Dear Grace Family,
“Deliberately doing spiritual good so that someone can become more like Jesus.” This is the definition that Mark Dever gave to discipling in his book with the same title. A disciple is a born-again follower and learner of Jesus Christ and by nature we are to make disciples, meaning we all are to engage in the intentional teaching and influencing of others. In 1 Timothy 4:6, Paul told Timothy that he’d be a “good servant of Christ Jesus”, a minister on behalf of Jesus to others. We looked at how this entails upholding Christ alone as the mystery of godliness (3:16), warning others about false teaching (4:1-5), and how to train ourselves for this work. This training is both in constant nourishment from Scripture and exercising ourselves in godliness. Our hope as a church is that we would all embrace both sides of discipleship: personal growth in knowledge of God and holiness and helping others do the same.
As we continue to move closer to gathering together again, it’s important that we gear our minds and hearts for the shock of how different it may feel and look like. Restrictions may be lifted but they may not be lifted all at once. We may not be able to have child care, typical greetings, and even seating arrangements may be different. This is not to be an alarmist, but we must begin to prepare for change, at least in the short run, since most of us do not like change at all. We want to operate out of freedom and joy not out of fear. The beauty of facing these changes: we have the answer and ability built in to us as followers of Jesus. We will need to show earnest, brotherly love to each other from a pure heart (1 Pet. 1:22). Some of us will want to move closer more quickly, others will be more hesitant. No one should look down on the other, but respect and uphold them. We are to prefer one another in showing honor (Rom. 12:10), meaning we are looking out for the best of someone else, not pushing our own preferences. We will walk in freedom (Gal. 5:1) by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), and exercise the fruit produced by the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23), meaning we are not operating out of external pressure but internal motivation.
This season will end. We will be back together. It will all be challenging. But God is working out all these things to the pleasure of His glory so we can fight to rejoice in it. We will be challenged like never before to trust Him, to rest in Him, and find our confidence in Him, and all of those things are good. God is purifying, strengthening, and building His church, and of that we can be certain.
Let’s keep praying that God will bring this about soon and until that day and beyond that day, let us continue to grow as disciples of Jesus who desire to disciple others.
Pastor Jordan Bakker