- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 09/06/2020
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Vital Signs of Growing Church Sermon Series
Commitment to the Discipleship
- If the church is alive, it will grow. As the commitment to the word of God is a vital sign of growing church, discipleship also is very important for the growing church.
- The growing church is committed to the Great commission of Christ in Matthew 18:18-20 and discipleship is core it His commission.
- Discipleship is not just attending church or being a nominal Christian or born in the christian background. He is transformational life. It is life of following Jesus in every part of life and obeying his words.
- Today, we are going to explore it based on the passage read today from Colossians.1:13-20
- Greek words: Mathētēs: The Greek term μ refers generally to any “student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent,” as opposed to a “teacher.” In the ancient world, however, it is most often associated, with people who were devoted followers of a great religious leader or teacher of philosophy. Though there is no specific word for discipleship in Hebrew Old Testament, the concept of discipleship is clearly established there.
- Discipleship in the bible refers to people committed to following Jesus Christ, emulating his life and passing on his teaching and imitating Christ’s life, values and teachings in word and actions.
Context of the text
- The apostle Paul wrote Colossians Christians to know about the glorious view of Christ, called as supremacy of Christ and also to exhort the believers about their discipleship to Christ. In this chapter, Paul focused on these themes: Salutations and Blessing of God in faith, love and hope (1-8), Prayer for their faithfulness in spiritual knowledge (9-14), Giving a glorious picture of Supremacy of Christ (15-23) and Setting out his own testimony as the Apostle of the Gentiles (24-29). The passage we meditate today is taken from the Glorious picture of Supremacy of Christ and our discipleship in Him.
- Discipleship means living in redeemed life in Christ. Colossians.1:13-14
- 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and [a]conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption [b]through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
- Paul informed the Colossians that through the act of redemption, they were no no longer slaves to sin, darkness and hatred but rather were slaves to righteousness, to light and to the forgiveness of sins. In this new life, they still had freedom but freedom under Christ. Walking in light means that they were set from to have a future hope of eternity.
- When we are set from sin, darkness and hatred, God makes us his disciples to reflect his image and glory through Christ’s death and resurrection. So our lives are no longer open to the world or its image but Christ only. Through the redemption, we have new identity and nature and hope. Our life and worship have become different before we found God. This is an encouragement to you because of what God has done in your life and made you his disciples in the world.
- Ephesians.1:7:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
- Galatians.3:23-25:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [a]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our [b]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
- Biblical Example: Onesimus life was redeemed by Christ: Philemon.15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
- Sermon Illustration: An orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy’s cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck. Several weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked, the lad’s eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the man’s neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had settled the issue.
2. Discipleship means living in fullness of life in Christ. Colossians 1:15-19
- 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [c]principalities or [d]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
- Paul informed the Colossians that through the Supremacy revelation of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, God’s Glory, Creator of all things, he came into the form to make us from emptiness into fullness of God. Because of Jesus, he brought them to this privilege.
- We have a wonderful Saviour full of wisdom, power, grace and glory. He is our head to enable us to accomplish what God calls us to. We may go to him in all our troubles, weaknesses, temptations, and needs and he will supply from his fulness to make us become fulness in all. In order to make us full, he became empty..
- Ephesians.3:16-19: 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
- John 1:16:16 [g]And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
- Biblical Example:Blessing of Moses to the tribe of Joseph. Deuteronomy 33:13-17: 16-17:With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush. Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.’ 17 His glory is like a firstborn bull, And his horns like the horns of the wild ox; Together with them He shall push the peoples To the ends of the earth; They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
- Sermon Illustration: Bishop Taylor Smith, when Chaplain-General, was passing a number of convalescent men seated in a corridor of a hospital. Seeing that they recognized him, he looked to God for a message, as was his wont.There was an inverted bowl on the table. `See that bowl!' he said. 'Turned down as it is, it is full of darkness, empty, useless. But convert it, turn it right way up, and immediately it is full of light, the sun shines in, and it can be useful, filled with whatever the bowl is used for. Just so are we. Until the Sun of righteousness shines into our hearts, all is darkness, and our lives are empty and useless!
3. Discipleship means living in reconciliation/making peaceful life in Christ. Colossians.1:20
- 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
- Paul reaffirmed again that God has done his reconciliation mission through Christ Jesus to him and to one another. Jesus did it through the cross. This restoration is available for all places, both heaven and earth. This peace making came with great price of our Lord’s blood. As mentioned in the Old Testament, the blood was the price given for atonement.
- We are God’s redeemed people and have the fullness of God through Christ. As our Lord reconciles the whole world to God and to one another by the death on the cross. The message of reconciliation is that salvation comes through faith. We are called to do the ministry of reconciliation by sharing the gospel to the others and become peace makers.
- Ephesians.2:14-16:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
- Romans.14:17-19: 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in [e]these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
- 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may [f]edify another.
- Biblical Example: Jonathan made efforts to make a peace between King Saul and David. 1 Samuel 19:1-7: Verses: 6 So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.” 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. So Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.
- Sermon Illustration: Telemachus was a monk who lived in the 4th century who sensed that God wanted him to go to Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why everyone was so excited and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting and killing each other in the coliseum. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators shouting, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said, “In the name of Christ, forbear.” The crowd protested and began to shout, “Run him through. Run him through.” A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the back of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand. He got up and ran back and again said, “In the name of Christ, forbear.” The crowd continued to chant, “Run him through.” One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monk’s stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time he gasped out, “In the name of Christ forbear.” A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and then more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena. It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome. Jesus died on a cruel rugged cross to make peace for us. His blood was shed so that we might know the meaning of eternal peace. In order to be identified as a child of God, we should be willing to do no less.
As mentioned earlier, if the church is alive, it will grow. One of the vital signs of the growing church is the commitment to the discipleship. From Colossians.1:13-20, we have learned three important ways we do this commitment to the word of God.
- Discipleship means living in redeemed life in Christ. Colossians.1:13-14
- Discipleship means living in fullness of life in Christ. Colossians 1:15-19
- Discipleship means living in reconciliation/making peaceful life in Christ. Colossians.1:20
Questions for Discussion
- We are God’s redeemed people and we have light.What kingdom did we leave and which have we entered? How does your life tell you and others that you are redeemed by Christ?
- If Christ is supreme in his nature, we become part of him. Are you living your life for Him? What part of your life are your living for yourself. He makes you to have fullness of God in every part of life. Are you willing to serve Him no matter what Her calls you to do? Are you trusting Him for all your needs of life and mission.
- When Christ made the reconciliation ministry, He has given to us to do it in our life and ministry. What are some things you would expect form a reconciled relationship with anyone?