Thursday, December 13, 2007

Relationships and why they are so important (part 14)

The next principle for making disciples from the Great Commission is...

4. Discipleship involves a growing relationship with Jesus
The fact that we are baptized into the Father, Son, and Spirit teaches us the importance of relationships. Real belief in God draws us into a relationship with the three Persons of the trinity that boggles my mind. The picture of this relationship with God is compared to family, husband and wife, and friend. These earthly relationships all require growth and commitment to stay healthy. Should our relationship with God be any different?

Jesus’ relationship with those following Him as a disciple reveals several things. Jesus wanted His disciples to:

Follow Him – When Jesus called others to discipleship He called them to follow Him (Luke 9:23). Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The priority of a disciple is to follow and seek after Jesus. He is God’s revelation of Himself to us. Every person follows and seeks after something. Whether it is selfish desires, material things, false gods, people, or relationships, people follow something. Jesus asks us to seek and follow after Him. We must be mindful in pointing out to others who we follow.

Learn from Him – Jesus asks us to take His yoke upon ourselves and learn from Him. Jesus was always teaching. He taught most about the kingdom of God. He taught in parables and through real life examples. He made the kingdom of God a concrete concept that could be grasped by all willing to listen. Jesus’ followers had to place themselves under His teachings. Learning requires a submissive attitude.

Obey Him – Jesus commands obedience out of love. He stated, “If you love me you will do what I command.” He was constantly asking for obedience from His followers. He made this one of the distinguishing marks of His disciples.

Love Him – Loving God drives us to obey Him. Romans 5:8 says God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We know how to love God and others because He first loved us.

Abide in Him – Abiding in Jesus means we walk with Him daily (1 John 1:7). Jesus reminds us in John 15:15 that if we abide in Him we will bear fruit, but apart from Him we can do nothing.

We cannot have a relationship with God until we repent and believe in His Son. The Scriptures make it clear that we are sinners who choose selfishly. The Jews defined a sinner as one who disregards or breaks the law. The law was what made them who they were; it gave them their identity as a nation. The law helped them understand how God expected them to live. God’s chosen people (the Jews) lived as God’s people by obedience to the law. However, the law through tradition and cold hearts, transpired into outward dos and don’ts. Because of this, the law became all about externals (e.g., what you do and don’t do), which caused a lot of people to fall into the classification of sinners. Thank goodness Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. He showed up to set things right and give all sinners hope. What was their hope? That they could have a relationship with the God of the universe. Another glorious reason to celebrate Christmas.

A cup of cheer to you!

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