Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We are free to disciple

"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive"1 Corinthians 10:23.
When I first read this in my pre-teens I rejoiced. Clearly God had set me free from my parent's crushing hand of tyranny. I could hear the Apostle Paul telling me to engage in any and all pursuits that caught my interest. I had missed the qualifying "beneficial" aspect of the "everything" statement which my Dad corrected for me the first time I came into the house with a cigarette in my mouth claiming God over rode parents. My lesson, though hard come by - Dad was a "rod straightens out the child" kind of person - has been an ongoing tutorial.
Like most people who come to the faith I was very interested in the freedoms of that faith. I mistakenly assumed that as long as I practiced my faith in a way that did not harm God, myself, or my church I was free to live out my relationship with God and others as I pleased. I believe the main reason we, the members of His body the church, do not bring others to church is because we truly believe we are free to not bring them. After all, "everything is permissible." As long as we do not sin we are comfortable, even validated, in our personal relationship with God through Christ. 
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Verse 24 following the text reads, "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." That is the definition of "beneficial." How we choose to live out our relationship with God is open to enjoying His bountiful creation "as long as" what we do points others back to Him. God feels so strongly about this He gave as His final command, "Go." While it is true Matthew 28:19's opening phrase is better translated, "As you are going make disciples..." it's meaning in the original language carries the force of command to make disciples. We are not asked to go as we please. We are commanded to make disciples wherever we please to go. 
Just as accepting Jesus as our lord and savior is non negotiable for acceptance by Him so making disciples is non negotiable to living with Him.
Disciplining is not an elective and it begins with a simple invitation to our acquaintances to come and see Jesus through His church. If you are uncertain how to disciple someone else I recommend http://www.multiplymovement.com as a great place to start.

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