Grow: Mentor & Discipleship (Week 2)

Ephesians 5:1-2; I John 3: 23-24; 1 Peter 3:8

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

English cleric Charles Caleb Colton said: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. And behavioral science has proven that children learn through imitation. This is normally a song played on Father’s Day, but this should be one to serve as a reminder for all of us.

 

VIDEO CLIP:  Phillips Craig & Dean – I Want To Be Just Like You

 

The word ‘imitate’ according to dictionary.com is a verb meaning:          

to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example; to make a copy of; reproduce closely; to have or assume the appearance of; simulate; resemble.”

 

God does not want flattery from us. Rather, He wants us to truly be one of His children, reflecting all of His character, especially His love. It is important to realize that this is not just Paul’s message, but a cascading message from all the writers of the New Testament…from the disciples and their first-hand experiences with Jesus to James, the little brother of Jesus. Let’s stand for the reading of God’s word as we hear from three of them:

 

The Apostle Paul:  Ephesians 5:1-2

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God..”

 

John, the beloved:  1 John 3:23-24

“And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.”

 

Simon Peter:  1 Peter 3:8

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with    each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude.”

 

Let’s break down what each of these writers were saying and look at the common theme.

 

I. Ephesians 5:1-2: Be Imitators of God

 

ILLUSTRATION:  Blind Auditions on “The Voice”   (Darius Rucker cover)

 

A. Adopting His behavior in everything you do
  • Talk the Talk
  • Walk the Walk

 

Acts 19:13-16:

 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their      incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”  Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.  But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit      replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”  Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.”

 

B. Live a life filled with love
  • No longer living a life filled with fear
      • No more “What if….”
  • The world calls it finding your center 
      • (Actually putting God on the throne of your heart!)
  • Profound sense of connection

 

C. Follow His example as He offered Himself as a sacrifice
  • Willing to make yourself available
  • Willing to allow yourself to be transparent/vulnerable

 

II. 1 John 3:23-24: Prove that you know Him

 

A. Believe in Jesus and Love for one another go together
  • More than a head knowledge
    • believing that His name contains power
    • demonstrates trust in the One by which we are saved
    • more than a moral or spiritual guide, but God’s Son
  • A heart knowledge of relationship
    • God delights to hear and answer His children’s requests
    • The more we are in relationship w/ Him, our wants & desires align w/His desire for the very best for us.

 

Psalms 37:3-5

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”

 

B.  Obey God’s commands
  • The person who is obedient lives in God, and God in him.
  • This is the expression of our spiritual life.
    • The Spirit of God lives in us, helping us, guiding us
    • Will we mess us? YES, but the Spirit is there to adjust or straighten us up.

 

C.  Remain in fellowship with Him
  • This is a conscious and spiritual decision
  • Daily we decide if we will follow the flesh or the Spirit
    • As you spend more time, you become more like Him

 

III. 1 Peter 3:8: Be of One Mind (Unity)

 

The word “finally” does not mean the last thing that you do. Rather it was his “in conclusion” statement, summarizing all that he had been telling them to do as a true follower of Christ.

 

Barclay Study Bible: 

“The New Testament never treats this agreeing in Christ as an unnecessary though highly desirable spiritual luxury, but something essential to the true being of the Church…Such unity will only come when Christian are humble and bold enough to lay hold on the unity already given in Christ and to take it more seriously than their own self-importance and sin,… to make it an incentive for a more earnest seeking in fellowship together to hear and obey the voice of Christ.”

                       

This Unity/Harmony can only be accomplished by these things:

                       

A.  Sympathize with each other
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
    • Roman 12:15
  • Not feel sorry for, but putting ourselves in their place
    • 1 Corinthians 12:26 (one hurts/all hurt)
  • It is only when we die to self that we can live to others.
  • Having the empathy of God, knowing that God knows how they feel, even if we have never experienced what they are going through.

 

B.  Love each other as family
  • Begins in the church and extends out to the world.
  • Even family can be mean and hurt us, but we are to love them as God first loved us.
  • But reflect on how many times we have hurt the heart of our Father in heaven, yet He still loves us.

 

C.  Be tenderhearted
  • eusplagchnos’ (pronounced: use plock nos) gut feeling
  • It is the kind of emotion that is from the very depths of our being.
  • Cannot be cold, calloused or cynical
  • ties into sympathy and compassion

 

D.  Have the right attitude (humble in spirit)
  • Humility is arguably the most essential, all-encompassing virtue of the Christian life

 

Philippians 2:3

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

 

Conclusion:

As we share our lives in discipleship, the invitation should be this:  Follow me as I follow Christ and He will be the one that will transform us into His image. Living life together is what helps us see the reality of God’s love. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, sometimes we may get hurt or fall down. But when we are walking together, we know there is someone there to help pick us up. And Jesus is not asking us to do anything that He was not willing to do for us.

 

1 John 3:16:             

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.  So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

 

He left heaven, to come to earth for us, humbling Himself in every way, even putting His own will aside. He spent three years, investing in those disciples. He mentored and trained them in the ways of God’s love, teaching them to look past what the world sees, and see them with the eyes of God.

 

He called them out, lovingly rebuking them to focus their attention to where their hearts were. He demonstrated His love when He washed their feet. He took on the sins of the world and paid a debt that was not His. He could have said, “Father, I just can’t do this!” But His love for us is what drove Him and held Him on the cross for you and me!

 

And when He rose again, He spent 40 days with His followers reminding them of all He had taught and urging them to take the gospel message into all the world so that they might experience God’s love, making sure to disciple them so they could carry the message on for generations to come.

 

And it doesn’t stop there. We are given the task to carry on with this process. We have a message of love, grace and hope that we are to share, no matter how old we are! I wish that the more mature Christians had the same zeal and excitement that many young Christians have. There is a fire in their hearts that is consuming them. But all to often, we let that fire burn down to where it is just keeping us warm and secure and not burning bright to draw others in. It’s time to stoke the fire, fan the flame and ask God to revive and use us for His glory.

 
Listen to Pastor Ken’s message here:

 


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