Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beyond Membership - Part 2

In Part 1, a definition for church was provided. The definition is quite contrary to a place as it is often designated. Rather, the church is a gathering of people. This is not a new understanding. But, for many, it is a new application of their understanding. So, having defined church, what did Jesus say?

So, having defined church, what did Jesus say? Did Jesus say, "Go to church?" No. Did Jesus say, "Be the church?" No. He said, "Follow me." Of course, in following Jesus we will be who He wants us to be and be with others he wants us to be with, but the focus was on following Him. Here are three things that Jesus did say (among others):
  • Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4.1)
  • ...on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16.18)
  • Go, make disciples, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded... (Mt 28.19)

Educators will see the three domains of learning in this verse.

A discipleship model I am working on applies to this verse quite well. The model is based upon 4 steps Learn, Live, Love, Lead. The idea is that we must first learn something. Once it is learned, we begin to live it out (applying work or wisdom). Next, over time, we begin to love it (remember this is a discipleship model, and is not applicable to all of life's situations. But as disciples, we will learn to love the things of the Lord). Finally, we lead others through these steps as well.

For Matthew 4.19, Follow me (Learn) and I will make you (Live 
 Love) fishers of men (Love  Lead).

The other verse (Mt 28.19-20) also fits the learning domains and my discipleship model - although it is backward.

Go, make disciples, teaching others to observe all that I commanded you (Mt 28.19-20).

Christians may dispute the meaning of these three quotes, but the fact that Jesus said them nor their implications for the Church as a whole, should not be refuted by Christians. The first and third statement require us to do something. The second is Jesus statement alone. Let me say a quick word about that statement and then move on.

Jesus is the only one who can build His church? Why? Because it is truly His to build. Notice He did not say build THE church. That would mean that there could be no other gatherings (called out ones). But there are. There are plenty of false churches, false teachings, false gatherings. But Jesus' church is His. And He will build it. But He can also tear it down. The gates of Hades may not stand against it, but if a local church is not doing what it needs to do, Jesus can shut it down. It is His right. And the response of a congregation to Matthew 4:19 and Matthew 28:19-20 may determine its future.

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mt 4.19)

We are to follow so that He can turn us into what He wants us to be. This is foreign to many church members who believe the church is about their preferences and desires. Christ is the head - period.
  • Follow me - Cognitive (Head) - we must make a decision
  • I will make you - Affective (Heart) - transforming us, literally from the inside out
  • Fishers of men - Psycho-motor (Hands) - what we will (must) do

Go...make disciples...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you... (Mt. 28.19-20)

Each of these last two passages require a response from us - the church. In Part 3, we must consider our response.

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