“… who are growing maturing disciples”
My sermon preached at Christ Church on 30th January 2011
I began last Sunday to lay out for you by way of reminder, or information, if you are new to Christ Church, the vision that shapes and informs who we are and what we do as a church.
Someone asked at the end of the service, “So what is Christ Church’s vision?” What they wanted was a sentence.
I am not a great fan of mission slogans – which Banks and Cell Phone Companies bandy about but are not much more than just that – slogans. But if you want a one easily remembered sentence, then take the title of these two sermons, which as I said last week I had gleaned from Dallas Willard.
“Our vision as Christ Church is to grow maturing disciples… who are growing maturing disciples.”
But that needs to be unpacked and freshly applied. I looked last Sunday at the three verbs in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18ff) which is the key text.
Go. I spoke about the mission imperative in making disciples. “Made to Go!” there is a world that needs to hear and experience the Gospel.
Make. Make followers. I spoke about being covered in the dust of our rabbi, Jesus. Or being baptised / being plunged into the fullness of the life of God.
Teach. Not a classroom exercise but a life course on how to live our lives the way Jesus would live our lives. The word Paul uses in Ephesians suggests setting bones that are broken, or mending holes in nets.
And the Great Commission of course has the reminder and the promise that Jesus holds all authority – we do only what he authorises. And he promises to be with us to the very end of the age.
Now moving on to today’s theme – the second half of Dallas Willard’s statement – the second part of our vision is
“...who are growing maturing disciples”,
The simple point I want to make is this. If you are going to grow as a follower of Jesus and be more covered by his dust, if your desire is to be plunged deeper into the life of God, then you will be helping someone else to grow as a follower of Jesus. That is the way we grow.
We grow when we are actively engaged in seeking someone else’s growth. We will mature as followers of Jesus when we are putting time and energy and resources into seeing others grow and mature as followers of Jesus.
Would you turn in the Bible to 2 Timothy chapter 2. Paul writing to Timothy says …
1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Let me ask you, how many generations of disciples are mentioned in this verse?
Three! Four! Infinity! Paul => Timothy => reliable people => others => and still others….
Let me ask you three questions.
1. Who was the person / the people God used to bring you to want to be here today, to be where you are in your walk with God today? Who was that person, or people?
2. What did they do?
3. Could you do the same for someone else?
As I have been reflecting on this I realise that there are probably two main reasons that we may not want to do the same or something similar. That we may shy away from seeing ourselves as a discipler of others.
We are feel we are not up to standard and so are not qualified to teach anyone else.
What qualifies us is that God is at work in us. The maturing discipling work in us is never complete. We are all a work in progress. We are all, like Paul, pressing on. Paul writes to the Philippians …
12 I have not already arrived at my goal, I have not already obtained it … but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We are all a work in progress. That is what qualifies us to feed into others lives and help them to also follow Jesus.
A second reason we may shy away from seeing ourselves as a discipler of others.
We are afraid that the ones we disciple are better, or will be better than we are.
But that is the whole point. We want them to be better than us. We want them to go further than us. We want them to stand on our shoulders and reach higher.
If we were always ahead (if you will forgive the expression) of those we are discipling, then over time the church would be steadily going backwards. The whole point is to help those we are growing as followers of Jesus to go further than us. I am constantly inspired and encouraged by the faith of those younger than me.
Far from finding it intimidating me it spurs me on.
Earlier in 2 Timothy chapter 1, Paul speaks of the family heritage in which Timothy stood.
3I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy
Timothy was a young man – probably about 21 or so when he was put in charge of the church in Ephesus. Paul longed to connect with him be fed by his passion (recalling your tears) and be inspired by him (be filled with joy).
5I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
A sincere faith had been passed down from Granny Lois, to her Mother Eunice and onto young Son Timothy. And as we saw Paul had added into that faith and grown it and now instructed Timothy to pass it on to others who could pass it on to others.
So what is the Christ Church vision?
We are growing maturing disciples who are growing maturing disciples.
And at this time, I said last week, the vision is to put resources into and raise up two young people to work in Children’s and Youth ministry.
I have asked Barbara Richardson one of our Children’s Church Pastors who with Hilary Kerr, both working half time lead the ministry to speak for a moment about the vision and practicalities of growing and maturing children as followers of Jesus.
I have also asked Andrew Vaughan our youth pastor to share his needs and the vision – you may have seen the posters up outside.
I said at the end of my letter in CCM that I am looking for three responses from you.
Firstly, active personal involvement.
We would love you to be personally engaged in the discipling of someone here within the structures and organisation of Christ Church or we love to support you in doing that elsewhere, where ever God puts you in a position to feed into other people’s lives.
In the past we have handed out list of areas and ways in which you could engage in what is happening here at CC. We are changing that. Instead of list that you look through and boxes you tick, we have asked Melissa Sutherland to be our volunteer coordinator. Of course if you want to follow up about worship or children or youth you can speak to Tim, or Barbara or Andrew. But Melissa will be like back stop and find out from you personally what it is you are passionate about and what skills and gifts you can offer.
Melissa – tell us about the passion that stirs in your heart to see people connected.
The second response I am looking for is informed supportive prayer.
As you know Alison is our prayer coordinator. There are umpteen weekly prayer meetings – see details in CCM. If you can’t make any of these wont you ask God to show you one particular area of ministry here at CC and get information from Alison and commit to praying for that ministry every week.
The third response I am looking for is sacrificial financial giving.
Making disciples entails teaching people to obey all that Jesus commanded.
The NT says a lot about money and how we should handle it. We will have a sermon series on that this year. But what I want to remind you of now is that you need to give financially to the work of God. And if you are a part of this church and consider Christ Church your spiritual home you need to give to the work and ministry here.
I am not saying this because I need your money to balance the budget. (We do need the finances to be released so we can resource the ministries and outreach of this church. I am praying for that.) But you need to give because you need to express the fact that this is where you belong. That this is your church. That this is your home.
To grow as a follower of Jesus you need to learn and grow in the spiritual discipline of giving.
Giving is spiritual discipline. A spiritual discipline is doing something we can ordinarily do which enables us to do something we ordinarily cannot do.
E.g. reading the Bible daily.
Giving is one area where God says in Scripture “test me”.
10Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
There are three principles we must hold in mind as we consider the spiritual discipline of giving.
In other words we give as we receive. If you get a monthly allowance, salary, pension, then give monthly. If you get paid erratically on commission or annually, then give when you receive.
The point of the tithe is that we give the first portion (the first 10%) – the maths is easy – back to the Lord expressing the fact that it all belongs to him and our ability to work, the education and training we have had – it all comes from him.
We give because we are grateful. We gave to say thank you. “Lord, I have received so much from you. I am blessed. I am thankful and express my joy in you through this gift.” I suggest that when you do an EFT or put an envelope in the offering bag, you pause and close your eyes and say a prayer. Then push the “confirm” button on the computer or seal the envelope.
I don’t believe there is one person in this church today who cannot give. If you get pocket money or an allowance from your parents, or a pension, or investment interest, or a salary, you can give.
But remember this is not a regulation – it is to express relationship. This is not an obligation – it is an opportunity.
Next Sunday is Gift Sunday. It is an opportunity to bring our Planned Giving cards and lay them before God. If you consider CC your spiritual home this is your opportunity to express your belonging and your being part of this family.
As you prepare for that, please pray about this. If you feel a resistance in you to what I am saying, I want to encourage you to examine what is going on in your heart. Lord, what are you trying to show me? What in me is resisting and finding this hard? I am sure you will find much fruit in your walk with God as you wrestle with this.
I want to tell you what I am going to preach on next Sunday so you can with me prepare for this moment. I am going to preach on The Wedding at Canaan – John Chapter 2. And the key text are the words that Mary speaks to the servants. Pointing to Jesus she says to them, “Do whatever he tells you”.
See you next Sunday! (Author: Duncan Mclea
Articles in this group
The SA Church Leaders Indaba
SACL Indaba 22-24 Jan 2013 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Sermon Preached at the Consecration of Margaret Vertue Ezek 3:4-11, Psa 23, Acts 4:8-13, Matt 16:13-
19th January 2013 - Stellenbosch (Author: Duncan Mclea)
I believe in the resurrection of the body
Easter Sermon at Christ Church looking at the last line of the Creed - I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. (Author: Duncan Mclea)
'A year of God's faithfulness'
Duncan's annual report to the Christ Church Annual Meeting and to Parish Vestry (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Andrew Murray - a life God used
Talk given at New Wine on 25th February 2012 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
What does the Bible say about women being in leadership in the church?
A reply to an email from my daughter asking about why women don't keep silent in church. (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Reflections on the two weeks of prayer and fasting
Duncan's Diary 10th Feb 2012 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Two weeks of prayer and fasting
No to respectability and yes to courageous authenticity. Various extracts taken from the two weeks of prayer and fasting. (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Sunday Services - Half Time Team Talk
If being missional is our organizing principle what will Sunday services look like? (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Duncan’s Diary 2011-06-01 “Parish Vestry 2011”
An update on the Parish Vestry Meeting held on 31 May 2011 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Duncan's Diary Archive
An Archive of Duncan's Blog Articles (Author: Stephen Hofmeyr)
Duncan's Diary 2011-05-14
There is no doubt that the six churches of the Parish, along with the Warehouse, have huge potential to impact the communities and the city of which we are part with the good news of Jesus ... (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Duncan's Annual Report 2011
The text of my report to the church meeting on 12th April 2011 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
List of Duncan's Diary Entries (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Growing maturing disciples ...
My sermon preached at Christ Church on 23rd January 2011.
Ephesians 4:11-16, Matthew 28:16-20 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Worship - the best thing we can do in 2011
On Christmas Day I concluded our sermon series on Revelation. (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Looking ahead to 2011
This is an edited version of what I said at the Christ Church church meeting on 23rd November 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Running through Wynberg Boys High
DD blog on 11 Nov 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)
Some reflections on Lausanne
DD blog on 31 Oct 2010 (Author: Duncan Mclea)