we understand the gospel, we are always obeying God for our sake and not for his. *added to Luke’s thoughts
Read Ephesians 1:3-8 on how ‘full’ we are ‘In Christ’. As a group name how many specific blessings Paul mentions we have because of our relationship with Christ?
How do we respond to God’s grace?
Mark spoke of 5 appropriate responses using the acronym of G.R.A.C.E:
Giving, Righteousness, Attendance, Christ-Centredness, Evangelism.
Our grateful response would be demonstrated through living the way that pleases God.
2. Being an Active Committed follower of Jesus Christ.
Now we come to this week’s study. Our response in action, what it means to be active in living our life for Jesus.
Remember Luke’s words from Sunday:
So then, we could say that being an active, committed follow of Jesus comes from a full heart and new priorities that the Gospel produces in you through the Holy Spirit. And that’s what we will look at today. What does this full heart, Gospel empowered, new activity look like? And what does it mean for our church and all of us here?
Read Romans 16:1-16. Here we see a model of Spirit led and empowered Christianity in action.
Let’s look now at some of the points we can draw from what Paul implies?
A. Write down what Paul said about each of the people he mentions in this passage.
Priscilla and Aquila.
Andronicus and Junia.
Tryphena and Tryphosa.
Rufus and his mother.
Asyncitrus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and brothers and sisters.
Philologas, Julia, Nereus and his sister, Olympas and the other believers.
B. Consider and discuss what Luke shared about the following points from Romans 16:1-16 and ask yourself:
‘How similar are these to us in church@paravista?’
• The variety in the church.
Paul addressed them as servants, fellow workers, converts, fellow prisoners, beloved, approved, kinsmen, mothers, deacons, helpers, brethren and some he honours simply by mentioning their name.
Practically, each of us are different in abilities, personality, place in life and how we have been called. This variety shows the glory, creativity and beauty of God. Each person mentioned is Godly, gifted and used for the Glory of God, in a way that fits their personality and make up of a redeemed person. This list puts ‘skin’ onto the commands and exhortations for the church to love and care for one another on a shared mission.
What about you? How can your God given uniqueness, place in life, be used to make disciples in the kingdom, in the way you are unique?
• Paul greets them warmly.
Greeted warmly Paul says ‘greet’ 22 times and it’s the main verb of the chapter. It means more than a simply hello in passing. It literally means to wrap one’s arms around and embrace someone, it amounts to a command to treat those named here, as family, to welcome them into one’s own home and circle.
• Paul implies unity.
The phrase, In the Lord, is how the early church identified themselves with Jesus. They are now together, as one, in the Lord.
The blood of Jesus has rescued us, not just you, but us, and this forges a bond between Christians that is unlike anything else. It is not a family united by birth or marriage, but the precious blood of Jesus.
As a Christian, you are united in Christ. God see’s you as if you died on the Cross and now have Jesus’ goodness, fully loved and accepted.
Practically, this is how we are to see others in our church to show the level of unity and love that Paul had.
So, we can summarize all of this by saying an active, committed follower of Jesus has undergone a Gospel transformation that results in 2 intentionally new pursuits:
1. New Habits.
2. New Relationships.
The Gospel forms new habits that helps others to be built up and the church built together.
There is a deep, internal change that forms new habits in response to the grace and mercy of God for you. They come from the Gospel being so profoundly life altering that it has caused you to see life differently.
As CS Lewis famously said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
The question is, do you have Gospel habits?
Are you committed to developing them, to meeting God in His Word? Are you excited to meet God, are you daily amazed at the Cross and your rescue?
Are you active in helping others discover the joy and freedom of the Gospel too?
Are we applying the sermon to our lives, are we going back to the Gospel to guide all our interactions, counselling and guidance over coffee in the cafe, in our small groups?
Are we telling each other the narrative of the Christian story, that we are in Christ, that we are united in Christ, fellow workers and works in progress?
Are you fluent in the Gospel so that we can speak it to one another, pray for one another and build one another up in the Lord?
And, are you forming these habits alone with God? This is active, body life.
4. For extra study.
What do we do when there are disagreements among God’s people even among mature believers? See Phil 4:2-3, Acts 15:36-41.