In our discipleship ministry at Midtown Baptist Temple, we have four goals that are supposed to be evident in each member of the body. These goals aren’t intended to keep a legalistic hold on our members, but rather to allow them to be established in their walk with Jesus Christ and to ensure they know how to fulfill God’s mission properly. To know the importance of the four goals, though, we first need to know what they are and what they look like in our lives.
Goal #1: To establish the believer in the WORSHIP of God
At the beginning of our discipleship refresher study at church, Pastor Brandon started off with worship: what it really means and how we can worship God rightly. Remember that worship isn’t really singing songs to God; that’s praise, and it’s a result of worship. Instead, worship is living your life for God alone. (Read Uriah’s recent post for a more in-depth look at the difference between praise and worship.)
One of the key points Brandon was getting at was the fact that our worship towards God is a direct reflection of how we view Him and how much value we ascribe to Him. Genesis 22:5 has the first mention of worship in the Bible and it clearly lays out how Abraham viewed God, and what real worship looks like. The fact that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son—even though God had promised many generations were to come through this one son of his—shows that Abraham knew the safest thing to do was to simply trust God and see how it played out. As a result, he was just obedient and went to worship God. And you know what? God provided a lamb for a sacrifice and spared Isaac, Abraham’s son.
Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
Abraham saw that the proper amount of glory due unto God’s name was all of it. God deserves everything in our lives. As Pastor Mark Trotter put it, Jesus shouldn’t have a prominent place in our lives. He shouldn’t even have a preeminent place in our life. Jesus needs to be our life, like Colossians 3:4 says he is. We as young believers have a tendency to easily be distracted by pretty much anything other than the things that would give glory to God, which brings us to the next goal.
Goal #2: To establish the believer in the WORD of God
Psalm 138:2 states that the word of God is greater than God’s name. If we look at how great God’s name is, we understand what that really means. Philippians 2:10 says that at the name of Jesus every knee of creation will bow, and Acts 4:12 says that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven whereby we must be saved. God’s name is hope and salvation, but his word, according to him, is magnified more greatly than his name.God takes His word very seriously and so should we.
1 John 2:14 “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”
We as young men and women can rejoice in the fact that we have the word of God. Praise God that the verse doesn’t say, “Because ye are strong ye have overcome the wicked one.” If that was the case and it was all on us to defeat Satan with our own strength, we would be cooked. Instead we can overcome the enemy because the word of God abides in us. However, if this is true then the opposite must also be true: if the word of God does not abide in us then there’s no chance that we will overcome the wicked one. Instead, we’ll be overcome by him.
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
We cannot forget that we are in a spiritual battle every day. You wouldn’t go to war without putting on a bulletproof vest first, so why would you walk out your front door into the battle in your spiritual pajamas? In our busy lives we cannot overlook the importance of being geared up with the heart and mind of Christ every day through the word.
Goal #3: To establish the believer in the LOCAL CHURCH
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
The crucial thing that helped the apostles and the early church to stay steadfast to the doctrine Christ had taught them was the fact that they were in such close proximity to each other. They loved each other, they hung out, they ate together, and most importantly they prayed together.
One of the reasons that loving the local church is so important is because it gives us built-in accountability. I couldn’t go off teaching some kind of false doctrine for too long before one of my brothers from church caught wind and set me straight, and I thank God for that. On our own, unchecked and left to our own devices, we can come up with some pretty crazy stuff. Also, when dealing with sin in our lives it’s always much easier to overcome it when we can bring it before one another to pray about it and be encouraged to repent and turn to God instead of tearing ourselves down about our sin.
The local church is also one the key way that the gospel can be spread throughout all nations. The local church is supposed to be where believers are trained up in the worship of God, the word of God, and, like we’ll see next, the ministry of God. If you forsake the local church, you’re forsaking God’s appointed structure to see you grow and go out into the world to teach all people God’s word.
Goal #4: To establish the believer in MINISTRY
This goal is how we actually get to put our faith into action. Ministry isn’t something you need to wonder if you are called to, because we are all called to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The real question is, where and how do I minister?
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
1 Corinthians 12:4,11 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.….But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
We all have our own specific personalities and gifts that the Lord has given us; we just need to search out the ways that God wants to use us and the gifts he’s given us to further the gospel the best we can within our local church body. This could vary from the street evangelism team, to faithfully being a part of the cleaning team. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. As long as it is done with the right heart with the intention of glorifying God and fostering an environment in which the gospel can be shared, you can be used to further the kingdom.
As young men and women we are the age group that has the most time and energy to be the most heavily involved in ministry. However, this ministry has to be preceded by the first three goals of being established in worship, the word, and the local church. If we get these down and remember we are simply the donkey that Jesus Christ is riding into town on, we will be mightily used to impact this world for His glory.