Summary: Every church is obligated to make disciples and every Christian is obligated to become a disciple.
We have been giving consideration to what should be the core values of every Christian, those things we are told to give priority attention to by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 10:19-25 (READ PASSAGE).
As we have focused on the exhortations found in this passage where the writer says, “let us,” we have made note that he emphasizes the need for us to give priority to worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. These five things should be the core values of every Christian. We have talked about the priority of worship (v. 22) and the priority of fellowship (v. 25). Now today, I want us to look to verse 24 as we think together about the priority of discipleship (READ v. 24).
“A disciple is literally a follower, a pupil, a learner, an apprentice. He is one who has dedicated himself not only to follow his master but also to become like Him.” - Dann Spader,
Growing A Healthy ChurchThis is what we are talking about today, how we might each be encouraged and motivated to become more like Christ. Equipping, encouraging and empowering believers to develop Christ-like character is our obligation as a church; and developing Christ-like character is my obligation as a believer.
One of my former seminary professors, Dr. Jack Terry, Dean of Religious Education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, used to point out that there are as many as nine different learning styles among people.
No wonder the writer of Hebrews tells us that we need to really give thought to the work of discipleship!
In his book, “The Great Omission,” Dallas Willard contends that too many churches focus on getting people to make “decisions” rather than on making people into “disciples.”
But making disciples is what we are commanded to do in “The Great Commission.”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Christ’s commands His church to be a “disciple-making factory.” We are to go and tell people about Christ, lead them to faith in Christ and to identify with Him through baptism, and then teach them how to live like Christ, so they can, in turn, go out and reach others for Christ.
So we have sought to structure our church in such a way as to provide a clear process whereby each of us can be equipped, encouraged and empowered to become more and more like Jesus.
The Christian’s involvement with their congregation should result in their personal transformation!
Unfortunately, this is not the case for many believers when it comes to their involvement in their church. If a church’s strategy is not intentionally
designed to develop the individual Christian’s walk with God, then their involvement can be a fruitless experience of frustration.
But we believe that the purpose-driven strategy of our church will contribute greatly to assisting the individual in living a purpose-driven Christian life, and thus go from frustration to fulfillment in their spiritual growth.
Our strategy has to do with leading people through Five Circles of Involvement, each of which corresponds to the five purposes (priorities or core values) for the individual Christian and the local church. Today, we will consider the first three of these five “Circles of Involvement.”
1. We want involve people in the celebration circle of our church through participating in a Sunday morning worship service.
The primary purpose of our Sunday morning Celebration services is for us to seek God’s face together. So what better opportunity could there be for an unbeliever to consider the Christian faith? In our outreach to our city, we seek to combine the ideas of “go & tell” with “come & see.”
Certainly, every Christian should be a faithful part of a weekly worship celebration. Because, as we participate worship, it will enhance our experience of individual and private worship.
The majority of the commands in Scripture are given to congregations, not to individuals. In the biblical way of things, our participation with God’s people in worship, Bible Study, prayer, etc., works to enhance our personal growth in each of these areas, not the other way around. If I want to be a person of worship, then I need to worship with God’s people; if I want to develop Christ-like character, I need to endeavor to do so alongside Brothers and sisters who are committed to also developing Christ-like character.
In our American form of Christianity, our emphasis is too much on the individual. At FBC, we are trying to recapture the biblical approach to living the Christian life, which involves fulfilling God’s purpose for me through involvement in a purpose-driven fellowship of faith.