Pastor's Blog

Discipleship in John 12 (2)

Links: Sermon notes & PowerPoint

Discipleship in a Seed

A "forever decision" can't be taken back. It's forever. Even if you want to change, the decision binds you. Understandably, we ought to be extremely cautious about making "forever decisions."

I ran across a scam this past week: Mars One. A group from the Netherlands wanted to plant a colony on Mars. They had a thirty-year plan laid out. All privately funded. All using existing technologies. What made their plan (supposedly) feasible was ... no return. There would be no return for the astronauts / explorers / colonists. No return saved on fuel and supplies.

Almost 3,000 people around the world submitted non-refundable applications for the privilege of becoming one of the "chosen 100" Martians.

Mars One declared bankruptcy last year. And another one bites the dust.

I got to thinking, though. There is something powerful about the lure of giving one's self over to a large, consequential "forever decision." Something almost romantic about it. The adventure. The possibilities of the unknown. But most of us hedge our bets. Most of us defer "forever decisions" for the "I can back out decisions". 

Jesus knew He had to die on the cross. It was a "forever decision." There was no going back. That's what authentic discipleship is: a "forever decision."

Jesus said, "unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

  • Jesus was talking about Himself going to the cross. 
  • Jesus was talking about the disciple who follows Him.

There is no spiritual harvest without the cross. Following Christ is the ultimate "forever decision." 

 

Posted by Tim Alexander with

Discipleship in John 12

 

Links: Sermon Notes & PowerPoint

We begin a new, four-part series, on Discipleship based on John chapter 12. 

Part One: The Discipleship of Jesus

Jesus was laser-focused on the glory of God in the world.

To accomplish the salvation of sinners is the ultimate glory to God. That's what Jesus came to do ... and that's what Jesus did!

I wonder, at times, if we over-think 'Discipleship.' Is discipleship really that hard? Have oceans of ink drained in writing, and forests of trees felled for publishing solved the "how" of Discipleship? I think not. The definitive book is yet to be written. As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes said, "Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." Surely this applies to annual crop of Discipleship books.

I'm taking a different approach. The definitive book has not been written, BUT the definitive Disciple has lived: Jesus. As I will say in the sermon, talking about the discipleship of Jesus in no way lowers Jesus. Jesus is still co-equal with God, fully God and full human: God the Son. But Jesus came into the world to accomplish the glory of God in the saving of sinners. Jesus lived in the world laser-focused on the glory of God. 

So should we. Below is an illustration.

Tuesday night my Facebook Messenger account was hacked. I found out that some IP address in Miami, Florida, at 8:21 that evening, had hacked my account and by 8:23 the person, or the bot, at the IP address, had already sent a terrible message to people in my contacts.

 It wasn’t long before I started getting text messages and emails, alerting me that I had been hacked. Now, I have to tell you, for my part, it was a little embarrassing, and more than a little tedious, to have to change the password and to reply apologetically to the messages.

 But after all that happened and it seemed like it was all over, I got to thinking.

 What good friends I have. How kind and gracious they are. Many of them, sent me personal messages to alert me. Why? They knew that terrible message couldn’t have come from me. AND … importantly … they were concerned for my reputation.

No one told them what to do. Out of a desire for my reputation, they acted. They simply wouldn’t believe, couldn’t believe, that I would send that type of message and they came to my defense.

How fortunate I am to have such people in my life. Their instinctive reaction was concern for me.

On an infinitely larger scale, any child of God ought to be instinctively pro-active to champion the glory of God in the world. We ought to be jealous to protect and promote God's reputation. Rather than conceiving of Discipleship as a utility to make us better people, submit - like Jesus! - to advancing God's glory in the world in whatever our hands find to do. All of life brought under the bracing, eternal directive: "Does this promote the glory of God? How can I promote the glory of God?"

Posted by Tim Alexander with

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