Sunday 10th November 2019
Isaiah 60: 1 -11
Relationship, Discipleship and Presence
8am and Communion at 10am
- Where we have come from – 6 years.
- Where we are – 2019
- Where we are going to – 2020 vision
- The Way -Where have we come from?
I want to start out this morning by sharing the most incredible journey that the Lord has taken us on and how He has ordered our steps. My short testimony up until George Methodist. Jeremiah 31:7-14
- The Way -Where we are – 2019
A family church called to have a unique impact on the city of George and the nation. Part of a bigger picture – The Camdeboo synod – shaping tomorrow, today. A family church not a business.
- The Way – Where we are going – 2020 – 2025
I find that this scares me like crazy but I also know that perfect love casts out all fear!!!
So here we go – We are a discipling, loving church, serving Jesus Christ. This statement of purpose as a church does not change but I do believe that the Lord is wanting to refine this. I know that in a church that there are those who come once a week, those who are involved in a home group and come once a week and those who volunteer and come to church, home groups and other functions regularly. We understand where you are and are not going to push you where you do not want to go. However, we also don’t want you to miss out in any way and so opportunities will be there for you look at your own involvement at GMC and then prayerfully consider where you need to be serving or engaged in a home group or involved in our outreach and mission ministries.
Three words have been very clear for me to share with you when it comes to 2020 VISION (clarity)
Discipleship – Matthew 28:19, 20
Building on what the Lord has shown us already, we need to find ways to have
AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER AND ALSO WITH HIM.
We need to be the Way-makers for relationships – friends and friends of Jesus. Outreach to others Prison ministry etc…
Is 35:8 The Way of Holiness
Walk in that Way
Psalm 32: 8 Teach me your ways
Psalm 37:5 Commit your ways to the Lord
Isaiah 30:21 This is the way walk in it.
John 14:6 I am the WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE
Acts 9:2 The Way
Acts 24:14 People of the Way
1 Cor 14: Follow the Way of Love.
Hebrews 10:20 A living way opened up to us.
Discipleship Matthew 28:19, 20
Creating a movement rather than a church.
Ecclesia is not so much ‘church’ as it is ‘assembly.’ God is not wanting us to build more buildings but rather to build deeper and more meaningful understanding of who He is and how He impacts every part of our lives.
The term “disciple” represents the Koine Greek word mathētḗs (μαθητής), which generally means “one who engages in learning through instruction from another, pupil, apprentice”  or in religious contexts such as the Bible, “one who is rather constantly associated with someone who has a pedagogical reputation or a particular set of views, disciple, adherent.” The word “disciple” comes into English usage by way of the Latin ‘discipulus’ meaning a learner, but given its biblical background, should not be confused with the more common English word ‘student.’
A disciple is different from an apostle, which instead means a messenger. More specifically “messengers with extraordinary status, especially of God’s messenger, envoy” but predominately in the New Testament it is used of “a group of highly honored believers with a special function as God’s envoys.” While a disciple is one who learns and apprentices under a teacher or rabbi, an apostle is one sent as a missionary to proclaim the good news and to establish new communities of believers.
The meaning of the word ‘disciple’ is not derived primarily from its root meaning or etymology but from its widespread usage in the ancient world. Disciples are found in the world outside of the Bible. For example among the ancient Greek philosophers, disciples learned by imitating the teacher’s entire way of life and not just by remembering the spoken words of the teacher.
Methodism was born in Discipleship and I have a deep sense that we need to get back to what this means.
“Perhaps the greatest single weakness of the contemporary Christian Church is that millions of supposed members are not really involved at all and, what is worse, do not think it strange that they are not. There is no real chance of victory in a campaign if ninety per cent of the soldiers are untrained and uninvolved, but that is exactly where we stand now.” -Elton Trueblood.
Founded on Jesus’ blueprint for discipleship, John Wesley developed a simple plan for maturing and equipping the saints. Wesley said, “The Church changes the world not by making converts but by making disciples.” Jesus commanded us to: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20)
Biblical Discipleship: “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
Jesus made His disciples the most astounding promise about the Holy Spirit, one so astounding I think many of us do not really take it seriously: it was to their advantage, He said, that He return to heaven if it meant they receive the Spirit (John 16:7). If you ask Christians whether they would rather have Jesus beside them or the Spirit inside them, which do you think most would choose?
Doesn’t that show how far apart we are from grasping what Jesus was offering to us?
The Holy Spirit appears 59 times in the book of Acts, and in 36 of those appearances He is speaking. “But wait,” some say, “we can’t use Acts as a pattern for our time! The apostles were a unique group.” And I understand that Acts represents a special epoch of apostolic history. But you cannot convince me that the only book God gave us with examples of how the church walks with the Spirit is filled with stories that have nothing in common with our own. As John Newton put it, “Is it really true that that which the early church so depended on—the leadership of the Spirit—is irrelevant to us today?”
How We Experience His Presence.
How then do we experience His presence? We certainly have seen this question greatly abused. As I noted, many equate His movements with emotional flurries, irrational impressions, or random confluences of events. As I study Scripture, I see six ways we experience His presence: in the gospel, through the Word of God, through the community of the church, in our various spiritual giftings, in our spirit by communion with Him in prayer, and through His sovereign control over our circumstances.
We need to enter into an awareness of His Presence on a daily basis and I am trusting that in 2020 we will not do any program without asking the question as to whether this is about His Presence. Exodus 33:15 “Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”
Discipleship – small groups and one on one’s
Presence – Holy Spirit come.
Thursday’s with Pete
Fun beach days
Outreach and city cleanup
Church unity – fraternals
Alpha under the tree
Training and equipping ministers and lay folk
Mission Camdaboo – planting new churches throughout the area.
4 churches per year
One on one times with core.
- What will we be able to do to creatively experience deeper relationships with each other and the Lord?
- What do you understand discipleship to be and how do we begin to be disciples and make disciples more effectively?
- A wonderful book was written by Brother Lawrence called “The Practice of the Presence of God” (it’s free online), and his heart’s desire was to find more meaningful ways to be engaged in a deeper relationship with the Lord and to grow in this on a daily basis. How do we deepen our walk with the Lord so that we experience His Presence?