Summary: This is the third of four sermons introducing Band Meetings in a new way for today. Here is a link for more information - “Discipleship Bands: A Practical Field Guide” (download a free copy at https://discipleshipbands.com/ )
Series: “Bringing Back the Bands”
A sermon for 2/07/21
Ephesians 3 “16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
On June 17, 1998, Robert Kupferschmid – at the age of 81 – boarded his friend’s Cessna 172 single engine plane for a two-hour trip. During the flight, his friend, Wesley Sickle, collapsed and the plane began descending rapidly. Robert grabbed the controls but he did not know how to fly a plane.
His urgent pleas for help on the radio were received by two other pilots in the area. They gave Robert a steady stream of instructions to guide him toward a local airport. They even circled the airprort talking him through the landing procedure. Of course, emergency vehicles and first responders were waiting… all expecting a disaster. Witnesses on the ground reported that the front wheels of the plane bounced so hard that the tail actually touched the runway. The plane ended up in a grassy field next to the runway. Robert was not injured and they were able to get his friend to the hospital.
That man listened to and followed those directions as if his life depended on it – because it truly did. (Sermon Central, Sermon illustrations, 10/1/2010)
Today, the instructions I am going to share on the nuts and bolts of Discipleship Bands may sound like – “Hey, you have to fly this plane!!!!” Just relax… this is NOT life or death, but Jesus did promise us that Abundant Life is possible in John 10:10. Last week I was teaching on the Holy Discontent that shows up when we are living on bread and water in this Christian Journey. There is so much more that seems to be just out of our reach. It’s close enough to see, but too far away to grasp – if only we had instructions.
“A Discipleship Band is a group of 3-5 people who read together, pray together, and meet together to become the love of God for one another and the world.” In that definition – there are 3 “together”s. I want to talk about all of those today.
In the scripture from Ephesians 3 we find the basis for our opening prayer in the band meeting. It grounds all we do in the Discipleship Bands in God’s Holy Word. Reading, praying and meeting are not the goal – they are a means to attain what we find in Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus:
• We want to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in our inner being.
• We want Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith.
• We want to be rooted and established in love.
• We want to have power together to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
• We want to know this love in a way that surpasses knowledge.
• We want to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Field guide – pg. 13)
That’s why we are going where we are going and why we are doing what we are doing. It is a work that is IMPOSSIBLE to accomplish as a Lone Ranger Christian. So, let’s get to the instructions.
1 – Bands Read Together
Psalm 119 “9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.”
There is an old saying – if all the Bibles in all the homes of all the Christians were picked up and dusted off all at the same time, there would be a dust storm of Biblical proportions. Kind of funny to picture that, but let’s agree that we could all spend more time reading our Bibles, reading books that help us grow as Disciples of Jesus Christ or even a more in-depth devotion than the Upper Room or Daily Bread. Please hear me loud and clear – there’s nothing wrong with those small devotional books, but that is not nearly enough to sustain the Christian in these turbulent times, and it is far to little for the Christian that seeks to grow and grow up in Christ Jesus. It’s a good place to start… not to stay.