Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 16, 2013

Thought For The Week October 13, 2013

I am currently reading a book given to me recently by a ministry colleague. The title is Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale. It documents the move of God among many Muslim people groups and tribes in Africa. God is causing quite a stir in some of the most difficult situations.

Brother Trousdale has served with a group of what he calls “disciple makers” in many nations who teach those who come to Christ what they call “Obedience-Based Discipleship” from the very beginning of their relationship with Jesus. This is very intriguing because if one reads the Scripture for any length of time the overriding result of discipleship that is found there is obedience and yet so many Christians somehow miss that truth and live untransformed lives that are of little to no value in spreading the gospel and the Kingdom of God.

Here is an excerpt from the book I challenge you to dwell on: “In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Jesus didn’t tell us to teach all the things that He has commanded us; He commanded us to teach others to obey these things. There is a big difference between teaching knowledge and teaching obedience. A disciple is taught to obey what Jesus commanded.

“Knowledge without obedience creates a spiritual dichotomy between knowledge and obedience. This, tragically, is a toxic spiritual brew. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had knowledge – they knew what God had told them to do – but Adam failed to add obedience to that knowledge. It is significant that the serpent offered knowledge to Eve while simultaneously urging her to disobey God’s command. Eve’s sin was choosing knowledge over obedience, and that same foolish choice plagues the modern church.

“However, knowledge coupled with obedience creates disciples and draws them closer to God. Today, the church has put a lot of focus on knowledge, while obedience is assumed instead of being stressed as the very purpose of all knowledge. By so doing, we have created weak Christians and weak local churches. The worldwide phenomenon of ‘one mile wide and one inch deep Christianity’ in the church is a direct result of focus on knowledge rather than knowledge and obedience. Discipleship is not a matter of knowledge alone; it is equally a matter of obedience. The Bible is not a collection of information to be used to increase our knowledge; it is a collection of truths to be obeyed. Knowledge alone never produces spiritual growth and maturity because it doesn’t transform life. Obedient discipleship does. The gold standard of discipleship is Jesus’ own words; Make disciples…teaching them of observe (or obey) all things that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)”

These three paragraphs captivated me. As pastor of a local church my sincere desire and hope is that everything we do in terms of Christian discipleship here is aimed at developing obedient followers of Jesus Christ. I never want to teach or preach just to increase the knowledge base but to increase the obedience quotient. A devoted follower of Jesus Christ is one who follows Him to be like Him – that requires obedience. I understand salvation is attained by grace through faith but that event is meant to lead to a life of transformation through obedience!

Love God, Love Others, Serve the World. This is our reason for being. Jesus said that we prove our love for Him by obeying His commands (see John 14:23), that’s the loving God part. The other two actually are commands He gave us to obey. Can you read the three paragraphs from Miraculous Movements above and not be stirred to obey?

Let me ask you a question. In light of this truth, has your obedience reached the level of your education? In other words, are you taking the knowledge you have gained from personal and corporate study and lessons in God’s Word and actually decided to obey? Can you point to real transformation in your life because of what God has shown you? That, friends, is being a disciple. We are all in different places but ought all be moving closer and closer to that goal. These are my thought (informed by Jesus’ words). What are yours?

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