GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

How God Grows His Children: Step Four

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Dad-child“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8, NASB

Parents hope and pray that their teenagers will remain pure. A commitment to purity is crucial to every child of God. To resist the temptations of the world, we must trust implicitly that God is the only source for our every need. This trust level requires that we see God at work in every aspect of life. We find him there at every step. Our all-knowing Father is never surprised by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Knowing this we begin to take life’s challenges in stride—his stride.

But purification is ongoing. Because the world is a battlefield between Satan and God, life is a battle between godliness and godlessness. Sanctification requires hand-to-hand combat with our sin. No doubt, God is our comforting Father throughout the daily battles. But he is also a strong Father who expects obedience. Being superficially religious won’t cut it, no matter how impressive we seem. He wants to purify us so we see him clearly in every moment of every day. If we’re going to join God on mission, it’s crucial to see clearly where he is at work. Purity, then, is a single-minded focus on seeing God and remaining untainted by the filth we see around us.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9, NASB

When God fills his disciples with mercy and purity, inner peace moves in. Spiritually mature disciples who have found God’s calling for their lives possess that peace. The Jewish people bestow the hope of peace on others with the blessing shalom. Shalom is a one-word prayer for the restoration of the world to God’s design. A mature disciple possesses the personal peace of knowing God’s design and then partnering with him to restore that design to the world.

Peacemakers bring calm to a raging world. But they are not naïve. Soon after his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sent his disciples out into the world. “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves,” he told them in Matthew 10:16 (HCSB). Peacemaking requires remarkable inner strength. Every attitude Jesus has presented in the discipleship process to this point will be required of a peacemaker on mission. Peacemakers are spiritual adults capable of raising spiritual children in God’s family. They have died to self and experienced brokenness and mourning. The kingdom of heaven has become theirs by accepting Christ’s death in their place. They receive God’s comfort and become gentle in the experience. A peacemaker is filled every day by a right relationship with God. Mercy and purity grow out of a peacemaker’s life wherever they join God on mission.

A world at war with God cries out for peacemakers. God sends them on mission to birth people in Christ and raise them as disciples. They are acclaimed as sons of God, his grown children. Ah, the pinnacle of discipleship is attained. The mature disciple can now relax and enjoy the blessings, right? Wrong! Keep reading.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:10–12, NASB

Just a short while after presenting the Beatitudes, Jesus prayed to his Father, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10, KJV). Ever since the fall of man into sin, God has chosen to suspend his perfect will on earth so we might have the privilege of choosing him. God’s perfect will is done in heaven, and he allows Satan to reign in hell. Earth is their battleground. The disciple lives on the battleground, and the world is at war. A disciple on mission must understand this truth.

The world hates godliness even as it hungers for God. Paul said to the citizens of Philippi, “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18–19, NIV). Earthly life is torn apart by this conflict.

Look at the modern media for proof. They exalt celebrities as gods of society, and we keep buying it. Then we tear those celebrities down at the first sign of human frailty, only to lift them up again when we crave more entertainment. During Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem the crowds shouted, “Hosanna,” as he arrived, then cried, “Crucify him,” five days later. As Christ-followers, the world will do that to us, too. The world yearns to possess what God has given us. But upon hearing what it will cost, they turn back to their pursuit of pleasure. Their lives are consumed with satisfying the lower instincts rather than lifting hearts and minds to God. The very ones who cry for our help turn against us.

When the world is against us, the Father’s love endures. The kingdom of heaven is ours. Hallelujah! The forces of evil may take every earthly thing we own. They may even come for our lives. But they cannot steal our Father’s ultimate gift. The souls of those who are in Christ will live forever with God. We are his children, and he is our Father. He has grown us to maturity, so now we move out with him to share the relationship with others. The discipleship process goes full circle!   — Mark Powers

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Author: Mark Powers

Director, Worship and Music, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia SC. Author - "GOING FULL CIRCLE: Worship that Moves Us to Discipleship and Missions" - www.GoingFullCircle.org (Resource Publications, Wipf & Stock, Eugene OR, 2013) President, www.WorshipWise.com - Growing Brilliant Worship Leaders . Presenter/Speaker on the MusicArts Mission Movement (M3). To contact MP about presenting or speaking for your conference or training event, e-mail markpowers@scbaptist.org or call 803-227-6166. I would love to come and share how your worship ministries can join God on mission in your community!

One thought on “How God Grows His Children: Step Four

  1. I have learned to simply “focus on Jesus.” All the dross will melt away – and I say BRING IT. Hallelujah- I am redeemed! No lost person, no brother or sister in Christ, no power or principality of hell can EVER snatch me out of His hand. I don’t care how LOW I have trod- ONE SIN is enough to separate us from God FOREVER- were it not for grace… I’ve spent most of my life trying to please everyone, looking for the answers in other human beings- bottom line- NOBODY has, can or will accomplish what Christ Jesus has accomplished- from the inhalation of Genesis to the exhalation of Revelation- Jesus is Lord of Lords- He who wields the ONLY Sword- He who IS the infinite Word!
    While I certainly understand what it means to be constantly berated, hated, rejected, neglected, demoralized and ostracized via the multiple facets of the mortal implications thereof- I simply look to Christ Jesus- and Jesus alone. Jesus is the one who died for my sins and should I need the soundest of advice, direction, admonition and/or correction- HE will lead the way and He will lead me to truly authentic disciple-making disciple makers within His glorious body redeemed.
    Yes “our God is a consuming fire….” and I have no option but to embrace the imperishable fiery seed of all fruit- HIS love, HIS joy, HIS peace, HIS patience, HIS kindness, HIS goodness, HIS faithfulness, HIS self-control- for apart from HIM, I am nothing- my most j”righteous” acts, but filthy rags! YES, JESUS is THE GIFT, THE VOICE, THE TALENT, THE TEACHER, THE PREACHER, THE HEALER, THE EVANGELIST, THE PROPHET, THE REDEEMER…. all else is mere pitiful, pathetic noise lest I open these faith eyes to realize that the infinite, all consuming fire of HIS Holy Spirit lives inside of me….
    Oh, I am constantly in His reach, His grasp, His clutch- I am in constant worship of Him should I so (prayerfully!) choose to surrender every moment to Him, taking captive every thought, every word, every deed… OH YES, and did my Savior BLEED… yes Jesus was born MIRACULOUSLY…. for me…., LIVED that I might live abundantly (NOT MATERIALISTICALLY)…. and He DIED…. for me…., was crucified and was buried….. for me…. that I might put my sins to death PERMANENTLY and yes, after 3 days, He was raised…. for me…. and BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY that I have no need- and He did stay for 40 days that I might be mortally tested unto His limitless grace in His perfect AUTHENTICITY- for He did ascend to the Father’s right hand and there He will call me home from His throne or He will split the skies open for me … simply… because….. I B E L I E V E….. only in King Jesus, am I complete. In Jesus without ceasing…. Brother Matt >

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