Welcome back to the TSF Devotionals and our third year of creating written materials to accompany the teaching ministry. This is our 12th sermon series to provide such resources.
You will notice that this series is called “Momentum: Overcoming the myths to making radical disciples.” It will run for a total of six Sundays, and here is a brief description:
The Church is a family of disciples that makes disciples. God designed the Church to have momentum—to be a body in motion—to live out Jesus’ mission here on earth. But what is a “disciple?” And how do we “make disciples?” To be a disciple is to be a follower of Jesus. Yet many struggle to know just what this means. We’ve come to accept a series of “myths” about Christianity: that Christianity has a positive influence in a person’s life, but being a “disciple that makes disciples” is only for spiritual giants and professionals.
When I was a boy growing up in the mountains of northern New Jersey (yes, there are mountains in that state!), the front porch of our home overlooked a valley with a stream running through the center of it. That creek also ran through the center of a country club called “Harkers Hollow.” It was beautiful year-round, and in the winter it was a perfect place for sledding.
The goal was to get a ride all of the way down into the valley near the stream. To do this, you had to have a good bit of speed in the first half, because there was a brief hump and flat spot until you picked up speed again down to the bottom of the valley. To make a full ride, you needed enough momentum in the first half to carry you to the second half.
That illustrates a challenge of the Christian life. It is wonderful to be saved and to know Christ and spend a lifetime personally growing in the Scriptures. But there is a hump to get over and another gear to be engaged. We are to move on from being disciples who receive to becoming disciplers who give. Too many never have the momentum to get them over the hump.
This series will address this issue. It is six weeks long for a specific reason – it is coordinated to go along with a six-week teaching series at 11:00 on the issue of growing to the point of sharing your faith and being a discipler of others. This program is called “T-35” – based upon Titus 3:5 – and is something we want EVERY person at TSF to go through at some point. The end product will be an ability to share your faith in a clear, accurate, and effective way to any person whom the Lord puts across your path.
Titus 3:3-7 says this …
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
It says twice is verse five that “he saved us.” It wasn’t something good that we had done. The moment of salvation is a moment of realization that there is nothing good we can do, but that rather we need a cleansing and rebirth that can only come from God.
Each of us has a story as to how, in the course of time and through the varied circumstances of life, the Spirit of God brought us to this realization. That story is a story to be shared with others. It may be a piece of what God uses to draw someone else to Himself, and at a minimum, it is an encouragement to others as to God’s grace and His work.
Do you right now have a somewhat-sorta-kinda-thoughtful testimony of your own story that in two to three minutes helps a questioner understand the Gospel and how that has changed and defined your whole life and eternity … and how it could do the same for them? At the end of six weeks you can walk away with this in hand and in mind.
So journey with us … through these sermons, these readings, the 11:00 classes … and you will really be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
(For this series we will only be writing on Fridays and Mondays … a Friday preview of the weekend theme, and a Monday summary.)