Family Bible Study lesson for June 8: The Church - Growing Disciples
May 16 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Luke 9:23-24; Ephesians 4:29-5:10

Family Bible Study lesson for June 8: The Church - Growing Disciples | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for June 8: The Church - Growing Disciples

By Kim D. Shaver Luke 9:23-24; Ephesians 4:29-5:10

"There are very few followers of Jesus," someone once observed. "Most of us are distant admirers."

Yet, Jesus didn't commission us to "make admirers of all nations," but to "make disciples." The church becomes a community of grace as we help members grow as disciples, setting an example for others by living for Christ in all areas of life. Besides, distant admirers can never know the great adventure and abundance of walking with God.

Deny self

Luke 9: 23-24

Jesus tells us that the requirement of true discipleship is to "deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Me." A "disciple's cross" is not ordinary trouble or hardship which is part of normal living, such as a sickness or the burden of hard work. Rather, it is the personal cost of following Christ. Denying self and taking up our cross involves our willingness to: lay down our personal comfort, lay down our convenience, lay down our dreams, fears, rights, opinion and reputation, if necessary, to risk obeying God unconditionally.

Yes, we should be willing to die for Christ. But more importantly, to live for Him as "living sacrifices." Following Jesus is always costly. However, God assures us that the rewards of obedience are far greater than the costs.

Imitate God

Ephesians 4:29-5:2

To "imitate" means to "be or appear like, to reproduce." The best way we can "imitate God," as Paul exhorts, is to "live a life of love." And, we live this life of love by loving as Christ loved us, "giving Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

That kind of unselfish, sacrificial, active love is humanly impossible. That kind of love is supernatural, possible only by allowing Christ to love through us by depending on the indwelling Holy Spirit.

When God Himself is our source of love, as He "sheds love abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit," then our love is indeed fragrant. It is winsome, life-giving, nurturing. It is a love people can feel and a love people can use.

Avoid wrong

Ephesians 5:3-7

Obscenity, coarse joking and "unwholesome, foolish talk" are so common today that we have become immune to them. Yet God desires for our words to be "seasoned with salt" and full of grace, reflecting the gracious presence of God in us. Our salt-seasoned words should help create a thirst in others for Jesus, the living water.

Paul says that our actions should also honor God. There should not even be a hint of sexual immorality or impurity in our lives. Indeed, God calls us to the highest standard of morality and integrity. "Be holy because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15).

Walk in the light

Ephesians 5:8-10

We are to "live as children of light." We are to live as a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).

Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy and reliable. John writes in 1 John that "God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all."

If we are truly imitators of God, then we are to walk in the light. "And if we walk in the light, as He is in the light," we have blessed fellowship with one another and with God. This may be the sweetest reward of true discipleship.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Luke 9:23-24; Ephesians 4:29-5:10 | with 0 comments
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