Over the years I have come to realize that there is a radical difference between what Jesus says is required to be a disciple, and what institutional Christianity teaches about discipleship. It is most important to grasp that you are called to be what Jesus defines as a disciple rather than following the religious institutional model. As we move forward as the body of Christ at CSBC our intention is to be more purposeful in being kingdom-minded in everything we do. If we are to do that well, we need to actually start here first, in the area of discipleship.
Several weeks ago during his message on “The Kingdom and the Church” Kevin made the statement that “The church itself is not the kingdom but the church demonstrates the Kingdom”. It got me thinking about what discipleship should look like within the context of the kingdom instead of the church.
Jesus did not and does not call us to do “church things”. He calls us to follow Him and do His works, thereby demonstrating the reality of the kingdom. Interestingly, neither did Jesus define one set of works for “clergy” and another set of works for the “laymen”. All are called to demonstrate God’s power, His sovereignty and reign.
The first thing Jesus calls us to do is to turn from our independence and our own ideas and to turn both our eyes and our hearts to the government of the Kingdom of God which should have influence over every aspect of our lives. When we don’t see, fail to understand, or accept this it will lead us into deception by keeping us being busy doing “stuff” that’s good, but not necessarily kingdom work. Jesus does not ask us to produce fruit, but to abide in Him. Yes, we will produce kingdom fruit but that work is done by the Spirit as we abide in Him, as His disciples…doing what He did!
We have thought discipleship is primarily about learning doctrine and the ordinances of the Christian faith, and it is, but only in part. As you read the scriptures you see Jesus gently, yet persistently teaching and demonstrating the ideas and actions of the Kingdom of God before His disciples. But somewhere along this journey with Jesus and His disciples, something changed within the disciples. Likewise, in our relationship with Jesus, there must come a time when we too must change. We must move from having made the decision to be a disciple to demonstrating that we are a disciple thus making the kingdom a reality in us and our community.
I think that begins with having a kingdom-mindset about discipleship. I can promise you that biblical maturity doesn’t come naturally, neither does it come with age or knowledge of the scripture. Maturity comes with the acceptance of the responsibility with what you have learned. Jesus made disciples on the harvest field, not in the church, by giving them responsibility. He told them “Do what I have taught you” and “Do what I have commanded you”. True discipleship is when you move from a mere place of decision to demonstration. Where are you in the process of having a kingdom-mindset about being a disciple of Jesus Christ?
In His Grip!