Summary: One of the great mistake we make in our spiritual growth and that’s by doing it alone. You and I need authentic fellowship if we're ever going to be transformed in our lives. This series is based on James bryan Smith's Apprentice Series
Community: Where Becoming An Apprentice Transforms Us
How many of you are happy with your spiritual life? How many of you would say that you’re satisfied with how you’re growing your relationship with Jesus and that you see the increasing evidence of the presence, qualities, attitudes, and actions of Jesus in your life? How many of you would say that your spiritual life is stagnant and a little stale? Now how many of you would say that you’re actually drifting from God? One of the reasons we see so little progress in our spiritual lives is that we make two fundamental mistakes in the journey of faith.
First, we think that one hour a week is enough. We think coming to church for one sermon each week is enough to grow my faith and transform us into spiritually mature followers of Jesus. We come on a weekend to hear a great sermon (right?), and we decide we're going to make a life change as a result. We walk out the door thinking, "I'm going to change my life and do what I was challenged to do." Then, by three o'clock, when the Saints or Hornets have won again, we have totally forgotten what it is we were going to change. And by Wednesday, you have forgotten 95% of what I’ve said in the sermon. Don’t believe me? How many of you remember the four points on how to impart to others what you have received that I shared last week? What this teaches us is that we need more than one sermon a week to inspire and equip us to become like Jesus. Take a really deep breath … now you've got to hold it…….. until next week. You can't do it, right? Taking one breath is not enough. You see, just coming to worship is like this. You can’t come to church one hour a week to hear the Word, pray to God, listen to a sermon and sing God’s praises and be transformed into a follower of Jesus. It’s just not enough.
John Wesley, one of the greatest preachers of the 19th century and the founder of Methodism in England, said this about preaching, "Preaching alone cannot produce spiritual maturity." In fact, Wesley made it a practice that he would not preach in any place unless there was a small group Bible study there, or at least a place where he could set up a small group Bible study, because he knew that spiritual growth takes place in intimate community, not in worship.
That leads us to the second mistake we make in our spiritual growth and that’s by doing it alone. You and I need authentic fellowship if we're ever going to be transformed in our lives. For most of us that means major life change. Making a major life change is difficult and most people fail because they try it alone. You can't do it alone. How many of you have ever wanted to lose weight or get in shape? That's almost everyone. The good news is that there is a billion dollar industry out there selling you everything in the world to get in shape but most of us try to do it alone. There are even TV shows about losing weight. The reason so many are successful in losing weight on the Biggest Loser is that they do it together. And now they have husband and wife teams, mother-daughter teams, Father-son teams because there is power when we work together to make life change. The fact is in the journey of faith, we don't rely on each other enough. Ecclesiastes says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If they fall down, they can help each other up. But, pity those who fall and have no one to help them up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three is not quickly broken." As an apprentice of Jesus, Your destiny in life is to be like Jesus, and to live like Jesus, you need help from other people around you.
Let’s look at the disciples for a moment. How in the world did a ragtag, uneducated bunch of disciples who never really got what Jesus was all about while he was alive and half the time were clueless, who even abandoned Jesus to die on the cross alone, transform to change the world? Look at Acts 2:42-47, it says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They were devoted to life in small, intimate groups of people to learn, grow, fellowship and to pray for each other. It was in a small community of believers that's their lives were transformed so they could carry on the mission of Jesus and bring about he salvation of the world.