Discipleship In The Lens of Grace
Facilitated by Pastor Joedy
Discipleship, for all the books that are written out there, and for all the sermons and seminars put together, could be defined as one thing today, and something totally different tomorrow. But let’s not confuse things. Let’s clarify it – Simply put, discipleship is walking in Jesus.
Now, this is not to say that we will become disciples when we complete a certain checklist. Being saved by grace, we have established that we are not defined what we do. We are defined by who we are in Christ. We are defined by Christ has done.
Now, when Jesus chose His disciples after a long night of prayer, He chose His disciples after that. They were disciples right away.
Other rabbis would wait for people to choose to be their disciples. In Christ’s case, He was the One who chose His disciples. And by His finished work for the world, He chose all of us to be His disciples.
It’s important for us to know this, and to know that we are called upon by God to disciple others with this in mind. Pastor Joedy’s approach was to see how Christ was discipling His people according to the Gospel records. He discussed how we’re to disciple by way of relationships, and today, we’re to talk about how Christ disciples by way of making us aware of our righteousness.
Jesus As Our Righteousness, Holiness & Redemption
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”1 Corinthians 1:30-31
Our lives are in Christ. He is our Life. He is our all in all. Anything we find of value today is absolutely nothing without the Lord. Consequently, anything we think is nothing is given value in the eyes of the finished work of Christ.
Jesus clearly came to fulfill the Law and He lived an obedient life by the Grace of God the Father; The following Scripture shows just how obedient He was:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:5-8
Hebrews 2:9 mentions that it was by the grace of God that He (might) taste death for everyone. Here lies the connection between grace and obedience. It’s not that obedience is what earns us grace; it’s God’s grace that brings us to humility and obedience. Humility is recognizing who we are and who God is, and recognizing God is infinitely superior.
This life we live is one of us “Living Out” as in projection, and not “Keeping Up”, as in ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. It starts with a humble and grateful acknowledgment of Christ’s life, and then what follows is that we would be led to yield to that glorious life – That Life is Christ, who is powerfully working from the inside out.
And the living out isn’t necessarily an act that involves intention and exertion… but oftentimes, Pastor Joedy points out that it’s a natural process. There’s little to no trying hard on our part!
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.Colossians 3:3-4
We may ask, is Christ the Root of our lives, or the Fruit? He is both! He’s the source, and the reward.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Philippians 2:12-13
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 1 John 4:17
Obedience is present as a spiritual discipline. But let’s clarify: In the New Testament, blessing is not the direct result of your obedience, but of the One who lived in perfect obedience. Romans 5:17-19 says:
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
It’s through Christ that we are righteous, and it’s through Christ that we are holy. Consequently the more we try to project righteousness and holiness, the more we fail miserably – It’s Christ that’s the righteousness and the holiness in us and projected out of us, in all that we do.
All we do should be put in the proper perspective of grace. Let’s see the difference between religious obedience and Jesus’ empowered obedience… and really, all we need to know is this: Religion says, ‘You must do this and do that!’, but Jesus Christ is saying, ‘It is finished!’
Beloved, it is not religion that Jesus Christ wants, but is it relationship. Discipleship, therefore, is not an observance of religious activities, but an outflow of a growing relationship with Jesus and God the Father (Abba) by the Holy Spirit. And the more you focus and depend on Jesus Christ, the more you will know yourself in Him and find your identity in Him. BUT: The more you focus on yourself, the more you ironically lose yourself – it’s much better to place your trust in your Creator!
So avoid falling into the trap of calling prayer, Bible reading and other good things a required thing or a law. You don’t do this for a reward; We’ve received the reward – and we enjoy the reward, how? Well, by prayer, by worship, by Bible reading, and so on and so forth. Remember that it’s all about the love and grace of the Father in Christ Jesus!
It’s also important for us to see the picture of a life sanctified (and made obedient) by grace – it’s (1) Walking in sanctification, and it’s a progressive manifestation of Christ’s likeness, because of Christ’s life in us.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:17-18
It’s also (2) Walking love, just as Jesus loved us.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
Christ is the root of love, and the world would see Christ in the fruit of love that is produced out of us. The more we relish in Christ and God’s love, the more we would overflow in love; our movements would be laced and integrated with His love.
It’s (3) Walking in good works, just like Jesus. We freely give love, by way of what we do. We’re naturally generous and thoughtful, because that’s precisely how Christ was towards us! It was His desire and intention to be generous, because He was thinking about us, wanting the best for us – and the more we understand this, the more we see that He gives and He thinks of us… because He loves us!
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.Titus 3:8
It’s also (4) Walking in fruitfulness just like Jesus. A manifestation of discipleship is fruit bore by those who are walking in and with Christ.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.John 15:8
When we walk in righteousness, and walk in good works, and walk in fruitfulness, then we would be led to those we would disciple.
It’s not a work at all when we say that we ought to be walking in righteousness. It’s a simple matter of acknowledging and yielding to Christ’s life in you. You can act it out, sure, by saying something like what they call the Sinner’s Prayer… but it sort of helps if you just let it happen, by way of living, aware of His life and presence.
It’s not a work at all when we would say that we walk in good works. Or rather, it’s not for us to exert effort and take credit. We never worked to be righteous. It’s Christ that worked, and we were made righteous. As such, it would be natural for us to acknowledge that you are spiritually connected to the Father through Jesus. And it’s by this established connection that we are inspired, and more importantly empowered to obey by His Spirit of grace.
Finally, it’s not a work at all for us to say that we walk in fruitfulness. Sure, we could strive according to the prescriptions of this world, but that will never be our foundation. Christ is our Rock in that way – He is the reason we are able to stand, and move. It’s through this Truth that we are able to choose to walk in the newness of obedience by grace, offered freely by the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.
We were never meant to strive for our own righteousness. We were never meant to work to redeem ourselves. Finally, we were never meant to even try for holiness – these things could only be done FOR us by Christ. He took the curse we deserved. He took the rejection and emptiness, and the eventual death.
Christ became sin (the root) and took the death (the fruit). There was no other way for us to be saved. By what Christ did, we became His root (righteousness), and now celebrate His fruit (everlasting Life).
What a great revelation! You can take out all the stuff we talked about up until now, and just zoom in, and zero in on that Truth – it’s from there that we see righteousness, good works and fruitfulness not only exude, but literally propel from out of us.
What a complete salvation we’ve received from Christ. What a complete goodness we’ve experienced. And there’s no better way for us to experience and enjoy this Truth, than to walk, or live – and we walk and live, whether we are fully aware of it or not, in the Truth of Christ who is always with us, Christ who never leaves nor forsakes us. In the process of us enjoying Christ discipling us (or, walking with us), we would naturally find who to walk with, or who we would choose to disciple.
It’s my prayer (and this is JB speaking) that we would give even the slightest consideration of God’s goodness, seen in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His finished work that saved us all – that is, His birth, death, resurrection, and ascension.
May we believe in Christ, and walk with Him. There’s no better way to live life; Actually, there’s no OTHER way to live Life.
Until the next post, God bless us all.
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