~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, Discipleship (part 4), by clicking here.
“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4) John was baptizing those who would be baptized into a change of mind. The Lord wants us to baptized – to be fully submerged – to be in over our heads – in changing our minds according to the Word! God baptizes you into mindset changes “in the wilderness” so that you are ready for the promised land! It’s the goodness of God that leads us to change our minds (repentance).
There are two frames of thinking for all of human thought. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6) The mind that is set on the Spirit doesn’t just produce life, it produces life AND peace! He not only gives a good thing, but He packages it amazingly too! God gives you life, life abundantly, and it comes in the package of peace!
Pride leads to self-righteousness, which causes to focus on yourself – which sabotages your ability to receive from God. And that’s what 1 Cor. 2:14 says “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And we’ve all been fools like this before!
It was the hope last time that by talking about the difference between being spiritually-minded and carnally-minded that it would stir up a hunger in our hearts to have the Word of God on the throne of our hearts. God is wondering “Would you like to have your ear ‘pierced through’ so that I’m the only one you listen to the rest of your days?”
Being discipled is as simple as being in the Word and letting the Word naturally do the work that it does in our hearts to transform us. But, motivation can be an issue. To address that we can consider a tale of two gardeners . . . one who enjoyed gardening for gardening’s sake, and another (a little younger) who enjoyed it for “tomatoes’ sake.” All discipline to be in the Word comes from our vision – our motivation.
If God sweetly asked you “what do you think of me?” How would you honestly answer Him?Nearly all answers would likely fall into 4 basic categories: negative towards God, like how He makes us feel, appreciative of His provision, and Relational. That fourth type of response the Lord may receive is from someone who sound like “You’re Beautiful. You’re Marvelous. You’re Lovely. You’re my Greatest Delight. I enjoy You, God.” That’s Mary’s response (from our gardeners’ story) isn’t it!
These are the natural stages of discipleship. The first represents alienation: “ And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Col. 1:21-22) The next represents identity: “I am writing to you, little children, because you sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.” (1 Jn 2:12) The next is about provision / power “I have written you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 Jn 2:14b) Finally, John writes to fathers about relationship “I have written to you fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” Remember Philippians 3:10? Everything Paul was doing in setting aside all self-righteousness was for one purpose: “that I may KNOW HIM.”
We never stop learning about identity in Christ. And, you never stop learning about the power that resides within you and the provision that God has for you. But this is about what gets you out of bed in the morning. What causes you to “clear off the nightstand.” There is one motivation, one thing, one focus that will never fail you.
David said it: “One thing I ask from the Lord, that shall I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life: to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” (Ps. 27:4) There is a focus that you can have that will be continuously on-point across all seasons of discipleship – that will never let you down in terms of your motivation to be in the Word. And that’s to know Him. To enjoy Him. If you remember Pastor Brad’s series on the purpose of man . . . the #1 purpose of man is to “know Him and enjoy Him.”
Out of the discipleship sequence (identity, provision, relationship), “knowing Him” is the only part of the discipleship process that will persist in perfect applicability in Heaven. If you have this one thing as your focus, you will not even be phased when you step into Heaven – yo won’t have to change motivations or anything else. You won’t have to say “well, this is a little bit different than I thought.” John 17:3 says “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” What’s eternal life? That we know Him!
What if the greatest purpose and calling of the anointing of God on my life and your life and was to love on Him? Luke 10:40-42 tells us the real story of Mary and Martha. They were sisters. One is trying to serve Jesus, the other (Mary) is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Look what Jesus says to Martha about Mary: “but ONE THING is needed and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” That relationship is what you will take into Heaven. One Thing. One Thing.