The title for this month’s newsletter article is the title of a devotional study book written by R. C Sproul and for me at least it is in keeping with the current season at Lilydale Baptist as we consider the nature and importance of discipleship. In the introduction Sproul recalls a conversation with someone who asked him, “What is the big idea of the Christian life.” He uses some wonderful illustrations to aid understanding but the crux of the matter from his point of view can be condensed into two words, Coram Deo. He writes, “The phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of God. To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.”

Further on Sproul notes, “living under divine sovereignty involves more than a reluctant submission, motivated out of fear of punishment. It involves recognizing that there is no higher goal than offering honor to God. Our lives are to be living sacrifices, offered in a spirit of adoration and gratitude.”

This is the path that discipleship leads us to; it is the path that disciples need to tread. Living in the presence of God is not something that happens by chance. Living in the presence of God is the result of choices. Not one choice but an ongoing deliberate seeking after Him day by day irrespective of the circumstance (easy to say not so easy to do).

When I chat with folk around the Mustard Tree op-shop and they acknowledge a desire to know God more, to be obedient to him and to please Him I give a humble word of advice. I say there are three things you need to do. Read God’s word regularly, Speak to God in prayer and listen for His answer, and meet with like-minded people who can pray with you and for you and you can pray for them, they can encourage you and you can encourage them.

Discipleship for life is experienced in the community of God’s people, in God’s written word and without doubt in the presence of God.

Pastor Stewart.