The Point

The disciples of Christ had been raised in a religious environment that was infatuated with activity. Giving alms, fasting, praying in public, attending all the feasts, maintaining an outward show of good works–all the things that made the Jews look like good followers of God on the outside.

Do we not present that same environment today? At times it seems as if we are more concerned with making good church members than we are with making disciples of Christ. We make sure new converts are enrolled in all the right classes. We find a job (or two or three) for them to do in the church. We give them all the books and Bible studies they can handle and tell them that if they do all of these things, tithe, and show up for visitation they will be a good Christian.

Now I am not knocking all of those things any more than Jesus knocked the law. These are all well and good, but they must come as a result of our fellowship with Christ not as a means of developing spirituality. The church of Ephesus did all the right works, but God chastised them for their lack of passion for Christ.

What happens when we fail to apply this principle? New Christians, in their blessed ignorance, are thrown into the fray and worn to a frazzle. An atmosphere of legalism is fostered which turns into an atmosphere of manipulation and control which turns into an atmosphere of weariness and disillusionment. The woods are full of people who “used to be church-members”, who “used to teach Sunday School”, etc. who eventually got burned out on doing and never learning about the difference Christ wants to make on the inside.

Jesus, in His sermon, began to introduce the concepts of genuine godly testimony, purity of the heart, faith, personal worship and obedience to His words. These themes were repeated over and over by the New Testament writers. Paul’s feelings were, “All my achievements are dung! I want to know more about Christ!”

May God help us to be Christians whose hearts blaze with a heavenly passion, ignited and fueled by time spent with Jesus.

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13 responses to “The Point

  1. Good words. I hate legalism. I am about to write a post that partly deals with legalism, only in passing though.

  2. Gordon,
    Great post. It is a sad commentary when we neglect to teach new converts to Christ how to develop a ongoing, and strong fellowship with our Savior. That should be the main thing in discipleship. The other will come with loving Jesus.

  3. Great post, Gordon! Discipleship is something that I believe has been totally misunderstood to be a “program” like you described. We seem to prefer to have 100 new “converts” over 10 mature disciples.

    Great thoughts. Your writing is an encouragement to me, Gordon. (Not only here, but your comments on other blogs, as well, including mine.)

    steve 🙂

  4. You are SO right!

    We need to focus on Christ and let our activities grow out of our relationship to Him.

  5. thanks

    have a great weekend

  6. Yeah. I heard someone say that the difference between Christianity and other religions is that the rest are “do” religions, whereas Christianity is “done” religion. Christ accomplished, secured our salvation, and we can have His peace.

    It doesn’t mean He won’t then inspire us to work for Him, but we do it from a pure heart, strengthened and motivated by the finished work of Calvary.

  7. Amen to this post! Sooo many present and X church members…so few who truly know Him….we need a lot more instruction on the “how tos” of getting to know HIm.

  8. You can do without being, but you cannot be without doing.

    We need to start focusing more on the being rather than the doing.

    Great thoughts, bro.

  9. I attended a conference in Kansas City last week. In one of the workshops we talked about something very similar to this. The leader said that too often we expect nonbelievers to “behave, then beieve, and belong,” when, in truth, they should “belong, then believe, and then behave.”

    Our church had a woman who had come to Christ from Judaism, and in her testimony, when she was sharing about her experiences “before Christ, she said, “Oh, my G-d.” I noticed as some of our dear senior saints looked at each other and shook their heads, wondering, I’m sure, if this woman had truly had a conversion experience.

  10. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. Beverly, you cite a prime example of what I am talking about.

  11. Great post Gordon. it exemplifies my bible devotion from yesterday…Works without faith are dead.

    We must develop a strong relationship with Christ and everything else ratiates out from that.

  12. Amen.

    It is abut personal relationships. Our with Him. Our with others of the body. Ours with those in the world.

    It isn’t about posturing.

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