Dear Fellow Believers,
Do you believe you are being discipled in your church? If you look back over the past year, have you grown and matured as a Believer? Is the church as a whole more focused on keeping the congregation entertained and comfortable or on nurturing mature, strong, resilient believers in the Kingdom of God?
Are you in leadership in church? What is your responsibility to God in church? I didn't say your "position" and I didn't say your responsibility to the church. What are you doing to reproduce mature, strong disciples for the Kingdom of God? Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Lastly, what are the benefits of a congregation filled with disciples? Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:14-16 While you are in Ephesians 4, take a minute to read the whole chapter. It is so rich in wisdom and truth!
When someone gets saved and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, that "gets them through the door". But that door is just the beginning to life in the Kingdom, and that life is for now and today, not for some "glad morning"! We bring people through that door, set them in a pew and never show them the goodness of entering into a full, mature, fruitful productive life as a disciple in the Kingdom of God. Jesus, while He walked among us, was always teaching about the Kingdom. He never stopped teaching and developing His disciples. We do a disservice to the congregation when we do not make our main focus nurturing new disciples!
Start with God's Word and growing in wisdom and knowledge through the Word. Many who sit in church on Sunday, haven't learned to read and understand scriptures. Then teach how the Holy Spirit operates in our every day lives. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to understand God's Word. Some have turned the Holy Spirit into some kind of "spooky" ghost who shows up during church and makes people act crazy. That isn't the Holy Spirit, but mostly our emotions. Jesus never described the Holy Spirit in the way He is being presented in many of today's churches! “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you... Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love Me will not obey Me. And remember, My words are not My own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent Me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as My representative—that is, the Holy Spirit--He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:15-17, 23-26
If soldiers were in training, would they spend their days, gathered together, watching videos, listening to music and playing games? No. Their lives and the safety of their nation depend on them being ready for battle--physically, mentally and emotionally. They would be given all the tools they need to be victorious in battle.
We owe fellow believers in our care the same level of preparation. The state of our world should give us a sense of urgency to be prepared! Let's turn our focus to raising up strong, unshakable, immovable, bold disciples for the Kingdom of God. Salvation is a great start, but it IS only the beginning. It is unconscionable to allow babes in Christ to think they are set for life just where they are. They have a calling, a purpose, a destiny in the Kingdom to fulfill.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Gospel so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
All NLT, unless noted.
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