Sunday, 11 September 2011

Making Disciples; a role for us all - Bishop Colin

One of the themes of Living Faith is "Making Disciples" and introducing people to Jesus.  This is a major role of us as LLMs.

How do we make disciples in today's world where people know the 'un-pretty' past of the Christian church?  We need to ask that question for ourselves and work out discipling in the here and now.

Our country has mainly lost touch with the Christian story; the generations are less and less even aware of Jesus.  It is from this point that we need to introduce Jesus to people, whilst also balancing the needs of the life-long churched and those who have turned away from church in the past.

We need to come from different angles to different groupings of people; each context having a different way of being (re)introduced to Jesus.

To help us think about discipleship and bringing people to Jesus from their various background, we will look at Acts; in Jerusalem, Athens and Ephesus.

Acts 2:14 onwards - Jerusalem
Peter starts speaking with the people where 'they are', dealing with their questions.  He then introduces the relationship that God is already in with each of us, and how they failed God by crucifying Jesus.  When they asked for help Peter tells them to "repent and be baptised".  300 hundred were then baptised.

Acts 17: 16 onwards
Paul is now in Greece and is greatly distressed to see the city full of idols, even though he must have known it would be.  So Paul spoke in the synagogue to the Jews and in the marketplace to whoever was around.  Philosophers questioned Paul and his speaking about Jesus' resurrection; to which he starts affirming their religious manners.  He tells them that they should not worship the unknown, but worship the Creator God who lives everywhere.  Eventually Paul tells them that God commands all people everywhere to repent before the day of judgement.  But not many turn to Jesus, it instead takes time for them to become Christians.

Acts 19
Paul was shocked and surprised that the Christians in Ephesus had never heard of the Holy Spirit.  They had been baptised by John in the spirit of repentance waiting for Jesus.  They had been living in community with God at work in their lives, but something was missing.  Paul came and helped them discover Jesus for themselves.

By looking at those three encounters in Acts we can consider how we might make disciples with different people in the places they are. 

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