Discipleship: Putting it into Practice - 01
God has been speaking to us as as a church about the whole issue of discipleship in recent weeks. Click here for an excellent article on this by David Emmett, one of my great friends and part of the eldership team here in King's Church, Manchester.
God has been challenging and inspiring me about the whole theme of discipleship and 'putting things into practice'. I believe that it is true that a revelation or insight has not been fully understood and got hold of until it has been practised and put into action. This is true in all walks of life, but it is especially true in the Kingdom of God where we are called to be active followers of Jesus Christ or to put it in another way; 'Radical Disciples'.
I will use the following 3 key verses for this over the next few posts on discipleship:
Starting off today in the Old Testament, let's look at what the Bible says about putting things into practice from the book of Ezekiel:"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice" - Ezekiel 33:31-32 (NIV)
Right throughout the Bible, God warns His people about saying one thing and doing another. The heart of integrity is central to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Integrity is about wholeness & consistency. It's about following through on what you promise. God wants His people to speak words of faith. He wants us to have a good confession in line with the Bible. Over and above this though, He wants us to follow our words of faith with Holy Spirit action! He wants us to put our faith into practice. The book of James is an excellent book of the Bible on this subject.
The passage above in Ezekiel warns against about speaking a life of devotion but not living a life of devotion. I believe this is key for the people of God in this time. The world needs to hear the truth and power of God from our lips, but they also need to see it in action in our lives. They need to see it in how we handle our finances in the middle of a credit crunch. They need to see it in Godly and successful marriages in a nation where marriage is under challenge. They need to see us moving in faith as we pray and see the miracles of heaven invading the lives of those on earth around us. In these areas, and in many others. we have wonderful opportunities in our culture and time to display something that is truly wonderful as we reflect Jesus to those around us.
Our lives are the mirrors of God's Kingdom to the world around us. Our lives are the local address for the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The church is the gate of heaven on earth. When we hear God's word, receive it with faith, and then put it into practice and action - the lives of those around us will be touched and impacted by Jesus. That's the goal of discipleship, to produce more & more & more disciples of Jesus Christ, and to see them brought together as a mature, powerful and radical community - the Church!
As God's people & disciples of Jesus Christ, let's hear the word of God and put it into practice.