Sovereign Christ Church

Discipleship 3.1 – The Method

Whenever we encounter elemental, or core theological principles, we often feel as though a tsunami-like wave has crashed over us – because we just want to know:

1. What do we do?

2. (and maybe more forefront in our minds) How do we do it?

Now, there is a danger crouching behind these questions, but I will deal with that in 3.2.

So far we have seen that we have been given a Mission and such an imperative has the implied call to obey it. I suppose it isn’t too cliche to say that God doesn’t make suggestions. This should be delightfully obeyed, because it should find an immediate harmonious connection within our own desires, thus given us a very organic internal Motivation – namely, that we are Christians who love Jesus and we want others to love Him too. If you have trouble agreeing with the first two points in this paragraph and series, then you may not know Him, even likely so. If that is the case, go here.

So, to answer the first question, we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This must never be eclipsed by men, fellowships, denominations, traditions nor religion.

We DO NOT make disciples of ourselves.

We DO NOT make disciples of (human) leaders.

We DO NOT make disciples of our local fellowships (churches).

We DO NOT make disciples of a denomination.

We DO NOT make disciples of a particular school of thought.

We DO NOT make disciples of Christianity.

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Discipleship – 1: The Mission

What if we were given one thing to do – just one main mission – and we didn’t do it? Now, this does not imply that this one thing is an all encompassing definition of our lives and all of the reality adjacent to our lives – but, it is the one thing – the main thing we are to do. I guess it would depend upon who gave us the mission and what was at stake . . . right?

When reading , specifically , I see an interesting, rather arresting pattern. The text says that Paul “made many disciples . . . strengthened the souls of the disciples . . . and spent a long time (not a little time) with the disciples.” This is a profound narrative. Paul could have, according to some – should have, kept working “for the faith”, since all of these people were already converts. Yet, he spent precious time encouraging and building up the Church and he spent large amounts of that time. Why? Why would he do that?

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14:1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples. (ESV)

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples. (ESV)

Rich churches, camels and such (redux)

I have been thinking a lot lately how grossly rich our churches are here in America – and how we are ok with that. We are driven to the next novelty and the next programmatic push, simply because we can. We have redeemed our tickets at Pleasure Island and we do not even know what we have made of ourselves – mainly because most everyone else looks just like us.

We want.

That is the nature of us – we want.

more lights

more electronics

more leather

more space

more numbers

more control

more praise

more me

I am reminded that Jesus said, “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Then, I wonder about a whole caravan of them . . . Read the rest of this entry »

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It has officially begun . . .

The Church plant that is to take place this year, Lord willing, on the East side of Raleigh (likely the Knightdale area) has officially begun. Well, it had officially begun along time ago, but now we have filed. The name that is registered with the NC Secretary of State for the church plant is Sovereign Christ Church.

We pray that even the name begins to communicate what we are about. We are called to make disciples of Jesus, our Sovereign Lord. He is the Head of the Church – no man. There is no pyramid-like hierarchy where one man presides over another. Rather, whereas some are further down the road of maturity, all are on the same path; all men and women in the fold of Christ are sheep – there is no division of class between leaders and laymen, no more than there is a division of class within the Trinity, since the images of roles, yet equality of the Triune Godhead are imprinted on the Church, as in the family; there is only One Good Shepherd, the rest are hirelings, who themselves depend on the Good Shepherd and will give account to.

We are Christ’s, not our own. We are dependent on grace. We are unworthy, but chosen. We are seeking satisfaction in Christ, in God – not in ourselves.

We are broken that this has begun. Might He be pleased in all we do, for it is unto Him that it is all done.

Pray for us, pray with us and celebrate the sovereign majesty of our Lord – may He come soon.

More to come . . .

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