Next Sunday, Pastor Rob begins an important three-week series of
messages that will focus on our church's mission and vision. The title
of this series -- "Be One. Make One." -- references our calling as a
body of believers to be disciple-makers. As we prepare for Rob's sermon
this coming Sunday, we begin this week exploring our understanding of
what a disciple is and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
This week we are reading Acts 2, verses 42-47. The text below is taken from the New International Version, but feel free to read from the Bible translation of your choice.
devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to
the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and
many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the
believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their
possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day
they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread
in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising
God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to
their number daily those who were being saved.
What is a disciple?
For the Church as we find it in Acts 2, becoming disciples of Jesus had a
radical impact on their everyday lives. They looked at their
possessions a whole new way, they saw other people differently. They met
together every day, and devoted themselves to the apostle's
teaching and to the fellowship -- learning from those who had lived
alongside Jesus Himself, who had heard and written down His teachings,
and who had modeled their lives after His actions and His character.
In the same way, if we
as believers today are committed followers -- disciples -- of Jesus, we
will also be "devoted" to studying Jesus' life and His words, and
seeking in all ways to become more like Him.
So if Jesus is the
One on whom we are modeling our lives, what do we see Him doing? Jesus'
primary task was dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin
(Colossians 1; Philippians 2). Obviously we are not called to emulate
that. He died once for all people, something that never needs to be repeated
(as 1 Peter 3:18a says, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the
righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God"). But there was a
lot more to Jesus' ministry than those final moments dying on the cross.
As we read about His
life on earth in the Gospels, we see three years of modeling and
teaching about how to worship God, explaining the heart of the law, and
calling people to true holiness. Three years of modeling and teaching
about an expansive and loving community that values all people and cares
deeply for one another. Three years of modeling and teaching about
God's grand Kingdom vision and His mission for the entire world;
something He has called all of us to be involved with.
Ultimately what we see
most clearly is a man preparing the way for the future of the Church.
Jesus spent three years laying the groundwork for the next two thousand.
He spent three years putting down foundations upon which He would later
construct the most incredible and unlikely institution imaginable; the
Church. Incredible because of its power to change the world. Unlikely
because it is built on ordinary, unremarkable sinners like us.
Thank You for
including me in Your Church and making me part of Your plan to rescue a
lost and dying world -- not because I'm special or worthy, but because
You loved me enough to send Jesus to save me from the penalty and the
power of sin. Help me today, and in the days and weeks ahead, to grasp
more of Your grand Kingdom vision, and to let it shape more and more of
my hours and my days.