Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

So Why Does God Go to All This Trouble to Grow His Children?

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Jesus5You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless,

how can it be made salty again?

It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Matthew 5:13, NASB

Those who heard Jesus teach that day could only begin to grasp the full meaning of what we call The Beatitudes. John MacArthur, in his book The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, says: “The Sermon on the Mount was a critique of the Pharisees’ religion. He condemned their doctrine; their phony approach to practical holiness; their pedantic style of Scripture twisting; and their smug overconfidence.”1 Do these charges apply to us today in the institutional church?

We see the Beatitudes from our vantage point this side of the cross. May our vantage point never de-sensitize us to God’s parenting. Those who heard the Sermon on the Mount could hardly comprehend what this discipleship process would mean for them. They would be salt and light on mission to the world. Salt flavors, heals, and preserves. For us who would flavor the world for God, total dependence on him is essential. For us who would administer God’s healing, self-sacrifice must reign. For we who would preserve the world for God, we must embrace daily repentance and purification. Otherwise, we become useless to him—flavoring without flavor, medicine without healing, preservative that rots. Uselessness should be a disciple’s greatest fear!

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14, NASB

What would you think of a marathon runner who loads his or her body with carbohydrates for the race and then sleeps in, misses the start, and spends the day watching the race on television? Too many of our church members are fat with God’s nutrition yet never use it to fuel real work for the kingdom. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation. You need milk, not solid food,” charged the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 5:12, HCSB).

Like worship, if discipleship is for our own enrichment alone, it becomes idolatry. Discipleship is the process of growing more Christ-like so that, like Christ, God can use us to reach people. He desires to use our relationship with him to bring others into relationship. Too often discipleship has been misinterpreted as “sit and savor.” Jesus calls us to get up and go. THAT’S WHY HE IS TRYING TO GROW US UP AS HIS CHILDREN… to take us full circle as a worshiping disciple on mission!

The apostle Paul exemplified going full circle in missional living. The ruthless persecutor of Christians encountered the living Christ face to face. Jesus’ words to Paul on the Damascus road were the truth of the gospel. The word of truth took root in his heart, and he responded with brokenness. The power of the gospel gripped him, propelling him into the world. Paul was truly transformed. The cruelty and hardness of his own spirit gave way to the Holy Spirit. The ultimate Pharisee became the ultimate disciple. The ultimate disciple became the ultimate missionary. The ultimate missionary gave us the list of characteristics God expects from worshiping disciples on mission. Paul’s life went full circle.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

Galatians 5:22–23,NASB

We have gone full circle in the process of discipleship. Are you submitting to our heavenly Father to grow you spiritually? Is the fruit of God’s Spirit growing out of you? Are you partnering with God on mission to make disciples who make disciples? These are not goals we can attain, but rather the evidence of a life completely yielded to Christ in discipleship.

We must allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to produce his fruit in us. Without these spiritual traits active in our lives the world will reject us as hypocrites. If they see meanness, anger, harshness, anxiety, or lust in us, how can they embrace the God we claim has saved us from those things?

Go one step more. Think of the worship team that you lead… or your family, or your team at work or school. Do they produce the fruit of the Spirit, too? Do they show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control in their daily lives? If not, you must partner with God to bring them into his process of parenting. Lead them into discipleship and take them on mission. Your heavenly Father awaits.  — Mark Powers

MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, 129.



Author: Mark Powers

Worship Pastor, Riverland Hills Baptist Church, Columbia SC - April 1, 2018 to present Former Director, Worship and Music, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia SC: 2008 - 2018 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 - Empowering YOU for Powerful Worship Leading! Presenter/Speaker on the MusicArts Mission Movement (M3). To contact MP about presenting or speaking for your conference or training event, e-mail mark@riverlandhills.org or call 803-640-9037. I would love to come and share how your worship ministries can join God on mission in your community!

One thought on “So Why Does God Go to All This Trouble to Grow His Children?

  1. Excellent charge, Brother Mark. It would be SO very easy were I (personally) to sit back and accept ALL the sin in my life. First- I’ll take care of the “BIG” sins, and then, I’ll address the “itty-bitty’ ones that don’t matter- even though “the wages of SIN is death”- it doesn’t really say which one; so… yeah. I’ll just take these Captain Obvious sins (after I point them out in everyone else first) and then I’ll chisel em outta MY life so I can grow up to be a “real” disciple. (please note this sarcasm is light-hearted jest aimed at myself!). Then I’ll get several doctorates, a couple of music degrees, maybe author a book on proper piety, learn several languages, win american idol or the next dove award- yeah- I’ll just show everyone how “righteous” and wonderful I am by having them worship me- me and my intellect, my talent, my voice, my money, my political connections, my extensive foreign missions travel, my volunteer service, my pastorate, my house, my car, my boat, my community, my, my, my… etc… etc… etc… OH I’M JUST SO WONDERFUL- YES, LOOK AT ME!!! OH LOL… never mind that I suffer from such and such a disease or that I have struggles with such and such- yeah- better not tell anyone about THAT- could you imagine?!?!

    (deep sigh) JUST GET REAL WITH JESUS- He’ll take care of the rest.

    Oh Jesus’ goodness! Thank You Lord for EVERY TIME YOU BREAK ME! Constancy and Consistency in Jesus, first and always requires His grace- it requires my CONSTANT surrender and unshakeable willingness to be broken. The difficulty for me personally comes when others wish me to remain broken (lost AND redeemed will gloat) and take delight in my failures. While rooted in the powers of principalities of darkness; those strongholds have NO authority over me- I must claim the blood of Jesus and move forward. I cannot and will not live in a rear-view mirror.
    The deception is that the Liar and Accuser wants us to believe that we are useless if we fail, struggle is not allowed, God’s gifts to us are NOT from God, but merely pitiful attempts to serve beyond our own capacity and situated in vanity, pride, arrogance and deception- L I A R!!!!!
    God will bless whom He will bless. I DO NOT understand His grace, NOR WHY He would bless me (FOR ANY REASON). Alas, He first loved me. In my brokenness, I pursued Him. This doesn’t make me “righteous” NOR does it make me “evil.” Jesus claimed me at an early age, and only three years ago did I even BEGIN to understand what it is to burn into His fruit (Love, Joy, Peace…..)
    As one Redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; my failures cannot and will NOT define me! In regard to who I am in JESUS- I AM IN JESUS ALL THAT HE PLEASES- I need and desire HIS approval. I don’t care WHAT this world does or doesn’t do- and that includes the “church”- HIS GRACE IS NOT CHEAP- I BELIEVE JESUS IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS and NO ONE will EVER snatch me out of His hand- lost or “redeemed.”
    I will sustain the abuses just as I sustain God’s righteous recompense for mine own sin! I will not wallow in self-abasement any longer and will not (knowledgeably) linger in the abuses of others (lost OR “redeemed”) – (“be angry and do NOT sin [easier said than done yet,], I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.)
    Mark, the root of this particular issue, for me; has simply been a struggle to find my place in HIM- not other Christians, not the Church, not the world etc…. I answer to Him and I grow upon His direction in Holy Spirit. He guides me moment by moment, day by day. I tell the gospel message to everyone I meet- verbally, actively- and I can even tell His Gospel in complete silence- HE is just that faithful.
    Jesus finds worth and significance in me (though NONE of us no why He loves us so…!) and He desires authentic intimacy with me- Mark, I never even knew what that word meant- “intimacy.”- Intimacy for me was a Plastic, pretentious people trapped in a palace (both in and out of church buildings) of personal preference, pointing, pontificating fingers and pitiful self-pleasuring thru a plethora of pusillanimous performance(s)- THAT’S the intimacy (LUSTFUL IDOLATRIES) of “CHURCHIANITY!”
    Mark, as I continue to walk (mortally and in pursuit of HIS humility) in the infinite grace of Jesus; HE HAS A PLAN FOR ME-
    (Jer 29:11)- That FACT will NEVER DIE and where I have failed- thank You, JESUS; that YOU DON’T GIVE UP ON ME; YOU NEVER LEAVE ME ALONE; YOU PURSUE ME- YOU LEAVE THOSE 99 SHEEP, YOU MEET my EVERY NEED and in ALL AUTHENTICITY- YOU BREAK ME- from these mortal moments even unto and beyond all immeasurable eternity. Yes Lord; BREAK ME for when You break me; You truly SEND me where I am supposed to be… with YOU, the ONLY FIRE (sweet Holy Spirit) ALIVE INSIDE OF ME- my Lord and Savior Jesus! Thank You and be glorified without ceasing, -yes, my Wonderful Saviour, Jesus…. >

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