21 August 2019

Isaiah 30:8–17, 1 Thessalonians 2:2–12

“To make Christlike disciples in the nations.”—Church of the Nazarene Mission Statement

“Iron sharpens iron and one person sharpens another.”—Proverbs 27:17

Discipleship is not a program, nor is it a class. It is a lifestyle. If we are not careful, Sunday School, Life Groups, Youth Group, Children’s Church, even Sunday Service become mere flattery of our wordly wants and desires, rather than discipleship.

If you aren’t being challenged by God’s Word and Spirit during or as a result of these (even as the leader), then it is all empty. Will the challenge always occur? No. If it rarely or never occurs, that is the “best” indicator.

The problem is that we often just want easy, even at Church. Church, sadly, isn’t meant to be easy. Church, as framily, is meant to be transforming. Transformation can often be painful or uncomfortable.

In Isaiah, we read the consequences of flattery and (pointless/false) positive words, and it isn’t pretty. Paul challenged the Thessalonians to listen for the Gospel, rather than be flattered by the speakers trying to turn them away from the Gospel and probably against Paul himself.
We are to be challenged, not because our views are true or false, but through the maturing of our faith as it faces the real world is how we show the world the love of Christ, and become the light of the world.

The hard part for our egos is that we often want people to be nice when we need them to be kind. What’s the difference? Think of someone standing on the railing of a tall skyscraper with a strong wind. Nice: “be careful.” Kind: pull them back, even if it hurts them. One is passive (doormat). One is life. In a true discipleship relationship, we need kind people, and we need to be authentic. That is scary.

1) What discipleship relationships and patterns do you have?

2) It’s easy to say prayer, bible reading, and attending church are your patterns. However, plenty of people do those, too, and we don’t call them Christians. What is the difference?

3) With the new Life Groups in the Fall, what new path will you take? Will you join (or lead) a Life Group? Or will you start a small band with the covenant to sharpen one another? Or will you stagnate?