By Chris McRae, BCI Discipleship Team Leader
Last week we began looking at the four commitments we need to make for discipleship to take place in small group life. The follow up to that is a more in-depth look at each of these as they apply to our ministry. I’ll begin today with the ever-important idea of transformation.
It is imperative that people are changed. We cannot remain the same. It is a lie of the ages that we need to be “true to ourselves.” Our “true self” is one that is corrupted and perverted, sin-infected and wholly unsuited for the holy calling to which God has invited us.
It was God’s plan and it remains his intention that humans share with him the splendor that was his before creation. God lived in perfect harmony and unity in his eternal triune nature. That perfect relation of love revealed in the Trinity from before time began is the inheritance of those who are of God.
We are adopted into God’s family to be co-heirs with Christ, inheritors of the riches of his glory. We will rule in his kingdom. We who are “of the dust” are destined for “the throne of glory”.
However, as everywhere observed, sin has befouled God’s creation. We participate in a twisted world system with an inclination to strike out on our own and look to no one other than our own self to rule and determine our own way.
We must be changed. It is God’s expectation that we change. This is the purpose of Christ’s advent. Beginning his ministry, Jesus was walking on the beach along the north coast of Lake Galilee. He ran into the two brothers that he had previously met – Simon, the one he’d called Peter, and Andrew. They were fishing from the shore with nets. As he watched them at work, he hollered to them…
This is it! The great transformation begins. This is the point from which everything flows forward! God’s grand strategy of redemption is launched.
Matthew 4:19 ― (NLT)
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
With a commanding voice, Jesus called out for the brothers. He got their attention saying, “Drop what you’re doing. I’ve got something far more important in mind. If you come with me as my disciples, I’ll make a new and different kind of angler out of you. I’ll teach you how to gather men and women for the kingdom instead of fish for supper.”
Jesus said, “I’m changing everything…beginning with you!” Thus he began training those to whom he would entrust the outworking of God’s eternal plan. Jesus offered an invitation: “Come!” He then ordered them to: “Follow Me!” His disciples were expected to accept his invitation and obey his command. Jesus followed that by bestowing upon them a promise: “I will show you how…” He then gave them an explicit task: “to fish for people.” If you were going to be Jesus’ disciple you must trust his promise to mature you and cooperate with him in developing the skills required in order to accomplish the job. The result is that people are added to God’s kingdom.
This is discipleship: God’s transforming principle upon which spiritual maturity and productive ministry are built.