Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

(Part 3 here)

3. The Holy Spirit is your Advocate

You are able to know and trust Jesus as your saviour because of the work of the Holy Spirit. He works in complete unity with the Father and the Son to achieve God’s purpose in you.

What the Spirit does Passage To discuss
 God promised in the Old Testament that He would send the Holy Spirit. Joel 2:28-32 What will be the ultimate result of God sending His Spirit?
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, and gives the Spirit to you. John 1:29-34 What is the significance of the Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus?
The Holy Spirit is the one who enabled you to recognise that you are a sinner and see what Jesus did for you. John 16:7-15 What three things does the Holy Spirit convict people of? How do they relate to what Jesus has done?
The Holy Spirit applied all that Jesus did to you, to save you from sin and death. Titus 3:3-7 Why do you think the work of the Spirit here is described as ‘washing’?
You can know the Father intimately because he sent the Holy Spirit to you. Galatians 4:4-7 How does the Holy Spirit radically change your status before the Father?
The Holy Spirit will cause His own character to become evident in your life Galatians 5:22-24 How are these character traits evident in the way that God relates to you?
You are only able to pray because of the help of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:26-28 When don’t we know what to pray for?
The Holy Spirit guarantees your hope Ephesians 1:13-14 What connection does the Spirit have with faith in Jesus?

(Part 5 here)

(Part 2 here)

2. Jesus is your Saviour

You can only know the Father because of what He has done for you in the Son. The Father and the Son are at work together in your life to make you a child of God.

What the Son does Passage To discuss
The Father makes you His child through faith in His Son, Jesus.  John 1:9-13 Are you are anyone else able to make yourself a child of God?
Jesus has laid down his life to save you from the wrath you deserve. 1 John 4:9-10 Can we know true love apart from knowing Jesus?
You have been united to Jesus, so his death and resurrection are now yours. Romans 6:1-5 What is the result of being united to Jesus in his death? What about being united to him in his resurrection?
Being united to Jesus makes you a new person. 2 Cor 5:16-21 How much of ‘the old’ has gone when we are in Christ?
Jesus the Son has set you free from slavery to sin. John 8:31-36 What is the main difference between a slave and a son?
Jesus gives you true life. John 6:35-51 What does this life that Jesus gives mean for our future?
Jesus gives you a sure hope: the resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 What will be the result of our resurrection?
Jesus has gathered you with every kind of person into one family. Galatians 3:26-29 What kind of divisions between people does Jesus break down?
The Father’s ultimate plan is to make you just like Jesus.  Romans 8:28-30 When was the Father’s plan set in place?

(Part 4 here)

(See Part 1 here)

1. God is your Father

As a Christian, you are a member of God’s family; God the Father wants you to know him as your Father.

What the Father does Passage To discuss
God promised in the Old Testament that His people would know Him as their Father. Isaiah 43:1-7 What aspects of this passage demonstrate the Father’s character?
Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, you may share in His own relationship with his Father. John 20:15-17 How does Jesus describe his relationship with his disciples?
As a child of the Father you share in the inheritance of the Son. Colossians 1:11-14 In what way has the Father qualified us to share in the inheritance?
Knowing the Father’s great love for you gives you great hope. 1 John 3:1-3 What is the hope that makes us want to be pure?
Knowing the Father is a deeply personal thing. Romans 8:12-17 In what ways does this passage describe the emotions involved in knowing the Father?
Jesus said when you talk to God (prayer) you should call him ‘Father’. Luke 11:1-2 How would addressing God as ‘Father’ help us whenever we pray?
Jesus taught you to trust that your Father cares for you. Luke 12:22-34 How does this sentiment differ from the culture in which you live?
Jesus encourages you to see how generous your Father is. Matthew 7:7-11 Does this mean the Father gives us anything we want – regardless?
In difficult times you can be sure that your Father has your best interests at heart. Hebrews 12:5-11 What is the Father’s goal in disciplining us? How is this different to ‘punishment’?

(Part 3 here)

Living in the presence of the Triune God

I put out here the first draft of the first part of a resource I am writing to help disciple brand new Christians. I decided to write my own after being unsuccessful in finding a resource that is thoroughly trinitarian. Many ‘New Christian’ resources, while excellent and solidly Biblical, always seem to fall short on communicating the character and nature of the God with whom we have entered into relationship: the God who is Love at His very nature, because He is, eternally, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

There will be four parts, in four posts, in quick succession…

Beginning the Authentic Life

Welcome to the Family

If you are a Christian, then you have come into a relationship with the Triune God. God is the One and only God, who exists eternally as three persons in  perfect unity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He is not three gods, nor is he one person who manifests himself in three ways.

“The Trinity is not a maths problem or an ancient riddle; it’s the good news that God is Love. Forever the Father has loved his Son in the unity of the Spirit.” Glen Scrivener

Because this is who God is, Christianity is the only ‘religion’ that can truly say, ‘God is Love (1 John 4:8).

The Authentic Life

As a human being, you are created in God’s image. This means that whatever God is, you are like that in some way. Supremely, because God is Love, you are created to be a person who loves – which is why Jesus said the two greatest commands are ‘Love God’ and ‘Love your neighbour.’

God enables a human being to truly reflect His character of love by giving them two wonderful gifts: Hope and faith. Hope is the certainty that God is the faithful Creator who has a plan for this universe: to fill it with the knowledge of His glory (Habbakuk 2:14). Faith is being able to entrust ourselves to Him, knowing that we are part of this grand purpose, and trust that He will only ever do what is good for us. This hope and faith then results in us living as we are designed: in love towards God and towards our fellow human beings.

Life lost… and restored!

This hope, faith and love were lost by us in our rebellion and rejection of God’s good purpose, and have been replaced with ambition, fear and selfishness. We faced God’s certain judgement, as our sin is cosmic treason against Him, the loving Ruler of the universe. We were left in a hopeless and helpless situation; unable to save ourselves from Gods wrath even if we wanted to – we were God’s enemies.

Jesus the Son did for us what we are unable and unwilling to do for ourselves. He entered into our humanity and lived the life we have failed to live – a perfect life of hope, faith and love, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. His great love for his Father and for us led him to give of himself by living a self-sacrificial life which culminated in going to the cross, where he died the death we deserve. Here he was actually abandoned by the Father because of our own guilt and shame. He did this as gracious, merciful act of love to reconcile us to the Father.

When Jesus rose from the dead, it was like the Father’s way of saying, ‘I am pleased with this sacrifice that Jesus has made for sinners. I accept his voluntary death as a substitute, and declare that all who trust what he has done may have all their sin and rebellion forgiven.’

Brought back to the Father

We receive the benefits of all that Jesus the Son did for us by simply trusting him (faith). We cannot do anything to earn God’s forgiveness, it is purely a generous gift from God – called grace:

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)

I trust that in becoming a Christian, this is what you have come to know – and that it is not mere intellectual belief, but trusting in Jesus to do what you cannot do: reconcile you to the Father. The Father’s intention for you is that you know what it means to be His child by being united to His Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, and in so doing, live an authentic life of hope, faith and love. This promise is not just for this short life, but for all eternity. Jesus will one day return, all evil and sin will be banished, this whole world will be renewed, and we will live forever in a face-to-face relationship with the triune God.

How to use this booklet

This booklet contains a series of studies that will help you understand more about what God has done for you in Jesus, and something of what it looks like to live this authentic life. Each section contains a series of statements, the part of the Bible that these statements are based on, and some questions to help you dig into what these passages are saying. They should be worked through at a pace that you are comfortable with. Look up the passage, think about what it is saying to you, and pray that the Father will enable you, by His Spirit, to come to know him better.

It is recommended that you work through these studies with a friend who has been a Christian for a while, as they will be able to discuss it with you, and hopefully answer any questions you may have. Organise a time to meet with them regularly to talk about what you are learning, and so they may support, encourage and pray for you.

(Part 2 is here)