Faithlife
Faithlife

NTC: Where do we go next?

New Testament Challenge  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We know what God calls us to, but what do we do with the calling? IF we are serious, we will need each other, we will need groups.

Notes & Transcripts

Where do we go next?

Today is what Christians have long recognized as Christ the King Sunday.
Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday of the christian calendar. Everything built to the reality that Jesus isn’t just our saviour and guide, he is our Lord. Jesus was born, he was baptized, he was filled with the HS, he taught and modeled holiness, he was crucified and resurrected, then he sent the Holy Spirit to fill his people, and they went out and made disciples who then made disciples. That’s the flow of scripture, and that’s the flow of the christian year.
Today we recognize we have a saving king, not a ruling king. Our king guides us to holiness and forgives our shortcomings. Our king is a shepherd who searches us out until he finds us. The question is, what kind of sheep are we? Are we sheep who follow the voice of our king, or are we the kind of sheep who have to be driven? Are we the sort of sheep who just want to be part of the herd, or are we the sort of sheep who want to help our shepherd King?
I pray that over this year we have grown in our relationship with Jesus. I hope you could say you have grown in your relationship with Jesus. But to what end? that’s what I want us to consider today. What’s next? What’s ahead?
IF you are a guest today…let me explain where we have been.
Today marks the first day of the last week of our New Testament Challenge, to consider the challenge and to look forward to the changed life that many of us have found.
read
gather
listen
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WE were challenged over 9 weeks as we considered 9 of the major themes of the New Testament

Radical Love

We talked about how Jesus loves us with a sacrificial love. Then he has the audacity to challenge us to love each other with that same radical, sacrificial love.

Generosity

Then Cap Pickering came to tell us talk to us about how Jesus had been generous with his words, his grace, and his miracles and because of that, he asked us to be generous in response.

Perseverance

Bill Gowdy talked to us about how the NT challenges us to persevere in our circumstances as we rely on God’s power, just as Jesus did.

Servant-hood

Godliness at the biblical call to servanthood, to be servants, not just servers. As disciples of Jesus we ask God to USE US as a means to His ends.

Forgiveness

Then we looked at the NT challenge to Forgive. This is probably one of the most difficult teachings of the NT because we all have a past. WE can’t change the past, but when we forgive, we change the future.

Godliness

We looked at scriptures call to godliness to be the way we live rather than a destination we arrive. Godliness is the way of salvation.

Obedience

Obedience. As disciples, we are called to obey Jesus, not just know about Jesus. That our goal is to love Jesus so much that we develop 2nd mile obedience - moving toward 14 mile obedience.

Eternity

Then last week we talked about how developing an eternal perspective has an effect on everything we have an do.
We’ve covered a lot of big topics.
I think for many people, we get the sense that we HAVE to make these real in our lives. There is a sense that WE HAVE TO GET THIS DONE.
Like Christmas shopping. Or Thanksgiving dinner.
This is where I think Being a Christian can be overwhelming

Being a Christian can be overwhelming.

It’s like being a perpetual freshman in high school. Do you remember how overwhelming that was? WE often try to look like something we aren’t.
First day in the cafeteria as a youth pastor.
Want to look like you fit in. But in reality you don’t really know the lay of the land and often times we need some help.
It’s the same with being a disciple, thinking of all the things we have to do, we should be able to handle it, everyone else does, and we want it all done RIGHT NOW. But the life of a disciple is a marathon and not a sprint.
We need to be ok with where we are.
IF you are new in your faith, maybe you are in the “Come and see” mode.
That might be you here today.

Come and see

John 1:39 NIV84
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
At first, we “come and see” how other believers live out their relationship with Jesus.
At some point many of us begin to follow Jesus. Even if we don’t completely trust him at first.

Follow me

Relationships are key to being a follower too.
John 1:43 NIV84
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Eventually, we enter into a relationship with Jesus, and with other disciples as we follow.
But we weren’t meant to just follow. We were called to make disciples.

Fish for men

Matthew 4:19 NIV84
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Many Christians stagnate at following. But we were called to fish.
To make disciples.
For a church to be deficient in discipleship is to be deficient in the church’s fundamental reason for existence. If any organization is shoddy in its core reason for existence, it matters nothing if the organization excels at other things. If Apple is deficient in designing computers, it matters nothing if they excel in outfitting and decorating their stores. If Starbucks is deficient in coffee, mastering the art of creating loyal employees means nothing. To be deficient in your core reason for existence is always unacceptable. 
We build buildings. We design programs. We challenge donors. We staff our churches. We put on events. But are we making disciples? It seems that we have become proficient in many things while simultaneously becoming deficient in the one thing that matters most.
This is going to be out focus moving forwards, becoming disciples who make disciples.
_____ UMC from today is going to be about being disciples who make disciples.

Go and bear fruit

John 15:16 NIV84
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
And we will see these new disciples bear fruit. 
This fruit appears most often in changed lives.
Restored marriages.
Defeated addictions.
New careers.
Healthier families.
Jesus doesn't’ want to change our eternity, to save us spiritually, he wants to change us physically, he wants us to bear fruit in our relationships. God wants to bear fruit in our home, our work, our community, and our church.
How do we do this? How does God do this?
In our lives? Beyond God’s help, what’s the key to growing as a disciple, to producing fruit?

Discipleship Requires Relationship.

Hear how the Apostle Paul described this life change that comes about through our challenge:
Colossians 3:1–4 NLT
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
Ok, he’s talking to Christians here. But if you aren’t a Christian you can learn from this too. He’s saying spiritually when you put your faith in Christ, He becomes your life now, will be your life forever. SO…in response…I’ll probably come back to this, but let’s go on.
Colossians 3:5–11 HCSB
5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. 11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
Paul isn’t telling everyone to stop doing these things. He’s telling Christians. What some people call hypocritical Christians - and everybody else just knows as regular Christians - to stop going back to their old way of life. To kill it. Now when you kill something, it is no longer alive. It can’t do things that it used to do.
Paul is saying here…You don’t have to live that old way. You have a choice. Before you were a Christian, you had no choice.
Christians can do this because they have taken off their old life and put on a new life that is being renewed into the image of Christ.
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16+
People who have been believers their whole lives may not appreciate this like those of us who have lived a rebellious life. But I remember how strange it was to want to read the Bible. I remember what it was like to feel offended by my sin for the first time. When my old life came into conflict with my new faith. It was strange, but it felt so right.
That's what Paul is describing here.
Colossians 3:12–14 The Message
12 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. 13 Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. 14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Because we now have the same nature…Christ, we are to be uniquely recognizable.
Most of you know that this the way I am dressed today is VERY different. I did it to illustrate a point.
Wearing a collar to hospital.
To be recognizable as a chaplain, as a clergy person who is there to pray with them and for them.
People don’t question why I’m there.
In the same way, teams wear the same uniforms.
There was a time when you could tell a lot about people by what they wear. You could tell a Jew from a Greek by how they dressed. A slave from a free and so on, all by how they dressed. But with Christ alive in us, we dress our character differently. We are to be uniquely recognizable because we put on the character of God, chiefly LOVE.
The reality is, God is trying to live out of you. It’s just that sometimes we fight against what He is trying to do in us. That’s why Paul concludes this passage this way:
Colossians 3:15–17 The Message
15 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. 16 Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! 17 Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
He closes this section with clues as to how this new life is accomplished. Let the peace rule in your life…stop fighting against it...let the Word of Christ have the run of our house. Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to or Having to do it all.
Whats next is something I believe is key to living the life of a disciple of Jesus.

Discipleship Requires Relationship.

Relationships with Jesus of course; but just as much, relationships with other disciples are essential to being a disciple.
Back when we started this NTC, we began a small group in our home. We invited anyone who could join us to come over and talk about the readings and what we felt God was speaking to us. WE spent several weeks just talking about the bible. But this week, I noticed a distinct difference in the conversation. WE started talking about how God was leading us. We talked about how God’s word was making a difference in our lives. It didn’t happen over night, but we have gotten to the place where we can share with each other honestly about the struggles of life as a disciple.
IT takes time to develop these sort of relationships. We’ve been getting together for a couple of months, and some are just now getting to the place where they can begin to talk openly about their lives, others will take even longer, and that’s ok.
Many of us may have come to faith in our family. But many people today don’t have that sort of family. Most people need the church to be their spiritual family.
Paul talked about how we are to teach, instruct, encourage ONE ANOTHER. In my bible there are some 59 instances of God speaking of how we are to treat “one another”.
These “one another’s” apply to every disciple.
We have relationships with those we are discipling,
We have relationships with those who are discipling us, and
Think of your relationships, which of these is missing?
Are you struggling with growing? Have you opened your life to someone to teach you how to be a disciple?
I asked someone I respected to mentor me
Are you investing your life in someone else? Are you helping our shepherd king, or are you just part of the herd?
Look for someone to invest in. You don’t have to be strange, hello…i’d like to invest in your life. Instead, just start asking them questions about their life. One thing for sure, we all love to talk about us.
They are how disciples make disciples.
For too long, the church has been comfortable being disciples. WE have lived in a world where disciple making sort of just happened. It’s not that way any more. We have to get intentional about the process.
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