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Summary: God has chosen us in and by Jesus to become fully devoted followers of Jesus and to make fully devoted followers of Jesus. We are challenged within ourselves; by God; and from outside of ourselves to accomplish these two goals.

1. Good to be chosen – Sports/Jobs/Mates/Friends/Elected Politicians – “Chosen by People”

2. God has called us by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2.14)

3. The gospel call challenges us to transformation in our lives – 1 Thessalonians 1.4-10

4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

4. “The only one who likes change is a wet baby.” ~ Mark Twain

5. Changes and Challenges in our call:

I. Changes in Our Call

A. Change #1 – BE Disciples (1.6)

6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

[I saw a lady at the Post Office wearing a T-shirt that read, “A Disciple is a fully-committed follower of Jesus.” I had to say, “The key is Fully-Devoted.”

1. Rabbis and Disciples –

a. Key was imitation (1 Corinthians 11.1)

b. “Caught vs. Taught”

2. They got it – 1.9-10

9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

3. Fully Devoted Followers – 1 and 2 Commandments

B. Change #2 – Make More Disciples (i.e., Fully Devoted Followers of Jesus) – Matthew 28.18-20

1. We have given a lot of attention to salvation – that and more – Committed lives

2. Too often our discipleship is determined by – worship styles; technology;

a. China is the country with the most Christians today

• The do not depend on the same things we do

• Facing Persecution and depend on God

• Depend on Basics – Acts 6.4

• Basics in sports are essential – golf grip; Vince Lombardi – “This is a football.”

b. Christianity is almost non-existent in Europe – predictions that there will be no churches in Scotland by2024

c. Massive decline in the US [Home Mission is seeking to assist Churches of Christ in decline – according to their reckonings 35+ congregations are closing each year

II. Challenges in Our Call

A. Our Challenges in Discipleship are NOT:

1. Government and Society

• NT doesn’t complain about the tyrannical Caesars

• The early Christians became “salt and light” and turned their world upside down without firing a shot

• They were changed and changed others with the gospel and power of the HS

• 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. (1.4-5a)

2. Inventing a “Better Mousetrap”

• The gospel is what it is – Romans 1.16-17

• Gospel is not a marketing strategy

• If we live the gospel and preach the gospel we will get the same results as in the first century

o Conversions

o Persecutions

o inconveniences

3. Returning to the 1960’s Styles

B. Our Challenges in Discipleship ARE:

1. The Challenge from Within – Our Own Spirits

• Reason to be filled with the HS

• Heart issues are hard

• Satisfied with Status Quo? If so, God won’t work through us

• We like the Lamb of God (John 1.29) but are not so in tune with the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5.5)

2. The Challenge from Above – Cooperating with God

• Learn to let God be God – HE is in charge

• He wants to be present in and with us – Revelation 3.20; John 1.14

• He wants us to want HIM (not just what he can do for us) – 1 Peter 2.2

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