Come follow me….. and go make disciples
Our vision statement identifies us as a community. Over the past few months we have been considering what type of community we are at Lilydale Baptist Church. We worked our way through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Some of the key aspects identified in relationship to community were, chosen (by God), founded on what Jesus has done for us, at peace with God, united to one another, living in the light, made alive, called to be imitators of God, under attack from evil spiritual forces, and so much more (read it again and let God speak to you afresh). Each one of us that has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, turned to God for forgiveness and surrendered our life to Him have become part of God’s chosen community the church, God’s gathered people.
There is definitely a community responsibility incumbent upon each of us to live a life worthy of the calling. To do our best to keep the peace, nurture the weak and care for the unfortunate and so on. Nonetheless, there is an equal call, in fact a command, to be salt and light in a world that is lost in darkness and death. Unless we draw on God’s resources we make the battle ours and we will surely lose.
Without seriously considering what discipleship is, it is going to be a difficult task to go and make more. Without being disciples ourselves our call is nothing short of, do as I say not as I do. The come follow me is more than a tag along with Jesus, it is a life fully committed to Him, to His ways and His teaching. Dallas Willard wrote in The Great Omission (16) “spiritual formation in the Christian tradition is a process of increasingly being possessed and permeated by such character traits as we walk in the easy yoke of discipleship with Jesus our teacher. From inward character the deeds of love then naturally ̶ but supernaturally and transparently flow. Of course there will always be room for improvement, so we need not worry for a few weeks or months. Our aim is to be pervasively possessed by Jesus through constant companionship with him. Like our brother Paul, “this one thing I do: … I press on toward the goal! … That I may know Christ!” (Philippians 3:13-14,8).
Over the coming months we will be considering two questions: what does it mean to come follow me, and, how can we go and make disciples. My hope, indeed my prayer, is that individually and as a community, our sense of discipleship will deepen and continue to shape us to be a people that come and follow and go and make disciples.
Blessings, Pastor Stewart